Having a great review on the cover of your self-published book will certainly give you a little zing of satisfaction and pride. But there are other, practical advantages to great book reviews that go beyond cover design. Bookstores may be more inclined to stock physical copies of a well-reviewed self-published book. Plus, word-of-mouth sales are often fueled by the opinions of book bloggers and other online reviewers. And if your book is reviewed by a book blogger who has a lot of fans on social media, your five-star review may (hopefully!) go viral.
But getting reviews for your self-published book from bloggers or social media celebrities is going to take substantial effort. You need a plan—and we have the step-by-step instructions that will get you the book reviews you want.
Six Steps To Getting Book Bloggers To Review Your Self-Published Book
Gather information. Start by researching book bloggers who may be interested in your genre or topic. Search for keywords using your favorite search engine. You can also ask your existing networks of writers for book blogger recommendations. Finally, spend some time on social networks for book lovers (like Goodreads). Many book bloggers who do not have their own official webpage do have a significant number of fans and followers on social media. To identify book bloggers on Goodreads who might want to review your self-published book, find a book that closely compares to your own and then scan the reviews to see who liked it (and who writes reviews that are especially popular).
Make yourself known. Start leaving comments on your target blogs or sending friend requests on social media. In a best-case scenario, you will establish a preliminary relationship with the target book blogger before you ask him or her to review your self-published book. That said, it’s not always feasible to personally make friends with every single book blogger who could possibly review your book. Just do the best you can to show honest support for book bloggers in general. After all, book reviewers are book lovers who have dedicated their time to supporting writers like you!
Create a query template. While you are getting to know the book bloggers in your target genre, start writing your letter of introduction. Create a template that you can modify and personalize for each individual blogger so it does not read like a form letter. Your letter should be friendly and sincere, and address your specific reasons for approaching the blogger for a book review. You may also want to include a casual author bio, book summary, contact information, and an offer for a free review copy in either print or e-book form. And of course, don’t forget to say thank you!
Make a sweet offer. Many book bloggers and other online reviewers love giving away copies of self-published books to their readers. Hosting a contest is a great way to drum up publicity, not only for the book blogger but also for the author. If you offer to promote the blogger’s contest to your social media followers or your mailing list, the book blogger may be more inclined to publish a review of your self-published book.
Track your blogger outreach. We recommend creating an Excel file so you can track email addresses, dates, and all responses. Later, when you’re trying to remember, “Who was that book blogger who liked me so much?” you’ll be glad to have the information at your fingertips.
Follow up. If you do not hear from a potential reviewer within a few weeks, you may want to follow up. Send a short note with a gentle reminder (include the original text of your first letter beneath your signature line as well). We do not recommend posting publicly to follow up with a book blogger. Instead, keep your correspondence private.
Remember: Not All Book Bloggers Will Want To Review Your Self-Published Book
Even if your request for a book review is turned down, maintain the relationship. A blogger who is not interested in your first self-published book may be inclined to review your second! Be sure to thank the reviewer for his or her consideration.
QUESTION: Do you have a favorite book blogger? Post a link in our comments section.