Book reviews are essential because they help potential readers make a purchase decision. Sending out review copies for potential review is something every author should include in their marketing plans. The more people who know about your book, the better the chance of building word of mouth buzz. Plan to send out 50 to 500 review copies of your book in both print and digital formats.
Below is a comprehensive list of book review sources, including both free and paid options.
A note on paid options: We do NOT advocate paid services that promise to churn out X number of manufactured reviews based on how much money you spend with them. However, we have included a listing of reputable services that offer quality reviews.
Free Book Review Options:
Amazon Reviewers – Reviews on Amazon are hugely important to the success of a book. Potential buyers look to reviews to help make a decision to buy, and Amazon’s algorithms factor in the number of reviews a book has generated. The more reviews a book receives, the better the likelihood of that book showing up higher in Amazon search results.
Each Amazon book reviewer has a public profile, and many include their email addresses and website information (many top reviewers are also bloggers—for even greater exposure). These reviewers WANT to be contacted and offered free review copies! Look for reviewers of competing titles, send an email and ask if he/she would like to receive a review copy of your book.
Industry Bloggers – Seek out bloggers who cover topics of interest to your target audience or industry. See if they conduct book reviews, publish book excerpts or interview authors. Google searches should help you compile a list of bloggers to contact.
Book Review Bloggers – Bloggers have tremendous influence with readers when it comes to reviewing and recommending books. See the following directories to find bloggers who review books in your genre. Also try searching Google for <genre> + “book review.”
Major Media Bloggers – All of the major magazines and newspapers now host blogs (from The New York Times to Cat Fancy Magazine), and many of those blog posts are written by unpaid contributors. Seek out freelance contributors who cover topics related to your target audience and offer up a review copy.
Email Subscribers – Periodically send a note to your mailing list subscribers gently reminding them that book reviews help sell books and that you’d greatly appreciate it if they would post a review for your book.
Midwest Book Review – A wonderful organization that supports indie authors, Midwest Book Review has been around for years and reviews printed books for free.
Smaller Publications – Don’t overlook trade association newsletters and magazines, plus smaller magazines and even hometown newspapers.
Your Website – Create a Review Copy Request form on your website. Ask visitors to provide you with details, including website link and size of audience, in order to qualify to receive a complimentary review copy.
Contest on Your Site – Consider using Rafflecopter, a simple program that you can plugin to your site to host a book give-away contest—it’s free! Gently ask (and remind) contest winners to post reviews after reading.
Online Groups – Announce that you are interested in sending out review copies to groups that reach your target audience. You can find all kinds of groups via:
Book Clubs – Offering your book to book clubs for free can be a great way to generate reviews and buzz for your books. Search for book clubs by genre online and via Meetup.com. See also: From Left to Write, Book Club Reading List.
Goodreads Giveaways – More than 40,000 people enter to win books from Goodreads Give-aways each day. Authors can offer up books for free to this program and specify the number of days the promotion will run (they recommend 30 days). An average of 825 people enter to win these promotions, and Goodreads selects the winners at the end and sends authors a CSV file with addresses. When mailing copies of books to winners, be sure to insert a note requesting that the recipient write a review if they enjoy the book.
Other Giveaway Sites:
***Note that if your book is enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program, you will not be able to participate in the sites listed here that conduct free ebook give-aways (a major downside of the Kindle exclusive distribution clause).
Noise Trade – This site allows you to list your ebook as a free give-away for any length of time you choose. In exchange, readers provide their email addresses, which you can download for follow-up. They can also provide a “tip” for authors, resulting in small fees potentially earned for books listed on Noise Trade.
Social Media – Invite your audience to become book reviewers. You can share a link to your “Review Copy Request” form on your website or conduct a contest to give away several review copies. You can also start early and build a waiting list for reviewers well before you book is published!
Giveaways at Events – Whenever you donate copies of your book for raffle prizes or gifts, include a note asking the recipient to review.
Peers, Clients, Family, Friends – While you want to be careful asking family and friends to write reviews because you don’t want all of your reviews to appear biased, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask the people you know to read your book and share an honest review.
Review Communities – There are numerous communities where writers can share their work and get feedback. This is a great way to build some interest and create fans before your book is published: Wattpad, WidBook.
Book Life – Hosted by Publishers Weekly, submit your book for free for review consideration at Book Life.
Readers Who Contact You – As an author, you should expect that your readers will periodically contact you, either via email or social media, to let you know they enjoyed your book. When this happens, always reply with gracious appreciation and suggest that the reader could help you by posting reviews online.
Paid Book Review Options:
Reviewer Software – Book Review Targeter is a software program that we at NFAA love! This system allows you to search for Amazon book reviewers who have reviewed books similar to yours, and then export their email addresses and websites–or send them an email right from the software. While you can research reviewers one at a time by yourself, it will take you countless HOURS. Every author needs reviews and we highly recommend Book Review Targeter! (Disclosure: affiliate link!)
NetGalley – For a modest fee, you can list your book in the NetGalley directory and make it available for their 300k + reviewers to choose from.
Kirkus – An established and reputable company, Kirkus provides professional-level reviews for a modest fee.
Foreword Magazine – Reputable reviews for indie authors via Foreword.
Author Buzz – Get book announcements out to libraries, bloggers, book clubs and more via Author Buzz.
Facebook Advertising – You can take advantage of a number of advertising options via Facebook to promote your book is available for review. You can boost posts to your fans and their friends, target ads by various demographics and keywords, and even target ads to fans of a competitor’s Facebook page. Learn more about Facebook Advertising.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Advanced Book Marketing and Launch Strategies Course! Learn more about our courses for authors here.