In Search Of The Elusive Book Review

Press the magic button labelled publish in the Amazon Kindle store or other self-publishing outlet of your choice. People will purchase your book and the reviews will come flooding in, won’t they? Well unless you are incredibly fortunate the answer is no they won’t. Even if your book receives a steady stream of downloads only a small number of readers (if any) will take the time to pen a review. This is the case, in my experience even when readers enjoyed your book. To take a case in point, two friends downloaded my story, Samantha, (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI). Both told me how much they enjoyed reading my book and indicated they would review it without any prompting from me. Neither have done so and not wishing to nag friends I haven’t pursued the matter. So, in the case of Samantha 2 people who derived pleasure from it haven’t left a review which does, I believe prove my point regarding the difficulty of obtaining reviews which, if positive will help in selling your book. So how can the author obtain reviews?

I have obtained several reviews by offering my books free via KDP Select, (https://kdp.amazon.com/select), an Amazon programme which allows authors to promote their work free or at a reduced price for upto 5 days in any 90 day period provided the books in question are exclusive to Amazon. A number of those who downloaded my titles left reviews which shows that KDP Select can help in promoting your writing.

Another way in which to promote your books is via your own blog. Mentioning that you are running a free promotion on Amazon or other platform can encourage your followers and visitors to download and, hopefully review your books. A word of caution. Don’t fill your site with posts promoting your books as this will turn many people off. Write about topics other than your books. be generous in supporting other authors via guest posting opportunities and your site is more likely to thrive and attract followers some of whom will read and review your books.

Contacting book bloggers can also result in reviews. Read their review policy (if they have one) prior to getting in touch. If you write romantic fiction and a book blogger only reviews the crime genre there is no point in contacting the blogger (it being a waste of their time and yours).

The overwhelming majority of book bloggers will review your book free which is, in my view as it should be. Most authors would never dream of paying for a review. However, for the small number of writers who might be tempted to do so, they should consider this. If you pay for a review then the perception will exist (assuming it is positive and you are found to have paid) that the review is not honest (I.E. you paid for a good review). While there may be sites who write unbiased reviews in exchange for cash mud sticks and even if the review is 100 percent honest your reputation will be tarnished. People will question all your reviews irrespective of whether they where given freely or otherwise.

In conclusion relying on Amazon to generate reviews is the most uncertain method of gaining them. The use of your own blog or other social media to promote your books coupled with contacting book bloggers asking that they please write an honest review of your work, is the best method.

Finally a huge thank you to all of my readers who have taken the time to write a review or who have promised to do so. I very much appreciate you taking the time to read and review my books.

6 thoughts on “In Search Of The Elusive Book Review

  1. roughseasinthemed

    I wrote recently about reviews, and asked two authors for their perspective on how to get them, and how they reacted to reviews etc.

    https://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/views-and-reviews/

    I do free reviews and paid-for ones. The difference is that paid-for ones get done in a set timescale and I provide notes for authors about errors and style. I also review for an independent site where I get a nominal payment, again it’s an honest review and looks primarily at how well the book is written rather than whether or not I enjoyed it, again I provide author’s notes.

    There is a big difference between a paid-for review that is merely promotional/advertising and a paid-for professional review where the author receives not only an honest review but feedback on their book.

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comments Kate. I will read with interest the post on your blog regarding differing perspectives on paying for reviews. I accept there is a difference between a review which is purely advertising and one which honestly comments on the merits/demerits of a book. I guess part of the problem is the matter of perception (I.E. certain sections of the media lumping all paid reviews together). Thank you for making this important distinction which, in retrospect I should have made in my post. Kevin

      Reply
      1. roughseasinthemed

        Sorry Kevin I wasn’t clear. The blog post is about authors talking about reviews. The comments about paid-for ones are totally mine. And it’s fair to criticise people who ‘buy’ reviews on Amazon or wherever.

      2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        Thank you for the clarification. Somewhat bizarrely Gmail had consigned your comment to my spam folder (oh the wonder of junk mail filters)! Fortunately I check mine fairly regularly. Kind regards, Kevin

      3. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        I have my blog send me notifications when someone comments. These go to my Gmail account and 99 times out of 100 are delivered to my inbox but, very occasionally the programme construes such messages as spam. Anyway I picked it up which is what matters. Best. Kevin

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