Looking for tactics to get your name known? To increase your credibility with readers? Review other authors’ books. Presumably, you are already reading books in your genre, so leverage that to help get your reputation up.
When you review a book, you’re not just doing the author a favor, you’re reaching readers.
- Bookbub.com is a site for readers.
- Create an account, add a profile, add your own books to your profile, then search for and review the books you’ve read.
- Readers visit this site for ideas on what to read next. They follow genres and authors, and they can view your profile (and thus your books).
- Your review of another author’s book puts your name in front of them with the “author” label.
- You can follow other authors to be alerted when they put out a new book.
- You can offer deals on your books (if you’re self-published or if your publisher is on board) for Bookbub members. They send out newsletters to all their subscribers.
- Goodreads.com is also a site for readers.
- Similar to Bookbub in how it works, but it seems to be the top spot for readers to go who are looking for their next read.
- Your author profile on Goodreads will rank high on Google if anyone is searching for you.
- You add your books, and readers can follow you, review your books, or add you to a “To be read” list.
- When you review the books you’ve read on Goodreads, a lot of people see you.
- You can set up a blog on Goodreads to reach your readers.
- Amazon.com or Audible.com
- Amazon.com (Kindle, paperback, etc.) and Audible.com (Amazon’s audiobook arm) are search engines. Many people go there to search for their next book.
- Readers do read the reviews.
- On both these sites, you can click on the reviewer’s name to see what else they recommended.
- You achieve a reviewer rank the more you review, so if you read a lot, you can earn credibility.
- On your own social media
- Post your review on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you hang out online.
- Link to your profile on any of the above sites to get people going there and seeing your books.
- You have more freedom to discuss your own books/writing career in the context of the one you’re reviewing on these sites.
- All of the above!
- The greatest thing about reviewing is that you can write it once and post it on multiple sites. Thus, you multiply your reach and economize your time.
Tips & Best Practices
- Let the author whose book you’re reviewing know that you did. Send them a link or use an @link in Facebook or Twitter to make sure they see it. If you alert them via email, use an email template to save time. See our article “Use Email Templates” for more on this.
- If you have nothing good to say, say nothing. You’re not just a reader, you’re this author’s peer; so even if you hated the book, don’t slam it. Just don’t review it. Review only books you liked at least enough to give it 3 stars out of 5. Consider them more like recommendations than reviews. This is for your own protection. Stephen King can afford it. You? Maybe not so much.
- Don’t lie. If you didn’t like the book, don’t say you did. If you didn’t read the book, don’t review it.
- Keep it helpful. Think about what a reader would want to know. Is it slow in the beginning, but picks up and is worth the read? Is it funny? Is it sexy? How sexy?
- No spoilers! Although hinting that something really cool happens is awesome.
- Mention at least 3 things you liked about the book. Even if your review is only three sentences long, each sentence should call out one thing you liked (a character, descriptions, plot, dialogue, an interesting hook, etc.).
- Mention more things you liked than things you didn’t like. It’s okay to be somewhat critical, just don’t overburden the review with negativity.
- Don’t try to be overly erudite. Most readers won’t connect with that. Just say it like it is in regular man-on-the-street terms. [Caveat: Of course, erudition may be perfectly appropriate for a non-fiction book or classic literature.]
- Make sure your profile, wherever you’re reviewing, is kept up to date. All the sites listed above give you a profile that you can customize.
- It doesn’t matter how long ago you read it. You can still review it.
- If time is tight, consider paying someone to “polish” your reviews for you and post them. (A great odd job for your teenager!) You tell them how many stars to give it and offer a few adjectives to describe how you felt about the book, then the other person puts the review together for you and handles posting it. See our article entitled “Use Fiverr for Odd Jobs” for more on how to do this.
Did this inspire any ideas? Share them in a comment.