Professional Book Review: The Ultimate Guide

You’re ready to promote your next book. You want people to know about it! But sometimes knowing about it isn’t enough. You have to convince them to buy it too.

To help them decide if they want to buy, most people look for product reviews. This is especially true for books.

To leave reviews, people need to have bought the book…but readers will only buy the book once they see reviews…

How does one break out of this vicious circle?

Meet your new friend: the professional book review.

So, let’s get into what professional book reviews are, where you can get them, and how to use them to promote your book.

We’ll also cover other top tips to get reviews for your book.

What is a Professional Book Review?

A professional book review is given by a professional (editor or publisher, etc.) who subjectively reviews books and explains their experience while reading it. The aim is to summarize the book’s story or message and critique how it was executed.

Most importantly, they’ll sometimes suggest whether readers should read the book or not. Not all readers will listen to the last part, but it sure leaves an impact.

Different Types of Book Reviews: Professional Vs Customers

You definitely want professional book reviews, but that doesn’t mean customer reviews don’t hold importance too. Customer reviews give your book credibility since it’s reviewed by the more general public.

Like it or not, those mixed reviews help show readers that you didn’t ask your friends and family to review your book. Let’s face it, only having 5-star reviews is quite suspicious.

So, let’s look into the differences between those 2 types of reviews your book can get.

Professional Review:

  • These are from verifiable sources and weigh more in integrity.
  • The criticisms can actually help you improve for your next book. The critiques may hurt but there may be some truth to it that you can use to better your writing.
  • This route could cost money as quite a few review sites are paid services.
  • There won’t be a high volume of these reviews.
  • It won’t impact how your book ranks on Amazon (more on this later).

Customer Review:

  • It doesn’t carry as much weight as it is not coming from a professional.
  • The criticisms can sometimes be confusing and unhelpful to you as an author.
  • You can get these reviews for free.
  • You can get tons of these reviews.
  • It impacts how your book ranks (more reviews mean a higher ranking).

Both types of reviews are necessary for your book. But you need the professional book review to help drive in more customer purchases.

Before The Professional Book Review

You want to make sure your book is of the highest quality before you publish it. So, before we look at how to get a professional book review for your book, let’s make sure your book is ready for the critics’ eyes.

Here are some items to tick off before hitting submit:

Polished content

People close to us may be scared of hurting our feelings if they point out mistakes. We need to correct these but ultimately, we need a professional’s opinion to really catch everything.

Make sure you have editors to help you adjust what is not working in your book and spot any grammar or spelling issues.

Get set up

Set up your author pages on sites where your book will be sold, for example, Amazon. This will include adding information about you, your books and where people can find you.

Including your Author website and Facebook links on these pages are vital. If you don’t do it now, then you’ll be doing this admin while you really should be focusing on boosting the positive reviews.

Build anticipation

Make sure your social media platforms are ready for the promotion of your book. Have some posts scheduled that promote your book.

You want to seamlessly integrate the book’s reviews into book trailers, teasers, and other social media posts.

Need some guidance on setting up an epic Facebook page for Authors? We’ve done an extensive post on it. Check it out!

Considerations For a Professional Book Review

There are a few things to consider before submitting your book for a professional book review.

This may dissuade you from getting one, but it should help you brace yourself for the process as a whole. It’s best not to have surprises when launching your book, if you can avoid it.

Budget

A professional book review is, in most cases, a paid service. You’ll need to factor this into your book promotion budget. This will affect who you will approach and how many reviewers you’ll have.

Feedback

A professional book review does not mean a positive review. It’ll only be one person’s opinion, but it could still hurt to see your work criticized.

Hoping for the best and expecting an honest review is a good mental stance to take.

Advantages of Professional Book Reviews

A professional book review is so beneficial to your authorship. The benefits provide opportunities for your book promotion and author brand.  

Here’s how you can use a professional book review to your advantage.

Book cover

Those quoted short statements in italics on the front and back of books look real nice, don’t they?

Well, that’s exactly how you can use your professional book review.

Some reviews can be quite long, but you can just pull out a striking line from the review and place it on your book cover.

The professional book review extraction sums up your book in a one liner. It can only add more appeal on top of the beautiful description you’ve already written.

Author website

A professional book review will make your author website even more epic. You can add it to the book’s web page or even better, on the homepage for new readers to discover.

Readers will see the review and it will help solidify that your books are worth reading.

Social media

A professional book review will make for an awesome post that you can pin on your twitter feed or your Facebook Author page.

Upkeeping your social media takes some effort, so having the credibility of a professional book review can help with post ideas and getting new followers.

New followers could mean new readers!

Press releases for book launch

You send out a press release to get people talking about your book. Having a professional book review to attach to that can nudge magazines, journalists, podcasters, and bloggers to write about the upcoming book. This is a great way to strengthen your Book Launch.

Promotion

You want your book to stand out when you’re promoting it. Adding the review to your marketing material like book teasers, for example, makes it easier.

It also goes a long way with booksellers and libraries to see that a professional rated your book. They’ll be more willing to stock your book on their shelves!

Get more reviews

When other professionals see that you have some reputable reviews, they’ll be more willing to do a review themselves. This doesn’t just help with the current book on offer. No, no, no my author friend. This can help you with future books too!

You can use these reviews as a selling point for the next time you’re requesting a professional book review. It’s the gift that will keep on giving!

Include it on Amazon and Goodreads

Professional Book Review Example: Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Reviews help push readers in the right direction: buy the book!

When you include these positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads it’s like shoving the readers in front of a sign that says, “This book is worth your time. Buy, Buy, Buy!”

And the example above does exactly that.

Amazon is a huge deal for Authors, so we’ll shine a spotlight on how to use it for reviews later in this blog.

Improve your writing

Everything eventually comes down to self-improvement, doesn’t it?

A positive review will give you confidence. A positive review says that you know what you’re doing. And since they love it, you’re going to do more of it!

But a negative review can make you feel awful. But thankfully, this opinion doesn’t need to be used in your promotion. Some services let you decide whether to use them or not!

That person may just not like your writing style or the storyline. But that doesn’t mean that others will feel the same.

Come at negative reviews in a constructive way. See what can be learnt and throw the other parts away. No need to dwell on what you can’t change!

Professional Book Review Services

Now, let’s look at who you can ask.

There are a lot of options for you to pick from. There are many choices out there, so you’ll need to do extensive research to know that you’re picking the right ones for you.

Here are just a few professional book review services:

  1. NetGalley

This first service is actually free! NetGalley is one of the professional book review services that helps publishers and authors promote the ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) to professionals. They make the ARCs available to their community so it can be reviewed. This site helps professionals recommend books to their audiences.

  1. BookSirens

Now we are going into the paid professional book review services. BookSirens is similar to NetGalley in that ARCs are distributed. But here, the books have to be approved first before reaching the reviewer pool.

It’s a fair trade since the readers are also vetted to ensure there will be quality reviews. These reviews can be then posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

  1. Kirkus Reviews

This publisher is a well-known professional book review service. Kirkus Reviews are regarded highly since their reviews are on Amazon especially. This service matches your book to a professional reviewer who is an expert in the topic and genre.

  1. US Review of Books

Here’s another one to add to the quality professional book review services list. The US Review of Books also makes use of experienced professionals for their reviews. A key thing to note for Us Book reviews is that they promote their reviews on their monthly newsletter which also serves as extra coverage for your book!


There are tons and tons to pick from besides the professional book review services listed above. And as mentioned, research is dearly needed to pick the service that you’re most comfortable with.

Weirdly enough, you’ll probably have to check out reviews for each of the sites! Another point in favor of reviews 😊.

Top Tip 1#: Remember to read up on the turnover period, costs, and promotion strategies for each of the professional book review services.

How To Get Amazon Reviews for Your Book

Amazon is the world’s largest book retailer. Therefore, leaving your stamp on it as an author is super important.

So, we thought we’d discuss both professional and customer reviews in this section. We want you to have all the tools needed to promote your book.

Community guidelines

Firstly, let’s make sure you’re following the rules.

Amazon checks each review that is posted against their policies and guidelines. So, it could take up to 72 hours to review. Sometimes even longer!

So, make sure that the professional book reviews follow their guidelines.

Here’s the gist of the guidelines:

  • Don’t pay someone to leave you a positive review. This could get your account banned. You are allowed to pay professional book services but it’s for honest reviews
  • Don’t ask friends and family to leave reviews. Amazon will identify the relationship and remove the review.
  • Don’t swap reviews with other authors. Amazon will identify and remove the review.

How ranking works

Amazon ranks books based on the number of purchases and reviews the book gets.  So, once you launch your book, you must have everything planned so you keep momentum and get ranking!

If you don’t maintain steady reviews, then your book will drop in ranking or not rank at all.

The more reviews you get the more visibility your book receives.

Verified and Unverified Reviews

There are 2 types of reviews on Amazon: Verified and unverified.

A review is considered Verified when Amazon can see that the review is by someone who has purchased the product from Amazon and didn’t receive a deep discount.

A review is Unverified when Amazon can’t confirm that the product was purchased on Amazon or that the person paid a price available to most Amazon shoppers.

A verified review has more weight compared to an unverified one in a similar way to a professional book review having more weight than a customer review.

So, ask that reviewers purchase the book before leaving their review on Amazon, if possible.

How to get more reviews on Amazon

How you get reviews on Amazon can impact your book’s sales. Here’s some tips on how to get reviews on Amazon:

Target audience

See what other books your readers have bought and target the reviewers in the review section of those books.

If made available, you can use their contact details and let them know that your book is similar in topic or genre to a book they’ve reviewed and that they should totally check yours out!

Launch team

Put together a launch team. This team is made up of people who have agreed to read your book before its launch, and they’ll review it after the book has gone live! Your launch team can consist of:

  • Keen followers from social media
  • Your existing email list contacts
  • Experts you’ve liaised with
  • Your client base (in the case of nonfiction authors)
  • Other authors and writers you’ve built relationships with

Relaunch your book

You can add a chapter, release a new edition, or update the book cover. This essentially relaunches your book on Amazon.

This way you give your book another opportunity to receive reviews and rank!

Editorial reviews on Amazon

Editorial Reviews Example: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

An editorial review on Amazon is a critique of a book written by a professional. You should use these professional book reviews on your editorial reviews section for your book.

You can do this by logging into your account on Amazon. Then navigate to your book and go to the Editorial Reviews tab and add your stellar reviews!

Top Tip 2#: When adding the reviews, be sure to credit the professionals that the reviews belong to and refrain from adding any links or promotional text. It should basically look similar to the example above!

Amazon Top Reviewers

Amazon ranks their Top Reviewers. And some of them have their contact details on their profiles.

See which of them have reviewed books in your genre and send them an email.

Note that even though they are reviewers, some of them may not be too keen on reviewing just because you’ve requested politely.

So try and build a relationship with these reviewers first to increase the likelihood of a review and give yourself an author connection for future books.

How To Get Reviews for Your Book

Now that we’ve discussed the professional book reviews, we thought we’d get into how to get the other types of book reviews that can help you promote your book.

Book Bloggers

You can ask book bloggers! See what interests each blogger and approach the ones that will understand your book’s topics and genre.

You can also use blog tours to build relationships with book bloggers, making it easy to ask them for a book review.

Email list

You can use the email list you have for your newsletter to ask readers to review your book. These people are already engaged with you and your world, all they need now is a reminder to keep supporting you!

You can even provide an ARC for them to read and then review when the book is published. Just be sure to ask who is interested and mention the purpose of you sharing the ARC.

Send a follow up email on the publication date for them to review and you’re good to go!

Readers

At the end of your book, you can ask the readers to share their honest opinions of the book. Have some links to Amazon, Goodreads and wherever else they can post reviews. 

You have to convey that the reviews are important to you! You as an author need to show the readers that you’re human too!

Let them know that you’re eager to read their reviews. This will have them more likely to review. People would love to be noticed by the author that wrote the book they have read.

Also, don’t feel shy to use social media to request people to post a review. You can express your appreciation for the support given so far and ask that people share their review of the book on Amazon or Goodreads.

Other authors

You can build relationships with authors by joining Facebook or Goodreads groups and other web forums. Ask these author friends to review your book!

And note that this will not be in exchange for a review of their book. This is just authors supporting authors!

Experts

This may take some effort but can be super cool if you can get it done. Find experts in your book’s themes, topics, and genre to review your book. For example, if you wrote a fiction book in the medical field, you could ask a medical professional!

If you already have an idea of who might be interested, then pop them a respectful email!

Emailing Tips For Book Reviews

You should have a list put together of who’d you’d like to email. But what should be in the emails? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Provide the ARC in the email to make it easy for them to get started with reading your book
  • Send a cover letter with your submission 
  • Mention the deadline but don’t be pushy. They are doing you a favor at the end of the day.
  • Share a direct link to the amazon review page to make it easy for them to review
  • After initial contact, don’t follow up too soon. They don’t owe you the review so give them sufficient time to think it over.
  • Sell your book in a way that will entice them to read it (compare it to something they’ve already reviewed, for example)
  • Let them know where their review could be displayed. For example, the front cover of the book, Amazon’s Editorial Reviews section, etc.
  • Don’t mention the type of review they should give…other than an honest one!
  • Be friendly and respectful.
  • Remember to express gratitude. Be thankful for any assistance they provide!

Top Tip 3#: Add useful participants to a spreadsheet for your next book launch! Keeping these contact details is a time saver and helps with planning for the next book promotion. Your spreadsheet should have: Name, email address, social media handles, books reviewed (yours and others), interests, date the emails were sent and any other helpful notes.

The Verdict

Book reviews are so important for your book’s promotion. Putting effort into getting the reviews rolling will really help with the book’s success.

And with the tips and suggestions we’ve shared, we’re sure you will be rocking those professional book reviews soon! They won’t just help with your book; they’ll help with your author brand too.

If you’re looking to take your author brand to the next level, then consider getting yourself an author website. If you already have one, then we can elevate it! We’d be happy to assist you with our website design services.

We pride ourselves in matching an author’s website to their brand. Need proof? We have some reviews of our own!

“…dedicated group with technical brilliance and artistic flair.” – James Maxwell Million Book Selling Fantasy Author.

“Their expertise shows in both the quality of the website design and the details of the interactivity users experience.” – Melissa McPhail Best Selling Fantasy Author.

“To say they did a good job, is the understatement of the century.” – Daniel Gibbs Military Science Fiction Author.

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