Getting reviews for your book seems to be a hot-topic for authors. Every author wants to see glowing reviews for their books, but that doesn’t make them easy to get. If you have tried to get reviews for your book and failed, check to see if you are making one of these 4 common mistakes authors make when soliciting reviews:
Mistake #1: Not Asking First
I can’t tell you how many times I have personally received e-mails from authors I have never heard of with free review copies attached. Would you like to know how many of those books I have reviewed? None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
If you don’t value my opinion enough to ask if I’m interested, I will not value your e-mail enough to finish reading it. It’s pretty simple and I’ve heard the same sentiments from countless other book reviewers as well.
It’s common courtesy to ask someone if they are interested in reviewing your book before you send it to them. Not when you send it to them.
- If you are making this mistake, I highly recommend asking first from here on out and seeing if it increases your acceptance rate.
Mistake #2: Not Giving Reviewers Enough Information
“Hey! Would you like to review my book?” writes an author.
They didn’t make mistake #1, but they still made a huge mistake. I know nothing about their book… so how do I know if I would be interested in reviewing it?
E-mails like this can seem like a waste of time to book reviewers. Most reviewers don’t have time to fish for information about your book, and will either say “no thanks” or not respond to e-mails that lack information.
- If you are making this mistake, start including a teaser for your book in the e-mail where you ask reviewers to review your book. Also be sure to include the title, genre and format you have available for review (eBook, physical copy, PDF, etc.)
Mistake #3: Giving Reviewers Too Much Information
Contrasting mistake #2, mistake #3 is made by authors on the other side of the spectrum. They are excited about their book and send a 10 page long e-mail describing who they are, what they’ve done, why they decided to write the book, what others have said about the book, how long it’s been published, how they published it, and on and on and on and … well, you get the picture.
Very few people have time to read all that from someone they don’t know personally. And if you put all of that, and then ask them to review your book at the end, they might never get to your review request.
- If you are making this mistake, try keeping your review request e-mails short and sweet. Start up front by asking if they would be interested in reviewing your book, include a little bit about it, and possibly a short paragraph on why you are qualified to write it or what others have said. It should not take your reviewer more than a minute to read through the e-mail.
Mistake #4: Being Pushy
Besides valuing a reviewer enough to ask them if they are interested, you should also value their time, and respect their inbox, blog, etc. If they say no, don’t try to sweeten the deal, just say thank you anyway and move on.
If they say yes, you can follow up after 2-4 weeks – one time.
Don’t keep harping on them if they don’t post a review.
Harassing readers is never a good idea, and can actually earn you a 1-star review written out of frustration by someone who never got around to reading your book.
- If this is a mistake you are making, take a step back. Remember that reviewers don’t owe you anything. Not having a review from them, is probably better than having them publically announce that you are a horrible person.
Can you think of any other mistakes authors make when it comes soliciting reviews?
Leave your answer in the comments below!
Have my made these mistakes yourself?
Find out more about how to get reviews for your book in our book, “How to Get Honest Reviews”
Kristen Steele says
Authors definitely need to establish a concise “elevator pitch” for potential reviewers. Like you said, enough information but not too much. Enough to pique their interest!
Heather Hart says
#1 just seems a conceit on your part. What extra effort or expense is involved in downloading an attachment of a few kbs? If you’re not interested, hit the delete key.
In fact, it seems silly not to attach the book as then you will have to take the extra step of replying and asking for it to be sent.
Heather Hart says
Perhaps, however, I’ve heard the same sentiments from almost every book reviewer I have ever spoken with.
It might seem silly, however as a marketer, it also lets you know who to follow up with and who not to. If you just send it out, you might not know who reviewed so you can send them your next one when it’s out. And following up with people who don’t want to review your book can be seen as harassment by reviewers.
Making them reply to tell you no, is not just an extra step, but an extra step by someone who isn’t interested in the first place. Those who are interested, will be much more willing to reply.