The two most important avenues for book marketing are the internet and word of mouth. Online reviews combine these! A good online review can be the push that helps someone decide to purchase your book.

The more online reviews you have on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the higher your book will rank in searches. This means your book will more likely show up when people type in your genre or browse for new titles to read.

How to get book reviews

  • Ask!
    • Turn to your friends and family who have read your book.
    • Request that your Facebook followers rate your professional Facebook page or redirect them to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
      • If a person has bought your book through Amazon, their review will show up as an Amazon “verified purchase” review. If they bought it elsewhere, they can still review on Amazon, and the star-rating will be averaged in with the rest.
      • Anyone can rate your book on Barnes & Noble and all reviews appear to be the same, whether or not they purchased your book through Barnes & Noble. They will just need a Barnes & Noble account to log in.
    • Ask your loyal fans. When someone reaches out to you personally to tell you how much they enjoyed your book, thank them (of course), and then ask if they would mind leaving those same sentiments in an online review.
  • Trade!
    • Find another author who is looking for online reviews, read each other’s books, and leave each other reviews!
    • Find other things to trade for. Maybe it will be easier for another author or a reader to find the time to read and review your book if you help them in other ways! Maybe they need a short story edited or want an endorsement for their own book.
    • Caution: You don’t want to leave a good review for a book you didn’t enjoy! It might be best to offer this trade to someone whose book you’ve already read or are confident you’ll enjoy.
  • Offer rewards!
    • Send an email newsletter or post on social media offering a giveaway or entrance in a contest in exchange for an online review.
    • Caution: Do not ask for “good” reviews! Ask your followers for honest reviews.

How to Handle Book Reviews

The good, the bad, and the ugly: these are the different kinds of book reviews. Online, people feel more comfortable showing their worst selves. However, people also take to the internet to bolster and engage with people they support. You’ll likely get some reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Facebook, or elsewhere, and they’ll likely be in your favor. However, you might also encounter some reviews you weren’t expecting. Read on to learn about how to respond to online reviews—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

How to handle bad reviews

  • Consider their points: Make the most of a bad review by taking their points into consideration. Think critically. Perhaps you do need to improve in these areas.
    • “Thanks for your honesty. I’ll be sure to pay more attention to commas in the sequel!”
  • Correct them: If the person who left the bad review has objectively made a mistake, thank them for their perspective and gently set them straight.
    • “I’m glad you enjoyed my book enough to fact-check me! It’s true that not all of the events in my book took place in real life, which is why I thought it was important to add a disclaimer on the first page about identifying the genre historical fiction.”
  • Deflect them: If someone left a bad review for personal reasons (ie. they don’t read your genre or they personally disagree with moves you made), thank them for their  comment and then redirect them to another work of yours or you’ve read that may be better suited to their literary palate.
    • “Sorry the bloodshed in my novel was a little much for you! If you’re looking for something a little less gruesome, you might like this book I read last summer.”
  • Delete them: Sometimes, people do crazy, random, terrible things online. If someone has gone over-the-top attacking you or is wildly incorrect, it’s okay to delete their comment and even block them from your page.
  • For a great example of how not to handle a bad review, check out how defensive this author got when she received a two-star review.

How to handle good reviews

  • Thank them for their kind words!
  • Encourage them to cross-post their review on another site.
  • Encourage them to share with friends.

How to use good reviews

  • Share on social media! If you get a Facebook review, it will automatically show up on your page. However, you can still share it to other SM sites. If you get a good Amazon or Barnes & Noble review, share across the board! Take a snippet to share in your post, then invite followers to click the link to read more.
  • Post on your website! Add a “praise” tab where you can post any good reviews you receive.
  • Use quotes in promotional efforts! Slap a great quote from a review at the top of a letter you’re writing to try to sell books or organize an event.

The world of online book reviews can be wild, but equipped with the right tools, you’re sure to navigate the waters with skill!