Reviews, Reviews, Reviews...

Reviews of your book can either put the va-va-voom into your day or make you want to close your lap top lid for good, but, they’re essential for informing potential buyers whether or not to purchase.  Indeed, Mark Coker of Smashwords indicates in one of his pie charts that most readers buy based on a recommendation or review.

While you can garner a few reviews from friends or fellow writers, you need opinions from real readers or members of the blogosphere to assist you in getting your book ‘out there’. 

I work with quite a number of bloggers, some with 100 followers and some with 1500 devotees. They range from students to workers, all love reading books and sharing their views on them. However, they do get inundated so expect to wait a few months. They’re often busy people too so don’t hassle them. Most have a fair and honest review policy and give a balanced opinion, which may help your sales or may not. The main thing you’re gaining is publicity by exposing your book to readers.

Some focus on specific genres while some are more broad based. I’ve also found many that accept indies but not all do, so please check. For extra pulling power, you may wish to combine your review with an interview and giveaway.

However, where do we find these bloggers?

I recommend joining bookblogs.ning, which is a community of bloggers with a discussion board and a variety of groups you can join. You can post a review request on a new discussion thread or into a group. By searching posts and members, you can often locate these bloggers quite easily. A member, Kate Evangelista, posted a review request on her blog and I obtained my first few through her. You may also spot some bloggers on Goodreads or even Twitter.

There are also some great sites that support indie authors and reviews are part of the services they offer.

World Literary Café has a vetted read and review team, although you need to book in advance. They are currently scheduling for June onwards. The site offers a range of other services too.

Kindle Book Review is run by thriller author, Jeff Bennington. There is a list of reviewers on his site that you can contact directly. If they don’t like your book, they don’t post the review and if they do, they’ll post to Amazon for you. It’s also well worth subscribing to his newsletter, ‘The Writing Bomb’ and there are a range of promotions available too.

Night Owl Reviews offer a range of promotions as well as reviews. You can request one, although you are not guaranteed one. However, the site receives a lot of monthly traffic.

The Bookbag.co.uk have a great review policy and read indie books without discrimination. There are promotional packages on offer too, and the site receives high traffic.

BookStackReviews also have a fair and honest review policy. I really liked the review they posted for my book but the site doesn’t receive a high volume of traffic.

BookRooster.com will send out your book for a modest fee to reviewers on their database. They guarantee at least 10 reviews but I found they didn’t follow through with this promise. You don’t know who’s on their database, and what genres they favour plus, personal contact with the administrators isn’t too hot either. Personally, I believe you’ll get better service by paying a virtual book tour organiser.

Virtual Book Tour Organisers

Contacting and communicating with bloggers does take time, so you may want someone to organise this for you. Usually, they blog themselves and have an extensive network, providing a good service often at a modest cost. As previously stated, think ahead and book in advance.

Bewitching Book Tours are very reasonably priced, with release day promos to month long tours. They focus mainly on paranormal and fantasy genres.

Le Grande Codex works with a range of genres and is based in India.

Fierce Reading is another modestly priced service.

CLNB is quite broad based in genre and is reasonably priced.

More expensive tour operators include Pump Up Your Book, Orangeberry Book Tours and Novel Publicity.

If you have cash to spare and desire a more professional review, Kirkus Reviews carry a lot of clout. Darcie Chan, author of ‘The River Mill Recluse’ attributes much of her bestseller status to Kirkus. They read indies too.

Midwest Book Review favours small publishers and indies while Foreword Reviews offers a paid service for indie authors.

You can also garner reviews by doing a giveaway on Goodreads, LibraryThing or through a KDP Select free promotion, but results can be random. When your book is free, many people will try something out of their usual genre or just simply because it’s free. It’s quite risky so be prepared for a wide mix of views.

Marie Harbon is the author of ‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’, the first book in an ambitious science fiction/paranormal series.

'an enthralling read from start to finish… this book has real originality and portrays an intricate journey... an intriguing and mind bending journey...’

'If you like your novels Dan Brown style with lots of geeky science underpinning a thrilling and clever plot, you'll love this. It is highly readable and intriguing, moving swiftly from one scenario to the next, covering a wide range of decades and building a storyline of modern and ultimately human interest’.
Alison Chester-Lambert, author of ‘The Future In The Stars - The Planets' Message for 2012 And Beyond'.

'every page is chock-a-block full of quantum theory, wildly idiosyncratic characters, out-of-body experiences, weird occurrences, and loose ends, all of which are tied together with a fanciful yet plausible conception of the grand unifying theory underlying the world around us. Oh yeah, and there's some sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll thrown in for kicks'.

"Seven Point Eight has to be one of the most fascinating reads I've come by in quite a while... It's always risky to mix several genres and sub-genres but for this book, the execution was flawless... Captivating and intelligently written - definitely could appeal to fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, Dan Brown books, fans of the Jodie Foster film 'Contact' and anyone who loves X-Men"
Dream Reads

'a clever and intriguing story that blends science and spirituality and calls us to question what we believe in - what is reality... a thought provoking read that those who enjoy fantasy and science fiction are sure to enjoy. It will be a series to keep looking at and I will certainly look out for the second chronicle'
Paradigm Shift Magazine Issue 55

‘Seven Point Eight: The First Chronicle’ is currently available in the UK Kindle store and will be running its KDP Select free promotion from the 16th – 19th April, inclusive.
Amazon link to Buy Seven Point Eight.