7 Tips on Author Promotion and Getting Reviews - Self-Publishing Tips Part #9 - #IndieAuthor - #BookPromotion


Success doesn't usually happen overnight. It took me 5 years and lots of mistakes to start making a solid living off my writing. So don't give up!

First, I don’t think authors should waste their time promoting a novel and contacting book promotional sites to buy an ad until they get at least double digit reviews on Amazon (at least ten or more), and preferably 25 reviews would be better. And they have quite a few reviews posted on goodreads, too.

The truth is that authors NEED reviews to help readers in deciding to spend their time and money on your book. But getting reviews can be challenging and time-consuming. 


I wouldn’t “exchange reviews” with other authors, unless you know each other fairly well and you both read the same genre. This  could lead to some negative reviews being posted and awkwardness. 

Instead, if you discover an indie author and you loved their book, then leave an honest review on Amazon. You could also give them a "shout out" on your social media to help other booklovers find their work. Contact the author through Twitter or Facebook and let them know that you enjoyed their writing.

Just think if more authors did this...what a great way to support each other and get some free promotion! 

So buy other indie author's books and leave a review. We need to support each other. Plus, reading makes us better writers.


Don’t ask your friends and family to post reviews. Those always seem fairly obvious on Amazon, and it might decrease the validity of any “real” reviews. My own family and friends don’t read my books and they are not very supportive. (Well, I had one  friend read one of my books about 4 years ago, but she did not leave a review.) 

Instead, let them know whenever you have a new book published, but don't ask for a review. If you need support or encouragement for your writing, then I suggest joining some writing groups online or in your area. Join writing forums and make some friends.

I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing writers online, who have turned into great friends. (Hi ya, Carmen, Kit, Betsy, Megan and Jennifer!) We have never met in person, but that didn't stop a close friendship from developing. 

The dreaded one star reviews...

Don’t freak out if you get a one or two star review. Even bestselling authors get them. Actually, I feel like they validate the positive ones. Plus, a negative review is just one person’s opinion. As long as it is not a personal attack on you as a writer, than I would ignore them. Everyone has different tastes in literature, and since the Internet, everyone can post their opinion for the world to see. Just don't get discouraged or respond to the reviewer. Haters gonna hate, right? Do not stoop to their level.

Before I was published and to this day, I only write reviews for books that I love, and I just don’t waste my time writing reviews for books I don’t enjoy. And oddly enough, I have been criticized for doing this once by another reviewer. Whatevas.

To make you feel better, I'll tell you something that still makes me a kinda sick to my stomach...

Over ten years ago, one of my trade published books was slammed so hard in a nasty review (and reposted on several sites) that I almost quit writing. It was humiliating and humbling and an ego crusher. However, now I can admit that the book was pretty awful. I was a newbie writer back then and I hadn’t yet mastered the art of storytelling. 

In truth, I’m still learning. And I like a techie nerd (no offense, I love technology, too!), I get super excited whenever I do discover new ways to become a better writer. 

I recommend that you keep reading, writing, and studying the craft to improve your skills. Save up some money and work with a professional editor, they are an awesome way to grow as a writer. It is like having your own private tutor. 

Keep promoting your work. Keep writing. Keep finding new ways to reach out to the readers who do love your genre and writing style. 


Goodreads reviews.

Be careful of approaching people on goodreads. A few years back, my publisher and I made the mistake of messaging people on the site to ask for a review and got flagged as spammers. 

Instead, join discussion groups and make friends on goodreads. I’ve sold quite a few books this way by NOT mentioning my own novels. And I had fun doing it and sharing my love of books.

The only drawback is that this can become a huge time-suck. If you're self-published, then you should be working on your next book. So only spend a couple of hours each day on promotion.  

Do a print giveaway on goodreads for one of your books to gain some exposure.  (I REALLY wish they would let authors do giveaways for eBooks, too.)

Book blogger reviewers are all kinds of awesome. 

Build up a huge list of book reviewers and bloggers that read your genre. Keep a list of any reviewers that love your work and reach out to them whenever you publish a new title. 

The problem is that nowadays most book bloggers will not even respond to your request. If you contact a 100, maybe only 10 will email you back and agree to review your book. It seems discouraging, but bloggers can help you achieve success. 

Always politely ask them if they will also leave the review on Amazon and goodreads to help other readers discover your books. Follow and connect with bloggers on social media like Twitter and Facebook.

It takes time to build up relationships with readers and bloggers, but they'll become the best support system imaginable once you gain their loyalty. 

But be sure to follow their review policies explicitly. Use their name to address them, and make sure it is spelled correctly. 

To successfully promote to your target audience and find your readership, visit social media sites, reading groups in your genre, and hang out in forums or message boards. Leave comments and engage with other booklovers, but do not mention your book unless someone asks about your writing.

If you can't get a review, then offer to provide guest posts on blogs, websites, and forums related to your genre. Make them fun and informative. Make sure they are spell-checked. 

I used to host blog tours and have a lot of guest authors on this blog, but the main reason I rarely do it anymore is because the content provided was horrible. How can a writer promote themselves and their books when they have guest posts riddled with spelling mistakes and rambling nonsense? The post might be the first time a reader has heard of you and your work, so make a good first impression. 


Post funny and interesting things pertaining to you hobbies, life, or writing on your social media. Post an image or photo or video with your posts to generate more interest.

Do a "Ask Me Anything" hour and let readers get to know you better on Facebook or Twitter.

Offer to be interviewed by book bloggers, podcasts, or radio shows. Contact your local newspaper and let them know that you've published a book and you're available for an interview.

Hope these tips help!  


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