If you’ve written, are working on, or are even thinking about writing a book, the list of tasks on your plate is probably huge. Chances are good you’re self publishing, which means you’re on you’re own as far as all of the non-writing aspects of getting a book done: interior, cover, book marketing, and so on. This is the nature of the beast – you’ve got big, traditional publishers that have huge (albeit largely ineffective) marketing arms for the vaulted few authors that get traditional publishing deals. And you have the rest of the world, those who can’t get a traditional deal for one reason or another, and need to self-publish.
One of the things that new authors find hardest to do is actually get their book out to their audience, especially if they don’t have a large online platform already. Often times they resort to ineffective strategies like promoting to family, friends, and weak acquaintances instead of hitting up their audience directly. While this isn’t bad, it’s not very effective unless your family, friends, and acquaintances are your exact target audience. Which is the case almost 0% of the time.
Getting Your Book Reviewed
When launching a book, reviews are one of the key factors people use to judge your book. And not just good reviews. Often times, potential readers go straight to a negative review and then move back to positive if the negative review didn’t turn them off.
The question that many authors run into is, “How do I get my book reviewed by people who are in my audience?” This is a nut that I’ve been trying to crack for a while now, and I think I’ve come up with a solid process.
At Book in a Box, where I work, we use a service called BookRazor. It’s run by my friend Dane and so far, we’ve been loving it. I combine Dane’s service with a few other tools and we’ve started to see awesome traction for authors as we ramp up to their book launch. However, you don’t have to use this service. You can do everything that BookRazor does on your own as well – it just saves some time, which makes it worth it for us.
The Basic Idea
- Find 10 books that your book is related to, preferably with a large amount of reviews
- Scour the reviews for the public email addresses of reviewers (meaning they have expressed interest in reviewing more books)
- Compile a list of all reviewers names, email addresses, and the book they reviewed
- Send them all a short pitch to receive a copy of your book
It sounds like a lot of work – and it is, if you don’t use a few clever services to speed up the workflow. BookRazor does steps 2 and 3, but you can easily outsource that to Mechanical Turk or hire some help on a freelancing site. Step 4 would also take a lot of time if you didn’t use something like Gmail Labs Canned Responses.
Here’s how I do it:
I compile a list of 10 books that are closely related to an author’s book and send them off to BookRazor. Once I get the spreadsheet back, I load it up in Google Sheets, clean up the columns a bit, and then write up a custom draft email in Gmail that looks something like this:
I saw that you reviewed TITLE OF BOOK THEY READ. I work with the author of TITLE, which is pretty similar to TITLE OF BOOK THEY READ – it’s a DESCRIPTION OF AUTHOR’S BOOK. Based on what you’ve read recently, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.
Would you like to receive a free digital copy? I’d be happy to send it to you as a .pdf, .epub, or .mobi in exchange for your honest review.
After I’ve customized this template, I keep it saved as a draft and use Yet Another Mail Merge to send out 100+ emails like this in a flash. So far, I get about a 30% response rate on this template, which is pretty solid for a cold pitch to review a book. I attribute it to a blend of the reviewers being highly targeted, and the pitch customizing heavily to their name, the last book they read, and some compelling reasons they might like this new book.
Once I get a “Yes” back from someone, I send the following email and attach the book:
Great! I’ve attached a copy of TITLE for you 🙂
When you’ve taken a look, I’d love if you left an honest review here: AMAZON LINK
P.S. We have interesting authors coming out with books pretty regularly. I’d be happy to include you on our reviewer’s list if you’d like to join. You can do that by signing up here: LINK
And boom, there you have it. A scalable, honest, and effective way to get book reviews for a new book. You’ll find people are very appreciative that you took the time to reach out in this manner.
If you have any questions on how to do this yourself, let me know! Also, feel free to hit me up if you’ve discovered a better way to do it, I’d love to hear it 🙂