man working at computer (researching book reviews, perhaps?)

Many authors crave book reviews. They’re a great way to gain social clout and show potential readers and media professionals alike that your book is, indeed, worth their time. But how does one receive book reviews? Just sit around and wait?

Certainly, reviewers may pick up your book without a word from you. But often, they need prompting. To make it a little easier for you, we’ve compiled tips and resources on this page. Armed with these, you can confidently approach potential reviewers—be they loyal readers or professionals.

Readers

Sometimes, a gentle, humble request from an author can prompt reader reviews. That certainly seems to be the case with Karin Rooney and Jessie Santala’s book Sink or Swim, which has collected ten Amazon reviews already—perhaps partly due to Rooney’s enthusiastic review-related posts and stories on Instagram. (How could readers see her very genuine excitement and not want to join in?) Other authors might have success asking readers for honest reviews through their newsletters, Facebook, or Twitter.

Before you head down this route, you may wish to inform yourself. There are different opinions about how important these kinds of reviews are and whether you should ask your readers for them. Some people think these reviews are of little use, although the naysayers seem less vocal now that Amazon has made some changes to their review system. Other authors believe it’s presumptuous to ask readers for reviews, and that it doesn’t greatly affect the number of Amazon reviews anyway. But then again, plenty of authors and publishers do ask readers for reviews, and plenty of authors and book marketing experts believe Amazon reviews, in particular, are important.

Professional and Hobbyist Reviewers

Some people review as a hobby or even a paying job. These reviewers may stick to Amazon or a review site, but others post on multiple sites, including their own blogs. All of these people choose to spend their valuable time reading and writing about others’ books—and they may choose to review yours, if they’re made aware of it. Finding such reviewers and persuading them to review your book comes down to two main points: be patient, and be courteous.

Be Patient and Research Thoroughly

Patience and tenacity are required when you’re looking for the right reviewers. You’ll want to set aside an hour to start with (and probably more) as you put together a list.

Where do you find these reviewers? There are several places. Here’s a list of four to start:

1. Amazon. There are two approaches to this website. The first is to look through the top Amazon reviewers in your country. If you’re not an American, you may want to look at the US list, too. This takes a lot of patience, as these lists aren’t exclusive to book reviewers. The second approach is to look through the reviews of books similar to yours. You’re looking for reviewers who enjoy your genre and leave thoughtful, thorough reviews—and don’t mind being contacted with review requests.

Denise Enck, in her article “10 Places to Find Reviewers for Your Self-Published Book,”* elaborates on this process: “Those reviewers who include an email address or website in their profile are usually open to being contacted regarding potential reviews. (Some are not.) Before emailing, read their reviews of books in your genre. Pay close attention to any review guidelines which are included in the reviewer’s profile.”

2. Google and websites with lists of book reviewers. You might search along the lines of “Christian book reviewers” or “Christian book bloggers.” Enck lists a few resources in her article, too. The one at the end of her article is called “The Indie View,” but many of the included reviewers accept traditionally and partner-published books as well.

3. Goodreads and LibraryThing, two community-based websites, where you can connect directly with readers—including reviewers. Enck expands on this in her article.

4. Go offline. Don’t limit yourself to the reviewers you can find on big websites. Reach out to local and school newspapers and newsletters. Enck even suggests you “contact local indie bookstores to see if they know of any local reviewers.”

Finding not only reviewers, but the right reviewers for your book takes time and organization. Jason B. Ladd, author of Book Review Banzai and the Christian book One of the Few, lays out a five-step process for identifying these reviewers, staying organized about your research, and making a personal connection with each one. Check out his article “How to Get Book Reviews as an Unknown Author” on The Creative Penn for his take.

Be Courteous

If you research well, you won’t waste the reviewer’s time or yours by asking them to read a genre they don’t like, and you’re prepared to work within their review policies.

Author and book reviewer Debbie Young has a great article on this topic titled “Book Promotion: How Not to Annoy a Book Reviewer.” Most of her tips seem like common sense, but they’re worth a read. It comes down to this: You can’t expect reviewers to post reviews all the places you want, when you want, with the opinions you want—or to review your book at all. They don’t exist to serve you. Rather, they review books because they enjoy it, and because they want to help other readers find books they’ll enjoy. 

A Note to Deep River Books Authors:

Wondering how the process works for DRB’s partner authors? It can vary depending on a few factors—including the reviewer and your specific situation. Feel free to email Alexis at AuthorRelations [at] DeepRiverBooks [dot] com if you have questions about a specific review situation.


Further Reading

*Note that many of the articles we link to are written with self-publishers in mind, but our partner authors will find that the majority of the content applies just as well to them.

“Book Promotion: How Not to Annoy a Book Reviewer” by author and book reviewer Debbie Young.

“10 Places to Find Reviewers for Your Self-Published Book” by Denise Enck, the editor at Empty Mirror. 

“How Not to Ask for a Book Review” on the Christian book review website Interviews and Reviews