Book Reviews – How to get them for a self-published book

Book Reviews – How to get them for a self-published book

March 8, 2022

We’re more likely to try out a new restaurant if a friend tells us they had a great meal there, and recommendations work the same way with books.

Positive quotes on the cover and back cover of a book help turn browsers into buyers. Book reviews in traditional media, via podcasts and through book bloggers and booktokkers raise awareness. While reviews on online bookstore and book lover sites add social validation that your book is worthy of the price and time it will take someone to read.

You know what the best way to get book reviews for your book is? It’s to ask for them.

As a self-published author you don’t have the heft of a traditional publishing house (it’s easy for them to call on their big-name authors to give a positive quote for the debut authors), but you can:

  • Ask for blurbs from industry leaders and the experts you’ve interviewed
  • Approach book bloggers
  • Reach out to relevant traditional and social media, including podcasters

There are all sorts of right and wrong ways to go about this, and I absolutely love this quote from Australian book blogger Tracey Allen who I interviewed for Look – It’s Your Book! Just some of her advice:

“I wish writers wouldn’t send me PDFs of their books with their review request. It’s like turning up to a stranger’s house with a pizza and a bottle of wine without knowing their tastes, allergies, etc., and asking them to start eating immediately.” Tracey Allen, Book Blogger, Carpe Librum

You do need to understand review etiquette and the right way to approach book reviewers before you reach out, but it’s only by reaching out to people and asking for reviews that you will get them. I learned that from experience with my earlier books, receiving reviews from high profile people who I never would have imagined would support me…but did. And, yes, it did involve me busting out of my comfort zone.

And it was only by reaching out to book reviewer Jemimah Halbert Brewster for Honey Farm Dreaming and Small Farm Success Australia a few years ago, that we established a relationship that led to her being open to review my latest book too.

I’m so honoured and grateful she did and I love her take so much. See what you think, here’s a link to Jemimah’s review.

Now, sure, not all reviews are going to positive, and I talk about that in the book…

“When you put a book out there, understand that it’s no longer your book: it becomes the reader’s, and they will interpret it through their own lens. This might mean people don’t understand your intention or humour; they may not like your writing style or the conclusions you’ve drawn. They might not like you. But they also might LOVE you. They might be grateful for all the days you got up before dawn to write and produce it. And some will tell you and some will not. You should write anyway.” – Anna Featherstone, Look – It’s Your Book!

So go on, get back to writing! Whether it’s writing your book or writing a request for a review. Just write.