Because most of us don't yet have an existing email lists, we need to find another way to find reviewers.
For fiction, we've discovered a formula to find reviewers via Goodreads, and online 'virtual bookclub' with over 40 million members. It's been the most effective way we've found to reach advance readers (and if you have previously published, we will start by reaching out to any of your former readers already familiar with your work on Goodreads).
The big shift we made this year was to go from an inbound to outbound model.
The inbound model involves putting offers for your books in places readers hopefully see them. Because little vetting is involved, most of the requests we received were from people just looking for free stuff. Many never read the book and sell it used later (on eBay or Amazon).
The outbound model we shifted to entails seeking out reviewers based on:
- Targeting similar titles to yours (i.e. your ideal reader)
- Vetting reviewers based on the actual reviews they've posted
Our results have improved significantly.
If you are only reaching out to people you already know, you are likely struggling to get reviews for two reasons.
- Most of your contacts are not likely already familiar with writing book reviews.
- Amazon has become ruthless in removing reviews from anyone they can draw a direct connection to you (and they have way more data on us than we think).
Our Reviewer Outreach campaign has proven to be effective. It's something we started doing in 2016 and continue to improve on. It's phase 3 of the Bestseller Blueprint we use to guarantee bestseller status for our clients:
- We create a page to log reviewer requests (example @ https://reviewerperks.com/dan). This self-populates a google sheet (see below) for tracking purposes.
- One of our marketing coordinators will reach out to 10 reviewers per week via Goodreads (we are getting a 20% response rate on average).
- All requests for review copies are logged in a google sheet you will have access to.
- You are responsible for covering the cost of review copies, but we will handle fulfillment. Note: We can offer them a pdf or Kindle edition which will reduce your cost (but many reviewers will still want a print copy).
- We follow-up with those reviewers 30/60/90 days after we send a review copy (note: after 90 days, we don't keep nagging them and historically we've seen reviews from at least 50% within the first 90 days).
- You can (and should) send anyone you feel is up to the task to your reviewer request page.
The cost of the campaign is $299/mo. which includes reaching out to 10 reviewers week from a list of comp titles you'll help us with. Katrina has become very skilled at selecting reviewers based on the other reviews they've posted (and how recent). This has helped increase the response rate. That fee includes fulfillment of up to 10 review copies/month. Month 1 is allocated towards setup (30 days before starting outreach). You will have input into the comp titles we select (targeting your ideal reader).
The commitment is 6 months and I suggest we get a Kindle version published (which you can update later) to give reviewers a place to post their review where it carries weight (on Amazon). I'd suggest that at some point during the tail end of the 6 months that we allocate one month towards setting up an AMS campaign (this is noted in phase 5).
While we can try to ask the reviewers to write their review but hold off on posting until that launch day, there's no evidence to support this extra work. At one time, this made sense, but today Amazon seems to prefer to see reviews come in more 'organically' over time. I've seen clients' accounts get flagged as suspicious when they push to get too many reviews posted to soon as I suspect Amazon is using a common reviews-to-sales ratio.
The idea of a launch day makes sense if you have a big following with a 'tribe' of followers you are confident will buy it when you ask them to.
If your book is not yet published, we'll need to first build your ARC edition, but we don't need to assign an ISBN to it (and if you want, it can have a generic 'ADVANCE COPY' cover (just like the big publishers). There will be some additional costs related to formatting and setup.
The most successful campaigns we've run are when the author also sends people they know to the review copy request page (We will do the follow-up on your behalf to ensure we get the review).
We can still run a KDP bestseller campaign for you in the future as noted in Phase 4 (after you have at least a dozen reviews).
If you want to discuss the feasibility of running a reviewer outreach for your book, you can schedule a time to chat by phone (and I will reference this page when we talk).
This is the Google sheet that is auto-populated whenever someone completes your review copy request form:
Katrina logs all her outreach efforts and when she fulfills a request. This helps her know when to nudge the reader for a review (30/60/90 days out):