Indie authors must start seeking and soliciting potential book reviewers before their books are published. In doing so, offer them a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. I recommend doing this first because getting someone to provide a review for your book can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. It’s also important to be tenacious when soliciting reviewers–you may have to solicit dozens of reviewers before getting one to agree to review your book. Net Galley is a relatively new service through which you can upload your manuscript for a starting fee of $300 to get reviews from a variety of readers including book sellers, bloggers, librarians, book reviewers. I used this service and was able to get a few reviews after having my book on the site for two months. During this time, I was extremely proactive in soliciting reviewers.
It’s great to get reviews from friends, family and social media contacts, but you should really focus on getting reviews from reviewers that carry weight and credence with serious readers and book buyers. Such reviewers can be found on various sites, including the Step-by-Step Publishing and Indie View sites listed in the bibliography of resources of this guide. Also try Googling reviewers for your particular subject or genre. You can opt to get paid reviews, but you should only get paid reviews from such reputable publishing review sources such as Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly. In deciding whether or not to purchase a self-published book, the criteria I depend upon most heavily is the quality of reviews of such a book. So if a book has a 5 star rating on Amazon with 20 reviews, all of which are from reviewers without much credibility, I will be less inclined to purchase than a book with a 3 star rating with positive reviews from credible reviewers, even if the reviews are few. How do I judge the credibility of a reviewer or review? Often times, a reviewer will mention that she has provided the author an honest review in exchange for a copy of his book. A credible reviewer may run a reputable book review site. I also judge the credibility of a reviewer by the quality of the review he has written. If the review doesn’t provide any constructive criticism–positive or negative–I will not consider the reviewer credible. Likewise, if the review is filled with improper usage of words, grammatical and punctuation errors and misspellings, I will not consider the reviewer to have credibility. Lastly, if the person states within the review that she has not read the book (which actually happens), I will not give the review any credibility. I give most credibility to media reviewing sources such as Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and to such reputable reviewers as Midwest Book Review.