Reviews

5-star Amazon reviews are the gold of the publishing industry. There’s a wide range of ways to get reviews on various sites, which we discuss here – one important term to be aware of is ARC, a (free) advance review copy – though authors send these out after publication as well.

Getting reviews is a labour intensive process, but absolutely vital if you want your book to sell. The good news is that there are some commercial book review services which are legitimate as far as Amazon is concerned, because you’re paying to promote your book to potential reviewers (with no guarantee of a review), not directly paying for an individual review.

BookSirens

BookSirens has a pool of thousands of reviewers, and will promote your book specifically  to readers who have expressed a preference for your genre. They claim a download:review rate of 75%. You can set a cap on how much you want to spend with them, and choose Amazon or Goodreads reviews, or both. There’s a detailed dashboard where you can see all the activity around your books. USD$10 set-up fee, thereafter $2/download

BookSprout

BookSprout is a way to automate your ARC list (list of reviewers). They will block book pirates from your list and purge non-reviewers from your list. They claim that “76.66% of ARCs downloaded through us have resulted in a review on sites like Amazon”. Free plan (max 2o reviewers per ARC), US$10/month (max 50 reviewers per ARC), US$20/month (unlimited reviewers)

The Book Cover Designer

ReedsyDiscovery is another service that will expose your ARC to thousands of potential reviewers. They only accept recently published or not-yet-published booked, and recommend submitting five weeks before launch. USD$50 to be submitted to a pool of 150+ reviewers

Don’t forget that even as an author, you’re still totally welcome to review books yourself on Amazon, Goodreads and elsewhere – and you should. Just be careful not to review books for friends/family/anyone  you have a  professional association with, as Amazon considers it a bannable offence.

You also need to take care with criticism, because as an author yourself, a harsh review can look like “sour grapes” or even sabotage. Our advice – if you’ve read a book and hated it – is to simply avoid rating or reviewing it.