How to Get a Book Review

 I think most of us who write books want our books reviewed. Ideally what we want are the 4- and 5-star reviews that tell readers how terrific we are. Some apparently want them so badly that they either write their own, solicit from friends and family or pay someone who “guarantees” a 5-star review.

Then … There are the rest of us, those of us who believe that reviews should be earned. If you’re one of us – an author who believes your book should stand (or fall) on its own merits – submitting a book for a review can be a traumatic experience. It’s like taking your first child to the family gathering … Will this little newcomer be loved, welcomed, the focus of ooohs and ahhhs and a lot of “Oh, how adorable”s?

Or will people frown and say something like, “Oh my god! She’s got her father’s big nose!”

But … You’ve got to get your book out there, and from my own experiences, I’ve gleaned a few thoughts that I hope will help you with your book submissions. 

First … Pick your reviewers wisely. Do not, for example, send a genre novel to a reviewer who only reads mainstream novels. You can find listings of reviewers in a number of sources, including the internet, and most of those will specify the type(s) of books they enjoy.

If a reviewer says, “I only accept nonfiction and historical romance fiction” – take him ( or her) at his/her word. Do not send your fantasy or hard science fiction or erotic paranormal romance to this person. It isn’t likely to be well-received.

Second … Make sure your book is your best quality work before submitting it for review. Some of the big-name publishers will submit books that have not yet been edited – in the interest of getting reviews that can included in the edited book when it’s released for the public. But, unless you submit your book with such a disclaimer, the reviewer will probably assume she’s getting the book that the reading public will see.

A book heavy with typos, misspellings and/or grammatical errors is unlikely to get high marks in a review.

Third … Seek out those who will review your book for free. They’re out there. Many reviewers are volunteers, people who simply love to read and share their reading experience. Others receive compensation from magazines or other publications they write for.

Never, under any circumstances, submit a book to a reviewer who guarantees a 5-star review for a fee. It cheapens the process and calls both your – and the reviewer’s – ethics into question.

Fourth … Grow a thick skin. Not every reviewer is going to love your book. You will be criticized. Sometimes the criticism is valid, sometimes not. Every author, even among the giants, can get a review that’s … well … less than spectacular. Deal with it.

And if you do get a bad review … Do not get into an argument with the reviewer. You may feel better after you blow off some steam at a reviewer who obviously can’t appreciate your work – But it won’t improve your reputation as an author. Most times, the reviewer will simply stand his/her ground, and you’ll come off looking petty.

Besides, even a bad review can help. I’ve read a lot of books – and enjoyed them – because someone’s 1- or 2-star review piqued my curiosity.


You could win one of my ebooks this month. Just leave a comment, and your name will be entered in my end-of-the-month drawing. The winner will receive a copy of one of my ebooks – your choice.


About plblairportals

I'm a native of Tyler, Texas, formerly of Rockport and Corpus Christi - setting for my Portals books - before moving to Sheridan, WY. A newspaper reporter with more than 30 years' experience, I started my first Portals novel (Shadow Path) in 2006. Four of my fantasy/detective novels have been published to date, more are in the works. I share my life with three dogs and a cat - all rescues - read voraciously and research Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse pedigrees as a hobby.
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2 Responses to How to Get a Book Review

  1. I think there’s definitely reviewers out their that will review your books for free. Often, it’s mutually beneficial., if the reviewer is trying to build a reputation, as am I. I would never think of charging until I had built a reputation by reviewing books I pay for myself, or am sent, as opposed to being paid for.

    I would also love a chance to win a free eBook of one of your novels.

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