Getting free targeted and sincere reviews for your acim requires research, commitment and follow through.
I’m going to share with you the mistakes I made and the things I did right about getting book reviews.
First the mistakes:
I waited until the book was published instead of sending out the manuscript or the first page galleys from my print-on-demand publisher.
I used pay-for-review services whose reviewers were not committed to the subject of my novel — for them this was a job for hire.
I sent copies of the book to book bloggers who responded to my email that they indeed wanted to review the book but who never reviewed the book. I later realized that I wasn’t anyone to them so my book obviously got buried in the avalanche of books they receive.
Now what I did right:
I researched on Amazon for reviewers who had written good reviews about similar-themed books. I contacted them through the Amazon friend feature and offered my book for review. (Note — there is no payment given for these reviews.) I got a few replies, including some who told me they were too busy along with some who really wanted to review the book and did.
When I emailed these Amazon reviewers to consider reviewing the book, I gave them the link to my website with the first four chapters available for free. I suggested they read those chapters to see if the book might appeal to them. Obviously, if they didn’t like the first four chapters, they probably wouldn’t want to read the whole book.
I took a virtual book tour through virtual book tour organizer Pump Up Your Book Promotion, and several book bloggers agreed to review the book. (Again, no payment.) I said yes to providing a second free book for a contest connected with the review (or interview). And the winner of the contest often had her/his own book blog.
I started using social media platforms — especially Twitter and Facebook — to make “friends” online. Now when these people said yes to reviewing my book I was no longer a nobody to them. We had a relationship.
More valuable reviews from people who were interested in my book:
The reviews I got by approaching people interested in my book’s fiction genre were much more valuable than the reviews I got using, for example, pay-for-review services where the reviewer might not even like my type of book.
And, yes, doing the work to find and contact reviewers who like your type of book takes time and effort. It can be much easier to use pay-for-review services even thought these reviews might not be as targeted and sincere.
If you do use pay-for-review services, ask if the reviewer will be someone who likes the genre in which you’ve written. You could even ask to see samples of the reviews the proposed reviewer has written on books of this genre. In this way you may have a better chance of getting a reviewer who will appreciate your book.