Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Marketing for Dummies: Getting Reviews

One of the crucial steps in getting a book out there is to get reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Amazon uses an algorithm to determine books similar to the ones a browsing reader is looking at, and it uses reviews to do it. For example, is a reader reviewed book A and book B, and another one is looking at book A, book B might appear on the bottom as "the books you might like."

It's important to get as many reviews as possible prior to the release. Some authors use Netgalley to distribute ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Others contact book bloggers directly.
Here are some ways you could get reviews:

It's expensive to post on Netgalley but some blog tours companies have a cheaper package to upload your book to Netgalley. If you pursue this option, you should still advertise Netgalley link in Facebook groups that might be relevant to your genre.

Blogger sites
There are lots of blogger sites. You can find them on google, or use a reference site such as Some bloggers will want you to contact them via email (usually available on their blog page), others would want you to fill out a form. Follow their process, even though it might sometimes be faster to email. I create an email template in Word and I copy it to either their web form or email message. It is worth including your cover image in your email.
Here is an example of my email to a blogger:


I saw your contact on

This past weekend I published a Contemporary Romance novel The Corner Office that I thought might appeal to you, and I was wondering if you would consider reading and reviewing it. 

I am attaching the blurb below. 

I really appreciate your time,

Tara Johnson's sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she's one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he's willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants. 
Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it's her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it's the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he's still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago. 
But Tara's increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand her."

Facebook Review Groups
This is another possible medium to obtain book reviews. Don't expect high volume, but you might get 5-10% of your reviewers this way.

LibraryThing has Early Reviewers program, which allows you to post your book and send it to reviewers who respond. You can get as much as 10-15% of your reviews on LibraryThing, but LibraryThing works better for some genres than others.

Goodreads Review Groups
You could join your genre-specific Goodreads groups and post your book for review there. You do want to vet any potential reviewers, though. Check out their profile, and if it looks fishy, it's best to skip.

Your Author Friends
Don't underestimate the importance of getting reviews from your author friends. These are usually your greatest cheerleaders who will not only post positive reviews but also post links promoting you. Author relationships are extremely important to succeed in publishing business.

Note about reviews: reviewers will not be able to post their reviews on Amazon until your book is live, even if you have pre-orders, so you should keep a list of your reviewers and remind them to post their reviews a few days before the release (or just before the release day). They could, however, post their reviews on Goodreads ahead of time. I would advise to setup Goodreads page as soon as possible, ideally a few months in advance of the release, so potential readers can begin adding your book to their TBR lists.

And, finally, regarding distributing your ARCs. I steer away from sending books as mobi attachments. Instead, I usually ask for readers' Kindle email addresses and send them my book that way, which ensures they can't forward it or post to any piracy site. Piracy remains to be a big deal that will not go away any time soon.

Katerina Baker is a contemporary romance author whose recent novel The Corner Office received numerous honorable mentions on many prominent romance blogs. When she isn't working or writing, she is blogging to help other authors succeed. Join her mailing list to get book-related posts and articles.


  1. This is great! I agree with sending ebooks directly to the intended recipient's Kindle email. However, as a reviewer, I am hesitant to give out my Kindle email to authors I don't know. I strongly prefer NetGalley.

    On Facebook groups: I am not sure if these groups are truly effective, as I am sure I miss some great review options.

    Of course, there isn't one "best" option. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and resources!!

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, Erica. As authors, we have to be flexible regarding delivering our review copies. I don't usually have hard rules and can provide review copies in a variety of formats and methods. Netgalley is the easiest but it is less personal, as I don't normally interact with those reviewers. On the other hand, when I exchange direct emails, I oftentimes end up building relationships with new bloggers for the long term.
    In regards to your concern about providing your Kindle email address, you have a lot of control via Kindle and you can block any or all email addresses.
    Have a great evening!