Reviews are an important element of a book marketing campaign. Authors under contract with traditional publishers typically have publicists acting on their behalf, but indie authors are on their own, and unfortunately many of them exercise poor judgment in securing reviews. Here are my thoughts on where they go wrong, as well as some suggestions for how to do it right:
DON’T ask friends and family to post reviews.
An author’s loved ones would never say anything negative in public about her book. How would you feel if you bought a book based on its glowing reviews, then found out they had been planted by the author’s friends and family? I would feel cheated, and I imagine you would too. So don’t do that for your own book.
DON’T “trade” reviews with other authors.
This is a bad idea because it puts both authors into an awkward position. If Author A thinks Author B’s book is terrible, is Author A really going to skewer Author B’s book? Of course not. Reviews need to be completely objective to be credible, and the nature of this arrangement keeps that from happening.
DO reach out to prolific reviewers who have posted reviews of books in your genre.
It may take some digging, but you can find them. For example, many reviewers on Amazon list their contact information in their profiles.
DO ask readers who proactively tell you they enjoyed your book to write a review.
If someone takes the time to contact you with positive feedback about your book, by all means, ask him to put his thoughts into an honest review. It would never occur to many fans to post a review, so if they reach out to you, there is nothing wrong with suggesting they share their feedback with a public audience.
For any review system to maintain credibility, the reviews must be objective. That doesn’t mean they will all be positive, but at least they will be honest, and that is more important. For more tips on getting reviews for an indie or traditionally published book, check out my webinar on book marketing.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.