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How to Get Book Reviews for Your Book – For Free

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

“How can I get book reviews?” It’s a question every writer asks – from the first-time author to the bestselling novelist. Getting book reviews is worth the effort, particularly if you’re selling your masterpiece on Amazon.

Look at it from a different point of view for a moment. When you are considering plopping down money for a book, don’t you want to read what other people say about it? I do. People like to know what other people think.  A review reveals how your book affects readers and helps them. They are an example of social proof – feedback from real people about a book.

And when the book has 18 reviews or 42 reviews or 117 reviews (rather than one or two) then I’m even more convinced that I MUST read this book. So many others have already done so and have taken the time to post their opinion about it. As your book accumulates reviews, you create momentum to build readership for your book.

But how do you get started? With purposeful planning you can get book reviews for your book for free whether you’re a new author or an established one. I’ve used these simple tips to get plenty of reviews for my self-published books. Try them.

7 ways to get book reviews for free

1. Use a launch team

If you hit “publish” with reviews in your back pocket, you can build your book’s credibility right from Day 1. To do that, your book promotion plan begins long before your publication date. Have your book formatted and prepared at least four to six weeks before it is released so your ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) are ready to go.

Then, assemble a launch team of first readers. List names and email addresses of potential reviewers and message them. Explain that you’ve written a book, give a one-sentence summary of your baby, and ask them if they’d be willing to read it and write an honest review withing 24 hours of its publication. Tell them the book launch date. You may be surprised at the response. People like to be asked for their opinions.

Invite as many people as you can to join your launch team and track their responses individually. I create a spreadsheet with each beta reader’s name, email address, date I invited them to read my book, and date they responded. I have a response message that’s ready to send as soon as I hear back from them. The message includes a link to my book. I use BookFunnel to deliver ARCs to my readers. 

Send an email to your launch team a week before your book’s release, reminding them that publication is coming up. Then send a reminder day of the launch – preferably right around the time the book goes live – inviting them to post their review ASAP. And be sure to message those who post reviews, thanking them for their participation. 

2. Include an ask in your book

“(Have) a short note at the back of your books asking readers nicely for a review,” says David Gaughran, author of Let’s Get Visible: How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books. “Doing that led to my review rate tripling overnight.” 

Explain to readers that their review is valuable to other readers – and to you. If your book is digital, include a live link to make it easy for a reviewer to hop over and write her thoughts as soon as she reads, “The End.”

3. Offer your book for free (for a limited time)

How to get book reviews on Amazon – beyond those from your launch team? If you publish your book on Kindle Direct Publishing, you can offer your eBook for free for five days per quarter. Then you can submit your free book to a number of eBook newsletters through a service like KDROI. 

This last point is important: be sure to advertise that your book is free for a limited time only. And share it beyond your own email subscriber circle. You want to make your free book available to as many potential readers as possible. The more people that read your book, the more reviews you’ll get – especially if you’ve included an ask and a link at the end (see #2).

And lest you worry about giving away your eBook for free means you lose revenue, I’ve discovered quite the opposite happens.

  • People get my book for free which leads to more reviews which leads to people buying copies of my other books.
  • People see my book for free, download it, and like it so much that they buy the next in the series.
  • People see the electronic version available for free but choose the print version instead, which means sales.

4. Submit your book to free review sites

Another way to get book reviews: type “free book reviews + [your genre]” in your search engine. Study the results and make a list of potential free reviewers. Then reach out to them and ask for a book review. Some reviewers have a prescribed process you need to follow to get a free book review. Others are more informal. Since you’ve got your ARC in hand, you can send a copy to them easily.

Keep in mind that free book reviewers may or may not post their review on Amazon. No matter … any review generates traffic for your book. 

5. Ask your email list readers for reviews

If you’ve already started an email list and regularly send helpful emails to your subscribers, then hats off to you. Include a short blurb in your next several email newsletters announcing the publication of your book. Invite your subscribers (who happen to be your biggest fans already) to read and review your book.

If you’ve not yet started an email list, then now – as a new or repeat author – is a good time.

6. Ask members of private Facebook groups for reviews

Chances are you are a member of private Facebook groups for authors or for fans of a particular writing genre. Or maybe you’re a member of a Facebook group that shares a particular niche interest, like fencing.

So when it comes time to get book reviews your book, Fencing for Young Females, reach out to your fellow enthusiasts. Ask them to read and review your book.

7. Seek out top reviewers

You may notice a little notation next to select Amazon reviews. Those are “Top Reviewer” designations earned by those who write plenty of reviews and get “Most Helpful” and “Helpful” votes from readers. Why not get reviews from them? Ask some of these top reviewers to read your book.

This approach takes a bit of sweat equity. Hop on over to the Amazon Top Reviewers page. Check out each reviewer’s information. Some write reviews for weight loss products. Some review only motorcycle gear. Others specialize in tech.

But you’ll find top reviewers who read and review books … and even books in your genre. Contact them and ask them to review your book. With a bit of hard work, you’ll find one or two or more who will comply. And in the process, you’ll find an influential fan and get more book reviews.

Avoid these big no-nos when you get book reviews

Buying book reviews? Don’t do it. You can give a beta reader a free copy of a book. But you should not pay someone to leave a review on Amazon. Ditto for providing free gifts or Amazon gift cards or compensation for their time. 

Yes, you want to get book reviews, but you want legitimate ones. Truthful reviews build a solid fan base. So, use a trusted approach invite dozens of people (yes, dozens) to read your book by asked a simple question: “Would you be willing to read my book and offer an honest review?”

Put that way, people who like to read will respond gratefully. And you’ll get what you asked for: a book review.

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