This is the first of a 3-part series on getting reviews for your book.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs writing and launching books recently, and I’m so excited to see more and more people take advantage of all the self-publishing options available these days.

I’m also seeing quite a few people launch their book with NO reviews, and this is a BIG mistake. You’ve not only missed a huge opportunity to send your book into the world with some serious social proof, but many advertisers require a certain number of reviews before they’ll consider promoting you and a lot of authors find that when their review count hits about 50 or so, their books start showing up better in Amazon searches.
Please do not expect people to read your book and review it just because they loved it so much. Some might, but the majority won’t bother. You MUST be proactive about getting reviews.

Today, I’m sharing the first in a 3-part series on getting reviews for your book in hope that it will help authors take advantage of the opportunity to get reviews up and running BEFORE they launch. These are based on my own experience (and mistakes!) and seeing what has and hasn’t worked for clients.

1. In your book, give readers a reason to sign up to your list (we’ll call this Review List #1)—bonus content, a free audio version, etc. Set up an auto respond sequence so that a polite request for a review goes out about a week after they sign up, then another one about a week after that.
2. Start asking people to review your book 1 month before you plan to launch it (longer if you’re looking for bloggers to review it). Your manuscript should be finished, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can be working on the cover design, proofreading and formatting while the book is in review.
3. Set up a simple opt-in form (using Mailchimp, etc.) on your website so that people can immediately download an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of your book. This gives you an easy way to keep track of reviews and helps build your email list. Win-win. (We’ll call this Review List #2. It is NOT the same as the list in Step 1. List #1 is for people who buy your book after it’s launched; List #2 is for people who get a free copy to review before it’s launched.)
4. Get as many reviewers as you can. You’ll be lucky if about half of them actually write a review for you. Really work your list and social media connections.
5. About a week before your release date, send List #2 a nice note reminding them that you’ll need reviews soon. If you have links to places they can leave reviews, send those too.
6. Repeat step 3 the day your book is released (not *launched*—see below).
7. Repeat step 3 a week later.

Don’t harass your review lists. Once you’ve sent 2 or 3 reminder notices, let it go. But be sure to add them to your primary mailing list and keep them up to date on what you’re doing. Every so often, you can drop a note in your newsletter letting people know you’d welcome a review. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post in which I’ll share what NOT to when getting reviews. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions or just let me know if this was helpful.

Check out Part Two here.