Securing Book Reviews for New Authors


One of the biggest challenges facing a new author is the problem of securing meaningful book reviews. We’re not talking about the clutch of Amazon reviews saying, ‘Not Bad’, ‘Okay’ or ‘One Star’ but the ones which come from credible reviewers and which can be quoted in advertising and promotion. Having a good Shout Line one can use on a book cover is invaluable to an otherwise unknown author, it bestows a high level of authority.

Whilst there are a huge number of book bloggers on the internet, securing quotable book reviews is still fraught with difficulties. Many reviewers will only accept books which are actually published which is okay for ongoing reviews it doesn’t help when looking for a good quote for one’s book launch or better still, something which can be quoted on the cover. For that, one needs to find a reviewer who will accept a Galley Proof.

Some reviewers charge a fee and some do not. There is no right and wrong in this and paying a well-respected review site for an honest review is no bad thing. We all have a living to make and even the reviewers for The New York Times are paid for their work.

Many of the better reviewers are very choosy about the genre or quality of the books they choose and it is important to carefully research the reviewer before sending out your book. Quality book reviewers do not take kindly to spam submissions where it is clear the author has simply sent out a hundred copies with a bland email. They want to feel special and sending an email with fifty other recipients attached and a greeting of ‘To whom it may concern’ is not going to win any friends.

In your approach to the reviewer be sure to personalise the email. Mention other books that they’ve reviewed, draw parallels with your own, tell them you like their style.

When sending your manuscript, ensure you are sending it in the format preferred by the book reviewer you are approaching. Some prefer text versions they can read on a computer screen, some like a Kindle version and there are still many who prefer good old fashioned paper. Again, it pays to do your research.

For fear of stating the obvious, make sure you have permission to quote all or part of the review and under what circumstances. Some reviewers are happy for you to use their review in any form you like but others may not be so relaxed. They may prefer for example that readers are driven to their review site so will only allow small extracts of a review to be published elsewhere. Others may not want their words draped across the cover of your book and used as a sales tool but may be more than happy for you to quote them on your author page. It always pays to check.

Good reviews are not easy to come by but a little effort will always pay dividends.