Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 11, 2010

Getting Book Reviews

Donna O’Donnell Figurski, Mentor/Facilitator of KIDDLE CRITers and has a column reviewing books on got me thinking about the process of getting your book reviewed.  What Donna does is a little different than your traditional review, her reviews are done in part with the target audience – children.  She takes what they have to say about the book and incorporates that into her review.  The KIDDLE CRITers only does about eight to ten books a year, so it is best to contact her first, before sending.  Here is her information:

Make sure you check with your publisher or publicist to see if they have plans to submit to KIDDLE CRITers, so you do not duplicate efforts.  This is a free service to authors and illustrators.

Here are other things to consider when trying to get reviews:

Traditional book marketing strategies call for mailing hundreds of copies to reviewers at magazines and newspapers. But for a new author and/or a niche book, chasing print reviews can be little more than a distraction. A better way to launch your campaign is by identifying and contacting 100 to 300 potential online reviewers and sending a copy of your book to each respondent who expresses willingness to look at it and perhaps post an honest critique.

Booklist –

Bookpage –

Book Reviews –                   

Book World –

Chicago Review –

Heartland Reviews –

Kirkus Discoveries –

Kirkus Reviews –

Midwest Book Review –

Rain Taxi Review –

The Horn Book –

If you spend two or three days contacting about 300 potential Amazon reviewers, you can expect to receive about 40 to 50 responses, and wind up with perhaps 35 reviews, a quite satisfactory result.

Look for potential reviewers on Amazon’s Top Reviewers list –

Clicking on a top reviewer’s pen name takes you to the reviewer’s Amazon profile. Some reviewers use their profiles to explain what types of books they prefer and whether they accept unsolicited books. Some provide postal or e-mail addresses.

But Amazon gives you a way to reach reviewers who don’t display any contact information in their profiles. At the top right of the profile page, click the link Invite to be an Amazon Friend. This generates a pop-up form where you can enter a message that Amazon will forward as email. 

A soft-sell approach works best with Top Reviewers. Offer a complimentary book in return for their considering it for review — no obligation. Carefully screen out reviewers whose profile indicates they won’t be interested in your book.
And don’t ask reviewers to return the copy you send.

Here’s a sample script you might use to approach Amazon Top Reviewers:

Dear John Doe:

I got your name from the list of Amazon Top Reviewers. I’ve written a book, “How to Grow Organic Strawberries.” I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review gardening books. If you think you might be interested in reading my book and posting an honest review of it on Amazon, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy if you’ll reply with your postal mailing address. There is no obligation, of course.

Best Regards,

Only a small percentage of the Top Reviewers are likely to respond to your offer. Some are inundated with review copies from publishers who already have their mailing addresses and know their reading preferences. And some make it a practice not to review a book from a new author unless they can honestly give it a rating of at least three stars out of five.


Don’t limit yourself to Amazon’s Top Reviewers. Other good potential reviewers are:

* acquaintances and colleagues interested in your book’s topic.

* participants in Internet discussion boards and mailing lists relevant to your book.

* visitors who registered on your Web site and people who read your blog.

You can find still more prospective reviewers by posting a message on Amazon’s discussion board dedicated to customer book reviews:

Don’t ask for reviews from people who haven’t actually read your book, not even if that group includes your mother. The result will be an unconvincing review that will detract from your book’s credibility rather than bolster it.

Once your book is selling, you’ll have a steady stream of potential reviewers. Whenever you receive e-mails from readers who praise your book or request further information, you might respond this way:

Thank you for the kind words about my book. If you ever have a spare moment, it would be a great help if you could post a review of it on Amazon and let other potential readers know why you liked it. It’s not necessary to write a lengthy, formal review—a summary of the comments you sent me would be fine. Here’s a link to the review form for my book:

The link at the end of the message will take the reader to Amazon’s Web form for book reviews. To customize the link for your book, replace “[ISBN]” with your book’s ISBN.

Amazon has licenses to publish pre-publication reviews from major trade publications, so if you have secured reviews there, make sure they appear on your title’s Amazon detail page.

Condense reviews published in newspapers or other publications that Amazon doesn’t have licenses to reprint. Amazon will publish 20-word summaries on your book’s detail page, relying on the fair use provision of copyright law.

Information on submitting reviews and other descriptive content appears at .

Will giving away several dozen copies of your book hurt its sales? Perhaps you’ll lose a sale or two but gain much more from word of mouth. Readers who enjoy the book will recommend it to friends, and those new readers will keep the chain of recommendations going.

Hope you found this helpful and that you can use now or in the future.  If y ou have any other tip o n getting book reviews, please let me know.

Talk tomorrow,


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