The process of getting reviews begins long before your book is ever released.
For years, I’ve been coaching aspiring writers to “place the cart before the horse” and go after pre-publication book reviews (or endorsements)—once their completed manuscript has been professionally edited. By recruiting online magazine editors, authors, and other industry professionals—people with recognizable titles—to review your book in galley or manuscript form, you’re automatically starting to build equity for your project. And even if you only land a couple of solid endorsements, it’s well worth your time and effort.
Although you should expect that you’ll face rejection on your quest, it’s all about working the numbers. If you go after 100 reviewers and only land 10, you’ve absolutely succeeded!
After collecting your reviewers’ advanced praise—excerpting two or three of the catchiest sentences per endorsement into a blurb—you can use these brief critiques as a major part of your sales pitch to increase your chances of attracting the attention you want. From my experience, placing the cart before the horse can pay some nice dividends. You will have a list of critiques from legitimate book reviewers that will impress the agent or editor you’re hoping to work with, as well as your future readers.
Here’s my advice for getting book reviews:
APPROACH FOR PRE-PUBLICATION BOOK REVIEWS
- Research who you’re pitching and try to find a common connection that you can use.
- Polish your one-page pitch, and use email when possible.
- Provide a one-paragraph synopsis of the book, as well as a brief bio.
- Make it easy for this person.
- For example: “I can only imagine how busy you must be, so I can either send along the full MS, a sample chapter or an excerpt…”
- Be genuine. Be grateful. Be the writer that someone wants to help.
APPROACH FOR POST-PUBLICATION BOOK REVIEWS
- Everything listed above holds true, and then add…
- Incorporate a few Pre-Publication reviews (from recognizable names or titles) to entice the new reviewer(s) to “join your team.”
- Provide any success that the book has already enjoyed.
Regardless of where your book reviews come from, it’s most important to get as many of them posted on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com as you can. This is where all your time and effort will pay off. Although it may take some time to gain momentum, the number—and quality—of reviews on these sites is invaluable toward selling your book.