The Way of the Book Review

Typesetter

So like all indie authors I am pretty desperate for book reviews. It’s a fact of the system and a way of life: books with no book reviews (or a lack of any recent ones) fall to the bottom of the proverbial barrel and will not be seen it could be your new favorite or top pick of all time, but unreviewed books remain undiscovered by new readers (this is why it’s so important to leave glowing reviews to titles you enjoyed).

Like all authors I’ve asked all my family and friends and out of about 900 contacts I got something like 5 reviews (I know, that’s about 1/2% of people that already care about me.) It’s not that I’ve been a terrible person and people don’t want to help me, authors should understand that 1/2-1% is a pretty typical figure… beyond single digits is astronomical. Of those friends who did leave a review, each of them were asked specifically and separately–no boiler-plate copy+paste plea. People want that kind of attention (it’s a life lesson moreso than just something that applies to the review-o-sphere.)

Gisela Hausmann, an Amazon top reviewer (yes, they rank even that sort of thing) wrote a brief advice column in the Huffington Post. Here is a summation of her advice on things to avoid doing:
Don’t tailor a template. Use your own words. You’re a writer, right? so write. Top reviewers get lots of requests; they recognize templates and it tells reviewers the requester is lazy.

Make a case for your book. They want something different, not something similar to XYZ.

Avoid writing Me-Mail. Remove as many personal pronouns as possible. Drop “I wrote a book about…” in favor of “You’ll love my books…”

Don’t waste words. Keep it around 150 words. If it’s a reviewer from a service, site, or a Top Reviewer, don’t stumble through how you found them. They already know. Keep is succinct.

Don’t give up. Those reviewers are almost as busy as literary agents. They aren’t likely to respond to every request so keep at them if you really think they are a perfect fit for your book.

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