One of the more difficult aspects of self publishing is collecting book reviews. Whether on Amazon.com or Goodreads, a posted review helps get the word out about your book. You can’t count on friends and family members to write up their view points even though you ask often, they nod their heads and then nothing happens. Statistics show as little as one in ten people will take the time to post a review of a book they’ve read. Why go through the time and expense of getting reviews? It can mean much in getting the attention of new readers.
The costs of packaging and sending out review copies should be considered as part of your marketing budget. Advance review copies (ARC) can either be a short-run of books printed, or part of your larger run. Understand books sent to review services will not be returned. One thing to keep in mind, sending copies of your book out for review around the holidays is not the best idea. You are not guaranteed a review from whomever, and they may give away your book as a gift to someone else.
The big names such as Kirkus and Library Journal Reviews want submissions from traditional publishers at a minimum of ninety days before the release date of the book. However, Kirkus does have an Indie division which will review the book for $425.00. A hefty price tag, but the well-known name holds weight in the literary world. There is no guarantee you will receive a positive review, they will weigh the professional look of your cover and interior pages as well as grammar and story structure.
Another heavy player in the book review world is Midwest Book Review, established in 1976, dedicated to showcasing reviews of small press, independently published or self-published books. Guidelines for submitting your book can be found on their website. They request two copies of your printed book. If you’re sending an eBook, PDF or advance review copy (ARC), there is a reader’s fee. MBR reviews will appear on Amazon.com if you’ve set up to sell your book with Amazon. You can add a piece of your MBR review as a back cover blurb on future printings. Or use it in promotional materials you send to bookstores.
Online book reviews held build an internet presence for you and your book. One place is ArmchairInterviews.com . You sign up as an author and designate how many copies of your book you will provide for review, filling out the form with a synopsis and categories of your book. You will be contacted to send a copy of the book to the reviewer(s) who has chosen to read your book. The great thing is you only send out a book when a reviewer has requested one.
A bad review is like baking a cake
with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.
Due to the quantity of books a reviewing service may receive at any one time, your book may not be reviewed despite your best efforts. Unless otherwise noted from the reviewer, you should not interpret the absence of a review as a judgment about the quality of your book. There may not be enough reviewers available for the demand.
Use your social media outlets to remind friends and others to take a moment and leave a review about your book. It doesn’t have to be long, even a short blurb is counted.
The door on reviews swings both ways, have you left reviews for the book(s) you just finished reading? The author would love to hear your thoughts.