If you want to buy a product today, you have many opportunities to deal with it in advance and collect impressions – for example, through customer opinions, experience, or test reports. Even in the book industry, such opinions, called reviews, are crucial for the success of a book. They are an essential part of book marketing that you should not do without. We’ll explain why reviews are so important and how to get good reviews for your book.
What is a review?
A review is a customer’s opinion about a particular product. If you have written and published a book, readers can rate it, for example on:
- Shop pages such as Amazon, Thalia
- Review platforms such as Lovelybooks or Goodreads
- Newspapers and magazines
- Blogs and private websites
- Discussions and reading rounds
Reviews are written by many different people. Normal readers can rate your book as well as bloggers and journalists. These then usually publish their reviews on their own blogs, websites, or in newspapers. It is important that a review always represents the personal opinion of the buyer and is not universally valid.
Why reviews matter
If you have published a book, you certainly want it to be read and discussed by many people. This exchange on a book is enormously important, as it makes other people aware of it and then hopefully become interested in it. A review is also a good decision-making aid for or against the purchase of the book. The more opinions you have already collected about your book, the easier it is for potential readers to decide whether the book could meet their tastes. Foreign opinions are also often a stronger selling point than your own advertising. Readers can see at a glance that not only you are interested in the sales, but many others have read your book and recommend it. For you as an author, a review can also provide good feedback for your next book. So you should read them carefully and learn from constructive criticism.
A review will help you not only in personal development but also effective in the successful sale of your book. Especially in the publication phase of your book, good reader opinions are crucial, especially if they are available in a certain number. But this does not only apply to the readers. Many good reviews are an argument for the corresponding sales channel or shop to continue to display your book at the front, promote it and offer it to potential buyers.
How do I get reviews?
As an author, you should not wait for good reviews, but actively do something about it. This means a certain amount of time and commitment for you. Especially for publication, many reviews can be crucial for the successful sale of a book. Here you should pay particular attention to the fact that the number of reviews really brings you and your book forward. With five to ten reviews, you already have a good start, but you should continue to apply and set realistic, but also big goals. The more reviews you have, the more desirable a product becomes.
Bloggers are authors of posts that they share with their readers on their websites or social media channels. Book bloggers in particular discuss current literature on their channels and give recommendations for authors and their books. You act as so-called “multipliers” of your book, reaching many people you would never reach yourself. In addition, they often have contacts that they would normally find difficult to get to as an author. We explain how best to write to bloggers in the article “5 tips to successfully write to bloggers”. Other blogger campaigns are also recommended to place your book more prominently on blogs, websites, and in the press. For more tips, check out our article “Planning Blogger Actions.”
Review copies are free books that you give to bloggers, journalists, or other reviewers in return for a review. Review copies are often published before the publication of your novel, so you will receive advertising before your book is published. More pre-release marketing tips can be found here. If you are looking for or writing to suitable people for your book, you should make sure not to write mass mail, but to address them individually. You should receive a review within about four to six weeks. Make sure that the reviewers are reliable. It can also help here if you exchange ideas with other authors and make recommendations to each other for certain bloggers.
Reading rounds are a good opportunity for you as an author to get in personal contact with your readers. On platforms such as Lovelybooks.de or privately on Instagram, you can organize a reading round. The participants then read your book in sections and exchange information about it in a targeted manner. At the end of the reading round, they then write an honest review for the various platforms and online shops.
Not only bloggers and journalists should write a review of your books, but also the everyday readers, preferably on various platforms. Many self-publishers now actively ask for a review at the end of their book by explaining, for example, that a review is crucial for the successful sale of their book. In addition, many readers still think that reviews can only be written by classic critics or bloggers, but due to the simple and fast application in the shops, this is now possible for everyone.
Social media as a platform for reviews
In addition to reviews in online shops and the usual review portals, advertising on social networks should not be underestimated. Many readers gather on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, or Twitter under the slogan #Bookstagram. Here you will find numerous active readers and bloggers who are certainly also interested in your book.
As a self-publisher, it is advisable to have your own account on the corresponding networks in order to stay in touch with the readers there and to exchange information about what you have read.
Dealing with negative reviews
Surely you will find many readers who like your book and who also rate it. But even some negative voices about a book are normal and even important for your book.
There is always someone who doesn’t like the style, story, or characters and it is important that potential buyers know about it in advance in order to be able to assess whether the book is still something for them. Ideally, as a self-publisher, you can even take added value from negative reviews and learn from constructive criticism. A full article on how to deal with negative reviews can be found here.
By the way: Negative opinions and reviews are also important for a book. Not every reader can like your book. If this is taken up constructively in the reviews, it can help other customers who still want to read your book. In addition, a negative review, also called Verriss, is also considered by many to be an argument for wanting to read the book even more. Discussions about a book can help you remember. And honestly, if a book has 100% positive reviews, you’re skeptical, aren’t you?
What to consider when reviewing
As a self-publisher, there are a few things you should keep in mind when dealing with reviews and reviewers.
Absolutely not allowed, for example, is the purchase of (positive) reviews. Buying an opinion is basically implausible and quickly leaves you in a bad light. The online shops can identify such fraud attempts and delete corresponding profiles. Rather, try to attract a lot of readers through a compelling story and effective marketing.
By the way: Always send review copies yourself. Do not issue vouchers so that the reader can buy them themselves. Amazon also considers something like this to be a scam, even if you didn’t mean it that way.
Also exchanging reviews with other authors is not welcome. Of course, you are free to rate a book once you have read it. However, you should make sure that it does not look like a barter of positive reviews, and that you express your opinion honestly and authentically.
Likewise, it makes you unsympathetic if you put readers or even bloggers under pressure. Of course, you can’t wait for opinions about your book to finally appear, but you shouldn’t force anyone to do so. Many bloggers are understandably deterred by this.
In a nutshell
What is a review, what do you need to pay attention to, and what better you should avoid?
A review always represents its own opinion, it is not universal and evaluates a product, not a person.
A review is a decision-making aid for or against the sale of a product. Positive reviews are just as important as constructive criticism.
Especially for publication, many different opinions are crucial to be more visible in the online shops and to be listed higher up. Here, for example, you can work with bloggers in advance and thus convince other potential buyers of your book.
You should make sure that your reviews remain authentic, not bought or exchanged. Nevertheless, of course, you have the right to report offensive or unconstructive reviews.
- You can find reviews on Amazon, Thalia, Goodreads, Lovelybooks, etc.
- Send out review copies and organize reading rounds.
- Ask for a review at the end of your book.
We hope that you now know what a review is and that we were able to give you some useful tips for collecting reviews. For your next publication, we wish you a lot of success and always good reviews!