Independent book reviews are among the most powerful factors contributing to book sales. And yet when it comes to marketing and selling books, most writers – despite being endlessly eloquent – under leverage the reviews they get. Shockingly, publishers are often just as guilty. Ask a lot of writers what their publisher is doing to market their book for them. The most common answer you’ll hear: “Nothing!”
If you’re like many writers, your book has acquired a mix of blurbs from fellow writers and full-length reviews from sites such as Kirkus or us here at BestThrillers.com. Once you’ve got those precious reviews, you need to put them to use. Here’s how:
Use in Email Subject Lines: If you’ve got an email list of readers, and you’re promoting sale on a republished or new work, use a blurb in the subject line, like this: Order “the perfect cozy mystery” for $2.99 on Amazon today.
Feature in your BookBub Pitch: BookBub remains picky about the books it chooses to promote, and independent reviews can help make the case for you, especially if you have few customer reviews on sites like Amazon.
Edit Into Blurbs – When book buyers look at your reviews, they’re already intrigued by your premise, title, writing style or book cover. Now they’re simply looking for quick validation that their instincts are validated. So model your editing after the film industry, not the book industry, by editing the single most compelling part of the review down to a punchy, one-sentence blurb. Truth be told, sometimes you’re even better off editing a serious of reviews into adjectives. Think: “Endlessly entertaining;” “One of the most promising new voices in the genre;” “Deeply evocative with a protagonist you can’t help but root for.”
Book Jackets: Consider using at least one punchy review blurb on your book cover, as well as several on the back and & inside jacket. This validation is key to convincing your readers to press the buy button.
Book pages on Amazon, GoodReads, iBooks and elsewhere (important!): Pay no mind to where you’re supposed to place your book reviews, because they are very likely to be missed. Instead, place your review blurbs just above or just below the main plot summary.
Social Media: A tweet with a blurb review, like, “One of the most gripping books of the year so far” – attributed to a credible source is infinitely more sellable than virtually any other. Remember to place a link to the page where your book is actually sold, not your website.
Your website: Readers often visit author websites to find out more about them prior to making a purchase. This is especially true for writers authoring a series, since taking on a series is potentially a major time investment. Credible book reviews on those sites can go a long way toward convincing readers to spend more time with your characters. So put blurbs front and center, where they can’t be missed. If you’re confident in the entire review, you can add a link to a page where the entire review is posted.
Recycle as needed: It’s common to find yourself right up against a publication deadline, with little time to wait for book reviews as you race to get the book out to your readers. In this case, it’s okay to use previous reviews so long as you do it ethically and accurately. If you have prior praise for your craft in general, you can curate this list under the title “Praise For [Your Name].” Just make sure you don’t misrepresent the facts, or make it seem as if reviewers of past stories are validating this particular story.
No matter how you package your reviews, you’ll need several good ones, so factor this into your book marketing plan.
Looking for a review of your mystery or thriller book? Submit your book to BestThrillers.com.