Now that you finally published your book, it’s time to gather book reviews. With so many options to promote your book and get it in front of readers, it’s hard to choose which one(s) will help sell this book and the ones that follow. Book review sites are one way to use your advertising dollars to promote reviews and, potentially, book sales.
Why are book reviews so important?
Book reviews are the social proof for your book. It lets other readers know your book is worthy of their time and money. Just like you wouldn’t go to a restaurant without reviews, most readers, unless they know you, have seen you, or a friend recommends your book, won’t pick up your book without reviews. Your first goal is to get to 25 reviews as quickly as possible. Once you reach that goal, keep pushing for more. There is no such thing as too many reviews.
When should you spend money on book review sites?
When you have a small email list or small following on social media and can’t generate the number of desired book reviews organically, you may consider turning to book review sites. It is against Amazon rules to have your mother and friends stuff your book page with reviews. So, it may be advantageous to engage readers out of your own ecosystem.
What to expect from book review sites
The most important thing to understand about engaging with book review sites is that you aren’t paying for reviews. You are paying to have your book in front of readers who may select your book and leave a review. Readers are under no obligation to leave a review, although most will, and they are under no obligation to leave a positive review.
Most reviewers sign up for the sites’ free and nearly free ebooks email list and/or social media feeds. They choose books in genres they like or will go off their normal reading patterns and choose something new because there is little to no risk if the book is free or cheap.
Who can expect the greatest return?
Not all books are created equal. Genre fiction (romance, mystery, etc.) will get consumed at a ravenous rate compared to nonfiction. You increase your chance of success with review sites using the same elements as you will selling them: a professional cover, an engaging description, and a well-written, well-edited book. Make sure you put your best book forward to entice readers.
Why give away your book?
Why would you give away your book for free? Isn’t the point to make money? Long-term, the goal is to generate income. In the short term, it may be more advantageous to expose your book to more readers and build a following. More reviews or more Amazon (or another platform) traffic may mean higher sales after you’ve run your book review promotion. Especially if you have more than one book, book review promotions can help with sales of all of your books. Your goal is to turn readers into fans. Giving your book away is one way to start.
Book review sites
The style, competition, and offerings vary from site to site. While there are free review sites available, the ones listed here are all paid sites. Except for Book Marketing Tools, all are run out of their own site using their list of reviewers. You can also sign up to become a reviewer and receive free and discounted book offers. You’ll help other authors and read some great books!
Most free book review sites won’t evaluate your book. Their Twitter lists may not be vetted either. This is one instance that you get what you pay for. Read the details of each program to understand what you are getting.
Book Marketing Tools
Book Marketing Tools has been around for a number of years, giving sound book marketing advice to its readers. More recently, they built a tool to easily add your information once and use it to be listed on 31+ free book promotion sites. While it isn’t a book review platform in itself, it does ease your efforts. And, of course, time is money. At the time of this blog post, it cost $29 to access this feature.
Readers Favorite offers free and paid book review opportunities. According to their site, 50% of the books listed for free receive a review within 3 months. For guaranteed, expedited reviews, there are three options for one, three, and five reviews. Readers Favorite only publishes four- and five-star reviews and with enough depth to allow you to pull out several shorter quotes for use on social media and other avenues. Their pricing model includes free, $59, $129, and $199 offerings.
With Reedsy Discovery, you first pick your launch date and are matched with readers who give reviews in your category. You receive a book landing page and are added to their Discovery feed. The best books get featured in their catalog. For $50, you are eligible for one review. If your book is not reviewed, you can resubmit it three times at no charge. They require that you submit your book within six months of publication and must submit a copy of your ebook and front cover.
NetGalley is a way to reach a growing community of influential readers (media, reviewers, booksellers, librarians, bloggers, and educators) who can read, review and recommend your book(s). You can enroll in 3-6 month packages individually or through partners like Books Go Social (below) or Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) for $199-$399 (partner prices). Reviewers request pre-publication digital copies of your book and publish reviews to their profile and to share with their audiences.
Book Raid is another high-quality book review site. The benefit to promoting your title with this site, besides its popularity with readers, is that you only pay per click on your book, and your maximum spend is capped at $60. While they don’t take everyone, they do have a few requirements including minimum page count, recently discounted or free, and not promoted on their site within the last eight weeks, among other things.
Written Word Media
Written Word Media is another popular site hosting a variety of book promotion options. Among their offerings are Free Booksy for free books, Bargain Booksy for discounted books usually between $.99 and $2.99, Red Feather Romance, New Releases for books released within four months, and a Facebook/Instagram ad option called Reader Reach. Their tiered pricing levels the field with more popular genres promoted for a higher cost. Your book gets the attention it deserves with a growing reader list of well over 300,000 to date.
Books Go Social
Books Go Social offers a variety of book review opportunities as well as ad programs through Facebook and Amazon. Their package pricing varies depending on the service, and many packages offer tiered pricing options. They offer launch packages with ads, a book trailer, cover, description, and subtitle reviews, tweets, and email placements to their legions of followers, along with NetGalley membership. They also offer 4-8 week memberships to boost book sales and reviews. Packages start at $99.
BookBub earns its title as the coveted spot for book marketing. Books are vetted, and authors compete for featured deals due to the prestige and effect on sales that accompany it. There are many factors in getting your book accepted or denied. Some of those are required, like page count (differs between categories), or not discounted enough or already discounted within a month. You must offer at least a 50% discount on your ebook, preferably at a price between $.99-1.99. Most others are subjective. You are competing with other books. A great cover and description, wide distribution, well-edited, and plenty of reviews put you in the running. While they don’t have a requirement for the number of reviews, it is clear that under 25 positive reviews won’t cut it.
BookBub’s pricing reflects the high demand for the service. Costs for the Featured Deal vary by the popularity of the book category and the price you charge for the book. At the time of this writing, a featured deal could be as low as $92 or as high as $3066. Pricing changes regularly based on several factors. Here is more information about boosting your chances to get a BookBub featured deal.
Ok. That’s eight but who’s counting?
These are just a few of the book review sites available. As with many advertising programs, success will vary based on the platform and its ability to connect your book with the right readers. Once the promotion ends, use your online presence to turn readers into fans. They will be poised and ready for your next book or another product or service.
Do you need help navigating the book marketing path? Find your guide here.