- Authors usually request endorsements (recommendations) from key influencers in their field or genre prior to publication and use these on the book cover, inside the book and on promotional materials.
- Testimonials are words of praise from readers who enjoyed a book and want to recommend it to others.
- Reviews are a little longer than testimonials and usually include more information about the content of the book and what the reviewer liked (or disliked) about it. Reviews can come from readers, colleagues, or professional book reviewers.
You can post your testimonials or reviews in online bookstores, on virtual reader communities like Goodreads and LibraryThing, or on your own blog if the book’s topic is a good fit for your audience. You can also post brief testimonials on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It’s important for reviews to sound authentic. One way to do that is to mention something specific that you liked about the book, or share a tip from a nonfiction book. If you are not sure quite what to say when writing a book review, study some good reviews for similar types of books and read this helpful article about how to write a book review by Nick Daws.
In addition to helping the authors of the books you review, you can gain exposure for yourself and your own books by doing reviews of books that appeal to your target audience. Novelists can review books in the same genre as their own, and nonfiction authors can review books that are similar, but not direct competitors of their own books. Here are some benefits of doing book reviews:
- Authors may promote your review on their social networks or blog, giving you exposure, or agree to review your book in return.
- Posting reviews on online bookstores like Amazon gives you visibility directly where people are shopping for books similar to yours.
- A book review that has been keyword optimized may attract visitors to your blog through online searches.
- You can even earn money from your book reviews by signing up for the author’s affiliate program (if they have one) or joining the Amazon Associates affiliate program.
When reviewing books, it’s important to avoid the appearance of being overtly promotional, and of course you don’t want to disparage your competitors. It’s possible to make subtle references such as these:
“As a thriller author myself, I really appreciated the twists and turns of the plot…”
“As a book marketing coach, I know how important social marketing is, and this book does a terrific job of explaining how to gain a following on Facebook.”
Mentioning the type of books that you write makes you look like an authority on the subject and gives your review more credibility. You can also sign your name at the bottom of the review, along with your book title, but some people think that is too promotional. Do NOT link to your own book when posting a book review on Amazon. It’s against their rules and it looks tacky.
Before you start writing reviews, be sure to update your Amazon “signature” on your personal profile. That signature will appear after your name at the top of each review that you post. You have about 25 characters to showcase your specialty, genre, or brand name. For example:
- Romantic suspense author
- Social marketing expert
- The Productivity Pro
Book reviews are a great way to help your fellow authors while helping yourself. Give it a try!
Excerpted from How to Get Your Book Reviewed, by Dana Lynn Smith. To learn more about book reviews, follow the virtual book tour for How to Get Your Book Reviewed.
Random Acts of Publicity Week was created by Darcy Pattison (www.darcypattison.com), writing teacher and author of Prairie Storms (www.facebook.com/PrairieStorms) , as a way to help create an atmosphere of fun and collaboration in marketing books. It occurs each September, the four days following Labor Day.
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