Where to find reviewers for your book

When other readers and writers give good reviews of your book, it will translate into additional sales. Perhaps even more importantly, it increases your name recognition, raising anticipation for and sales of your next title. The challenge then is to find reviewers

First, a word of caution: There’s a difference between asking someone to write a review of your book and paying someone to do so. There are plenty of people who make a living do the latter –but only an honest few will say up front they may write a negative review, for the presumption is if paid they’ll deliver what you want, which is positive press. Going this route, however, only hurts your book. Readers can tell when reviews are fake, and if there are too many good ones on your Goodreads or Amazon.com page, the sheer volume of them will cause many to wonder if they’re genuine. Asking someone to write a review – even if it’s negative – is a whole other story, though. And if someone doesn’t like your book or otherwise feels uncomfortable writing a review, they can simply decline.

So who can you ask to write a review for you? Consider:
• People familiar with your subject matter – Whether it be colleagues or experts in the field, from teachers of literature if writing a novel to a recognized industry professional if writing a nonfiction title, experts carry the most weight as reviewers. They can speak intelligently about your book’s subject matter and writing style to others interested in the topic, and those in the know usually respect their opinion.
• Exchanging reviews with other writers – Writers, who often also are critical readers, make for great reviewers as they can relate to your publishing effort. Make an agreement in advance with the fellow writer that if she writes and posts a review of your book you’ll do the same for her. Add the caveat that if either doesn’t like the book, she doesn’t have to pen one but owes on the next book (unless she doesn’t like that one either). On the downside, many writers feel an empathetic streak for their colleagues so are uncomfortable writing bad reviews; because of this, some potential readers may wonder if the opinion is genuine.
• Friends and family – As most readers appreciate the thoughts of others just like them, having average everyday people (C’mon, admit it’s true about your friends and family!) pen reviews is a good idea. If not handled correctly, this can be a hue on the dark side of shady, though, as friends and family members are inclined to write only kind words about your book. They only should write a review for you if they honestly believe the book was good, and there should be no hard feelings on your part if they decline.

By the way, giving the reviewer a complimentary copy of your book rather than making her buy it is customary. Fortunately in today’s tech-drenched world, that’s an inexpensive option as you easily can spring for an ebook download or email a free pdf. If the reviewer asks for a paper copy (and this often will be in the case with the mainstream media), send one or resign yourself to not getting a review.