Getting book reviews can be tough, but getting book reviews is essential if you want to promote your book to a wide audience. Most independent authors who receive reviews, and even authors who have published through one of the “Big Five” publishers—unless, of course, they are J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer—are not getting their reviews organically; they have a strategy, and they are out there working hard to get their reviews. Soliciting book reviews requires a different strategy set, depending on whether you are soliciting reviews from the media or from consumers.
Soliciting Book Reviews from Consumers
(1) Start by doing some research on who is reviewing titles similar to yours. Dig out your book proposal for the competitive works, and look them up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Cross-reference the usernames with social media platforms. Then, either reach out to them on social media or try to dig a little further to uncover their email address.
(2) Reach out to book reviewers through Good Reads. Work on building your network, so, when the time comes, you already have a list of reviewers to reach out to, rather than scrambling to put the list together after your book has already been published.
(3) People who have signed up for your newsletter or who follow you on social media—especially those who have mentioned you positively on their networks—already like your book. Reach out to them and ask them if they would be willing to write a review. They’re already fans, so do something nice for them, like offering to send them a signed copy.
Soliciting Book Reviews from the Media
(1) Enlist the help of a book publicist or your publisher to help you craft media releases about your book, whether you are pitching them story ideas or sending them a press release, offering them a review copy.
Please see my article on using media releases to get book reviews: http://selfpublishingmadeeasy.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/how-to-use-press-releases-to-promote-your-book/
(2) Do some research online, using that same list of competitive works that you used to find Amazon reviewers. Find out who has reviewed books that are similar to theirs, research their contact information, and send them an email (or a message via social media) asking them if they would like a review copy of your book.
Don’t be discouraged if you invest a great deal of time into finding people to review your book, or you get turned downed or told that your wait for a review will be extremely long. Book reviewers are overloaded, and their desks are piled high with books that they have been asked to review, whether they do it as a hobby or they work for a traditional publication or blog.