Reviews are an important element of a book-marketing campaign, but some authors exercise poor judgment in securing them. Here are my thoughts on where they go wrong, as well as some suggestions for how to do it right:
DON'T ask friends and family to post reviews.
An author's loved ones would never say anything negative about her book. How would you feel if you bought a book based on its glowing reviews, then found out they had been planted by the author's friends and family? I would feel cheated, and I imagine you would too. So don't do that for your own book.
DON'T trade reviews with other indie authors.
This is a bad idea because it puts both authors into an awkward position. If Author A thinks Author B's book is terrible, is Author A really going to skewer Author B's book? Of course not. Reviews need to be completely objective to be credible, and the nature of this arrangement keeps that from happening.
DO reach out to prolific reviewers who have posted reviews of books in your genre.
It may take some digging, but you can find them. For example, many reviewers on Amazon list their contact information in their profiles.
DO ask readers who proactively tell you they enjoyed your book to write a review.
If someone takes the time to contact you with positive feedback about your book, by all means, ask him to put his thoughts into an honest review. It would never occur to many fans to post a review, so if they reach out to you, there is nothing wrong with suggesting they share their feedback with a public audience.
For any review system to maintain credibility, the reviews must be objective. That doesn't mean they will all be positive, but at least they will be honest, and that is more important. For more tips on getting reviews for an indie book, check out my webinar on book marketing at www.mariamurnane.com.
Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.