Even if you don't know a lot about book marketing, you've probably heard of book reviews. What you might not know, however, is that many of the large, traditional media outlets don't review independently published books. We're starting to see cracks in this dam with the likes of Publishers Weekly's new Self-Publishing quarterly listings with reviews, but attracting the attention of the big guys is still an uphill battle.However, there are many other outlets for getting book reviews as an indie author. Here are three suggestions:
1) Customer Reviews
There are some prolific reviewers on Amazon.com and other retail channels, websites, and social media channels. Many of them post their email addresses on their profiles. Why not reach out to them with a nice (customized!) email? The best way to find them is to look up popular titles in your genre. Scroll through the reviews and click on the reviewer profiles. Take note of how many other books that person has reviewed, as a glowing review from someone who has reviewed 500 books carries more weight than one from someone who has only reviewed one. Generally, I don't recommend asking friends to write reviews unless they come to you proactively to say they loved your book and want to write a review. It's important for reviews to be authentic and from people who've actually read your book.
2) Book blogs
Book bloggers LOVE books, and they don't care how they were published. You can search for popular blogs in your genre on Google (http://blogsearch.google.com), and from there, you can see which other blogs link to them. Put together a blogger outreach campaign and see what happens. Not everyone will respond to you, but you're likely to receive some response. When they post their reviews, remember to ask them to post them to Amazon as well.
There's no guarantee that the reviews will be positive, but that's never a guarantee for any author. Good or bad, however, when people Google your book or check it out in sales channels, they'll see people are talking about your book. And as they say, any buzz is better than no buzz.
3) Local media
There are a ton of local media outlets starting to interview and review books from independent authors. Do a little online digging in your area, and see what you can find!
Maria Murnane writes romantic comedies and provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more atwww.mariamurnane.com.