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pschmehl
07-21-2017, 04:55 AM
How do self-publishers get book reviews? I'm aware that you can pay for them, but the prices are a bit steep for someone who's never done this before. I have contacted a number of free reviewers. Many of them were not accepting books for review, because they have so many. Others weren't interested in my genre (Christian fiction.) I took a shot and contacted a woman who reviews Romance but said she would look at anything, and she reviewed my book and posted the review on Amazon and Goodreads. But that's the only one I've managed to get.

I welcome any stories about your book review journey, successful or not, especially suggestions from those who have done well with reviews.

I realize this is a marathon, but my start has been painfully slow. I gave away 20 Kindle books on Amazon (in a sweepstakes), but not one winner has posted a review.

raelwv
07-21-2017, 06:20 AM
Generally, paying for reviews is frowned upon, although I'm aware of at least one paid service that matches books with reviewers, but doesn't directly pay them. For what that's worth.

I've had bad luck getting reviews. I've done LibraryThing eBook giveaways for most of my books and I'm not sure I've gotten one review out of the dozens I've sent out. I've had a slightly better result with Goodreads giveaways of paperbacks (they also do eBooks now), at least in terms of generating ratings, if not reviews.

I also tried reaching out to book review bloggers, but only got a couple of nibbles back for dozens of submissions.

Bottom line - I don't think there's a go-to way to get reviews, unfortunately.

AW Admin
07-21-2017, 06:32 AM
Read a bunch of book blogs and review sites in your genre
Offer the bloggers who read your genre a free copy of the book
* Do Not Expect Every Copy will = a Review
Participate in book giveaways on LibraryThing and GoodReads (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?34-Announcements-Events-and-Book-Promotion)
Offer bloggers and book review sites with active communities a free giveaway of your book

pschmehl
07-21-2017, 07:25 AM
Re: paying for reviews. Does that include such places as Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review and OnlineBookClub? All three charge a hefty fee (IMO) for reviews.

cornflake
07-21-2017, 07:43 AM
Re: paying for reviews. Does that include such places as Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review and OnlineBookClub? All three charge a hefty fee (IMO) for reviews.

Yeah, their paid review service is different than their regular reviews.

Polenth
07-21-2017, 08:58 AM
I didn't get many reviews, but if I had the funds and a new novel, I would go with Netgalley. There you pay to have an entry for the book that reviewers can request, rather than paying reviewers. An advantage to that is it'll get the book in front of reviewers who otherwise wouldn't consider it.

Old Hack
07-21-2017, 11:56 AM
How do self-publishers get book reviews? I'm aware that you can pay for them, but the prices are a bit steep for someone who's never done this before.

There's an obvious conflict of interests involved in paying for reviews. I wouldn't do it. And even if there weren't that conflict of interests I'm not sure it would give you much benefit to have one of those paid-for reviews. If they really helped sales, everyone would be doing it.


I realize this is a marathon, but my start has been painfully slow. I gave away 20 Kindle books on Amazon (in a sweepstakes), but not one winner has posted a review.

It's hard work, getting reviews. This is why trade publishers employ whole departments of people to market and publicise the books they publish, and routinely send out ARCs months before publication. I have seen upwards of 180 review copies being posted out for just one title, plus ARCs to book buyers to encourage them to order the book when it is eventually for sale.


Re: paying for reviews. Does that include such places as Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review and OnlineBookClub? All three charge a hefty fee (IMO) for reviews.

I am not sure about the MBR or OBC. But I know The Kirkus Review has two strands: the free reviews, which are the ones which are taken seriously by those in the book trade, and used as a basis to buy book into book shops and so on; the the paid-for reviews, which appear in a completely separate area of the publication and which are mostly ignored by the book trade.

Everyone and his dog sends review copies to the big publications and as a self published author you have little chance of getting your book covered by any of the more prestigious ones--especially as your book has already been published, and they usually only review books prior to publication. If you want to get reviews, you have to be creative. Think about specialist interests, niche publications. Print and online. You can target both publications aimed at your readers, and at people who can get your book in front of your readers, just as trade publishers market to booksellers and publicise to potential readers. Also consider appropriate organisations and societies: there's a network of book groups and several of them are specialist, Christian bookgroups, for example.

I'm going to move this over to Book Promo now, as it's a better fit there than in Self Publishing.

RightHoJeeves
07-21-2017, 12:52 PM
Paying for reviews is a violation of Amazon's terms and conditions. If you get find out, you'll get banned. And they're known to err on the side of banning rather than giving the benefit of the doubt. Don't do it.

What you could research is putting together an ARC team... but to be honest, if I saw a book with 15 reviews that all stated "I accepted a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review", I'd probably pass over it.

My thoughts on reviews are that the best ones are organic. Yes, there is a conflict given that many promo sites require a number of reviews to qualify... but I'm not overly convinced by promo sites as being worth more than an extra push on top of other marketing efforts.

davidjgalloway
07-21-2017, 03:11 PM
Paying for reviews is a violation of Amazon's terms and conditions. If you get find out, you'll get banned. And they're known to err on the side of banning rather than giving the benefit of the doubt. Don't do it.

"Review" is confusing without context, and there are two different things here; you are talking about reader reviews, while both those and professional reviews have been mentioned. "Paying for reviews" could mean paying a site like Kirkus to review your book, or it could mean paying a site or group to produce reader (product) reviews. This last is, as you say, forbidden, as well as unethical, and Amazon does indeed seem to consistently try to keep reader reviews honest by prohibiting paying for them. Professional reviews, as Old Hack said, are allowed, though whether they affect sales or are worth the cost is hard to determine.

Buying reader reviews is usually considered a sin on par with buying your own books to boost sales figures.

Undercover
07-21-2017, 05:14 PM
I didn't get many reviews, but if I had the funds and a new novel, I would go with Netgalley. There you pay to have an entry for the book that reviewers can request, rather than paying reviewers. An advantage to that is it'll get the book in front of reviewers who otherwise wouldn't consider it.


I second this about Netgalley. The past two publishers have done it for me, but for self-published authors, if you can afford it, I would do it. I've gotten a decent amount of reviews each time. Actually my latest book is on there now and it's gotten some reviews already and it doesn't come out till November.

Old Hack
07-21-2017, 08:24 PM
I'm not convinced Netgalley is a good option for self published writers, although I'd be happy to be corrected here. Most of the reviewers I know who use the site only consider books from trade publishers, so it might well not be worth the cost.

pschmehl
07-21-2017, 08:27 PM
I checked Netgalley after it was mentioned here. Far too much money for me.

Dhewco
07-22-2017, 02:12 AM
I have two reviews. One from a fellow web board member and another I have no idea where it came from. Several twitter review 'facilitators' have contacted me saying they could get me in contact for reviewers, but I'm broke. I would look around for a swap deal. Review for review type thing...just a thought.

Melody
07-22-2017, 02:29 AM
I am published by an Indie publisher and am having the same problem with getting reader reviews. If you gift a book to someone on Amazon, like in a giveaway to a stranger, it seems like they then cannot post a review, because they didn't buy the book. Does anyone know if this is correct?

As far as self-published books, I know of someone who puts a note at the end of the book requesting reviews. Most people don't know how important they are for an author to have.

That is good to know that Goodreads is now doing giveaways for ebooks. When I checked in May they said print books only, so I'll have to check back.

The other thing I've heard is that your first book is the hardest because of not having other books out there with reviews and reviewers in place. We may just all need to help educate the average reader on the importance of posting one....

pschmehl
07-22-2017, 03:18 AM
I am published by an Indie publisher and am having the same problem with getting reader reviews. If you gift a book to someone on Amazon, like in a giveaway to a stranger, it seems like they then cannot post a review, because they didn't buy the book. Does anyone know if this is correct?
That is not correct. Anyone can review a book on Amazon, even if they didn't buy it from Amazon. I have done that several times. The one review I have (so far) is from an author who offers to review books and post the reviews. I have done the same for other authors. What Amazon will not allow is paying people to review your book.


As far as self-published books, I know of someone who puts a note at the end of the book requesting reviews. Most people don't know how important they are for an author to have.
That is good to know that Goodreads is now doing giveaways for ebooks. When I checked in May they said print books only, so I'll have to check back.
But does it result in reviews? I did a sweepstakes on Amazon and gave away 20 books. I've not gotten a single review.


The other thing I've heard is that your first book is the hardest because of not having other books out there with reviews and reviewers in place. We may just all need to help educate the average reader on the importance of posting one....
I'm sure that's true.

Polenth
07-22-2017, 03:40 AM
I'm not convinced Netgalley is a good option for self published writers, although I'd be happy to be corrected here. Most of the reviewers I know who use the site only consider books from trade publishers, so it might well not be worth the cost.

I've requested self-published books from there and seen self-published books with reviews that came from Netgalley copies. It may not mean as many reviews as a trade published book would get, but that's not really a fair comparison. The things self-published authors are buying instead are Kirkus reviews and social media adverts. The former will rarely be seen by readers. The latter tends to be as effective as burning money in the back garden.

Promotions like BookBub are effective for a lot of people, but it's unlikely that a book with no reviews will get a slot. It's not a thing for someone starting out.

A lot of us have no money to spend on promotion at all, so even those limited options aren't available. My experience of the free options is that it's difficult to make them work if a book doesn't have a concept that'd go viral. Which means writing a different book, rather than trying a different promotion. But where people do have money to spend, something that means a few extra reviews is likely to do more in the end than an advert everyone ignores. Reviews can open up other opportunities. I realise this all looks ridiculously tiny to someone with a full publicity campaign and bookstore placement, but tiny is the scale for most self-publishing.

AW Admin
07-22-2017, 03:51 AM
Some Official Amazon support docs:

Amazon Help: Submit a review (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201145120)

Note that before you can post a review of anything, you must be verified as having purchased something from Amazon at some time.

Amazon Customer Review Policies (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=amb_link_1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201602680&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=AH0Q5N0RM5MFKK29WDKV&pf_rd_r=AH0Q5N0RM5MFKK29WDKV&pf_rd_t=7001&pf_rd_p=0899374c-d640-4eb5-b09a-46f41837ca2b&pf_rd_p=0899374c-d640-4eb5-b09a-46f41837ca2b&pf_rd_i=customer-reviews-guidelines) (list of articles and TOS)

Amazon Author Central regarding customer reviews (https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?topicID=200649610)

Fuchsia Groan
07-22-2017, 06:13 AM
I post reviews of books I got as ARCs (or purchased at my local indie store) on Amazon all the time. I've met the required threshold for Amazon purchases ($50, last time I checked), and they aren't labeled as "verified purchases." They are, however, honest reviews, just like my professional newspaper reviews are.

I don't consider an ARC a "gift" that obligates me to write a positive review. Via my day job, I have more ARCs than I can read, and I imagine this is true for many (most?) reviewers. Real, substantial reviews take a while to write. They require thought. That's why it's so hard to get them.

If it comes from a publisher, and I hate the book, I might write a negative review (in the paper; I don't post those on Amazon). If it's self-published, and I hate the book or just don't think it meets a professional standard, I probably won't write anything. At most, I might cover it with a cursory blurb in the paper. No Amazon review.

What if I get a self-published book that I love? Tbh, this doesn't happen a lot, but it did happen recently. I met an author at a local reading, and she sent me an e-pub of her trilogy opener. I wolfed that book down and wrote a glowing blurb for the paper. The book already has over 100 Amazon reviews, so clearly I'm not the first to be impressed.

So, my advice? Look for self-published books in your genre that have lots of earnest-sounding, meaty reviews (not generic praise), and then go over to the author's blog and see if they reveal any of their tips and tricks. Study their books to see what resonated with readers. Get involved in your local writing community and network. Pitch local journalists. My paper blurbs a lot of presentable self-pub books that have in-state authors, though we rarely do full-length reviews of them. (By "blurb" I just mean "write roughly 100 words explaining what the book is about, with praise only if applicable and sincere.")

I know how tough it is to get reviews. I'm trade-published, my ARCs were all over, and I still don't have that many. I treasure every single substantial review I get, even if I need Google Translate to understand it, which happened recently. :) I think of Goodreads giveaways as a visibility booster for the book that might eventually result in a couple reviews, or a single review, or no reviews at all. (The advice I've heard is to run a lot of short giveaways.)

Boosting visibility, especially to a target audience, is good. But writing the next book is even better.

Old Hack
07-22-2017, 09:20 AM
A lot of us have no money to spend on promotion at all, so even those limited options aren't available. My experience of the free options is that it's difficult to make them work if a book doesn't have a concept that'd go viral. Which means writing a different book, rather than trying a different promotion. But where people do have money to spend, something that means a few extra reviews is likely to do more in the end than an advert everyone ignores. Reviews can open up other opportunities. I realise this all looks ridiculously tiny to someone with a full publicity campaign and bookstore placement, but tiny is the scale for most self-publishing.

My bold. I think you're so right here: reviews on Amazon and Goodreads stick around forever. They're very useful. Far more so to many writers than ads.

CathleenT
07-26-2017, 12:59 AM
I traded for a lot of my reviews. I prefer to trade a beta read--I'm a pretty good critique partner, and that eliminates a lot of the tit for tat mentality. If you do trade with other authors, it's important that you both buy copies. You have to really screw up to get Amazon to ditch a customer review.

mbalge
07-28-2017, 03:55 AM
Check out http://bookbloggerlist.com which has lists of bloggers that review books in different genres. Even if you search under a specific genre, I found that a lot of the blogs don't actually review books in that genre. So be sure to look at each blog's review policy to see which books they prefer to review and if there are any restrictions on content, format, etc.

pschmehl
07-28-2017, 04:57 AM
I've done this sort of thing before. My experience has been that tons of them have so many books in the queue that it will be months before you can get a review. Of the remainder, very few are interested in my genre. It's frustrating.

AW Admin
07-28-2017, 05:25 AM
You generally start promo for your book months before release date.

That means you're sending out ARCs, ideally, 90 days before release date, with a goal of having reviews readable by readers and potential buyers starting 30 days before release.

Minimum, you should be sending out ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies, whether digital or print) six weeks before release day.

Before that day, you've been reading review sites and blogs and reviews in publications so you've got a list of places/people where you're going to solicit reviews. Just know that you're going to send out a lot more copies than you get reviews. That's the way it is.

Don't send a copy of your book, even in digital form, without asking if they're interested first. And don't blanket request; cherry pick the sites /reviewers/publications that you think will like/be interested in your book.

Joni Dee
08-14-2017, 02:00 AM
I am encountering this exact problem, and am trying to help fix it a bit : I created a website where giveaways are listed for free / and where I and (2 other contributors) review books honestly and without asking for crazy guidelines or physical books, like I've seen elsewhere. In essence, the whole giveaway / review system is screwed up and we hope to generate enough traffic to make it right, a little. NetGalley was mentioned here - and it is good for readers (I have an account as well) but their fees are way above something that a self-published author or a small publisher will consider hence they keep "the rich - rich and the poor - poor"
If you want to participate, either to get a Review or to list a giveaway, please private message me. I don't want to share the web address, as one of the MODs already removed a post where I shared info. If many of you are interested I will ask permission to share it.

AW Admin
08-14-2017, 02:39 AM
I am encountering this exact problem, and am trying to help fix it a bit : I created a website where giveaways are listed for free / and where I and (2 other contributors) review books honestly and without asking for crazy guidelines or physical books, like I've seen elsewhere. In essence, the whole giveaway / review system is screwed up and we hope to generate enough traffic to make it right, a little. NetGalley was mentioned here - and it is good for readers (I have an account as well) but their fees are way above something that a self-published author or a small publisher will consider hence they keep "the rich - rich and the poor - poor"
If you want to participate, either to get a Review or to list a giveaway, please private message me. I don't want to share the web address, as one of the MODs already removed a post where I shared info. If many of you are interested I will ask permission to share it.

The post was removed because your initial post was entirely about promoting your site. We're a community; we understand the need to promote, but we expect participation in the community. Moreover, as the mod noted in the PM, it's not smart to put your email address in a public post.

This is your second post; you haven't responded to the mod's courteous PM, and you're, again, promoting your site.

Please read the The Newbie Guide to Absolute Write (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66315).

Please also read How do I promote on Absolute Write with aplomb, and What's this deal about "engaging the community"? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?279138-How-do-I-promote-on-Absolute-Write-with-aplomb-and-What-s-this-deal-about-quot-engaging-the-community-quot)

And if that's a problem for you, then this isn't the site for you.

Hbooks
08-18-2017, 07:26 PM
Goodreads has various groups you can join by genre, and some of them you can offer free review copies of your book. I don't read your genre, generally, but I see r/r requests daily in the genres I do read.

With Goodreads giveaways, I'm not convinced of the whole system. I review every book I get through NetGalley, and frankly, whatever I read, and I have never won a Goodreads giveaway. So I think there's dissatisfaction on both sides of the aisle. There was a recent article posted about it and others said the same thing, that they had been entering for YEARS and couldn't win anything.

You might try starting with trading r/r's with other authors who are looking for it, too, and start from there.

pschmehl
08-18-2017, 08:28 PM
Thanks, Hbooks. I have since discovered that Goodreads has a discussion group named Reading Rounds that "hosts non-reciprocal reading/review rounds of ten authors with a variety of themes and genres". You agree to read and review four books, and your book will be reviewed by four different authors. The round I'm in is a general round, so people who might never pick up my book are now reading and reviewing it. I've already read and reviewed three of the four books that I was assigned. None of them were books I would have known about or chosen to read.

redrobin62
09-25-2017, 02:46 PM
Hello folks. It's whip cracking time on Robin again

I've been shelling out a few bucks for promotion of my novel "Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven." Where did I put this loot?
1. A one-month book tour.
2. IndieReader book review site
3. Eidelweiss DRC

My question now - was all this expenditure worth it?
Should I just give up this writing business and become a crackhead on the street?

Helix
09-25-2017, 03:08 PM
Hello folks. It's whip cracking time on Robin again

I've been shelling out a few bucks for promotion of my novel "Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven." Where did I put this loot?
1. A one-month book tour.
2. IndieReader book review site
3. Eidelweiss DRC

My question now - was all this expenditure worth it?
Should I just give up this writing business and become a crackhead on the street?

Have you been keeping tally of sales before and after these promotions? That's probably the best way of determining whether they've been successful or not.

EMaree
09-25-2017, 03:32 PM
Hello folks. It's whip cracking time on Robin again

I've been shelling out a few bucks for promotion of my novel "Murder in Rock & Roll Heaven." Where did I put this loot?
1. A one-month book tour.
2. IndieReader book review site
3. Eidelweiss DRC

My question now - was all this expenditure worth it?
Should I just give up this writing business and become a crackhead on the street?

Have you got a Profit & Loss spreadsheet? It's a simple spreadsheet that weighs what you've earned against what you paid, and I consider it vital for self-pubbers.

You will also need this down the line for tax purposes.

I know formatting these things can be hard, so here's a clean and simple template I use (http://www.bgateway.com/documents/general/profit_and_loss_forecast.xls) (needs modified to be writing-relevant, of course, and you'll need to change the currency). It's from Business Gateway, a publicly-funded Scottish service designed to help out small businesses.

redrobin62
09-29-2017, 06:10 AM
@EMaree - Thanks for the spreadsheet. I just looked at it. Pretty cool.

EMaree
09-29-2017, 02:35 PM
Glad to hear it, RedRobin! Did it help you figure out which promotion method was the most successful? I'm always interested in hearing what works for people.

Fruitbat
09-29-2017, 09:26 PM
Yup, reviews are important and hard to get. Here are some ideas:

1) Go to the Amazon top reviewers' list. Look for the ones who review your type of book and who list a way to contact them and politely ask if they're interested in a free copy. Don't send your request to anyone who has not indicated they might be interested. If you ask 50 people, you might get one or two reviews.

2) Do an internet search of book review blogs/sites and offer yours, if it fits.

3) Go on Goodreads and look for review circles (or get a few people together and do one of your own). For more fair and unbiased reviews (and to insure that Amazon doesn't delete them), Person A reviews Person B, who reviews Person C, who reviews person A. If the review group looks cheesy, with direct swaps all over the place and everyone giving eachother fake, glowing 5-star reviews, avoid.

4) Do a Goodreads giveaway. A good number of the winners will leave you a review, although it will often be on Goodreads, not Amazon. Also, expect to see the book for sale online soon afterwards. :(

5) Look for those who want beta readers and offer to give them a beta read in exchange for a review.

6) Look for those who want anything and offer to give it to them in exchange for a review (just kiddin').

7) Give yourself a review, because it's hilarious. (just kiddin' vol. 2)

audibob1
09-30-2017, 05:02 AM
Other people have already covered ARCs so I won't speak to that.

My approach would be to simply get the word out about your book. The online world is very cluttered with people trying to promote themselves, and while it's good to do Goodreads giveaways and other online promotions, make sure you're active in the "real world" too. Many smaller/local libraries love to have authors come in and do book signings and giveaways, and it's a good way to meet potential readers, so email them up and ask if you can stop by for a visit. (Note: be careful with this--if you don't know the librarians well or it's a bigger public library, it may be better to either get connected to the library first or wait for an invitation.)

Another idea: there's a worldwide group of readers called Book Fairies that leave books around in random places for other people to pick up and enjoy--check out their website or Instagram for more info. They love it when authors join in and leave their books around as gifts.

Again, the internet is an excellent tool, but make sure to utilize your promotion tools outside of the internet as well.

nelehjr
10-01-2017, 05:09 AM
DO NOT PAY FOR REVIEWS. Don't. You will trash your reputation as an author so fast! Amazon will find out and then really bad things will happen! Pander for them on social media and hope for the best.

WormHeart
11-15-2017, 06:58 AM
I gave away 20 Kindle books on Amazon (in a sweepstakes), but not one winner has posted a review.

20 copies is nothing.
I got two reviews from 400 free copies of my book. Reviews are much, MUCH rarer that I had thought.

It's hard when you start from scratch.

WormHeart

CathleenT
11-15-2017, 07:19 AM
I've become convinced that any promotion we do is worthless unless it's somehow tied to your email list, which means you'll need a blog. You don't have to update it more than once a month, especially if you're hammered, but it needs to be there. Advertising of any kind is only as good as long as you keep doing it--and it's not free. Your email list becomes the people who truly like what you do, people who want to know when your next book is coming out.

And writing more books is always a good idea. I've been hampered by only having a couple out there, and one is only available on my blog (free novelette for email opt-in). One of my reviews lamented the fact that I only had Dragon Hoard available (although the ego stroke was nice).

I also like the goodreads Reading Rounds program a great deal. Your Amazon author and book pages are one of the most important things potential readers see. I've added three reviews to my tally already--bring the total up to 21 (US), with four more to follow. And reviewing other books is WAY less work than offering a beta read, although I have an open offer (with certain reading limitations) for that as well, if anyone out there needs critique. (Warning--I'm REALLY thorough--don't take it personally.)

I suppose my takeaway for redrobin62 is to keep trying stuff and don't give up. Find what works for you. And whatever that is, it's unlikely to work overnight.

pschmehl
11-15-2017, 09:26 PM
I agree with Cathleen T. You can spend a lot of money on advertising that nets you little to nothing. At best, you break even. You have to develop a following - people that like the way your write and the genre you write in.

cooeedownunder
01-17-2018, 04:43 AM
I usually don’t like to comment on these types of threads because I am no expert, but I have learnt over the past few years that firstly you need to sell lots of books to get ratings and/ or reviews and -

1. A self-published book can sell and take off organically without reviews and continue to sell without a great many reviews for a few years. Although I was selling copies here and there and got up to a 40 copies the third month, I gained a flood of sales four months on a weekend after it was released with only one Amazon review. What prompted them, I will never know. It then sold around 100 - 300 copies a month for the next three years and still continues to sell somewhere between 15 - 25 a month since. I did no marketing except a couple of goodreads giveaways. (I often wonder what would have happened had I made an effort to market it beyond a couple of giveaways).

2. You need sales to get reviews

3. You might get 1 rating/ and or review on goodreads for between 100 and 300 books sold - less on Amazon.

4. Goodread reviewers seem to be more inclined to review on Goodreads than Amazon buyers who are not on goodreads on Amazon

5. You don’t have to be on every social media site

6. Sometimes a book just doesn’t sell.

7. Some trade published books also don't have many reviews.

I’m not on librarything but have found goodreads a wonderful place to meet readers and it’s the only other place I enjoy being as much as here. I only have a private facebook page, though many readers have now friended me on facebook. I rarely talk about my books on facebook and doubt I have sold more than a couple of books from my facebook page.

I don't have hundreds of reviews. World of mouth is what sells books, reviews are part of that, but not it all.

I think the best way to get reviews is to find a way to sell your book to the readers who will appreciate it. On goodreads that can be as simple as being a reader on the site and joining groups that you have a genuine interest in. Reading books and reviewing them. Join in the conversations as a reader and after a period of time those readers will be curious about you and click on your little icon and see that you write.

I generally avoid all writer groups on goodreads, well rarely post in them, unless it is something to do with beta readers, a giveaway, or something like that. I also never talk about my own books there unless it is a new release or I’m offering a giveway and only do it in the specified place for a group to promote.

If you want reviews, build up your profiles on Amazon author pages, be a reader on Goodreads or librarything, look into keywords for your amazon listings, have an appropriate cover for the work, make the work the best you can.

If you are on facebook, find groups that are real readers, not writers just promoting their work.

I decided with my last book, that this time I would try to market it through facebook groups.

The groups are below with a total reach of apparently 314216 members, after posting in them all I don’t appear to have gotten one sale. This tells me they are either all writers not interested in reading, or I have written a book that won’t sell. The list might be useful though for other genres to garner sales. Most are for kindle books though a couple there with n/k also allow nook books. I'd be curious if anyone uses the list if they garner sales.



Kindle Krazy! Authors Actively Seeking Readers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/241846582600572/
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heykatydid
02-01-2018, 08:58 AM
I've been using a similar "return on investment" spreadsheet since last year to monitor what does and doesn't work. Honestly, the best thing I did was join a Netgalley co-op. It's prohibitively expensive for indie authors, but the co-op buy-ins for a month are much more manageable. If you have only a small amount to spare, I suggest using it on Netgalley, as the other marketing and promotion services I've done have given me practically nothing. But Netgalley gives you the possibility of connecting with highly-followed book bloggers who might not take your book otherwise. And those are the ones you really want to read it (and like it!) because they have so many readers following their reviews. I have not encountered a problem on Netgalley about people not requesting because it was self-published, but perhaps I just don't know my numbers compared to trad published ones? Either way, I highly recommend it, as it did great things for me. Hope this helps! :)

WeaselFire
02-10-2018, 02:42 AM
Just from a reviewer standpoint:

I review on Goodreads, Amazon and Netgalley. I post honest reviews and the first line always indicates if I was given a free copy of the book for review, for whatever reason. I have also, on occasion, contacted an author who sent me a free copy and privately reviewed the book for them only, if I think it's a total stinker. If I get a stinker that was not sent to me for review, I'm brutal. Especially if I paid full price for it. :)

That said, nobody seems to read Netgalley reviews but I always copy these to Amazon or Goodreads when the book is published. I also send the publisher a note, declining to provide a review, when I find the Netgalley download is not available for Kindle, the Netgalley files never work right on my PC and I don't, as Netgalley suggested, read on an iPhone. I don't read on an Android phone either.

I have reviewed books by several (more than several?) Absolute Write posters, some I purchased and others sent to me for review. I review many things I buy on Amazon or check out on Kindle Unlimited and I've had the minimum requirements to review on Amazon for close to two decades, become a Prime subscriber (since 2002) and you've done it. :)

Sorry, I don't read Christian fiction so I'm not a good reviewer for you. :(

Jeff

Arpeggio
02-15-2018, 06:39 PM
A print book of mine sold 800 copies since 1st Nov 2017 up to today and has obtained 1 review in that period so that's 0.125%

As readers of reviews: Customers rely heavily on them, but discount ones which are incentivized / paid for / given for free product.

As posters of reviews: Customers very rarely post them but they will if you incentivize / pay for / give product free.

Arpeggio
04-15-2018, 01:00 AM
1080 copies sold on Amazon since 1st Nov still only the one review since then.

Given that customers rarely post reviews, the more that Amazon makes it more effort to post reviews, the higher proportion of fake reviews becomes over genuine ones. When Amazon required text to be typed with reviews this proportion increased. If customers only have to click a star rating then more bother to do so.That policy was based on the idea that requiring text to be posted with the review would contribute to perturbing fake reviews.

Generally when you make something harder to do, people who are expected to do it for free tend to do it less, while those that gain financially just keep doing it. However when it's zero sum between real reviews vs fakes there becomes even more incentive for fakes.

https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/forums/t/fake-reviews-getting-out-of-control/78741/29

Quote comment 29:

"Remove reviews with video, nobody does an unboxing video unless they are incentivised to do so."Remove customer images as it appears many fake reviews tend to contain photographs".

https://www.fakereviews.com/ "Nearly 80% of products ranked high in the top best selling products lists have sellers that have participated in one way or another to buy fake reviews to increase ranking."

I guess my point is focus on other retailers and your own sales funnel.

JJ Crafts
04-15-2018, 03:00 AM
Very interesting thread. As a reviewer i review every book I read (whether bought, from netgalley or direct from authors). The book review blogs link that was mentioned is where most of my author reviews requests have come from although it's important to make sure you're sending to blogs that review the right genre. (I feel like your genre will hamper you here as there probably isn't as many blogs reviewing Christian fiction compared to YA but that's just an assumption)
Something I haven't seen anyone else say is that there are publishing co-ops on netgalley fot self published authors that I've requested from. A quick Google tells me they sell individual slots if that might be something that would interest you.

Michael Drakich
07-25-2018, 09:01 PM
I wrote a blog once on getting reviews. So as not to direct people to my site, I'll copy it here -

The simple, step by step business for self-published authors of finding bloggers to get book reviews

With the release of my new novel, I decided to set about the task of trying to garner reviews from book bloggers. For self-published authors, reviews are still one of the best ways to get the message out. Not only do the bloggers write the reviews that are viewed by all of their followers, they post them in important places such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more. There is no better free service out there for promotion than book reviews.
The task of getting these bloggers to consider your novel for review is another thing altogether. There is some work involved on the authorís part.
First of all, you have to find the bloggers to contact. If youíre brand new at this, you wonít have any prior connections and will need to start from scratch. A good place to begin is by examining some online book blogger lists. You can Google a search and come up with plenty of them, but for this examination, Iím going to list a few here.
If Iím going to pick a favorite to start with, it would be the appropriately named The Book Blogger List (http://bookbloggerlist.com/). It has a large number of bloggers listed and you can search through them by twenty-three different categories of types of books they review. This makes searching for ones that review what you write that much easier. The bloggers listed are almost all currently active so whoever is maintaining the site is doing a good job.
Another large list is the Book Blogger Directory (http://bookbloggerdirectory.wordpress.com/). It also has a very extensive list and divides bloggers into categories, although not quite as detailed a division. I havenít been able to do an exact count, but this site may actually have more bloggers listed, but one problem is site maintenance. There are too many blogger sites found there that are either no longer in existence, or the bloggers have simply given up and are ignoring the site without taking it down.
A third list worth examining is The Indie Reviewers List (http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/). This is another substantive list that features bloggers who are willing to review self-published and indie published novels. It provides some nice extra details, the name of the blogger contact, the link to their review policy, and what they review. Likewise, this site also lacks the necessary maintenance regarding active bloggers, but still a good site.
The last list Iím going to add is the YA Book Blog Directory (http://yabookblogdirectory.blogspot.ca/p/ya-book-blogger-list.html). Like the name pronounces, a site where all reviewers review young adult novels. Outside of alphabetizing, there is no breakdown and, once again, a proper lack of site maintenance.
There are more lists out there Ė many more. Also, a number of the bloggers appear on multiple lists, so you have to watch out you donít repeat review requests from them. For each other list I have examined, they are even further less proficient in the ability to search through the list, have categories, and site maintenance. I suppose I could list them, but at some point I want to move on to whatís involved in sending the actual review request.
What most bloggers have somewhere in their site is a Review Policy. It spells out what they will review, how they will review it, and what they require from you to do so. Some are very detailed. Some are not. Some are formatted through a contact form. What you need to do is make sure that with each and every blogger you have read through the policy before sending a request.
A check list of your own is required.
1. Are they accepted requests at this time? This one is tricky because the review policy may be old and the posting about not accepting review requests at this time may be somewhere else, like the home page.
2. Do they accept self-published, indie published works? There may be special circumstances for acceptance, such as whether the work has been professionally edited. If you havenít had your work edited, you may want to stop here and go get that done first. It really makes a difference between a good and a bad review.
3. Do they review the type of novel you wish to submit? If they donít say, a quick glance at what they have reviewed in the past will give you a good indication.
4. In what format are they willing to accept my novel? If you are only sending digital, there are many who only accept hard copies.
5. When will they be able to do the review? Many are behind in the TBR (to be read) piles and will give you an idea how long you will have to wait. My opinion is any review received, whenever it comes, is a good review, but if you have a deadline. make sure they can meet it.
You may have other questions for your checklist, but these five are a must.
The next step would be the drafting of a template review request. Creating a generic email saved into your drafts will give you a starting point on each review request you want to send out instead of having to create each one from scratch. You can paste your draft on each email and then amend it to meet the specific criteria of the blogger. In case you havenít heard of the expression before, a good thing to keep in mind is the KISS method. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) That means short, direct, and meaningful in content. The blogger does not need to read your life history or how your mother loves your writing. Stick to the facts. There are some fairly obvious things to be included, but for the sake of this examination, I will give you what I put on mine.
1. A salutation. Hello, hi, or whatever your preferred greeting, it starts at the top. Do some homework. Bloggers have names. Donít type ďHi The Book BloggerĒ or whatever the name of their blog is. Search the site and find out the name of the blogger. Hi Sue, or Hi Ann, is much more personable, and shows the blogger you have paid some attention to the site. Sometimes this requires more work than expected as many bloggers donít list their name. Examining their posts, you might find a name at the bottom, or if they have a Goodreads button, you may discover it there.
2. A book cover. Many bloggers wonít open attachments so donít do that. Shrink it down and fit it on the page as a large thumbnail.
3. A statistics list. What type of book is it? Genre? Word count? Number of Pages? Edited? By who? (not your mother) One sentence can list all these facts.
4. A short description of what the book is about. You know the kind, like what you see on the back of the book or the inside flap. Keep it short, and without spoilers. They arenít interested in reading a full synopsis, just the blurb.
5. Links. Where can they see the book? Amazon? Barnes & Noble? Smashwords? Goodreads? While your at it, include a link to where they can see an excerpt. Other links needed are, if you have them Ė your website, your Facebook author page, your twitter account, your Goodreads page. Donít copy the urls and paste them in your email. Insert them as hyperlinks. So, for example, instead of listing my website as http://www.michaeldrakich.wordpress.com (http://www.michaeldrakich.wordpress.com/), I would say, my website is here (https://michaeldrakich.wordpress.com/).
6. How you intend to deliver the book. As a business practice, I use Smashwords to distribute my digital copies. They let me create a coupon for the books which entitles the blogger to a free copy. There is no charge for the service. I provide the link and the coupon.
6. Other details you may want to impart such as whether you are prepared to do giveaways or author interviews. This is also a single sentence.
7. A thank you. Whether they accept your request or not, give thanks that they have read your email. They are not robots, they are people.
You may have other things you want to add, but at the end of the day it all must fit on a single page with very limited scrolling. Something a mile long will just get deleted.
So there you have it. A simple guide to soliciting reviews from bloggers. All thatís left is to get started. Good luck with your search.

jorodo
08-26-2018, 03:18 AM
Do I open up the can of worms that even if you get the bloggers to review, amazon will rob you of those reviews anyway so what's the point?

I sent requests to 60 bloggers, received 12 review from them and only have 3 of those blogger reviews left on amazon. 2 of those were yanked 2 years after they were posted. All of which were people I didn't know or have no connection to. I've counted 21 yanked reviews so far, 11 to go.

BradCarsten
08-26-2018, 05:20 AM
Are NetGalley reviews harsher than others? I would imagine someone who's read a thousand fantasy books is going to be more jaded than someone who's read 5. If you don't have any reviews, isn't it risky to approach these people first?

indianroads
08-26-2018, 05:57 AM
Do I open up the can of worms that even if you get the bloggers to review, amazon will rob you of those reviews anyway so what's the point?

I sent requests to 60 bloggers, received 12 review from them and only have 3 of those blogger reviews left on amazon. 2 of those were yanked 2 years after they were posted. All of which were people I didn't know or have no connection to. I've counted 21 yanked reviews so far, 11 to go.

Since by books are for sale on Amazon... maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see much value in reviews that don’t show up or are honored there.

Polenth
08-28-2018, 12:26 AM
Are NetGalley reviews harsher than others? I would imagine someone who's read a thousand fantasy books is going to be more jaded than someone who's read 5. If you don't have any reviews, isn't it risky to approach these people first?

NetGalley has the full range of reviewers from those that post "i loved it five stars" to those who'll write longer things analysing the book. It's not really any different from other places where you might find reviewers. You get to decide who you approve, so you can pick those with review styles you like. However, I'd caution against rejecting reviewers because they have criticisms of books and don't just rate everything at five stars. Reviews sell books, even if they're negative. You also want a bit of a mix of reviews, which includes a few negative ones, so it doesn't look like you're up to anything shady like buying reviews.

Filigree
08-28-2018, 08:54 AM
I think I've sold at least nine copies of a book simply from a dreadful 1-star troll review that was so inadvertently funny it made people curious about the book.

As far as reviews, I'm part of the problem. Because of the whole pulling-reviews-from-authors problem, I no longer do book posts on Amazon or Goodreads, but only on my blog. I do know that a circa 2000/2001 self-published book I reviewed in 2014 suddenly shot up in sales for the next couple of years, as people stumbled across my post.

I try to keep a log of all Amazon, blog, GR, etc. reviews of my own books, with URLs and full copy of the review, since they do tend to vanish. I don't bother with paid reviews, I've given up on blog tours, and I don't 'exchange reviews' with other authors.

Arpeggio
10-07-2018, 12:06 AM
Another way is to pay Amazon $60 for some reviews. Yes that's right. It's a specific route only available a certain way (not for authors), but never the less essentially the same. I am posting this an example of principal. Here's a link (although you can confirm the info on Amazon's own site too).

https://viral-launch.com/amazon-blog/news-updates/amazon-news-updates/amazon-early-reviewer-program/

"Reviewers will receive a small reward (a $1-$3 Amazon gift card, for example) after submitting their review"

I'm not condoning it, I'm just a little surprised finding this, then again in another way I'm not surprised either in a quelle surprise (https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/quelle+surprise) kind of way.