David Kudler Goodreads Netgalley

3 Dos for Getting Reviews (and 4 Don’ts)

By David Kudler

Probably the most powerful instruments for advertising your ebook is all the time going to be reader critiques. We all dream of a featured evaluation in The New York Occasions Ebook Assessment, Publishers Weekly, or Library Journal. However different evaluations — whether or not from influential bloggers to readers on social media like Goodreads or Fb or retailer websites — may be essential for reaching your audience.

Why are critiques so necessary? Nicely, first, clearly, they provide your e-book with visibility, discoverability, putting your work in front of potential readers who might know little or nothing about it. Ideally, the assessment comes in the type of a constructive suggestion — however even when it doesn’t, even when the evaluation is lower than glowing, the evaluate spreads the phrase about your guide. There’s no such factor as dangerous publicity, and all of that.

Because second, and more subtly importantly, they supply your guide with social proof. You understand how, once you’re the first individual to return into a restaurant, they need to put you at the entrance window? That’s because individuals are more more likely to need to go into a spot that has other individuals in it. Subconsciously, books (and lots of other merchandise) work the same method. We’re more more likely to get enthusiastic about reading a e-book that everyone else appears to be speaking about, even if what everyone seems to be saying isn’t utterly constructive. Think of it as the 50 Shades effect.

Listed here are a number of dos for getting your e-book the discoverability and social proof it deserves — and a few don’ts as properly.



Is your e-book more likely to get picked for a evaluation by a prestigious journal or website online? No, not very.

However do you need to know a strategy to guarantee that it gained’t be picked? Don’t submit.

Now, I wouldn’t waste an enormous quantity of my time and power submitting to the Occasions or such. However take some time and take a look at your ebook objectively (one thing that you have to do as you take a look at advertising your ebook anyway).

Take a look at the market.

  • Are there periodicals and web pages that target that market?
  • Genre-, profession-, or subject-specific journals?
  • How about your school’s alumni magazine?
  • An area radio station?

In that case, go on their website and see if you’ll find directions for submitting your guide for a evaluation. They could require a hard copy, however some accept and even favor a PDF, ePub, or mobi file. They’ll in all probability want the guide nicely prematurely of launch — this can be a prime use for your ARCs (advance evaluate copies).

For the love of Gutenberg, if you submit comply with their instructions. Your odds will not be nice for getting a evaluation submitting over the transom — but I promise, should you don’t submit how and when they need it, your odds are nil.


Apart from the normal (and not so traditional) media retailers, top-of-the-line targets for you to pursue are what are referred to as influencers — bloggers and social media professionals who have a following, and whose opinions will carry weight together with your very best reader. 1

Now, obviously, the more influential influencers — the ones with probably the most followers — are those you want most to evaluation your e-book, but they’re additionally the ones who have probably the most people pitching them books to evaluation. Again in the day, everybody needed Oprah to advocate their guide — but she solely mentioned one every week. How possible are you to be that one?

Spend a while looking via websites, blogs, and social media accounts to see who your ultimate reader is most certainly to be following. Acknowledge that the social media of selection for your style could also be totally different from one other writer’s. For example, I discovered that the audience for my YA adventure e-book Risuko was more likely to be lively on Instagram or Tumblr than, say, Fb or Twitter.

Don’t overlook YouTube! BookTubers — people who do video evaluations of books — may be massively influential, reaching a whole lot or hundreds of potential readers.

Google is your pal. Do searches in your genre and/or material and guide evaluate or e-book blogger or BookTuber, and so on. See what pops up on the primary web page; these are most certainly to be probably the most visible influencers. But don’t stop there; you’re wanting for people who’re more likely to be occupied with your ebook. That is one case where the second (or fifteenth) page might provide gold!

Go on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and other ebook assessment sites and see who has reviewed books like yours — or, if this isn’t your first title, who’s reviewed your earlier ones. Clearly, if they favored you (or your competition), they are more likely to need to read your new opus.

On those websites — or on genre-specific communities on Fb, LiveJournal, and so forth. — look for groups that wish to read your sort of guide. You could possibly submit your title for a gaggle learn or, at least, supply free copies for assessment.

Think about probably providing your e-book up on NetGalley. 2

It is going to take you some time, but find people you assume will probably be excited to learn and evaluate (R&R) your e-book. Take a look at their profile or contact web page. Have they got instructions for submissions? They could inform you in the event that they’re at present accepting new books. In the event that they’re not, obviously don’t waste their time and yours. And, as with traditional media, comply with their directions. Put together knowledgeable, helpful packet requesting that they evaluate your guide. 3

Ensure that the reviewer knows the right lingo — Amazon will take down evaluations that say the reviewer acquired the books in trade for a evaluation. They see this as quid-pro-quo. The reviewer ought to acknowledge not having needed to pay, but the current acceptable language runs one thing along the strains of this:

I acquired a free copy of this e-book from
[publisher/author/NetGalley/whatever] and am voluntarily leaving this assessment

The essential thing is that it’s clear that they received the e-book gratis, but in addition that there was no expectation of a constructive evaluation.


Here’s one a lot of people overlook, and it’s one which you are able to do for so long as your e-book is available on the market: ask readers to evaluate it.

Put a word behind your e-book — right after they’ve turned the final web page and are as motivated as they’ll ever be to share what they felt about your guide. Thank them for reading, and allow them to understand how deeply you’d respect it in the event that they’d let their pals know what they thought.4

Right here’s an instance from the back of the e book for Risuko:

A number of issues to point out:

  • I made the notice pretty simple; you’ll be able to speak about your e-book and course of extra, when you’d like, however I figured I needed to make my pitch up entrance.
  • I used a handwriting font to try to personalize it extra — still unsure about that.
  • I included hyperlinks to evaluation the guide on Amazon5 and Goodreads; these URLs are redirects that ahead the reader from my website to the right URL to create a evaluate.6
  • I included a gaggle of hyperlinked social media buttons on the bottom to encourage them to share and evaluate the e-book.7

Part of the rationale that I ask individuals to ship me their evaluations, by the best way, is that it provides me an opportunity to interact with them, giving me further info and hopefully making them much more invested in my ebook — and it additionally permits me to request that they publish a evaluation to their favourite retailer/evaluate websites, particularly in the event that they liked it! 😉

Should you do all of this stuff — and even most of them — you must have the ability to get a important mass of evaluations for your guide.

There are also, nevertheless, a handful of belongings you shouldn’t do in pursuing critiques.


Don’t Beg/Badger

When you’ve followed a reviewer’s submission tips and sent them a replica for their assessment, it’s completely affordable to comply with up later to see if they’ve had a chance to read your guide. Send them a polite e mail. Once.

If they haven’t gotten round to it? Don’t pester them. (Until they invite you to.)

There is a plethora of the reason why a reviewer might not have posted a evaluate of your guide — amongst them these:

  • Their inbox is overflowing they usually haven’t gotten round to it but.
  • They’ve stopped reviewing or are on hiatus for private causes.
  • They couldn’t stand and/or couldn’t end your guide and don’t need to waste your time or theirs.

You aren’t entitled to a assessment, even for those who’ve followed their guidelines. Hectoring, berating, begging, and otherwise bothering them for a evaluate isn’t going to get you what you want. Don’t be a jerk. Give attention to others.

Don’t Argue

While we’re talking about maintaining your focus constructive — if a reviewer doesn’t like your guide (or takes challenge with any specific part of it), don’t attempt to inform them they’re mistaken. It gained’t work, and you’ll end up wanting like a jerk.

Books are subjective, and e-book evaluations even more so. For those who’re fortunate sufficient to get dozens or lots of of critiques, a few of those shall be destructive.

Keep in mind what I stated about there being no such factor as dangerous publicity? That counts right here too.

If I see a e-book that has six five-star critiques and nothing else, I assume that’s the writer’s household, greatest associates, and probably dog. Having a variety of critiques provides all of them more validity — another example of social proof.

Sure, some adverse critiques shall be needlessly nasty, however the worst factor you can do is feed the trolls. At a mythology-based online discussion board I used to help run, we had a saying drawn from the Norse Eddas: “Don’t eat with Loki. He mixes malice with the mead.”

That stated, when you see a assessment that breaks the phrases of service for the location, do contemplate reporting it. However don’t respond. 8

Until you need to say thanks. That’s okay. 9

Don’t Pay

Okay, so this is one I’ve thought lengthy and arduous about.

In an ideal world, all evaluations must be voluntary — there shouldn’t be any financial trade between the writer and reviewer, since that makes their relationship ethically more than slightly fraught.

Definitely paying bloggers (or people, say, on Fiverr) is an enormous no-no. If Amazon or other retailers or evaluation sites spot pretend critiques, the critiques will get deleted, the reviewer banned — and you could end up in hassle as properly.

If a “reviewer” asks for cost of any type — I saw one blogger who demanded that anyone requesting a evaluate buy their guide! — run, don’t stroll.

There are additionally giant evaluation journals (corresponding to Kirkus and Writer’s Weekly) that may assessment indie books for a hefty payment.

Don’t hassle.

Is it good with the ability to quote Kirkus on the duvet of my guide? Positive. Has that made me back what I paid? In all probability not.

However is it even vaguely moral?


Those journals don’t cost Random House to evaluate their books. Charging a tiny writer similar to myself an arm and a leg to run a assessment — with no guarantee that the evaluation shall be notably properly written, let alone constructive — looks like more than a little bit of a ripoff. 10

By the best way, I gained’t put NetGalley on this class; it’s a assessment distribution service. NetGalley does not itself evaluation your ebook, and so the cash you pay gained’t influence the critiques. I’ve gotten my books reviewed on NG by bloggers and rank-and-file Goodreads and Amazon reviewers — but in addition by small media retailers, librarians, academics, and so on.

Don’t Assessment (Your self)

It in all probability goes with out saying, however don’t evaluation your personal ebook.

Not even underneath an alias.

If Amazon spots a evaluate from the same IP or e-mail handle that you simply’ve posted the ebook from, they’ll take it down. If they spot an in depth private connection between the writer and the reviewer — even on social media — they’ll take it down. In the event you assessment one other author’s guide they usually turn around and evaluate yours…

You guessed it. They’ll take each down. No quid-pro-quo, keep in mind?

I’ve even heard of rings of authors — A evaluations B’s guide, B evaluations C’s, C critiques A’s — getting busted.

They could ban the perpetrator(s) from leaving any evaluations at all. They could delete all of their previous evaluations. They could ban their accounts — together with their KDP accounts, which may primarily banish their books utterly.

So, no — don’t try to evaluate your personal work. We already know what you think of it!

It’s okay to ask your family and friends — however don’t be stunned if the critiques are by no means posted or are deleted after the very fact. 11

1 You’ve visualized your splendid reader, proper? That’s the precise individual toward whom you’re directing your advertising efforts — and critiques are part of those. The clearer you’re about who you’re concentrating on, the simpler your advertising could be.

2 For those who’re a member of IBPA (or various different indie publisher service organizations), you will get a discount on NetGalley providers.

3 Carl Hose put collectively a helpful, brief guide to getting ready a evaluation request back in 2008.

4 For an additional great example of this — together with more nice ideas for getting critiques — take a look at Penny Sanseveiri’s submit “How to Get 100+ Reviews on Amazon.” There’s a screenshot of an writer observe graciously requesting critiques about half of the best way down. (I acquired the thought for doing this from Penny, so think about this… quid professional quo.)

5 But don’t embrace a hyperlink to evaluate on Amazon in an e book for any of the opposite retailers!

6 I do it this manner for two causes: a) the assessment URLs change, and I don’t need someone with an previous copy of my ebook hitting a lifeless end and b) this manner I can monitor what number of people click on by means of, whether or not they depart a assessment or not.

7 Take a look at my how-to submit for doing this.

8 I did have one reviewer depart a glowing assessment for Risuko on Goodreads… however giving it a one-star score. I checked in together with her to ensure there hadn’t been some mistake. There had. She changed it to the five-star score that her evaluate had steered.

9 Also, if somebody left a constructive evaluate of E-book I, it’s okay to let them know that E-book II has just been launched!

10Risuko’s Kirkus assessment was, the truth is, very constructive and pretty nicely written. I nonetheless don’t really feel as if it was value it, and I’m still uncomfortable with the questionable ethics of the transaction.

11 Also… Not everybody will evaluate. Even when they love you.

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