Advice from an Expert

Jim Cox has been involved in the business of reviewing books and advising small publishers and authors for over 40 years. Jim runs the Midwest Book Review, which was established in 1976 and is committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing.

Watch this interview with Jim and listen to his wisdom and advice!

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Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews

Reviews help sell books. Consumers rarely believe advertising alone. They want to know if the dollars they will be spending on a product are going to prove worthwhile.

5 star

This is where reviews come in. Reviews let consumers know that the money they are considering spending on your book will give them a fair return. In fact, studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews, and up to 88% say they trust online reviews and comments created by other consumers.

Getting book reviews for your book does not need to be difficult or time consuming. All you have to do is ask. Following are five suggestions for asking for book reviews.

1. Ask in your book.
You can ask in the back pages of your book. At the end of your book, devote a page to letting your readers know how much their opinion matters to you and others readers. Ask in a polite fashion for the reader to share his thoughts on your book with other readers through posting a review on their favorite online bookstore, your website, or your book’s Facebook page.

2. Ask when you fulfill book orders.
If you fulfill your own book orders, send a simple notice with the book you are mailing out—or in the email you send confirming the purchase—asking the reader to share their thoughts on the book via a review.

3. Ask when readers contact you.
Sometimes readers will contact you, the author, through email or social media to let you know how your book impacted their lives. When you receive these types of comments, always respond. Thank the individual for reading your book and for sharing her thoughts with you. Let her know how much this means to you. Then, ask her nicely to share these thoughts with other potential readers so they too can benefit from the book.

4. Ask on your website.
Your book’s website should contain a “review” or “testimonial” section. This section should list all the comments and reviews readers have given about your book. You can add a badge to your website asking readers for reviews.

5. Use a book review service.
There are a number of book review services available for a fee, although few specialize in Christian books. With these services, you offer to give away complimentary copies of your book in exchange for a review. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has such a service for our members. This service, BookCrash, allows CSPA members to offer their books to Christian bloggers in exchange for a review. If you have a Kindle book, you can use Kindle Book Review to receive reviews for your book. Additionally, you can host a giveaway on Goodreads.com for your book. Generally, Goodreads users who request your book then provide a review of your book on Goodreads.

When asking for a review, tell your book’s readers what a review will mean to you and what it means to others who are interested in the book’s subject matter. Be sincere in asking for a review. Remember to be thankful when you do receive a review—and always be kind, even if the review is not positive.

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Review-Swap

Over the years, I have written a number of blog posts on book reviews. One of the reasons for this is that I feel that I cannot stress enough how important reviews are.

please_review_my_novel

Readers want to know if a book is worth an investment of their time and money. One sure way for them to determine this is to read what other people think of a book.

There are a number of ways to go about acquiring reviews of a book. These include:

  • Submitting your book to book review sites and publications.
  • Paying a book review service to write a review of your book.(see “Paid Book Reviews: Should You Buy?“)
  • Asking friends, family members, and even strangers to read your book and write a review.
  • Using a book review service like BookCrash, a books for bloggers program.

Recently, a new book review service has come to my attention. EasyBookReviews offers a review-swap program. The way this review-swap program works is that you review a book on Amazon, and in return, someone reviews your book on Amazon.

EasyBookReviews facilitates that review-swap program for authors. An author pays the program $5. Then EasyBookReviews sends the author a link to purchase a book on Amazon (for less than $3). The author then must read and write a review of this book on Amazon. Once the author does these three things, the author will receive a review of his/her book on Amazon in return.

I think a review-swap program is a very interesting concept. Although, I do have a couple questions about the  program.

My first question is: Can an author choose what genre of book they want to review? Imagine having to review a book you have absolutely no interest in, just to get a review of your book. Then, what if the person reviewing your book has no interest in your subject matter—or is anti-Christian.

Another question: Is an author required to give a positive review? I also wonder: Does the program provide a guideline with some minimum requirements for a review?

These questions are not answered under the “FAQ” section of the EasyBookReviews website. Maybe these questions are answered when an author signs up for a review swap.

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