Use good judgment when asking for reviews

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:

Would you trust a review written by the author’s mother?

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 Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Comments 3
James W. Nelson Posted February 19, 2014 at6:25 pm   Reply

Hi, Maria,
This question isn’t about reviews. I read all your posts, here and the Createspace newsletter.
At the end of your newsletter I saw something about Twitter, and I sure don’t understand how that works. I have 683 followers, many of them other authors, but they never or rarely see my tweets, correct? God help me but I wouldn’t want to receive 683 emails but how does it work? My followers only see my tweets if they happen to be on Twitter right then, right?
Also, I changed the name of my website, and would appreciate your opinion of that.
Thank you,
James W. Nelson

Arthur M. Mills, Jr. Posted April 14, 2014 at1:32 pm   Reply

Thanks for the tips. I’ve focused too much attention on requesting reviews from friends and family. Only a few actually wrote reviews. I took your advice and searched for reviewers on Amazon and I received several reviews (from two stars to four stars). The quality of the reviews were great and I learnt a lot about my writing from reading reviews from strangers, not friends and family.

Thanks for the advice,

Nancy Churney Posted October 30, 2014 at4:25 pm   Reply

After a recent epiphany,(a little birdy told me) I decided to read this article about reviews! I have now began my never ending research for more reviewers.
Thanks again for such wonderful advice.

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