I’ll start by saying this. It is best not to read your reviews. Just let them rack up but do not read. Good or bad, let a review be what it is and only pay attention to your overall rating (when promoting your work).
Reviews matter. That’s the bottom line. Your book needs to have some reviews. Good, bad, or even… meh. What other people are saying about your book counts. You can shout to the rafters all day and night about how wonderful your book is, but if no one else is saying anything about your book, it doesn’t matter. Advertisers will not accept a book without a good batch of honest reviews, and many readers will not pay attention to a new unknown book if it has no reviews to back it up either. So, bottom line, you need to get some reviews.
So, how do you go about getting people to review your work?
The easy way is, obviously, to give away copies. Hand out as many as you can and hope that people will read and review. Understand though that of the copies you give away, probably only 10% will result in a review. That is due in part to the fact that many people will jump on a free book, but have a huge backlist already to get through. That means your book might take a while to get to, if they get to it at all. Also, many people will take a book and offer a review if they can post something positive. If they like your book, you’ll get a review. If they don’t, they may not want to post anything at all in fear of insulting you or they simply may just not like to post negative reviews. Just be prepared that when you do hand out books, they might not always come back with a response.
Of the ones that do review, be prepared for honesty. Not every book is for everybody. You may have a mixed bag of reviews. Be prepared for all.
Now, how you go about giving away books for review is up to you. For me, I like to have spreadsheets and signup forms and make it all formal-ish. So, with that said, I have a Read to Review program open to anyone who wishes to try my work.
Sign up HERE and pick a book to read. If you like it (and post a review) you’re eligible to read and review more for free.