Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Welcome to my new feature: Lola’s Advice! Like mentioned above these posts will be mainly directed at authors and will include tips and advice for authors, but I’ll also be focusing on the blogger side of things. As I am both a blogger and a blog tour organizer I like to focus on both sides the author and blogger side of things.
Why I started this feature
I got the idea for this new features when in October last year I signed-up for a series of e-mails by Nosegraze about how to build your bookish business. I already have a bookish business, namely my own blog tour company Lola’s Blog Tours, so I thought it would be interesting to hear what Nosegraze had to say about the topic of bookish businesses and see if there were interesting pieces of information that I could use for my own business. One part that got my attention in one of those e-mails was how Nosegraze build her blog so her visitors where potential customers. While I am aware my blog can help bring visitors to my business website, I also made the conscious decision to keep things a bit separate.
My main goal of my blog is to connect with other bloggers, not authors and I didn’t want to change my blog. But then I was thinking maybe I can do both, make my blog a place for both bloggers and authors. I do have a lot of knowledge about books, marketing and promotion that I want to share, which I do now mainly by offering free advice on my services pages on Lola’s Blog Tours, but that means I only reach the authors who know what to ask and who found Lola’s Blog Tours in the first place. So then I thought maybe I can also share some interesting posts for authors now and then on my blog here? I will use this new feature for that and every first monday of the month I will do one of these posts for now. I hope you will all enjoy this new feature!
Once I got thinking about how to make value for authors on my blog and what kind of posts I could write, the idea for this post popped into my mind. Over the last few years that I’ve had Lola’s Blog Tours one of the questions I regularly get from authors is how to get more reviews for their book(s). And there are some standard answers I give all of them, so why not write a topic about that and have both authors and bloggers weigh in on the topic.
How to get more reviews for your book
- Send review requests by e-mail to bookbloggers.
One of the most well known ways of getting more reviews for your book is to e-mail book bloggers and ask them to review your book. While it can definitely be effective, it also takes a lot of time and you have to be careful when e-mailing bloggers. Make sure to read each blogs individual review policy first and don’t e-mail a blogger if they don’t accept review request or don’t accept your books genre. Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup has written a good post about how that first meet and sending out review requests to bloggers. This method takes a lot of time, but it can certainly lead to more reviews. Do keep in mind that it’s pretty normal to only have about 10% of the bookbloggers you contact say yes to review your book, so you’ll have to contact a lot of bookbloggers to get a decent amount of reviews. There are also sites or books which list possible book bloggers to contact. A nice place to start is this list of bloggers that Laekan Zea Kemp compiled. Or The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages, a book with lots of book bloggers listed and what kind of review request they accept.
- Book a blog tour.
A blog tour can be a nice way to get some extra reviews and exposure for your book. Do keep in mind that the first goal of a blog tour often is exposure and not reviews. Still they can be an effective method to receive more reviews, but it often depends on the tour and book how many review stops your tour will get. There are some type of tours that put more focus on reviews or even offer review only tours. Blog Tours are very valuable to get word of your book out there and hopefully get some nice reviews as well.
- Book a R2R/ R&R (Read to Review/ Read and Review).
There are a lot of groups like for example on Goodreads that offer R2R or R&R’s which are Read and reviews events. The author offers a select amount of review copies and members of the group can request a review copy. Sometimes they are required to review it within a few weeks. So the good thing about these type of events is that you most likely get some reviews and get them fast, but it can happen that the reviewers only post on Goodreads and Amazon and not on a blog, so that’s something to keep in mind. Some R2R require posting on Goodreads and amazon and some only on goodreads, so make sure to read the rules of the group concerning R2R’s first. An example of a group that offers R2R is the David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite! group, but there are many more groups out there who offer these type of events.
- Book a review opportunity.
Review opportunities aren’t tours, but you can book them at Blog Tour Companies or Promo sites. They help you get more reviews, by having them feature your book on their site and contact their tour hosts if they want to review the book. It’s an easy way to reach a new audience and get more reviews for your book. For an example check out the Review Opportunity I offer on Lola’s Blog Tours. Another option is Netgalley or Edelweiss, although those often are more pricey. The good thing about these is that they are less effort for the author themselves, but they do come with a price tag. I’ve also seen promo sites who beside promote your free or discounted book offer review opportunities.
- Make sure people buy and read your book.
A lot book bloggers and reviewers are readers as well and they often buy books for their own reading pleasure and will review those as well. There are also readers who don’t have a blog, but will review on the site they bought a book. So making sure people buy and read your book can in the long run lead to more reviews as well. This method alone likely won’t get you a lot of reviews, but it is a reminder to focus on promoting your book alongside the focus on getting reviews.
- Make one of your books free or very cheap.
This ties in with my last point, a way to make sure people buy/ read your book is to offer one of your books free or for cheap, like selling it for 0.99$. There are many promo sites out there who can help spread the word about your free or sale book, some of those are free, others require a fee. And this can be a good way to reach a new audience. I’ve seen quite some authors who offer the first book in a series for free or cheap to attract new readers and often sales or free books will also promote the rest of the series. One of the most well know promo sites that will feature your free or 0.99 book is Bookbub.
- Put your book on instafreebie.
This can be combined with other options. It’s a way to get your book into the hands of readers. Instafreebie is a site were you can put your book and readers can download a copy. You can use this to send review copies to your arc team only and even protect access with a password. You can also make it open publicly and promote it as far as you can. Lately I’ve been seeing lots of multi author promo’s where they combine their books and list it on site with links to the books on instafreebies. I don’t think reviews are obligatory when you get a book through instafreebie (unless you got it there thanks to a review request), but it is a great way to get your book into people’s hands and likely get some reviews as well. Instafreebie is paid, but the first month is free.
- Make your own request a review copy form.
Instead of hiring a tour company or other business to help with your review request you can also make your own review request form. You only have to make a form and then send out the review copies to who signs-up. The good thing about this is that it’s less effort than sending out individual review request to bloggers, the downside is that you likely will reach less people as you only reach your own followers. It can be a good idea to offer this option alongside others.
- Use your social media, website and newsletter connections.
This ties in with a few of the other options. No matter how you try to get more reviews it’s a good idea to use the followers and fans you already have. Tweet, share, post it on your website and send out a newsletter about the tour you booked, the sale you’re running or the link to your review request form. You already have those followers and they most likely will be interested to hear about this and you can get some reviews this way.
Blogger point of view: How I receive the books I review?
Okay now let’s go to the bloggers point of view and see how I receive the books I review on my blog. I’ll list the ways I receive most review copies and what I like about that method.
- By review request through e-mail. Although I decline a big percentage of the review request I receive, there are some I accept as well and review. I am a bit mixed about this method as I’ve received some great books for review, but also receive lot of review request that I have to turn down as they aren’t for me.
- Netgalley. Nowadays I get a lot of review copies from netgalley. Ever since I started reading on my ipad I have been requesting more netgalley copies as I know I can read them. And my ipad has the kindle app which means I almost exclusively read netgalley review copies there with some freebies and books I bought with an amazon gift card thrown in. I like netgalley as it’s easy to use, I go there browse the possible books and request the books that seem interesting. It’s simple, effective and everything goes through netgalley.
- Review opportunities and tours. I used to get a lot of review copies this way, but nowadays I only sign-up for very few of these. A book really needs to catch my attention for me to sign-up for these. I am not a fan of the deadlines that usually go along with tours.
- Author/ publisher contacts. With this I mean all ways I receive a review copy through an author or publisher that isn’t a direct review request e-mail. Think of newsletters, street teams, review copy request forms etc. There are some authors where I fill out review forms or reply to newsletters to get a review copy. Most reviews copies I receive through review request and netgalley, but a few come this way.
- Buy the books/ freebies I download. I review every book I read, also those I buy myself. Although lately most of the books I review are those I got for review, I also still have a decent amount of books I bought myself that I review here on the blog. Or those freebies I grab from amazon or Kobo.