Book Reviews: How to get your book reviewed.
As any author will tell you, getting book reviews is no easy task. Of course, some authors have hundreds of reviews on their work, and some may be from the readers themselves, and others from requested reviews. Fans of specific authors, may always write a review. One thing though, authors cannot rely on readers to always write a review. If the reader is using a Kindle device, after the last page of the book, it automatically goes to a review page, where the reader, can click the number of stars, and then write a review. There is a minimum text that needs to be typed in. This review goes directly to Goodreads and Amazon.com. (If your book is not on Goodreads, authors need to add it. Goodreads has different accounts, readers, authors and librarians. Make sure you have a Goodreads author account).
Other purchases of books, do not have an automatic review feature. (Kindle app/paperback etc...) So, authors do not be surprised when sales do not match number of reviews.
How do I get a review?
Now, as a book reviewer and an Indie author, I have experience, but am not an expert by any means about how to get a review. Now, this is just advice based on experience. Not an all out guarantee for book reviews.
First, always make sure you have a book to use as an ARC (Advanced Review Copy). I refer to an ARC on my Amy's Bookshelf Reviews as an Author's Review copy, as I review books before and after they have been released. Anyway, this copy can be digital or print copy. You can also "gift" the reviewer a copy of your book.
If you're looking for reviews, ask your fans. If you haven't yet established a fan base, look for review listing sites. I use these sites to not only list my review blog, but also look for reviewers who will review my work. I list these sites on my review blog for others to seek out reviews.
If you haven't requested one from me, read my policy and go ahead and request a review at Amy's Bookshelf Reviews Request
If you're going to use a digital file, I recommend creating a watermark on your book file, and then converting it to the proper format that the review requests.
One thing that I cannot stress enough is to always READ the reviewer's review and request policy. Even if you have requested from the reviewer before, it could possibly change (My changes frequently depending on my list of books that I have to read). Read it completely. Reviewers always put out what type of genres that they read, and they don't go beyond that. If you're unsure, you can always contact the reviewer for clarity.
Give the reviewer time to respond. As a reviewer, I always respond to all emails and requests I get within 72 hours, but it's usually a lot less, and I have that on my blog. Once the review has been accepted by a reviewer, they usually give a time frame of how long it will take. Asking for a status after a few weeks is fine, but don't bombard the reviewer with a status request, as that would be unprofessional.
As an author, you need to have a professional email address. it doesn't matter what email domain you use (yahoo, gmail, outlook, etc), but the front name is what is important. It should reflect you as an author. If you don't have one, get one. Use it for all author or writing related emails. When you send requests for reviews, it shows professionalism.
Before sending a request, check the credibility of the reviewer. When I write a review, and post it, I follow the guidelines of all the sites I post to. i also list the sites that I post to, and do accept other sites as requested (if the book is listed). Read the guidelines, see where the reviewer posts the reviews, and read previously posted reviews by the reviewer. You don't want a reviewer who posts more negative than positive reviews. Also, see how the reviews are worded, and if it's articulate enough.
Use social media for promotion and to request reviews. Do not rely on "review swaps", as many times the other person will not write the review. Also, join groups on Facebook or whatever social media sites you use to help promote your work and gain reviewers.
Beta readers are not intended for be used as reviewers, however, if they like the work, you could ask them to write a review either for "early release" so that the review could be quoted on the book cover or inside the book, on the Editorial Review Section of amazon.com on the book's page, or once the book is published.
However you go about asking for reviews, you must be prepared for reviews that you may not like or disagree with. Whatever the review ends up being, do not argue about it with the reviewer. That's unprofessional. You don't have to agree with a reviewer, but it's not professional to contradict the reviewer, especially in the public eye. If you have formatting or editing issues that the reviewer points out, fix them. Use the reviews to help you learn from mistakes or realize someone else's point of view of your work.
Just because you wrote it, doesn't mean someone wants to read it.