How to Get Your Book Reviewed

In this post, author Christine Nolfi is sharing her expertise about to approach book bloggers. My friends are so cool. Enjoy!

Reviews from book bloggers are one of the best avenues for self-published authors to garner publicity and make sales. I’m often asked by other writers, “How did you get so many great reviews for your novels?” The answer is simple. All it takes is a well-written and edited book, patience, research skills, and elbow grease.

Many potential buyers expect to see at least ten reviews on a book’s Amazon Product Page before they’ll purchase. In a perfect world, it’s best to approach reviewers before your book launch so they’ll have time to read and post as soon as your debut goes live. With some upfront organization, you can create a list of reviewers that will serve as an ongoing tool to refer to again and again as you write more books. But first you have to find them! Here’s how:

Locating book bloggers, reviewers and blogs
Keep reviewers’ contact info in a list alphabetized by blog name, with room for updates. Just open a Word doc or Excel file and record the blog address, reviewer’s name and email address, and instructions regarding how they want you to submit a query. Add notes about dates and responses.

1. Locate book reviewers on Amazon and GoodReads
Search your genre to find books similar to yours. Along with the review, a professional book reviewer will often list his or her full name and the name of the book blog. Use either one for a Google search. Once you’ve accessed the reviewer’s blog, read their Review Policy carefully. Note: Don’t waste your time or the reviewer’s. If you’re an indie author and/or you only have an ebook, be sure the reviewer will accept these before you submit.

2. Search Google for book blogs
Do a Google search for book blogs and book reviewers. Many directories are available (a few are listed at the end of this post). Yes, it takes time to scroll through the Google search results, visit each site and read each Review Policy. Also note that some blogs don’t name the contact person in an About Me section. You’ll have to read through several posts to find the name of the reviewer who runs the blog. Add potential names to your Excel or Word list. Never query a review blog without addressing the owner by name, and never transmit a mass query to many blogs at once.

3. Find book bloggers on Twitter
All authors should have a presence on Twitter (and you’re crazy if you don’t) because you’ll also bump into book reviewers there. Read Molly’s post about How to Grow a Twitter Following Fast to learn how to set up a Twitter list for reviewers. When you find them, follow them and add their handle to your Twitter Reviewers List. Use their Twitter handle to locate their websites and add their contact information to your Excel or Word document.

I check my Twitter List of reviewers regularly. If someone posts a new review, I re-tweet them. If a site runs a promotion, I’ll often put the word out on FaceBook, Google+ and other media sites. Do the same for the bloggers who kindly review your book.

Prepare an effective query letter for reviewers
I prepare an overall letter template, then personalize each email query with the reviewer and blog’s name. If your book is a finalist or has won an award or contest, mention the accolades early in your pitch. Keep in mind that reviewers are increasingly buried in requests; your pitch must be succinct.

Query letter examples
Example #1. Dear [REVIEWER NAME]: I hope you’ll be interested in reviewing my women’s fiction novel Treasure Me, which was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Publishers Weekly reviewed the manuscript and said, “Birdie Kaminsky, a beautiful blond bombshell of a con artist, has met her match in investigative reporter Hugh Schaeffer, in this zesty novel rife with witty dialogue and well-drawn characters. Their catty romance and zany interactions filled with witty double entendres are gems.”

Example #2. Hi [REVIEWER NAME]: Last year you kindly reviewed my debut novel, Treasure Me, which continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads and has now entered national contests. In mid-March I’ll release a more dramatic contemporary fiction novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge.

[NAME], I hope you’ll consider reviewing Tree for [BLOG NAME]. The various eBook versions will be available in several days for transmission. The paperback version will be available in two weeks. You’ll find the short synopsis, below.

[CLOSING]
Many thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you. Wishing you all the best,
Christine Nolfi
www.christinenolfi.com

Build lasting relationships with the reviewers who fall in love with your books. Many reviewers gave my debut, Treasure Me, high marks and asked that I contact them again with future novels. They are dedicated bibliophiles who will help build your career if you treat them with the professionalism they deserve. I’ve had reviewers hand my book off to another reviewer if they’re under the weather and can’t review, and share private lists of blog sites they admire. One reviewer recently scheduled Tree of Everlasting Knowledge promotions on five blogs in the U.S., Europe and Africa because we’ve struck up a warm friendship.

Resources:
The Book Blogger Directory
Blogranks’s list of The top 50 Book Blogs
101 Book Bogs You Need to Read
The Indie Book Reviewers List

Christine-Nolfi_OptimizedAbout the Author: Christine’s debut, Treasure Me, and her March 2012 release, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, continue to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Visit Christine’s website and follow @christinenolfi on Twitter. Also, if you missed it, check out this guest post Christine shared on my blog, The Best Editing Tip Ever.

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50 Responses to How to Get Your Book Reviewed

  1. Kim Savage September 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Thank you Molly and Christine…always so much great info in your posts. I really appreciate, Christine, the examples of the query letters! Now to just work up the nerve to ask! Thanks again.

    • Christine Nolfi September 25, 2012 at 6:22 am #

      Kim, be confident! Your belief in your work will shine through in your queries. Here’s wishing you all good luck with the effort.

  2. Christine Nolfi September 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Thanks for running this post, Molly!

  3. Elle Marie Morgan September 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Thanks for answering my questions before I asked them. :)

    • Christine Nolfi September 25, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      Elle, there are no stupid questions. Most authors find the process of switching from writer to marketer a daunting experience at the best of times. Believe me, you’re not alone.

      Ask Molly how many times I’ve badgered her with tech-related questions. I don’t know why she puts up with my ditzy queries!

  4. Jim from YA Yeah Yeah September 25, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    Great post! As a book blogger, people not reading my review policy is a huge irritant. Some brilliant advice there.

    • Christine Nolfi September 26, 2012 at 8:40 am #

      Jim, many thanks for weighing in.

      I’ve noticed a distressing number of sites now unwilling to review indie books unless they already have a relationship with an author. One blogger mentioned she was tired of being contacted by writers too lazy to read her review policies. Indie authors must cultivate the same level of professionalism seen daily in traditional publishing.

      • Patricia R. Blumhagen March 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

        I am an indie author and I was not aware that reviewers had a policy. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. What I do is e-mail and asked if the reviewer would review my book and give them my website. Then I sent them the book once I received their physical address. The other reviewer was in a writers group and I contacted him and sent my book. He did an interview of me and my book and put it on his site. I need more reviews and will be sure to check the reviewers’ policy-hope I can find it!

        • Molly Greene March 31, 2014 at 10:34 am #

          Thanks, Patricia. Many authors aren’t aware that reviewers have policies. Hopefully the knowledge will help you get more reviews!

  5. Casee Marie September 25, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    Obviously I love seeing the two of you working together – great guest post, Christine! As a reviewer I really appreciate the detailed consideration you give when querying bloggers. I definitely agree that personalizing the pitch with the blogger’s name/blog name is important; I get a mix of press releases and personal pitches, so the ones that are personalized tend to motivate a quicker response from me and generally command a bit more attention. Whereas press releases that are clearly sent to a mass mailing list (i.e. the sender’s e-mail in the “To” field and the copied contacts hidden) are most likely to be perused and filed without a response. Those sorts of queries are ones I’ll take on only if I happen to have the time, but otherwise I give personal pitches my higher focus. Of course, every reviewer really is different. Everyone has different priorities and different goals for writing reviews online, which probably makes the querying process all the more time-consuming for authors.

    While it’s not a necessity, I’m always appreciative when an author contacting me for the first time acknowledges either my review policy or past reviews – something as simple as, “I noticed in your review policy that you like [genre]” goes a long way. It tells the reviewer that you took the time to truly acquaint yourself with their interests and that your inquiry is based on a potentially great reader-writer connection. No true bookworm will sneeze at that. Of course, it likely takes an unfathomable amount of time to to wade through the no doubt hundreds of literary bloggers and review policies to establish those potentially lifelong readers, but the book will prevail and the readers will be grateful.

    Anyway, all that’s just to say a big ol’ “yes” to everything you so wonderfully put into this post. And thanks for it! x

    • Molly Greene September 25, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Casee thanks so much for sharing these ideas! Citing the review policy is a great idea and does serve to personalize the message and demonstrate that we’ve read the reviewer’s policy carefully. You are of course, one of our favorite reviewers and a perfect example of how this process can turn into long-term friendships. Thank you for taking the time to post such a lovely comment!

    • Christine Nolfi September 26, 2012 at 8:46 am #

      Casee Marie, many thanks for your insights. Yes, it does take time to personalize queries, and every author should do so.

      Years ago when I sought (and secured) literary representation, I certainly would not have sent a mass pitch to 100 agents. Writers need to understand that publishing is a one-to-one business: it’s all about making and growing personal relationships.

    • Donna June Cooper March 25, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      Christine, Molly and Casee – As a brand new author with my first book (from Samhain) out there, I’ve been learning the ropes (with some rope burns) and bumbling through review queries. I have a question for you lovely ladies. Molly included a review quote from Publisher’s Weekly, but I wondered, is it really appropriate to include a quote from another reviewer, considering that book bloggers may see some other blogs as competitors? Or am I reading the relationships incorrectly?

      • Christine Nolfi March 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        Donna, Publisher’s Weekly is highly regarded throughout the industry. If you have a PW quote to add to your query to a book review blog, by all means use it. The same is true of a quote from Kirkus, The Midwest Book Review or print publications. For example, if your local newspaper offers a glowing review, add a line from the article in your review query. There isn’t a conflict–a book blog may be more apt to review when presented with your accolades from other sources.

        • Donna June Cooper March 25, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

          Yes, reviews from PW or Kirkus or even the local paper wouldn’t cause a blogger too much pause, but if you have a review from, say, Fresh Fiction, but you want one from, say, Fiction Vixen, and you don’t have any non-blogger reviews yet, is it OK to quote the Fresh Fiction review in a query to the Fiction Vixen folks? Or is that a no-no?

          Thanks so much for responding!

          • Christine Nolfi March 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

            Hmm. Great question, Donna. Personally I wouldn’t quote a blog in a query to another blog. I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that I’m trying to influence the new reviewer, and blogs can be competitive.

          • Molly Greene March 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

            Great question, Donna, and perfect answer, Christine. Thank you both so much!

        • Donna June Cooper March 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

          Thanks Christine! I figured that was the case, instinctively, but I’m new to this and I wanted to be sure!! I need to go get some non-blogger reviews! Thanks.

  6. Pamela Beason September 25, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Great post, Christine, with clear and valuable information every author needs to know. Requesting reviews is a time-consuming exercise that requires thoughtfulness and diplomacy, but good reviews or author interviews on popular book blog sites are invaluable.

    Thanks for always having such useful posts on your site, Molly. Now we just need a post about how to get more hours in the day so we authors can do everything we should and write!

    • Christine Nolfi September 26, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Thanks for reading along, Pamela. When you find the magic potion for adding more hours to the day, please send some my way!

  7. Valerie Ormond October 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Hi Molly and Christine,
    Thank you for this excellent post, and I particularly like your respect for reviewers (which I share). I’ve found wonderful book bloggers who have been tremendously supportive and feel very fortunate about that. I wanted to share a resource with your readers that I found through Book Blogs. It’s a book blogs search engine, and while I haven’t used it yet to look for reviewers, I DID test it so see if it worked (i.e. type in a book similar to mine and see the book blog reviewers who had reviewed it.) Worked like a charm! Here is the link: http://fyreflybooks.wordpress.com/about/book-blogs-search/

    Happy writing and reviewing, all! -Valerie

    • Molly Greene October 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

      Wow, thanks Valerie! We appreciate the tip and your kind words so much! I’m going to go try out the link …

  8. Julie Grasso October 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Thankyou Christine for this wonderful article. I read this about 6 months ago and since then I have diligently been compiling my spreadsheet of reviewers. As a middle grade author there aren’t millions of blogs to approach but I narrowed my list from 300 down to about 40 after reading the review policies.
    From my personalized requests I have received 19 agreed upon reviews and 4 author interviews, only 5 weeks after publication. I provided my title in exchange for an honest review and now I am waiting on the reviews. So thank you Christine for your insights. Cheers Julie Anne Grasso Author of middle grade novel, “Escape From The Forbidden Planet.”

    • Molly Greene October 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Julie, it takes a lot of time and it’s not an easy thing to do to approach reviewers – good for you, because your diligence will pay off!!

    • Molly Greene October 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Robert, thank you so much for joining the conversation!

      • Christine Nolfi October 26, 2012 at 6:02 am #

        Julie and Robert, thank you for joining in.

        Julie, I’m so glad your perseverance has paid off. No doubt those 19 book reviewers will gladly peruse your second release. Happy writing.

    • Julie Grasso October 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Thank you Robert Medak for taking an interest. I have visited your blog and clicked on your contact information but the link appears to be broken.
      My book is for Middle Grade so it may not be your cup of tea, but if you are still interested in reviewing please drop me a line in the contacts box on my website.
      http://www.julieannegrassobooks.com

      Thanks Molly for passing it on.

      Julie Anne Grasso

  9. Colette @ A Buckeye Girl Reads October 26, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    That’s great advice! Two more great spots to find reviewers are:

    The Indie Reviewer Book Blog Database: http://hampton-networks.com/
    and networked blogs: http://www.networkedblogs.com

  10. Alessandro Zamboni October 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Hello Christine and thanks for this clear post on finding reviewers for our new books.
    It’s awesome for people like me who never sold on Amazon or other platforms.

    Thanks so much and see you soon,
    Alessandro Zamboni

    • Molly Greene October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Alessandro! So happy you found my blog and enjoyed my friend Chrstine’s wisdom! She’s a rock. Come back and visit soon!

    • Christine Nolfi October 29, 2012 at 7:04 am #

      Glad to help, Alessandro. Once you begin contacting book blogs, you’ll discover that many of the sites will eagerly review your second release–and your third. The key? Produce a great book and follow the submission guidelines.

      Good luck!

  11. Charles Franklin November 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    As a freelance book publicist, you sometimes have to look far and wide to find someone to review an author’s book. You made it a whole easier for me to get started! Thanks!

    By the way, if you ever need a review…..

    Keep writing, loving, and learning….

    Charles

    • Christine Nolfi November 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Charles, there’s no question the process can be arduous. However, I’ve discovered that book blogs will gladly review my latest release, Second Chance Grill, because I’m a known commodity. No doubt other authors will experience the same as they build a backlist.

      Thank you for reading along!

  12. Ellie November 3, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    great ideas, I will put them to work right away. thank you!

    • Christine Nolfi November 4, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Good luck, Ellie!

      • Elle Marie Morgan November 4, 2012 at 10:18 am #

        Thanks, Christine. This has been a long haul and I will be so glad when this book is finally put to bed!

        I’m already working on others in the series, but will make sure the deadlines are extended…WAY out! :>)
        Elle

  13. Janet Hartley December 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Thank you for writing this article. As you mention, getting reviews is hard work and time consuming . I followed many of your suggestions and they worked; but I admit to cutting corners. For example, I used a group of online authors at http://www.Kindlebookreview.net to get a number of extra reviews fast and easily. I was pleased with their service, but wondered if you knew of other reliable sites to get book reviews fast. Sometimes we all have to take shortcuts.

    • Molly Greene December 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      I’m so sorry Janet, I have done a very poor job of seeking reviews for my novel. Christine is the review expert, but I’m sure she approached them one by one. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    • Christine Nolfi December 13, 2012 at 3:17 am #

      Janet, I’ve also garnered reviews quickly through GoodReads paperback giveaways. If possible set up the giveaway in advance of your release date. The only problem? Some of the reviews won’t appear on Amazon unless you take the time to ask each reviewer to cross post.

      Recently I’ve begun talking to local libraries to inquire if book clubs in my area would become advanced readers of future works. Most of us spend all of our time seeking review online when interested readers may live nearby. Reaching out locally certainly increases word of mouth–and sales.

      • Elle Marie Morgan December 13, 2012 at 9:58 am #

        “Begging” reviews from readers is currently working best for me. If I know the person read my book I ask them…more than once…to please leave a review!! It’s a slow process to be sure, but steady.

        Great article, by the way. Very informative.
        Elle

  14. ester moore May 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Janet,
    Thanks for the tip about http://www.kindlebookreview.net
    Awesome site for book reviews. All the reviews they did included buying my book!
    The “amazon verified purchase” reviews look great on my amazon book page.

    • Christine Nolfi May 10, 2013 at 4:14 am #

      Ester, I’m glad Kindle Book Review worked well for you. I’ve never tried the service, but have heard of positive results from several authors.

  15. Brian December 4, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    Ester,
    Many thanks for your tip about http://www.kindlebookreview.net
    I used their service last week and already have 3 reviews. Awesome.
    Thank you – Brian

  16. Krista February 15, 2014 at 3:44 am #

    I’m delighted by your recommendation to use KindleBookReview. I tried the link you provided and used their Book Launch service for my new book launch.
    My book made it to the Amazon Best Seller list within the first week!
    So thank you, thank you so much for this. Krista

    • Molly Greene February 15, 2014 at 8:11 am #

      HOW COOL IS THAT??!!! So happy for you, Krista!! Thanks so much for coming back and letting us know.

  17. Shenandoah Kepler March 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Great post, but difficult for non-fiction writer to use (I went through hundreds of reviewers finding only one book reviewer that gave contact information.
    I tried a slightly different approach that others might like to try and found it more effective. Instead of going to the top Amazon reviewers list (I had a great deal of difficulty finding anyone who reviews non-fiction books and mine had an additional issue, it was an ebook only), I targeted my competition (other ebook authors and their books), looked up their books and reviews on Amazon, and found real people this way (Googled them to find their facebook, twitter, or websites). Then another refinement I made was to find blogs on the general subject(s) of my book.
    Then asked the blog authors to review or point me to someone who might (kind of like interviewing potential job offerer for information). This was the most effective. My first ebook is about garden design for the 5 senses and how to meditate in the final garden “A Sensual Garden: Creating a Place for Being in the Present Moment.” The book is as much about the photographs as it is about gardening, so I targeted photography, gardening, and meditation blogs. I found at least 20 potential reviewers this way.

    • Christine Nolfi March 25, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Shanandoah, thanks for sharing tips for writers of nonfiction. Keep that newly-Googled list of reviewers handy. No doubt they’ll gladly review future releases.

  18. Bill March 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Thank you for this post, ladies. I enjoyed reading and learning. My books are non-fiction, mostly based on my adventures as a reserve police officer, so (it appears) finding reviewers may be more challenging for me. However, I will persevere! Thanks for taking time to educate and enlighten me!

    • Molly Greene March 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Our pleasure, Bill. Best of luck to you and thanks so much for stopping by!

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