9 Ways to Get Book Reviews (Not All of Them Ethical)

newspaper_book_reviewRemember when getting a book review involved a pre-pub copy of your book being sent to the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, etc…? Boy, how times have changed.

And while those reviews are still golden, today’s world of self-published authors, Amazon, and online reviews have turned the concept of book reviews upside down.

With that in mind, here are some ways that authors like you can get reviews of their books nowadays (and my commentary at the end):

1. Reach out to reviewers and bloggers in your genre. Submit an e-copy of your book to a reviewer or blogger and explain why his/her readership would benefit from exposure to your book.

2. Offer to exchange reviews with another newly-published author. This type of authors swap is becoming very popular.

3. Email friends and family asking them to post reviews of your book on Amazon. Extra points if that same person has actually purchased it from Amazon; that way, the review is labeled as a “verified purchase”

4. Communicate with people on GoodReads who are interested in books in your genre. Bring your book to their attention.

5. Look for Amazon reviewers who commonly review books in your genre. Tell them about your book and see if they’d be interested in a free copy.

6. Make it easy for readers to contact you. Then, when people send you comments about your book, ask for their permission to use it as a sort of review. You can also ask them to reprint it on Amazon, if they don’t mind.

7. Remind, remind, remind. Do you have followers on Facebook? People who read your blog? Keep reminding them to review your book on Amazon or GoodReads.

8. Pay for a Kirkus review. Yup, you can do that now. Say what you wish.

And now on to #9 … a really interesting (albeit, controversial) method I read about on LinkedIn…


9. Incentivize it for your readers! Here’s the quote from one author, who will remain nameless:

Basically, readers earn points for making recommendations. A reader gets so many points for each recommendation and a larger number of points if the person emailed to purchases the book. Readers then earn a proportionate share in the profits based on the ratio of their points to total points.

In my case, I’m going to share 50% of the cash receipts (instead of profits because I think that works better) hoping that the extra volume of sales will provide me with a greater net return than if I did not share the cash receipts.

Well, that’s …. creative. Is it a marketing tactic? Of course! Is it legal? Yup. Is it ethical? Well, that’s questionable. After all, what reader would write a negative review of a book if he/she has a potential to reap a percentage of the profits?

And that’s where all of this gets sticky. In the old days, you knew that a book review you were reading was a real review. If a review had five stars, that’s because the book was good enough to deserve five stars.

But today, when you read a review, you have no idea about the “agreement” that went into the review. Was the reviewer a relative of the author? Was he/she being paid for it? Is he/she getting a percentage of the profits from the book?

So are these techniques ethical? Well, that’s not my place to judge. But they are techniques that can be used to generate some reviews for your book. Use them at your own peril.

And if you have other techniques for getting reviews, please share them with us!