Tag Archives: Author Swag

How to Get Book Reviews

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Let’s face it, waiting for book reviews can seem to take a lifetime. These all important book reviews are a necessity in getting your book viewed and purchased by more readers. Without them, you’re screwed.

Waiting for Book Reviews?

While your waiting for your book reviews to increase in number you can begin a campaign that will help them do just that.

Ask for reviews: There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for reviews. In fact, you can send out a newsletter to your subscribers advertising your new book and ask for reviews.

Query book reviewers: You don’t need to pay for this service, although you can. I recommend you get real reviews, because paid ones stand out from the rest, they’re a bit obvious. Start assembling your list of book reviewers well before your publication date. This is something you want to be prepared for so that when your book is released, it has a large amount of reviews to go with it. Book bloggers are the best people to reach out to for this purpose. There are several other places to find reviewers as well.

  • Story Cartel – all books on Story Cartel are free in exchange for honest book reviews.

Be sure to check out the etiquette for this process later in this post.

Offer prizes: You can offer up prizes for your reviews in the form of author swag. People love free stuff and they love to win prizes. You could have anyone who purchases your book write a review and be automatically entered into a drawing that shows your appreciation. You can give out bookmarks, playing cards, coffee mugs, water bottles, sweatshirts, tote bags, and more.

Give your book away: Take advantage of the three days Amazon gives you to give your book away for free. When you are doing your promotions you can mention it’s in exchange for a review.

Ask friends and family: You can amass quite a few reviews just by asking friends, family, and coworkers. These people like you, chances are they are willing to read your book. Ask them to leave you a review, heck, offer them prizes too if you want. Just be sure to mention that they shouldn’t refer to you as if they know you when writing their review. The review will sound more convincing that way and help to draw new readers into buying your book.

Be proactive: What’s important when seeking reviews is to be proactive. Talk about it on your social networks. Use a book teaser to help gain interest in your book through your marketing. But always mention that you would appreciate reviews. Do a blog tour and ask for reviews there.

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A Few Words On Etiquette

Some may not know this, but there is actually etiquette that goes into asking a reviewer to read your book. Reviewers are not obligated to read your book, and they certainly aren’t required to like your book, so here are a couple of pieces of advice for the author who is looking to get their book reviewed.

  • Take the time to establish a relationship with your book bloggers.
  • Take into consideration what the reviewer likes to read.
  • Give a synopsis of your book in the query email.
  • Don’t hound the reviewer.
  • Don’t get upset if the reviewer doesn’t like your book.
  • Don’t expect the reviewer to search out the book.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Make it personal.

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How to get high ranking reviews

Amazon Top Reviewers: Garnering a positive review from one of Amazon’s top customer reviewers is not only a great endorsement for your book, it’s often perceived as a more meaningful, and especially helpful, review due to the criteria that Amazon uses to qualify those that have achieved this ranking.

Their higher profile and credibility, plus the competition for their in-depth, quality reviews makes it tough to catch this group’s attention. But the rewards are often worth the extra effort. In many cases, reviews from top Amazon reviewers can generate enough momentum to create a cascade of additional reviews and book sales.

Another strategy for finding high quality reviewers on Amazon:

  • Go to your personal Author Page on Amazon and locate the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on the right. This section provides a list of authors whose topic or genre is similar to your own.
  • Clicking on an author name will bring you to their author page, which will include a listing of their books. Choose a book, then click on a review for that book. This will take you to the Customer Reviews page.
  • Click on the name of a reviewer to get to that reviewer’s Amazon profile (which lists books or items that they’ve reviewed).
  • Look for contact info like an email address or a link to their website.
  • Send them a query via email, referencing that you noticed they reviewed book XYZ by John Doe and you are wondering if they would be interested in reviewing your book on a similar topic, and that you’d be happy to send them a free copy if they’re interested.
  • Remember, you can go through the “Customers Also Bought Items By” section on each author’s page, not just your own.
  • No spam! Make it personal and be authentic.

Publishers Weekly: BookLife is PW’s new site dedicated to the world of Self-Publishing. It’s packed with tips, reviews, profiles and destinations for authors and readers!

It’s also the new home of PW Select, their marketing program for self-published authors and the place where indie authors can now submit their books for PW Review consideration FOR FREE!

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10 places that review self-published books

1. Goodreads

2. Digital Book Today

3. Kirkus

4. Self-Publishing Review

5. IndieReader.com

6. Indie B.R.A.G.

7. PW Select (Publisher’s Weekly)

8. Blue Ink Review

9. The Indie Reviewer List — (not a review site itself, but a great resource with links and contacts for book reviewers and blogs that highlight self-published literature)

10. Book Blogger Directory — (similarly, a “comprehensive listing of book blogs”)

What advice can you give for getting more reviews?


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Why Should An Author Invest In Swag

Web-Design, Graphic Designer, Business Cards, Bookmarks, Book Cover Designer,

Let’s break it down.


What is your author brand? Who is your audience? What impression (that your card will make) is most in line with your books? Answering these questions will help you figure out the style of card you want. For example, if you write dark paranormal you aren’t going to want the pink card with the wedding script writing because it doesn’t fit and build on the impression you are striving to create.


What are you selling? Hint–it isn’t you so much as your products (your books!). Use your latest book cover–not your face. We don’t want to see your face. Okay, I don’t want to see your face. Being able to recognize you in a crowd isn’t going to make me buy your book, recognizing your book cover when I am book shopping is going to make me buy your book. (If you don’t have a book yet, then your face might be okay. Or possibly skip the image altogether and feature something like your author tagline or a related image (make sure you have the rights to use it) that is uniquely you and your brand.)


Don’t use a stock image provided from the printing company. You know how many business cards I’ve seen with the same tree printed on it? That does you no favors and does not help you stand out, be unique, or make you memorable. No picture is better than using a common one that someone else might have–can you imagine swapping cards with someone and discovering they are visually the same? Ouch.

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Back to selling: 

Maybe you are using a free book as bait to gain a readership? Add the cover to your card. That will be useful for years. Or possibly you are selling a feeling–use your author tagline. (Mine is: Read, Dream, Laugh, and Love.) Or maybe if you are using a book’s cover you will want to include the book’s tagline. You want your card to create a feeling. It isn’t just information on cardstock. It can be so much more!


Where can people find you? What do you want them to do? I don’t care if this is a card for your street team announcing your latest release. Connect. Give them a URL so they can follow you. Make the cards about more than just this one book. (Make them evergreen as much as possible that way you can still use them. You hand them over and say, this is an old card from my book release, but this is where you can find me online–and you point to your website’s URL. Bam! You used up an old card, shared some of your work while providing your contact info.

BUT don’t provide every place someone can find you online. Pick the most effective (we’ll get into this in a bit) and share those links/addresses. They don’t need your phone number–they aren’t going to call you (and in that rare instance that they are, you can write it on the card). They don’t need to know where you live. They need your online stuff. Even if you are connecting with agents, they want your email, not your mailing address.

Take it Further:

Add a QR code on the back. Use a QR code that uses the cover art from your book in it for further branding. What does the QR code do? It hooks people up with your mailing list. Also share the URL that the QR code goes to in case people don’t have a QR code reader. (QR Code readers are a free app on a smart phone that can read the black code using the phone’s camera. That takes them to a URL you’ve set up for the code… like a mailing list sign up page.)


Are you someone who will go to a lot of conferences and want to add your bookmark to the author’s bookmark table? Then make bookmarks. Check your actual needs and your actual opportunities to get these branded promo items out there and take it from there.

Author business cards can have extra space at the top right where you can add a signature should you use them to hand out at speaking engagements or to add to prize packages you send out. (Remember–your signature makes it special!)

Contact Michelle Rene For Your Design Needs

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