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Book: Getting Book Reviews - Easy, Ethical Strategies for Authors (Writer's Craft 14) by Rayne Hall

Book: Getting Book Reviews - Easy, Ethical Strategies for Authors (Writer's Craft 14) by Rayne Hall

categories: Book, Authorship, Indie Publishing, Book Promotion, Book Marketing, Book Sales, Book Publicity, Publishing Business, Writing and Publishing, Book Reviewers, Book Reviews


Rayne Hall

Rayne Hallabout this book: The more reviews your book has, the better, especially if they are genuine, personal, thoughtful and positive. Reviews can multiply your sales and catapult your book to the top of bestseller lists - but how do you get them?
This book shows easy, ethical, legitimate, empowering strategies.

It is Book 14 in the acclaimed Writer's Craft series. British English



This simple method is my favourite. It costs nothing, takes only a few minutes, and has a powerful effect.

Indie authors can apply it immediately. Corporate-published authors need to liaise with their publishers.

At the end of your book, add a section in which you address the reader. This creates a personal touch that most readers appreciate.

In this 'Dear Reader' section, you can give your email address, encourage readers to contact you if they have spotted a typo, tell them where to find your blog and invite them to join your mailing list—and most importantly, invite them to review your book.

Here's a suggestion how you might write this. Rephrase it in your personal voice.

Dear Reader,
I hope you enjoyed this book. I'd love it if you could post a review about it on Amazon or another book website. Getting reviews for my books gives me a big thrill, and I look forward to reading what you think. Perhaps you can mention who your favourite character is, and which parts you like best.
If you've spotted a typo, email me at You can also follow me on Twitter where my user name is @suziescrybe.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Suzie Scrybe

The reader who reaches this section has already read the book, so you're not asking for much. Unlike other people you may ask to review your book, she doesn't need to invest a lot of extra time.

Moreover, the fact that she's reached the end shows that she liked the book, otherwise she wouldn't have finished reading. This means her review will probably be positive.

Surprisingly, few readers think of leaving a review, and this personal nudge from the author motivates them.

Many readers have never written a review and are shy. Some worry that they need to write a complex essay and will be judged on its merits. You can encourage them by phrasing your request in a chatty tone, by emphasising that it can be simple (use the word 'quick', 'brief' or 'simple') and by suggesting what they could write about.

For a novel:
Perhaps you can say who is your favourite character in this book, and why?
For a non-fiction book:
If possible, mention which chapter you found most helpful, and why.
For a short story collection:
Say which of the stories is your favourite, and why.

The resulting review shows that the reviewer has genuinely read the book and reveals what she really thinks and feels. This personal, authentic style of review is exactly what you want.


Here's a powerful variation of this method for authors who have two or more books published in the same genre: Offer a free review copy of one of your other books to readers who send you the URL to a published review of this book.

The prospect of another book by the same author they've enjoyed so much is a great motivator to write the review and post it. You know that this reader actually writes reviews, because you've seen the URL, so you can be confident that she'll review the next one, too.

Make sure you emphasise that the new book is a reviewer's copy. Don't present it as a reward, because this would be against the rules of many review sites.

This strategy works only if your books are in the same genre. There's no point tempting the reader of a chaste Inspirational Romance with a free copy of a Steamy Ménage novel, or the reader of a Splatterpunk Horror novel with a Middle Grade children's book.

It works great for series and serials. With a serial (a series which needs to be read in specific order), you can offer the next volume—assuming that it's already published. With other series, you can offer the reader a choice of the books.

That's what I do with my Writer's Craft books. Here's an example from Twitter for Writers:


I hope you enjoyed this book and have found a lot of inspiration, ideas and practical tricks.

Choose the ones you want to apply, skip those you don't like, and modify my suggestions to suit your own strategy.

There's more to Twitter than this book covers—I've focused on what's most relevant to writers—and Twitter adds new features all the time. Experiment, discover new things, make mistakes and learn from them.

Send me a tweet about how you got on with this book and which chapters have been most useful to you. I'll probably retweet you (but can't make promises). My Twitter is @RayneHall. You can also email me:, especially if you want to tell me more than fits into 140 characters, such as suggestions for a revised edition or typos which have escaped the proofreader's eagle eyes.

If you find this book helpful, it would be great if you could spread the word about it. Maybe you know other writers who would benefit.

Reviews on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, BookLikes, etc are very welcome. Email me the link to your review, and I'll send you a free review copy (ebook) of one of my other Writer's Craft books. Let me know which one you would like: Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, The Word-Loss Diet, Writing About Magic, Writing About Villains, Writing Dark Stories, Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels, How To Train Your Cat To Promote Your Book, Why Does My Book Not Sell? 20 Simple Fixes, Writing Vivid Settings, Writing Deep Point of View.

With best wishes for your tweeting and writing success,

Rayne Hall

This kind of offer will appeal greatly to readers who enjoy your books but have a limited budget for reading.

A word of warning: do this only for ebooks, which you can simply send as attachments at no cost. With print books, this can get expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the book, but the international postage to some places can be exorbitant. You can offer a free ebook at the end of the paperback book, but make it clear it's an ebook.

If you're an indie author, you can offer free books immediately. If you're corporate-published, you need to work with your publicists on this. They will probably be happy to cooperate, especially if it's for ebooks which cost nothing, and if you offer to do all the work. Sort out whether readers should contact the publisher or you with the URL. Try to do it yourself, so you can interact with your readers, and you know that it's being done. But some publishers may want to do it in-house so they can harvest addresses. Some publishers have a policy of never sending out free copies, not even of ebooks.


Do not request a positive review. Most reviews gained in this way will be positive, but your reader needs to be confident that she can write what she wants.


These are the benefits of asking readers at the end of the book:

• It costs you nothing.
• It takes very little time.
• It takes effect almost immediately with ebooks. (Paperbacks take longer.)
• The prospective reviewers don't need to spend much extra time, because they've read the book already.
• No need for personal contact or begging (an important factor if you're an introvert or shy or feel awkward asking for favours).
• Resulting reviews are mostly positive.
• With the advanced strategy, readers who like the first book are likely to enjoy the second one, and will eventually review all the books.
• With the advanced strategy, you're opening communications with a genuine fan. This kind of interaction is invaluable.


• It works only if people are reading the book. If you can't get readers, you can't get reviews this way, so there may be a vicious circle of no reviews = no readers and no readers = no reviews.
• If your book is corporate published, you need to liaise with your publisher (the publicist if there is one, or the editor and the marketing department.)
• The advanced strategy works only for books of the same genre.
• The advanced strategy can be expensive for paperbacks.


When readers emailed me with the URL to a review and a request for another book, I filed their emails in a folder, meaning to deal with them soon. Then I forgot about that folder and rediscovered it only a year later. How embarrassing! Those readers probably thought that I was breaking my promise. I've since learnt to respond to such emails promptly.

To make it easy for my readers to leave reviews on various sites, I included the URLs to the book's page on all book distribution sites. But some book distributors don't tolerate links to competing sites, and they deleted my book from their catalogue.

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