How to Get Reviews for Your Book

As an author, you want people to read the book into which you’ve poured so much of your time and energy. Great reviews turn more people on to your work. So the question is: How do you get people to review your book?

Before Your Book Publishes

Send the reviewer a personal note with a copy of the book (PDF or manuscript) asking for a review to include in the book. In general, people are flattered when you send such a request. Let the person know you value their opinion and expertise and would be honored to include their review in your book.

If you want celebrities or experts to write a review that you can include in the book, consider providing a few sample comments that they can choose from, tweak or put into their own words. Sending these sample remarks makes it simple and easy for super-busy people to respond to your request for a review. Note: IMO, you shouldn’t do this for someone who is in media; they’ll want to write their own unbiased-sounding comments.

Getting Media Attention

I receive stacks of books each month for review. This pic is just one reason it pays to follow up with a potential reviewer.

If you want a magazine editor, radio or TV personality to review your book, make it easy and enticing.

Easy = at-a-glance info.

Include a press release that highlights your book’s key points. Do your homework and tailor your press release to show why the book would appeal to that specific audience. Don’t make the editor search for a reason to select your book for review; make your book the obvious choice.

Enticing = “credibility bling” + a great cover.

  • If you already have a review, foreword or introduction from someone noteworthy or interesting, make note of that person in the press release. If you have relevant credentials, share them. If you’ve been featured in other media, make sure people know that. This is the time and place to let people know how great you are!
  • An amazing cover should be a given. We judge a book by the cover. Period. A book cover isn’t a DIY project. Hire a book designer to create a stellar cover for you. After all, you’ve invested months, if not years, into this project. The cover is a representation of you and all the hours you’ve put into your book. Don’t skimp where it matters most.

When publishers or authors send me books to review I like for them to include:

  • a book (galley copy, manuscript and/or PDF)
  • a press release that includes the key points the book
  • author bio
  • interview questions and/or suggestions of articles the author is willing to supply or be interviewed about

What I don’t like to get: Books that aren’t relevant to my audiences.

Personally, if I don’t know the author or the publisher, I prefer to get an email that introduces the author and book and offers a galley copy. That way I can request a review copy if it sounds interesting.

If you know the reviewer, you can send an email to let him/her know you’re sending a book in the next few days.

Follow Up

After you go to the effort of crafting a press release and mailing your book, be sure to follow up. Email and/or call reviewers to make sure they’ve received your package. It’s OK to follow up several times! Remember: Everyone is busy. Even promising books that come in today can get quickly buried in the “to-review” pile. Touching base helps keep you and your book top of mind.

What has worked for you in the past when it comes to getting reviews? Share your comments or questions below!


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Terry D. Newberry - January 18, 2012

Erin, this is a great article! I finished my book late last year, and am doing the second edit now. Your article provides a lot of insight into the next step! Thanks!


    Erin K Casey - January 18, 2012

    Thanks, Terry! I’m glad you found it helpful. Congratulations on finishing your book!!

Dan Miller - January 18, 2012

Erin – this is really helpful. I’m going to keep it for reference and as a place to send everyone who has this question.

    Erin K Casey - January 18, 2012

    Thank you, Dan. It seems to be a common question from new and seasoned authors alike. Thanks for sharing!

Laura Sherman - January 20, 2012

This is a great article. Thanks!

The question I have is whom should I focus on getting to review my books and interview me. I actually have gotten a number of requests for my two books, but sometimes I wonder if they are seeking a free book. Is there a way for me to tell if their review will be helpful to me or is it just a number’s game?

I would like to begin a campaign for Chess Is Child’s Play soon. It’s a book that will teach any parent (of any skill level) to teach any child (of any age) to play chess. I can think of many to send my book to for a review, but want to make sure that I’m maximizing my efforts and budget for review copies.


    Erin K Casey - January 29, 2012

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for comment and the question. Others may disagree, but my suggestion is to get your book into as many hands as possible. You may want to focus first on people who have the most influence, but really, the more people who read and review your book, the better.

    Your question is one of several I’ve received about marketing, so I wrote this post on The Never-Ending Marketing Game. I hope you find it helpful!

    Wishing you the best with your new book! My 8-year-old son is actually teaching me how to play chess. We got him a HUGE chess set for Christmas… he loves it!

      Laura Sherman - January 31, 2012

      Thank you for your answer! Yes, there are many schools of thought on this. Someone just told me (after I posted this question) that you don’t want to saturate the market with tons of reviews, but that I should go for magazine exposure.

      However my gut instinct is to follow your advice. It is what I would naturally do!

      Now, I did find a site: which rates websites. I am thinking that I might use this as a rough guide.

      Thanks for your help!

        Laura Sherman - January 31, 2012

        I also just read your other article and found it very, very helpful. I appreciate the advice!

          Erin K Casey - January 31, 2012

          Certainly! And thanks for posting the Alexa site. That’s a great resource for blog rankings.

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