Prove Your Book Is Good: Getting and Using Reviews

Getting and Using Reviews

We all know that a big stack of positive reviews makes for great proof that your book is good. But it seems like most of us self-published authors tend to have a hard time actually finding people to review our books. We all wish we had more reviews, but maybe you don’t know where to look for them.  Maybe you don’t know that there are more places than just Amazon where reviews matter. Or maybe you’re not sure how you can show off the reviews once you have them. So let’s look at how you can get a bevy of reviews and use them to prove your book is good.

Where to Get Great Reviews

Let’s start with how to get reviews in the first place. The good news is that there are plenty of avenues for you to find reviewers for you book. If you commit to spending a good chunk of time focusing on drumming up some reviews, you should be able to garner a nice boost to your review count. Here are four places to look for reviews.

Your Readers

Your readers are a wonderful source for reviews. They’ve already read the book, so you don’t need to convince them to do anything more than spend a few minutes typing up their reaction. Here are two ways to get readers to leave a review.

Ask. It sounds so simple, but the easiest way for you to start getting reviews from your readers is to ask for one in the back of the book. Include a link straight to your book’s Leave a Review page on Amazon to make it super simple for a reader to post a review while they’re thinking about it.

Give an incentive. Try doing a giveaway that readers enter by leaving a review on your book. Have readers send you a link to their Amazon review to enter. You might even offer additional entries for sharing the review on Facebook or Twitter.


There are literally hundreds of bloggers who love to review books. With such a vast array of people who could be eager to check your book out if you offer a free copy, why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? It’s even fairly simple to find those bloggers with directory websites. Here are four directories to get you started:

I’ve written before about how to successfully contact the bloggers you find, so head over to that article to get my template for sending review request e-mails. And if you need help filtering through those directories for reviewers who want to review your book, I’ve got you covered there too.

Review Distribution Services

Review distributors are services where you pay a fee to have your book sent to a group of reviewers. Many of these sites offer the possibility of gaining ten or more reviews for a distribution fee. You pay their fee and they offer your book to reviewers who will read it and leave a review. Most of these services offer a guarantee of a certain number of reviews. If you want to get a bunch of reviews in a hurry, you might look at these four review distributor sites:

Editorial Reviews

Editorial reviews are from professional reviewers who are trusted names in the publishing industry. These are the publications that feature books they review, so there’s potential for one of these reviews to go out to a huge audience if you get a positive one. Plus, editorial reviews are designed to help you sell books. The reviewers intentionally write to give you some great publicity quotes.

These people are also professional critics. That can be intimidating, so you’ll want to consider very carefully whether you think your book is good enough to face their opinions. However, many editorial reviewers will give you the option to hide the review if the critic doesn’t like it, so if you’re careful with who you submit to, you won’t have to deal with bad publicity.

And you’ll also want to consider that editorial reviews can be very expensive. You could pay hundreds of dollars to wait two or three months for a review, and you don’t even have a guarantee that the review will be positive. Some services will offer a free review, but you will have to wait even longer.

But those caveats aside, getting a positive editorial review can give you a huge boost in readership and proof that you’ve got a great book. Here are eight editorial reviewers that will accept self-published books:

How to Show Off Your Reviews

Now that you have some great reviews, how can you get people to read them? Let’s start with what not to do: Don’t put review quotes in your Amazon description. This is against Amazon’s terms of service and could get your book removed from the Kindle store.

As far as acceptable places to put your reviews, that depends on which kind of reviews you’ve gathered.

Showing Off Reviews from Amazon or Blogs

When you have a review on Amazon or on a reviewer’s blog, you can share links to the review on your favorite social media site. You can include a short quote as teaser text as well. That gives you some nice social proof and might grab some attention.

If you want to use an extensive quote from any of these types of reviews, you’ll need to contact the reviewer and make sure it’s okay first. If you get permission, you can put quotes from the most fabulous reviews on your author website, use them in your newsletter, and even include quotes when requesting more reviews.

Also, if you pile up a big number of reviews on Amazon, you can start talking about that in your promotional material. “100 reviewers can’t be wrong!” is great proof that your book is worth checking out.

Showing Off Editorial Reviews

Putting your editorial reviews in front of your potential readers can be very easy, since the point of getting one is to use it to promote your book. You don’t have to worry about getting permission to quote the review, since editorial reviewers allow you to do that as part of the package. That means you can go ahead and use excerpts from the review on social media, in your newsletter, and on your author website. In fact, if you get a great editorial review, you should feature it in all those places—and don’t forget to include attribution! If a critic says your book is great, make sure you tell people which critic said so.

There’s one more place to put your editorial reviews: Amazon. You can’t put them in your book’s description, but Amazon has a place specially designed for showing off editorial reviews. It’s called (rather obviously) Editorial Reviews. You can add review quotes to that section from your Amazon AuthorCentral account. Those will show up on your book’s page on the Amazon store.

And that ought to about do it! You’re not too far from a bunch more great reviews for your book.

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