Reviews. Everyone wants them, but they don’t always seem to have the biggest effect on a book marketing campaign. One of the issues is that not all book review strategies are set up for success. Here are five steps to follow to ensure you run a successful book review strategy.

Step 1: Build your own hype

You can’t always rely on everyone else to talk about you. You need to learn how to build up your own reputation using digital media and other tactics such as post cards, flyers, etc. Your marketing starts with a great website and social media channels. You should also set up a regular blogging schedule. If your own channels are already buzzing, then you will attract attention.

Focus on building a following for yourself as an author based on your personality and your past work. This will make it easier for you to connect with your audience as well as any influencers/reviewers you decide to work with.

Step 2: Research

When it comes to connecting with potential reviewers, remember that bigger isn’t always better. You are looking for quality connections that will help to spread the word about your book, but just because they have a huge following doesn’t mean their audience target is the best fit for what you want to achieve.

Your strategy should start with research. You need to know who is out there writing reviews and what they are reviewing. When researching to find influencers to review your book, look for the following:

    • Social media following: Not just how many, but look at who is following them
    • Engagement: Are people engaging with their content or is it falling on deaf ears (or worse, are their followers fake!)
    • What other reviews have they done? Have they reviewed similar books/genres?


Step 3: Connect

Before asking anyone to review your book, you should try to build a relationship with them. You don’t need to be best friends, but at the very least, start interacting with their social media content. That way, by the time you reach out to ask for a review they may recognize your name.

Step 4: The Ask

Asking for a review is similar to a media pitch. Keep it short and get to the point of why you are contacting them. If they have to guess why you are reaching out or it takes too long to figure out what you are asking for, you will likely be turned down.

When sending emails, avoid sending attachments (such as your press kit or one-sheet as a PDF) as your email may be marked as spam. Instead, include a link to your website and/or press kit to offer more information if they need it. And always include contact information (both phone and email).

Step 5: Promote

Once you have reviews out, share them as much as possible. The more great reviews you can talk up on your social channels (and your designed material) the better. It adds credibility to your work. Don’t stop with sharing a review once, share it multiple times and be sure to tag the reviewer when you post it. Showing a little love to your reviewers goes a long way when you are ready with your next book.


Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.