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How to Get Book Reviews - Insights from an Indie Reviewer

18 Feb 2015

By A. Fae (with an introduction by Simon Denman)


Getting Book Reviews - Truth about Books logo We all know that accumulating great book reviews can help to sell more books, but how exactly should an author go about getting them? For many indies, it seems like a chicken and egg scenario - to get reviews you need to sell more books, and yet to sell more books, you need reviews.
In Riding the Review Roller-coaster we examined some of the dynamics, psychology and ethics behind reviews and shared some tips for getting more of them.

This time, however, I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone on the other side of the fence - a reviewer - and so invited prolific indie reviewer, A. Fae of Truth About Books to come over and share her insights:

Why do I write Reviews?
by A. Fae

As an avid reader I was always looking for ways to get a variety of books without spending my entire month's income on them. A friend of mine then introduced me to a couple of different email subscriptions where I could get daily notifications of reduced-price or most often free books. At last count I'd amassed a library of about 1,900 books. So my days turned into reading anything and everything I could get my hands on.

I found, more often than not, that the books I was reading were predominantly by independent authors, and although some of them were phenomenal, many had hardly any reviews - positive or negative. And this bothered me greatly, since having just read a tremendous book, I felt the world should know about it.

It was at this point I began posting reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, and then on a Facebook page dedicated to indie writers. Through those outlets I kept getting asked why I didn't start a blog of my own and so eventually, based on the simple premise that many indie authors weren't being given due credit for the amazing works they were creating, Truth About Books was born with a view to putting that right.

How to approach Indie Reviewers

If you're interested in getting your book read and reviewed by an indie reviewer, the first thing I must say to you is to be patient! You may wait quite some time to have your piece reviewed - sometimes up to 18 months or longer. And please be wary of those out there who take advantage of upcoming authors by charging exorbitant fees for reviews, promotions, editing, and other services 'guaranteed' to get your book sold. I know there are some good reviewers who charge monies, but there are tons who will do it for free, like we do, for the sheer enjoyment of reading your work.

Finding someone to review your book should just be a matter of typing in keywords like "indie book reviewers", "book review blogs", "indie reviews" and the like. When you find a blog you are interested in having review your book, the most important thing to do, AFTER making sure they have a quality blog, is to look over their review policies. These will tell you their expectations and help you establish your own expectations of them. They will typically include how to contact them, what genres they accept, what type of file they'll need, and how long before you can expect to hear back from them.

One extremely helpful resource many of my authors use is The Indie View. The site includes a sortable list of reviewers who have been vetted for their independence, clear submission guidelines, and for not charging any fee.

The last thing I can say is that you shouldn't be discouraged by an occasional bad review. Each reviewer has their own criteria for how they rate books and what in particular they look for. One or two poor reviews may just mean that the reviewer was not typical of your target audience. However, a handful of such reviews, in which the same negative feedback keeps appearing, might be an indication that it's time to revisit your manuscript, or at least keep these points in mind for future works.


Christa Polkinhorn commented at 03:02 18 Feb 2015:

"Thank you for doing this. This is a great service for independent authors!
Christa Polkinhorn"

Jan Hurst-Nicholson commented at 06:08 10 Aug 2018:

"Thanks for this valuable insight from a reviewer."

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