Lola’s Advice: How to Use Reviews to Promote Your Book

August 1, 2016 Lola's Advice 28

LolaAdvice

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.

Today I want to talk about reviews and how you can use them to promote your book. Reviews are great in and off itself, reviews on blogs and vendor sites and social media are a way how others help you promote your books. Having more reviews on sites like Goodreads and vendor sites is always a good idea. Which is why I already talked about how to get more reviews for your book and how to get reviewers to cross post their reviews. Today I wanted to focus on what you as the author can do with reviews. I think reviews are a great way for you as the author to promote your book as well, as you use other people their words about your book to promote it. And I think that can be very helpful, ofcourse you as the author want people to buy your book, but that message gets even stronger when your followers hear what others thought of your books as well. So I think using reviews or quotes form reviews to promote your book can be an important part of your marketing strategy.

Where to look for reviews for your book

There are a few ways to find/ look for reviews for your books. The most obvious ones are to look at sites like Goodreads and vendor sites like Amazon and such and take a look at the reviews there for your book(s). If you sent review copies of your book to reviewers, they will often reply when they have reviewed it and send you the link. Many bloggers and reviewers also tag the author on social media when they review their book. So keep an eye on your e-mail, vendor sites and social media. I think with those you already come quite a way to collect reviews Besides that you could google your book with the word reviews and see if you can find reviews on blogs, where the reviewers might not have cross posted on the other sites.
Once you’ve found some reviews I think it’s helpful to collect some links to reviews if you want to share them, but mostly I think it’s important to pick quotes from reviews you want to use and collect them somewhere with the name of the reviewer and/ or blog next to it. Pick quotes that nicely sum up your book, show the reviewers their enthusiasm or love for the book or illustrate a specific point you want to focus more on. Don’t pick quotes that are to long, but everything from a few words to a few sentences is usually fine. These quotes you can use to promote your book. Most bloggers and reviewers are okay and even honored if you use their quote to promote your book and as long as you make it obvious it’s a quote from a review and name the reviewer I think you don’t have to ask the reviewer. But if you want to be on the safe side you can always contact the reviewer and ask if it’s okay to use a quote from their review to promote your book.

How to use Reviews to promote your book

  • Post about Reviews on social media. This is one of the ways to promote a review more directly. If you have found a new review for your book you can post about it on your social media. Maybe even tag the reviewer. If the reviewer is a blogger I would advice to always use the link to their blog when you promote or share their review as that’s most helpful to them. So basically use your social media to let your followers know about this review. Maybe this review will convince others to read their book and it’s a nice thanks you to the reviewer. Most reviewers like knowing the author saw their review. Most social media’s are suited for this, I’ve seen authors who did a pin board with pins to blogs who reviewed their book or authors who posted on facebook about a new review, shared the link on twitter etc. Use whatever social media accounts you have to promote the review.
  • Retweet or share reviews. Most reviewers will promote their own reviews, a simply way to thank them and to make sure more people see their review is to like their post and share it. You can also leave a comment if you want. Also be aware of the social media sites and how they work. For example on facebook any interaction on a post makes sure they get seen more. So sharing their review might be even more helpful than just posting about it, ofcourse you can make your own post about the review, but if possible share it as well. Same goes with likes and commments on facebook, while on twitter a like mostly works as a way to communicate to the reviewer you’ve seen their tweet.
  • Use quotes on your website. You can use review quotes or links to reviews on your website, so visitors can check out reviews for your books. Depending on how you set-up your website and what you like best you can either set-up a separate page for this, incorporate it on already existing pages and use quotes and/ or links. Just go with whatever you think looks best. For an example you can check out SJ Pajonas her website page for Face Time, first you see some information about the book and how to buy it and then if you scroll down more you see a header that says Praise, where she has listed some quotes from reviews, she has listed the quotes and then the name of the reviewer and the blog. Another example is Siobhan Davis her website page for Saven Deception on this page you see info about the book and then a heading that says praise for Saven Deception where she listed multiple quotes for the book and the reviewer name and/ or blog name below that.
  • Use quotes for teasers or images. I’ve seen a few authors do this and I think it can work well. If you make teaser images for your book you can use a quote from your book, but you can also use a quote from a review instead. Ofcourse you have to pick a quote that fits with the rest of the teaser and isn’t too long. Or if you have a cover or social media banner you could add a quote on there as well. Get creative and look for ways to use images and a quote to promote your book.
  • Use quotes for social media posts. This is one I’ve seen more often, when posting on social media to promote their books authors can include a quote from a review. Either this can be a more generic post like see what kind of feedback our book got or what people are saying about the book. Or it can be one quote as an introduction to a promotional post or sharing the link to where to buy your book. Or maybe you’re doing a sale and use a quote in that post as a reason why people should pick up your book.
  • Use quotes in your book or cover. I most often see this in paperbacks, where before the book starts there is a list of quotes. Sometimes even on the front cover a small quote or one or two quotes on the back cover. I also think including quotes in your book can work for e-copies, but I see it less often often there. Although the back cover idea won’t work for e-books as they don’t have a back copy, but you could think of including review quotes at the front or the back of your book, after the story has finished for example.
  • Use quotes on book pages/ vendor sites/ blurbs. I personally am not a big fan of this, but I’ve seen some authors do this in a way that seems effective. You could include a review quote at the top or bottom of your book blurb. I know a lot of the big publishers do this as well and it can be a nice way to make sure people read that quote as most people do read the blurb for a book. Another idea is to use book pages on bookish social media or one vendor sites to add reviews. Amazon for example has a spot for editorial reviews where you can add reviews. Or on goodreads you can “review” your own book, but instead of sharing your own thoughts include quotes from reviews.

From a blogger point of view, how do I make sure authors see my reviews

As a blogger I always feel happy and honored when an author acknowledges my review or shares it in some way. It makes me happy knowing that the author saw my review. Most often I see authors liking my reviews or sharing when I tag them on social media. Some authors stop by and leave a comment on my review. And I know my review quotes have been used in a book a few times and I’ve seen them on some websites (both websites I linked to before include one of my review quotes). My strategy for making sure the author see my review as usually pretty simply If I received a review copy from the author I will e-mail them the links to my reviews. If I got a book from netgalley I submit my review there. Then once the review goes live on my blog I will usually promote them on social media and usually tag the author and/ or publisher on twitter. Usually that’s it. Sometimes I will tag the author on facebook, but only rarely.

Authors: How do you use reviews to promote your books? Any techniques or ideas I didn’t list?

Bloggers: How do you make sure authors see your review? Do you like it when authors use your reviews to promote their book? And what kind of ways do you see them promote your reviews?

28 Responses to “Lola’s Advice: How to Use Reviews to Promote Your Book”

  1. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I love it when authors or publishers quote my review and link back to my blog post. Or if they just share the link without a quote. I don’t think I’ve ever had any quotes used in books or on book pages on Amazon/GR, but I’d be perfectly fine with that too. What I don’t like, however, is when they copy the entire thing and post it on their website, which happened to me once. The author linked back, but it still could hurt my SEO, and what if I ever decide to change my review or take it down or something? I didn’t say anything because it wasn’t worth causing problems over, but it’s still not something that authors or anyone should do without permission.

    As for how I make sure authors see my reviews, I submit feedback on sites like Netgalley or email if it’s directly from an author, but if I’m not in direct contact with the author, I generally just use Twitter. But I only tag them if the review is 4 stars or higher, and even then sometimes I won’t for whatever reason. (Although I have on a few occasions had authors find my 3.5 star reviews on their own and promote them.) It definitely makes me happy to know that my review is appreciated, but it’s never like I *expect* them to promote it. It’s more that I want to show them my love and support for their writing. And it gives them the chance to promote it if they want because, like you said, it can help to have praise for the book coming from someone else, not just promotion from the author his or herself.

    I have mixed feelings about authors commenting on my reviews though. As I said, I love knowing my review was appreciated, so I’d never hold it against an author for leaving a comment. But at the same time, I don’t want my followers to feel uncomfortable or like they can’t express their opinions in the comments because the author might be hovering. I think I’d prefer an email or a private message on GR or even a tweet if they really wanted to thank me or say something. I know that’s not what this post was about, but you happened to mention it, so I wanted to throw in my two cents 🙂

    Anyway, I think you have some great advice here for authors. I love the ideas to make graphics and to use review quotes in the author’s review of their own book on GR. I’m not a fan of using quotes in blurbs either though. If they’re at the top, I’ll often just decide it’s too much work having to click “Read more” and scroll down and read a whole bunch just to get to the blurb, and so I’ll move on to look at a different book instead. Sorry, this comment got ridiculously long lol.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Cover Characteristics: Book Covers featuring GhostsMy Profile

    • Lola

      Yes I do think limiting it to quotes when using a review to promote your book is the right thing to do. And else link to the review in question, but don’t copy the whole review. I don’t I ever had that happen to me where they copied the whole review, but I wouldn’t be fully comfortable with that either.

      I am the same, I submit my reviews directly to netgalley or the author if I got it that way and if I haven’t had contact with the author tagging them on twitter is as far as I go. And usually only with 4 stars or 5 stars. And sometimes 3 stars as I feel that 3 stars are still a positive rating. But it depends a bit on the review and author.

      I never expect authors to promote my reviews, but it does make me happy when they do and I like knowing they saw my review. From an author point of view I think reviews are a good means to use as promotion.

      I think commenting on reviews/ blogs as authors is one of those topics that’s quite difficult. I don’t think you can go wrong with a polite thank you, but like you mentioned some bloggers or commenter won’t be comfortable with a comment from the author. I personally am okay with authors commenting on my posts and even have some authors that regularly stop by, which is great.

      I do think it can make followers uncomfortable in some instances when they know authors are lurking, then again they can do that even if they don’t comment. I think as an author it would be very difficult to gauge whether it’s okay to comment on a blog or not and what to say. It can lead to fun conversations, but it also can make people feel uncomfortable which you want to avoid.

      Which is why I usually say that as an author you have to decide whether you’re comfortable with commenting and gauge what’s okay on the blog. It’s one of those topics where it’s hard to decide what is the right way to handle it as every post/ blogger and author is different.

      I’ve seen some authors to the graphics or use quotes in their reviews and I personally thought it was a great way to use review quotes, which is why I wanted to mention those in this post.

      I know some authors use quotes successfully in blurbs, but it’s not my personal preference, I just want to read the blurb first. And if I want to read some reviews I’ll check those next. If an author wants to go that route and use quotes in a reviews I think using one or two max is the best as then you can still see the blurb as well at first glimpse.

      • Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

        I feel too weird even tagging authors for 3.5 star reviews lol, even though I do consider that a good rating.

        I get that it’s impossible for authors to know which bloggers like comments on their reviews and which wouldn’t prefer no comments, which is why I never hold it against an author for commenting. I know they’re just trying to thank me, and I appreciate that. I know the author could still be lurking even if they don’t comment, but it’s kind of like “out of sight, out of mind.” If I don’t *know* they’re there, then I can just assume they’re not lol. I don’t have any problem with authors commenting on my other blog posts though.
        Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Wings of Shadow (The Immortal Sorrows Book 2) by Sherri A. WinglerMy Profile

        • Lola

          I do agree that not everyone considers a 3 star rating a positive one sadly, but if I feel the review is positive enough I still tag authors sometimes.

          I agree that’s why I always like it when people do comment as else you never know they read that post. And I am usually not aware that people read a post and then don’t comment as there is no way of knowing who does that. It sure is a “out of sight, out of mind” thing.

    • Lola

      Yes for me it’s mostly people liking my tweets if I tag them. Or sometimes commenting on twitter and/or my blog. I know of a few sites were I saw my reviews like the two I listed above, but that’s rare. And sometimes authors post about your review, which is great too.

  2. Sophia Rose

    I have worked with some good publicists over the years who taught me through their specific guidelines how to help promote my review as a blogger and make sure it’s noticed. I send links when I got a specific author or publisher request, I tweet and tag the author and publisher, and I complete the Net Galley review submission. But I also cross promote my reviews.

    I enjoy seeing an author respond favorably to my reviews by mentioning them in a post, tagging them, and on those fun, rare occasions, quoting them. 🙂

    Good advice, Lola!
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Dare to Stay by Jen McLaughlan #ReviewMy Profile

    • Lola

      That’s great those publicists taught you how to help promote your review as a blogger. And it sure is fun when the author sees your review and responds favorably or even those rare occasions where they quote your reviews :).

  3. Angela @Simply Angela

    I love seeing my reviews used by publishers and authors. I get so giddy when I see them printed on the book covers, inside the books, or used on Amazon and GoodReads. As a reviewer, I make sure that I send my review link to the publicist that sent the book, if the book arrives without a particular publicist listed and it’s an ARC, I will send my review link to the email address, if there is one, printed on the ARC. I also make sure that I tag the author and the publisher on all of my social media sites when I post the review link.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…Waking up with A Billionaire by Katie LaneMy Profile

    • Lola

      It really is exciting when authors use a quote of your review to promote your book. I don’t get many physical copies, so I usually don’t have to e-mail the publicist, but that does sound like a good practice. With e-copies I got for review I always make sure to e-mail the author or publisher that contacted me.

  4. Trish @ Between My Lines

    I do love when an author quotes part of my review somewhere and tags my blog in it. However I can be lazy about letting an author know when I’m reviewing their book. If I was sent it for review, I will either tweet or email them. And if it’s NetGalley, I always leave feedback. But if it’s a book I bought or a library book, I often don’t bother. I know some authors prefer not to read reviews so that has made me wary about linking them on twitter (obviously this doesn’t apply to a review copy, as they have asked for the review).
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…Book Review: Caching In by Tracy KrimmerMy Profile

    • Lola

      With books I bought myself I probably will tag the author on twitter if it was a positive reviews, but not e-mail them. I only e-mail them if I got the book for review. With netgalley books I sometimes try and tag the publisher as well, as I once heard that worked, but often i forget to do that.

      And indeed some authors prefer not to read reviews, but I guess they can always like the tweet then and move on. You’re not forcing them to read it. And even with review copies they don’t have to actually read your review if you don’t want to, but I do agree that the review feels more solicited then and it’s easier to tag them to let them know.

  5. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    If an author or publisher sent me the book, then I’ll let them know when the review is posted. Or I’ll post it on Netgalley if that’s where I got the book. I don’t always send to the author unless it’s a positive review and I follow them on Twitter or something.

    NEVER send any review that’s not positive to the author. The publisher? Fine, esp. if they sent the book, but the author doesn’t want to see it.
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…How To Be You by Jeffrey MarshMy Profile

    • Lola

      Same here when I got the book for review I always let the author/ publisher know when I posted my review. Or through netgalley if that’s how I got it. For all my reviews I usually tag the author on twitter if the review was positive.

  6. S. J. Pajonas

    I do a lot of these! Sometimes it’s hard for me, because I don’t always want to see my reviews, even the positive ones, but I try to pick a few quotes out of the 4- or 5-star reviews to use online. I mostly use mine in tweets and social media images.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Nabe: Japan’s Winter Hot PotMy Profile

    • Lola

      That’s interesting to hear you do a lot of these. I like how you did the quotes for each book on your website. That must be hard when you not always want to see your reviews, but still try and get a few quotes. And I love how you use quotes on social media images as well.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Pirate Nemesis by Carysa LockeMy Profile

  7. anna (herding cats & burning soup)

    I’ve never understood asking for reviews then not using them in any way to promote your work. Just doesn’t make sense to me. And goodness yeah link to the actual review. There’s one I follow who will pull a quote from the review and be like Lola said: and then just include the buy links. Help the blogger out too! It’s appreciated when you do 🙂
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…4 stars– A Season of Ruin (Sutherland Scandals #2) by Anna BradleyMy Profile

    • Lola

      I guess they can’t use every review, but in general I do think that if you ask for reviews it’s a good idea to also use them to promote your work. I recently had an author who actually waited to post about my review until it was on my blog, so she could link to my blog. I thought that was a nice gesture. Linking to the actual review is a nice way to help the blogger a bit too.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Pirate Nemesis by Carysa LockeMy Profile

  8. Caroline Cairn

    Very useful post, as usual 🙂
    I’ve been off the internet for a while now, I should be able to resume everything after the summer holidays, and that includes reading everything I missed on your blog, and follow your advice for reviews!

    • Lola

      Yes tagging authors on twitters can be very handy if you want them to see your review as most authors seem to be there. And it really is amazing when an author shares your review of they thank you 🙂

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