Sunday, June 26, 2022

Why Do Authors Struggle To Get Book Reviews?


What are the top three complaints of all authors?

1. I want to be published, but I can’t find a literary agent to represent me.

2. I want more book sales but no matter what I do, I have only sold a free copies.

3. I want more reviews of my books, but it is really hard to get them.

If we solve number three, number two will improve, and you may be in a better position to resolve number one.

Ok, so how do authors get more book reviews?

Easy: pursue them, ask for them, pay for them.

Yes, I said EASY.

Let’s first understand what we are talking about here.

There are different kinds and levels of reviews. You have professional review outlets, such as newspapers, websites, and book trade journals. In order to have a shot at getting those reviews you need to follow some rules. For instance, do your research. Some publications, like the NYT Book Review will not review a self-published book.   Cured cancer? They still won’t review the book, those snobby bastards!

Next, find out exactly to whom you should send an advance review copy to. Some outlets split reviews up based on genre or format. Then, find out how they like to receive the material: printed galley? Pdf? Other?

Lastly, observe their timelines. If they say they need to receive something 14 weeks prior to your scheduled publication date (which should be listed on Amazon), respect that wish.

Failure to do any of the above likely leads to your submission being dead on arrival. That is right. You cured cancer and they don’t give one shit. Follow their procedures.

Okay, so now that you are armed with the details of whom to send what, how and when, execute! Send out dozens of submissions. Invest in the time and postage needed here. It is a numbers game. Send to as many people, from the aspirational to the low-hanging fruit.

Don’t know whom to send to?

* Hire a publicist or a marketing consultant.

* Google book reviewers.

* See the names of book review outlets that other authors share reviews from.

* Ask bookstores if they have suggested lists.

* Buy a media database and search for book reviewers.

* Join a local writers association online or in-person and sniff out reviewer lists.

* Think logically and strategically.  Take action.

Next: pay book reviewers.

Blasphemy you say?


Sure, but the world has changed. It is not a bribe or payola from the days of radio. It is out in the open and becoming normalized. You can pay places like Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and Reedsy for a book review. It will get expensive. Do it.


You need to desperately establish your author brand on the hopes of getting discovered and validated.

Next: pay for consumer reviews via blogging tours. Places like make perfect sense.

Next: do giveaways to get reviews. Pay and to give your book away to get reviews.

Ask, beg, or trade favors with fellow authors, friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc. to post customer book reviews. Then ask those people to ask their network of friends to post reviews. Sit on people. Get in their face. Act with urgency and opportunity. If you sit back you will fall back and then wonder and whine about not having many book reviews.

So, why do authors fail to get reviews?

They didn’t try hard enough.

They showed up late to the game.

They failed to pay for some reviews.

They are too shy to ask for help.

They have a small circle of connections and live in a small town.

Ok, now look for solutions to overcome some or all of these obstacles. Giving up is not an option, not if you hope to succeed. Having a good book is not good enough. Having good marketing is just as important.

You can do it. So, go do it!


Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.

Please Contact Me For Help

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:



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