I’ve long advocated writing a book as an extremely effective way to market your personal brand, and I’m happy to report that more and more professionals – doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, CEOs and others – have come to recognize the value of this.
After all, why slip a potential client a business card when you can dazzle them by handing them a copy of the book you wrote?!
But even when your book is mainly for marketing purposes and you don’t harbor dreams of bestseller status, you wouldn’t mind if a few people actually took the time to read it. After all, you’ve put a lot of time, energy and perhaps a piece of your soul into it. So you’d like for it to get at least a smidgen of attention in the world beyond your closest friends and relatives.
And that’s where book reviews come in!
Wait! Before we go further, one important factor to be aware of is that the number of books published each year is tremendous. Sources can vary on exactly how tremendous, but the range is somewhere between 600,000 to 1 million!
That means you’ve got a ton of competition for grabbing the attention of those book reviewers and, ultimately, readers. (And in case you were wondering, the average book sells fewer than 250 copies.)
All those deflating numbers aside, a glowing book review could be the validation you’ve been seeking for all your hard work! Of course, some reviews glow in a friendly sort of way while others are downright radioactive, so realize you’re taking a chance when you start soliciting reviews. Still, I recommend you take that chance!
That said, you can’t just sit back and hope some random reviewer stumbles across your book, becomes instantly enchanted and goes to work penning a witty and insightful analysis of the literary gem you lay at the world’s doorstep.
It’s up to you to make sure your book lands in the reviewers’ hands. How do you go about that? Let me share a few tips:
- Research reviewers online. You’ll want to find out who potentially might be willing to review your book, and a Google search is a good starting place. You should be able to find lists of the top reviewers on Amazon and on Goodreads, and you might find other reviewers as well. Don’t just grab every name off a list, though. You’ll want to make sure a reviewer is interested in your type of book. For example, if someone reviews only science fiction, it would be pointless to send them your non-fiction book on how to live well in retirement. Unfortunately, tracking down the right reviewers for your book isn’t always easy because some reviewers have contact information on their blogs and others don’t. Your persistence will be tested!
- Gauge interest. Once you’ve found reviewers who are a good fit, don’t make the mistake of mailing your book to them unannounced. That’s a good way to rack up a lot of expenses for both printing books and shipping costs with no guarantee that the reviewer will even take the time to read the table of contents. Instead, you’ll want to craft a book pitch that you can email to reviewers to find out whether they would be interested in writing a review. Then if they are you can ship off a copy.
- Keep the pitch short and simple. You’ll want to make it easy for reviewers to grasp exactly what the book is about so they’ll know whether it’s something they’ll be interested in taking a look at. Make your pitch engaging, but there’s no need to weave in a lot of puffy language that declares your novel the most astounding literary work since Charles Dickens walked the Earth, or that insists your philosophy book will change the course of humankind. Just provide a brief summary of key points readers will take away from the book and a short “about the author” to let them know your background and credentials. You’ll also want to include such information as number of pages, genre, price and publisher.
- Follow-up. Reviewers often have a stack of books they need to get to, so yours can easily find its way to the bottom of that stack. For that reason, it’s important to stay in touch with the reviewer who has requested your book, but without making yourself a nuisance. You may have to wait a little while for results. But with any luck, your patience will pay off.
When it does (and let’s assume the reviewer had mostly good things to say) don’t waste the opportunity. Share the review on social media. Put a link to it on your blog. Forward it to clients, customers, family, friends and anyone else in your email contact list.
After all that pitching and waiting, you’ll want to get all the mileage you can out of it!
P.S. If you’d like professional help being quoted in the press, pitching book reviewers, and getting radio and TV interviews, give us a call. We’ve been providing this service to clients for 27 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231.. We’d love to hear from you!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.