Finding Reviewers 101 for Indie Authors
By Angelina Kerner
Thank you for having me here today.
Today, I would like to talk about how I find reviewers for my books. I wish it was magick, but it’s a lot of hard work. When I was part of an online writing community, I only knew of one published author. I checked out her book on Amazon and saw that she only had one review. I didn’t ask her why. I wish that I did and that moment made me wonder if it were possible for me to get reviews once I would have the guts to get published.
My husband thought that to find reviewers is a waste of my time. According to him, my books should be enough on their own. My writing should be enough to gain attention. I disagree, mainly because the Indie World is a huge ocean with many colorful fish. If I wait to receive reviews that can help me rise in ranks so my books would get noticed, I may only have that one review – and readers like seeing books with many reviews. The cover, the blurb, and the book itself aren’t enough to get attention. Reviews from reviewers can get other readers to read the book and maybe they would take a little bit of their time to write that review that each author waits for, for me.
When I get a review, my heart speeds up and my thoughts spiral out of control –
“Did they like it? Did they hate it? What if they hated the main character? I can’t fix that. Oh, what if they hated my writing? Do I have to find another editor? I really thought that I found the right one. Maybe, I needed to find other beta readers? Oh, crap…just read the review, dammit. Stop overthinking.”
Anyway, back to the point.
Reviewers. Most of them are book bloggers and others are friends. To get friends read and review is a lot harder than to get book bloggers. That may be good enough for a whole other post….
Book bloggers. One can find them on Amazon and Goodreads.
There are RULES.
However, before you find those bloggers on Goodreads, you can’t just find random bloggers or the ones on your favorite books. You need to look for bloggers who read the genre you write in. There’s a high chance that they would accept reading your book, IF they like reading INDIE Authors.
Then, you need to make a list of the bloggers that you found with their website/blog links. To get 1 review, you need to find at least 10 reviewers. To get 5 reviews, you need to find at least 50 reviewers. Now, you know it’s not magick. It’s a lot of searching, taking notes, and contacting.
In order to request a review from a blogger, you need to get to know the blogger and that means you need to
Get their NAME (and please SPELL their name CORRECTLY)
If there’s no name, then find a nickname and if no nickname, call them by their blog name. Sometimes, if you search the bloggers email in your gmail, you can get their name that way AND you’ll see if you have contacted that blogger before.
Learn about their HOBBIES.
Don’t read this with a LOOK.
You, as an author, want potential fans to read your website, everything that you post, and get to know you as the author. You wait for them to connect with you. Well, if you’re emailing reviewers, then YOU need to CONNECT with them. It’s FUN! I found three bloggers who are into needlework! That was a conversation starter. I mean seriously, if you do needlework, you know the pain in your fingers from the needle. OUCH. A blogger could have moved to a city that you’d been to. Another conversation starter. Maybe, you found a great little restaurant, share it with the blogger. He or she will appreciate it. Another example, I used to dance and seeing a blogger sharing about dance makes me smile. We can totally talk about it. CONNECTION matters. If you want people connecting with you, you need to connect with the bloggers.
Pay attention to their REVIEW POLICY.
This is important. If the reviewer says that they don’t read INDIE, DON’T email them. If the reviewer says that they don’t read the genre you write in, DON’T email them. If they say that all review requests are on hold, DON’T email them, but save their link for the future. They may open up requests at a later time. Pay attention to what they want in the request.
Do they want an email or for you to fill out their form?
You can try emailing them if their form doesn’t work for some reason, but make sure to let them know that their form didn’t work.
Do they want extra details about your book ?
This could be things like word count, amount of pages, any triggers, etc.
Do they want to see the cover?
If they are not open to reviews, they may be open to cover reveals and book tours; maybe even interviews. Mention to them that you love interviews. Get yourself out there. If you want a review, sometimes, you need to accept to do something in return and not just providing a free copy of your book.
As you can see, that takes a lot of time. Indie authors don’t have assistants who can do all that research. It’s hard work and at the end, you may not get all the reviews that you’re looking for, but you may build relationships with bloggers who you can return to for your future books. At the end, that is a good thing.
So, it’s not really about finding reviewers for indie authors, it’s about connections. It’s about finding reviewers and keeping them.
Remember that once you find a reviewer, who’s willing to read your book, you need to be prepared to receive a bad review. You need to be prepared to be nice and courteous. Don’t ruin connections by being disrespectful.
I hope this helped!
P.S.: You can find lists of bloggers online, it may save you some time, but you still need to get their name, learn their hobbies, and review their policies. Good luck!
ANGELINA KERNER is a self-published author of paranormal and lighthearted romance. She’s the wife of a photographer/physicist, and the mother of a cute little toddler, but she’s also been a dancer, a psychologist, an anthropologist, a geographer, a dreamer, and an adventurer. She does her best writing while being bothered by her cats, taking care of her son, in dressing rooms while waiting for family to try on clothing, and at home in sunny California. Angelina loves to play goddess-dragon matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where young goddesses have lovable flaws, the Fates plan to dethrone, the universe is endless and untamed, and dragons roam free! She also loves to write carefree romance where one can finish reading with a smile.
Visit her website at www.kernerangelina.live