By W. Terry Whalin
Several times a week, someone will email and ask me to read their book and write a review. It is a good strategy to approach well-known reviewers. Normally their request mentions a book that I have read and reviewed, then pitches their book.
Because I've written almost 700 book reviews on Amazon, I get these requests. To be honest, I look at their books and in most cases I politely decline the offer—for several reasons. Most of them are ebook only books on Kindle and I do not have an Ebook reader. Also when I look at the books, I'm not interested in reading their book so again I decline. Because I've been reading and writing book reviews for many years, I have publicists and publishers often pitching for me to read their books and write about them. I am committed to continuing to read new books and write book reviews about those books.
I review the book on Amazon but also on Goodreads, where I have 5,000 friends (the limit). Repeatedly I see authors launch their book with no book reviews on Amazon--zero. In fact, during the last week, I've seen two long-time publishing professionals (literary agents) launch new books with no Amazon book reviews. If Amazon is selling 70% of the books (a number that I've seen recently in the publishing press--unsure if true or not), then it is critical for every author to get book reviews.
One of the best resources for getting reviews for your book is from Tim Grahl but get it and use it: https://booklaunch.com/amazon-reviews/ Scroll down and on the bottom get the free download from him because it has templates for emails and spread sheets and all sorts of valuable tools. It doesn't matter if your book came out last month or last year, you need to be working on these reviews. If someone goes to the page on Amazon and there are no reviews or only one or two reviews, this information affects whether others will buy your book.
Recently I was traveling and met with Charles Billingsley, a well-known Christian recording artist. Charles released a new book from Worthy Publishing on March 7th. Charles he gave me a copy of Words on Worship. The book is a well-designed, attractive hardcover. Inside Charles had gathered four pages of great and well-known endorsements. I know that effort took work and is something every author should do for their new book. For my own curiosity, I looked on Amazon on his launch day and he had no book reviews on Amazon.
To help Charles, I quickly looked at the book, wrote a review and posted it on Amazon--and also Goodreads. I also tweeted about the book a couple of times to my 200,000+ twitter followers. Writing book reviews is a simple way you can support other authors. Also notice my reviews are substantial and at least 120 words often including a quotation from the book to prove that I've read the book cover to cover. I don't believe the review is as effective if only a sentence or two since those reviews don't contain much information.
Here's my simple yet important idea for you when you write book reviews: include a live link to your own book at the end of the review. Within their customer reviews, Amazon allows you to include a link to another product. Why not use this tool to tell readers about your latest book? Now take a closer look at my review for Words on Worship. Now notice at the end of the review, I write: “W. Terry Whalin is an editor and the author of more than 60 books including his latest Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist.” Because this link is live to my book page on Amazon, a reader interested could go over to the page and purchase my book. To be honest, adding this link does not always work because sometimes (rarely) Amazon doesn't like it and will not post my review. When this happens, I delete my personal line and resubmit it and then my review appears on the site.
As long as I'm writing about book reviews, I have a free teleseminar on this topic. Just follow the link and get the full replay and download the gifts associated with it. Your work to tell people about your book is on-going after it is published. The key from my perspective is to always be looking for new ways and on-going ways to promote your own book--even when helping others with a book review.
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.
Use this simple promotion idea when you write a book review. (ClickToTweet)