What to Do When You Just Can’t Get a Review

So you’ve got a book, and you’ve decided to go the self-publishing route. Now your masterpiece has officially hit the market. The thrill of those first few purchases is still tingling in your veins. Perhaps you’ve even got a reader review or two on Amazon.

You’re a savvy self-published author, I know. You’ve done your homework, and you know that one of the things you need to do to reach an audience is get your book in the hands of an official book reviewer. There are thousands of book blogs out there looking for stories to read and review. The icing on the cake? Most of them are free.

Awesome! Okay, so you send a few queries to book reviewers. Then you send a few more. One or two respond with a friendly rejection, but most don’t respond at all.

Now what?

Fellow authors (indie and traditionally published) I feel your pain. I’ve been there. My first novel, Bride of Dunloch, didn’t just sell a few copies, it sold a lot. And it had over thirty reader reviews on Amazon when I decided to start querying book reviewers. By the time I gave up, I was feel pretty dejected.

I’m feeling a little less dejected now that I’m on the other side of the fence. Now I’m a book reviewer myself with Coffee Time Romance and More. Having been at it for some time now, I have an appreciation of just how hard a job that is. I knew these book review sites got a lot of requests, but I didn’t appreciate exactly how many requests was “a lot.”

Being a book reviewer is hard work. So it stands to reason that getting your book reviewed by a reviewer is even harder work, and may not happen for everyone.

Fortunately, you’re not sunk if you don’t get that coveted book review. You have other effective options for marketing yourself if your queries go unanswered (and if they do, please don’t be upset with those hard-working book reviewers; they’ve got a lot on their collective plate).

When my queries went unanswered, I didn’t give up marketing altogether. Instead, I made good use of my freebie days at Amazon. I blogged with gusto. I tweeted and posted and pinned into the early hours.

There’s one other thing I did that you can try. If a book review site does not answer your query for a review, try offering to write a guest post for them instead. It’s a symbiotic arrangement. You get a coveted space on their well-read blog, and they get a break from having to craft their own content. Perhaps you can even host a giveaway (a “comment to win” or a “tweet to win” or something like that). If said book review site agrees to let you guest post, be prepared to push your post like crazy when it is published. Help yourself and your new book review partner by generating as much traffic as you can. Here’s an example of a post I wrote for Romance Lives Forever.

As authors, we have to work to market our books, whether we’re traditionally or self-published. There’s no such thing as a free ride anymore. Our work doesn’t stop with the end of our manuscripts. So if your queries to book review sites are going unanswered (and again, please forgive those hard-working reviewers) keep at the marketing thing in other ways. Your tenacity will pay off in the long run.

Case in point, I never received an answer when I queried book review sites for my latest novel, A Noble Deception. To my surprise, it was actually picked up independently by Ysar over at Fic Central. That she took the time to review my book without being asked is, hands down, an honour!

10 thoughts on “What to Do When You Just Can’t Get a Review

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  1. That’s a great piece of advice to offer to write a guest post… something I hadn’t thought of. I did approach a couple of book review blogs, but didn’t hear back — and figured that my erotic/romance ebooks were probably not that great of a fit for them. But I’m with you on pushing other avenues of having your own blog and tweeting. Problem comes up when it takes away from writing the next story! But, as you said, marketing is a necessity.


    1. I agree, it’s all about the marketing. And balance in marketing and writing time … unfortunately I haven’t quite found it yet, but at least we know we need to have it, right? That’s always the first step 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True! Knowing we need it is the first step. But trying to achieve that balance is a longer step, at least for me 🙂


      1. It was incredibly helpful although I am already doing some of the things you advised e.g writing blog posts for other bloggers instead of asking for reviews. I don’t know if you are interested in multi-touch ebooks? If you are you might want to check out my site and blog at http://www.swordofair.net as I’ve just published my first YA fantasy novel in this exciting new format. The book includes photography, cinematic soundtrack and HD video. I look forward to reading more of your great blog posts. Take care. Rae.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve summed it up so well that I can’t comment further. In fact, my main reason for commenting is to not discuss book reviews, but to mention that photo of a squirrel drinking red bull is awesome.


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