AHA · Authors Helping Authors · Marketing

“Why Is It So Hard To Get A Book Review?” by Nikki Bennett

MC910216990I’m a self-published author and I want book reviews. So, like all good self-published authors, I troll around to find blogs that review indie books, and I send them sweetly worded book review requests. Sometimes I don’t get a reply back at all. Sometimes the blogger will write me a more personal rejection, and every once in a while–maybe one out of five or six–I’ll hit the jackpot and get somebody who’ll review my book. Then, unless they’re quick readers (which very few are) I wait. And wait. And finally get my hard-sought after review.

The process is frustrating, but I understand where the reviewers are coming from because I’m one of ’em. I spend a lot of time writing, but an equal amount reading, and what I read are indie books sent to me by authors like me who want a review. I get TONS of requests. And there’s no way I can read every book. Just No Way.

When I started my blog, back in January this year, I didn’t turn anybody down, and two things happened as a result. One: I spent every waking moment reading and I started to neglect my own writing, and two: no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep up with demand. I finally had to put a temporary halt to requests so I could catch up on the two-month backlog. And from this, I came to two realizations.

1. No way can I read every book requested of me.

2. I can only read comfortably (and still have room for other tasks) about 60,000-80,000 words per week. Or about one book. Two if they’re children’s books, but more often than not, one book.

So if I can only read one book a week and I get anywhere from five to twenty requests a week, the only way I can critique books and stay sane is to pick one or two books from the pile and politely decline the rest. The Only Way. I could add more reviewers to my site, but I’m not comfortable with that. It’s my site, and I want my opinions reflected, not somebody else’s. Everyone has their own taste in what they like and don’t like, and my site should showcase what I like. So I have to stick to my limit.

So if you’ve been sending out review requests and are frustrated with the lack of results, I hope my explanation helps you out. The self-publishing era is here, and zillions of folks are publishing their stuff. They’re all hoping for reviews. Be happy if you get one out of five blogs requested to review your book. Be ecstatic if you get more than that. And don’t get frustrated if a book reviewer turns you down. They want to read just as much as you want to write. But unfortunately, demand for blog reviews is way greater than the supply.

~~~~~~~~~~~~Written by Nikki Bennett – Indie author, travel blogger and book review blogger at: http://www.nikki-bennett.com Nikki Bennett is an avid writer and reader. She lives in Japan, and when she isn’t busy typing away, she loves to travel.

5 thoughts on ““Why Is It So Hard To Get A Book Review?” by Nikki Bennett

  1. The era of the Independently published book is here! We have to adapt and find ways to self market and promote our work. I published two Children’s Illustrated books last year and have been reasonably successful in selling them marketing and selling myself. However as I set my stories in a local well loved and visited place and I contacted local newspapers, had two good pieces one front page, promoting the launch. I visit schools, early childhood centres, and sell at weekend market. I have had positive reviews from the centres and schools i visited and posted a few on my website. I am in the process of producing a collection of short stories and know this will be different from children’s stories. One excellent help is to belong to your local Writers Group (or start one). We all critique each others work and have a talented group of people who have published, thrillers, plays, children’s books and we have read our work on local radio, some which have been replayed on National Radio. I believe after spending much time trying to learn from the plethora of information out there to do what you can yourself. Go where you think the book will sell. Approach libraries ask individuals for reviews, not just friends, who will be kind. Like anything worth doing and something you believe in keep trying. If it doesn’t work, try something else. It is an enormous help if you find local writers, compare notes and share ideas and frustrations. Two heads (or ten) are better than one. It is a challenging job, but oh! the joy when you succeed and you have great feedback. Very good luck, keep writing, set some goals, and here’s to a best seller for us all.


  2. Hi Nikki,

    I’ve found some fractional success in getting reviews by giveaways at librarything.com and goodreads.



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