Getting Reviews

Last week I talked about how much I hate having to give reviews because even if I dislike a book someone else might love it. As a writer, I’m really facing a dichotomy. One of the top ways books are sold is through word-of-mouth, and if we take word-of-mouth one step further, it’s through reviews. So I hate to give them but I need them.


This year was the first time I’ve actively tried to get reviews for my books. I actually went on a site, and asked for reviews for A Killer Past. I had two people request ARCs (advance reading copy), which I sent. Of the two, I received one review. The other person still has the book listed as a TBR (to be read).

Goodreads is a great place for readers to see reviews. I’m not sure how to utilize it to get reviews for my books, but if I list a book I’m reading, when I finish the book I have the opportunity to rate it (1-5 stars) and write a review. This is a good way to help my writer friends.


I have read that if you want 25 reviews, you need to contact 100 reviewers. So where does one find these reviewers? Amazon has a group of reviewers who, from what I’ve read, review just about any type of book.  To find these reviewers, go to

Another way to find reviewers, is to look at books similar to what you’ve written and see who’s given that book a review, then contact that reviewer and see if he/she might be willing to read and review your book.

Just a few days ago, a writer I know invited me to join a group she’s creating. She is promising to provide members of the group with ARCs of each book or short story she creates at least six weeks prior to its official launch. She is asking those in the group to then post an honest review within three days after the launch. I’m thinking about joining the group, I do like her writing, but going back to my reticence to voice my opinion regarding good or bad, I’m not sure if I want to commit to this idea. On the other hand, I understand why she’s forming this group. We—all writers—need those reviews.

Another way to get reviews is via a newsletter or on social media ask (beg) those who buy your book to please write a review. Personally contact friends, family, and fans and ask them to write a review.

If you’re self-publishing, at the end of your e-book add a link that will take the reader directly to the spot where a review can be written. If the story is fresh in the reader’s mind, he/she is more apt to give the book a rating and write a review, even if it’s only a few words.

Contact web sites, ezines and magazines that feature your genre and ask how to go about getting a review. (There are sites that advertise how you can buy reviews. Beware. You can lose the trust of your readers if they discover you purchased that great review.)

As I’ve said before, I really suck at this marketing business, but I am getting better. I have had a few reviews posted for Eat Crow and Die and for A Killer Past. So far they have been good reviews, but what I would love is more reviews. Honest reviews. If something didn’t work, say so. 


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20 Responses to Getting Reviews

  1. ann bennett says:

    Reviews driving sales was a big surprise for me. I have begun writing reviews. If a book is that bad, I just don’t write one.

    I have an acquaintance who wrote a terrible book. It was crazy bad. Purchasing the book was gift enough. However, he did not know to ask for reviews, which I am thankful for.

    This is an area where I have a hard time. If he asked, I would have written him a positive review. You have some people who write one star reviews on books they have not read. You have people like me who write only positive reviews. But – I try to only write about the ones I enjoyed.

    • Maris Soule says:

      I’ve run into similar situations, Ann. I’m always conflicted. Do I write what I truly think or lie? I usually avoid the situation by not writing a review.

      • ELF says:

        I face a similar problem when I am supposed to review a book that I dislike. Those reviews take me the longest to write, because I agonize over what to say that is not denigrating the author’s hard work yet is what I believe. There are some that I am obligated to do for the site I review for, but if it is a title that I receive directly from the author, I usually reach out and let them know that I’d rather not write a review because of issues I had with the story. Those who ask for more info, I share my opinion with, those who don’t, I add to my do not read list.

        • Maris Soule says:

          Elf, thank you for giving your side of the issue. And you’re right, whether it’s a review or writing comments on a contest entry, it’s the ones that have problems that take the longest. I’m glad I’ve never been obligated to write a review for someone I know. I always wonder–if I did give a negative review–if that writer would ever talk to me again.

  2. Timely subject for me.

  3. Joe Novara says:

    Thanks, Maris. Very helpful blog.
    BTW I wrote the publisher of Cawing Crow press and asked for an explanation of the license request and a confirmation that I would not be expected to fork out $…that all costs would be covered on his end thru sales.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Good idea, Joe. Some of these publishers are tricky. They say there’s no cost, and then, surprise, you discover there is a cost. I hope this publisher is on the up-and-up. Keep me posted.

  4. Paula says:

    I appreciate the info and your personal input. I’m saving this one for future reference.

  5. Suzette says:

    I almost never review a book unless I love it. If I hate a book, I sometimes (rarely) write a review but never leave less than 3 stars. I try to write it in the editors shoes: to make suggestions which might be helpful to the author and to point out the writer’s gifts – everyone has them. (I have no tolerance for people who leave reviews to feel superior and powerful by crushing someone else’s dreams.) On the other hand, this well meaning attempt to not lie and yet not be unkind could still lose one a friend, depending on how it is taken.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Suzette, I’m like you in that I have no trouble giving a review if I love a book. Where I have difficulty is when the writer is a friend and I would give a 3 (I would never give lower). Your suggestion of pointing out what didn’t work for you is a good one.

  6. Melissa Keir says:

    I don’t think that people realize how much reviews drive $$ for authors. We need reviews to get promoted on certain sites and reviews even drive if Amazon shows your book on their recommended reads. I used Goodreads as a reader to record the millions of books I’ve read over the years. With new covers, I would always end up buying another book I already read. Frustrating. Now I can just as simply post the stars and not write a thing on there…Amazon is asking you to be more accountable. You can post stars but you must write why. HOWEVER, if someone knows you or is an author, you can’t post reviews for certain other people. I don’t know how they know that…but I’ve had it happen to me, even using a different name, even when people have bought the book. Nothing more frustrating than that! Amazon should allow reviews from everyone. Authors, family… we all read and we all review!

  7. Diana Stout says:

    Awesome blog. This is an area of little knowledge for me, so I found the blog most helpful. Thanks!

  8. I am going through this again now. My new novel DARK MOON RISING will be published July 24th. It will need reviews. I myself review every book I read if it’s a book I enjoy. I do not give negative reviews either. They cause fellow writers pain. I am sympathetic. I also have a positive viewpoint.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Jacqueline, you’re right. As writers, we know how it feels to receive a negative review. I certainly don’t want to inflict that pain on my friends.

  9. ELF says:

    One thing that I will mention (as a very busy reviewer) is that it would be great if there was a way to help support reviewers monetarily without a taint of ‘buying’ a review…it takes a considerable amount of time to read and review a book, and those of us who do a lot of them are inundated with requests and don’t have enough hours in the day to read and make a living as well, lol. The Reading Alley is working on a system that might be a solution, but the jury is still out.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Hmm, that is a dilemma: How can we pay for the time it takes to write a review without seeming to be buying a (good) review? I know any time I see $ signs attached to something, I become suspicious.