When you try to land reviews for your new book, the last thing you want is to be just another random new author reviewers have never heard of. Yet it's not uncommon for authors, and especially indie authors, to wait until the last minute to think about book reviews.
So for this week's quick tip, let's make sure you don't fall into that group. Rather than waiting until your book is about to launch (or already has), build relationships with key book reviewers early. Put yourself in a position where, when you do contact them to request a book review, they already know your name and are already at least somewhat familiar with you.
Here are three ways you can start building relationships with potential reviewers even before your book is released.
1. Comment on their existing reviews.
You can do this on e-commerce sites, but it's even better to do this with book review bloggers. Subscribe to their blogs so you get all of their latest reviews. Get to know their review style. Get to know what kinds of books they tend to like, or dislike. And take the time to leave thoughtful comments on their reviews on a regular basis -- especially reviews of books in a similar niche or genre to your own. Quick hint: "Great review!" is not a thoughtful comment.
2. Interact with them on social networks.
Reviewers from all types of publications use social media these days. If they have public profiles, follow them or friend them. Follow their updates on your favorite social networks. Share their reviews with your own followers -- especially ones similar to your upcoming book. And engage in direct conversations with them. For example, respond to general questions they pose or thank them for pointing you to a book you loved. (Along those lines, actually read some of the books they review well in your genre.)
3. Ask questions.
No matter how you contact book reviewers -- via social networks, email, blog and review comments, etc. -- don't be afraid to ask them questions. Show them you value their opinion. Looking for a new book in a particular genre? Want to find a great "hidden" indie author? Ask them personally for recommendations.
Do you run a website of your own, especially one where you write for your fellow authors? If so, take it a step further. Ask your favorite book reviewers if they'd let you interview them for your site. Pick their brains about common mistakes they see, pet peeves in how authors pitch them, or what their book review process is like. Not only does it help you build a reputation with them, but it's valuable for your own readers and it gives you some direct insight in what they do and don't want to see when you're ready to pitch your own book.
How else might you build relationships with book reviewers well before your book is released? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.