Reviews are the ‘proof’ that your book is worth the asking price.  Proving your credibility, reviews can make or break you as a successful bookseller.  Here are three great secrets to getting rave reviews.

Secret #1 Prepublication Reviews.  Send your Galleys to the prepublication review magazines as soon as possible. 

This type of review is directed toward the book industry, the bookstores and libraries that will, be stocking your book.  They look to prepublication reviews to make their purchasing decisions.  Since they cannot stock every book published, getting your reviews early is critical. 

Additionally, good reviews in prepublication magazines will bring you more good reviews later (reviewers want to review books that are getting recognition)

How do you get good prepublication reviews? 

As soon as you can, preferably four to five months prior to your publication date, send bound galleys (a typeset prepublication copy of your book) with a cover letter and a press release to prepublication reviewers. 
Don’t forget to include the following information on the cover or first page:

  • title
  • author
  • publication date
  • ISBN
  • publisher name and contact information
  • price
  • number of pages
  • number of illustrations
  • trim size
  • distributor and contact
  • contact name and information for the publicist
  • "Uncorrected proof: do not quote without prior permission from the publisher.

Secret #2 Spend your money on retail reviewers over ad copy.  Review copy is significantly more credible and better at selling your book than buying ad space.  Both book sellers and book buyers rely much more on reviews than they do ad copy to make their buying decision.  What does this mean in numbers?  When faced with the decision to mail out 300 copies of your book to retail reviewers, don’t hesitate.  Send your book to all relevant reviewers, you can find good retail review directories online or at your local library.
Why send so many copies for review? You won’t get a response from all of the reviewers.  In fact, if you receive a review from 30% of your mailings, you’re in good shape. 
Retail reviewers, the newspapers, magazines, book review columns and radio and television stations with talk shows and book programs, receive an enormous number of books every day.  However, each review you send out is worth its weight in gold in future book sales. 

Secret #3 Include copies of other reviews in your review package.  Your review package should contain:

  • A copy of your book in perfect condition.  Sending a damaged book doesn’t reflect well on you. 
  • Cover artwork or photograph to attract interest.
  • A review slip containing all of the bibliographic info of the book
  • A press release about the book.  If you can weave testimonials or reviews into the release, this will help convince the reviewer to take a look at your book.
  • A cover letter.  This isn’t required; however it is a professional and courteous step to take. 
  • A couple of good reviews/testimonials that you’ve received.  Reviewers are more inclined to review your book if it has been reviewed by big name reviewers.  You can include prepublication reviews and any reviews or testimonials that you have received. 

Selling your book is a process that begins long before your book makes it to the bookstore shelves.  To ensure that you have a step above your competition, make sure that you take the time to get reviews!

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