How To Get Book Reviews – The 5 Myths

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How to Get Book Reviews - The 5 Myths by Shelley HitzGetting reviews for your book is an essential part of the publishing and marketing process. However, there are many misconceptions authors have regarding book reviews.  In this post I address the 5 common myths about getting reviews for your book.

Myth #1:  Customers Don’t Read Reviews

Reviews are important and research has actually shown they do impact buying decisions.  A research study conducted by Dimensional Research showed that 90% of customers reported reading positive reviews online impacted their buying decisions. In the same way, 86% of customers said reading negative reviews online impacted their buying decisions as well.

Tip:  Make sure you don’t ignore this important step of getting honest reviews for your book.  They have more impact than you may realize.

Myth #2:  Anyone Can Post Reviews on Amazon

As an author, it is important understand each retailer’s terms of service regarding reviews.  For example, Amazon prohibits authors from reviewing a competitor’s book that would be seen as a “directly competing product.”

Tip:  Even though “directly competing” authors are unable to post reviews for you, you can ask them for endorsements You can then put these endorsements in the beginning of your book as well as in the “Editorial Reviews” section on your sales page. 

Myth #3:  You’re Going To Spend an Arm and a Leg on Review Copies

You may think that you have to spend a fortune to give out review copies of your book.  First, you have to pay for the print book copies and then you have to pay to have it shipped to your reviewer.  If the reviewer is international, the shipping will be even more expensive.

Tip: However, you can significantly cut your costs by sending out eBook copies to reviewers.  You can send out PDF, mobi, and/or epub copies of your books to most reviewers.  You may still want to send print copies to certain high profile book review bloggers and/or potential endorsers for your book, but most reviewers will agree to review a digital copy of your book.

Myth #4:  No Reviews Are Better Than Bad Reviews

When writing, publishing, and marketing your book it is good to know upfront that you will get both positive and negative reviews. After pouring your time and talent into your book (and some of your hard earned money), it is natural to want to see all 4 and 5 star reviews.

However, the reality is that you will NOT please every reader who buys your book. Even the very best authors still get 1, 2, and 3 star reviews on their books.

Sometimes negative reviews can actually be helpful. You may think that no reviews are better than bad reviews.  But if your book has all 5 star reviews, people may think all your reviews are from supporters: your family and friends.

Tip: We encourage you to not be afraid of getting negative reviews. Expect that they will come and then move on. If you have written a good book, good reviews will continue to come in faster than the bad reviews and your overall rating will still remain high.

Myth #5:  Everyone Who Agrees to Review Your Book Will Follow Through

Understand that not all readers who agree to review your book will actually follow through.  Don’t take it personally as your reviewers are volunteers and have busy lives, but make sure to send at least one follow up e-mail message.

Tip:  We have found that sending a follow-up message to reviewers who have not posted a review can double the response rate. Reviewers will sometimes forget, or lose the links, to post the review. They are busy just like us. Sending a simple reminder can make a huge difference.

 I have just shared 5 myths about getting reviews for your book.  What advice do you have for authors on getting reviews for a book?  Share your tips in the comments below.

Honest Reviews ToolKit

Shelley Hitz
Shelley Hitz is an award-winning and internationally best-selling author. She is the owner of and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. And she teaches from personal experience. Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 and has published over 30 books including print, eBook and audio book formats. She consistently ranks in the top 100 authors for her category on
Shelley Hitz
Shelley Hitz
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  1. … and remember that Amazon isn’t the only player on the block. If you can find reviewers who are willing to post at iTunes and Barnes & Noble, you’ll cover more bases.

    • Yes, great point, Kathy! We always ask our reviewers to post on Goodreads as well, but it is good to include the other retailers as well.

  2. May I add a sixth myth, Shelley?

    Myth #6: Big magazines don’t care about my book.

    I included a tip in my ezine several weeks ago telling authors to submit their books to the New Product sections of magazines, with a note to link to a high-resolution photo from the press release (no need to send the book, if they want it they will ask for it). The editor of Get Organized magazine responded and said she often looks high and low for photos for her new products section and cannot find enough of them! Sometimes a small blurb and photo of the cover in these big magazines is as good as a review.

  3. Nice tips! I especially like the one about negative reviews. Who KNEW? Thanks!