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How To Get Your First 50 Book Reviews: A Quick & Easy Guide For Indie Authors

How To Get Your First 50 Book Reviews: A Quick & Easy Guide for Indie Authors

Encouraging people to publish and share reviews of your book is a key book-marketing activity, possibly the single most important of marketing task for a publisher. ALLi's latest Quick & Easy Guidebook focusses on how to get your first 50 book reviews (available for sale on the ALLi bookshop or free to members in the Member Zone: log in –>go to Advice –>Quick & Easy Guides). 

Reviews provide the social proof that is the bedrock of the purchasing-decision process for today’s consumer. Think about your own behaviour: ready to book a trip? You’ll check out online reviews of the location and specific hotels or restaurants. Looking for a new car? You’ll check to see if anyone has reported suspicious repair problems or to see which car dealership has the best customer service.

These days we all turn to reviews to help us decide whether it is worth our time and money to try something new. And we’re suspicious if we go to make a purchase and cannot find reviews. It’s the same with books.

There are many ways to get your book reviewed.

How To Get Your First 50 Book Reviews: The Guidebook

Our Quick & Easy Guide to getting reviews is based on the experience of ALLi members and on ALLi's Ethical Author policy. We offer this guidance to current best practices, but we are not in the business of telling authors what to do.One of the best things about being an indie author (and an indie authors’ association!) is the breadth of personal choice available. Of course, that’s what makes it challenging too.

There’s not a single, best way to do anything, including getting reviews for your book, and it can take some time to work out where you stand on reviews and reviewers.

We believe you should try and test, experiment and explore. Don't simply believe what others tell you and examine your own untested assumptions too.

Then do what is right for you.

How To Get Your First 50 Book Reviews: The Different Review Outlets

There are many different kinds of book reviews and publications, each one having evolved separately from one another for different purposes and different kinds of audiences.
1. Reviews in mass media
2. Reviews in book trade publications
3. Reviews by book bloggers
4. Reviews by readers given an advance copy for review
5. Online customer reviews
6. Paid editorial reviews.

Reviews in Mass Media

Mass media reviews in newspapers and magazines were traditionally the only way to let people know about books and are still highly influential, especially the Review sections of major publications like the New York Times, The Guardian, for example. Also influential are radio and TV book review and interview programs, like the Oprah or Richard and Judy book clubs.

Reviews in Book Trade Publications

People connected with the publishing industry read book trade publications. Publishers, agents, booksellers, librarians, marketing agencies, and book reviewers all read publications and associated websites like Publishers Weekly, Foreword Reviews, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal, among others.

Reviews by Book Bloggers

Book bloggers are avid readers who have developed often significant online followers. They can be very influential in creating fan buzz about books.

Reader Reviews from Advance Review Copy

You’ll see this shortened to “ARCs,” which describes the process of providing a copy of your book, prior to publishing, to a select group of readers with a request that they write a review once you publish. ARCs are also

Online Customer Reviews

Customer reviews appear on a book’s sales page on online retailers. Readers who have purchased a book, or who might have received advance copies of the book, write online customer reviews. Reviews on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible can be very influential. A reader can, on the spur of the moment, choose to buy or not to buy a book based on online customer reviews.

There are many good reasons why online book reviews have become front of mind:

• Research indicates they influence readers’ decisions to buy.

• They are public and perpetual: posted for all the world to see and they don’t go away (unless the online retailer decides to remove them.)

• They are relatively accessible and democratic—anyone with an account for a particular online retail store, or with their own blog, may post a review.

• More online reviews equals greater visibility within online stores and on search engines.

Paid Editorial Reviews

Authors, both indie and traditional, can pay for editorial reviews. The good editorial review services provide objective reviews. Among the reputable fee-for-review services are: 
Foreword Clarion Reviews, BlueInk, Kirkus Indie Reviews, and Publishers Weekly's BookLife.

As with every other aspect of publishing (and indeed of life) there are disreputable review services out there.

For more on this, connect with ALLi Watchdog Desk.

How To Get Your First 50 Book Reviews: A Quick & Easy Guide for Indie Authors #indieauthor #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG #writingcommunity Click To Tweet


What tips and tricks do you use to get reviews? Have you ever done a review drive and employed tip top tactics? Let us know.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like these from the ALLi archive:

Author: Orna Ross

Orna Ross is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and inspirational poetry, and a creativity facilitator. As founder-director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, she has been named one of The Bookseller’s Top 100 people in publishing. 


This Post Has 12 Comments
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  2. Hello, thanks for the informative books review, I will keep this material for myself. In general, I read a lot and am learning to write interesting stories myself. For experience and new knowledge, I recommend reading various informative posts, for example, in my profile link a very useful resource for general development, where you can study The Birth-Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne in an essay, consider the analysis in different materials, or select other analytical collections on books or events, also use tools to write similar works.

  3. Amazon won’t allow anyone to write a review unless they have bought the book. How can we get around this? Obviously, if I’ve given away several review copies the recipients aren’t going to buy the book again just to be able to review it.
    Seems a bit “catch 22” to me.

    1. Amazon will let reviewers post a review, but it won’t be labeled “verified” if they haven’t purchased the book through Amazon.

  4. Thank you for advice. Reviews and the need for them is paramount to achieve any meaningful sales. It took five years for my first novel – that’s apart from initial Amazon reviews. After reviews from a magazine I managed a rise in sales. A sequel helped. My novels always seem to be published about five years ahead of demand !

    1. Hi Marta,

      Me too. But if you scroll down from the featured article, there is another – “Book Marketing: 15 Practical Ways to Get More Book Reviews.”

      I put several on my to-do list!

      Bonnie Lacy

  5. I have recently self-published my non-fiction book “DARK VOICES The Genesis of Roy Hart Theatre” 3rd edition. (The previous editions were published in the USA in 1999 and 2004.) It’s a book of interest to anyone engaged with, or interested in, the way RHT’s unique and influential research into the true potential of the human voice (extended range; of pitch, timbre, texture and volume). It was this research which was led by Roy Hart in London, in the ’60’s and ’70s that led Peter Maxwell Davies to write “8 Songs for a Mad Kind” – the unique and founding work of a new performance genre, now referred to as music theatre. It also led to the emergence of ROY HART THEATRE – a performing company of 40 members, from several countries, with very varied cultural and class backgrounds, who moved to southern France in 1975, and have been based there ever since.
    I am one of the company’s founding members and felt that if I didn’t produce an updated edition of the book and its many and varied stories, their unique discoveries would fade away. This new edition contains many new photos and some new writing.
    I used IngramSpark to print it, and am now seeking advice from others who may have more experience in this field than I, as to
    how to promote its arrival and availability for purchasing. Any comments, suggestions, recommendations, will be most welcome.

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