As published authors, we are constantly reminded of the importance of getting book reviews. Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and other social platforms help bring legitimacy (and sales!). We ask, we plead, we beg, but it often feels as if nothing we can do will elicit reviews from our readers.
As a Job Search Coach (day job), I frequently teach people how to get others in their network to write LinkedIn Testimonials on their behalf. The challenge is the same. It’s very hard to get someone to write something positive about your writing/your work ethic, anything. And why? People have no idea where to start and what to write. Unlike those of us smitten with the written word, most folk are intimidated by the process of putting words together in such a public fashion.
So then, how can we overcome this? Well, if the reviewer had some examples and guidelines, maybe this whole scary process wouldn’t be so scary. And that’s why I created the Book Review Tip Sheet, profiled here in this post.
Here is the essence of what I send my potential reviewers:
Book Review Tip Sheet:
Can your review answer any of the following?
- What feeling did [insert book name] leave you with?
- Would you compare [insert book name] to other books you’ve read? If so, what do they have in common? What books is it like?
- What feelings did the book capture well?
- Was there a uniqueness about the book that you’d like to convey?
- Was there something this book did that you haven’t seen done before, or haven’t seen done a lot?
- Did you finish it really quickly? Was it a page turner? Did it keep you up all night?
Share possible themes to discuss. Here you can list some of your tags and help stimulate their thinking along the lines of what you want them to showcase in your writing. My book, Missing Tyler, is a YA, coming of age, so following are the themes that worked for me:
- Grief/family trauma
- After death musings/religion/spirituality
- First love
- Summertime at the shore
- Coming of age
Here are examples of short, but effective reviews.
- I am still wiping my eyes. They refuse to stop weeping. I do not know what ages this book was written for, but I am 81, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wish I could add an extra star or two. Thank you.
- This book was real. Real love, real heartache, real pain. It brought up all of the feels. This book is about the age when you truly learn what love and loss is.
- I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. I would describe this story as bitter sweet and a good read.
- Pick this up if you’re heading to the beach for a weekend. It is a great read.
- I love this book so much. It’s really wonderful. I love how serious and reflective it is about personal relationships more so about friendship. It made laugh so hard and it made me wonder. I really really like it. 🙂
Possible review starters:
- I picked up this book because _________________.
- I was surprised to find ____________
- I really liked __________.
- I especially liked _________.
- I love how the book __________.
- After the book was over I felt _____________.
- I would recommend this book to [describe the type of reader].
Reviews the book has received. Here you showcase a few examples of reviews you’ve already received. I only list two here, but normally I’d include a few more.
- What an amazing read; very well-written and difficult to put down! Missing Tyler was filled with such real and honest emotions when experiencing a loss. I felt these emotions right along side Kit. It’s the kind of book that lingers with you. I’ll be recommending it to others!
- One of my favorite things about this book is that even though it’s a story of loss, it’s still a fun read. That’s not always easy to accomplish, and kudos to Tamara Palmer for writing such a compelling, important and fun-to-read book. Kit’s a great character and I loved reading about her experiences with Tyler’s loss and how that compared to her parents’ loss as well as the larger community around her. The teen years can be tricky enough on a good day, and losing a sibling while navigating that tricky terrain could crush even the best of us. I think this book will be an important resource for years to come–for teens as well as adults.
Then I explain to the reviewer that if they’re unsure if their review is ready for prime time posting, to send it to me first and I can help them dress it up.
I end with thanking them for supporting my marketing efforts.
Feel free to use any piece of this in your own marketing efforts. Hope it gets you those coveted reviews!
About the Author:
Tamara Palmer knew she was going to be a writer before she could even write. She would play elaborate dramas out with her Barbies for days, even weeks, on end. As she got older, the stories made their way onto a typewriter. Tamara obtained a BA in English/Creative Writing from Eastern Illinois University, and has had a handful of short stories and essays published online and in print. Tamara blogs frequently for the career advisement business she founded in 2012, greyzone. Missing Tyler is her first novel. She lives just outside Chicago with her husband, daughter, and assortment of pets.
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