Reviews are an essential part of marketing, and editorial reviews are no less important. Reviews help you with your rankings, are a simple way to convert word of mouth marketing to social media, and provide credibility for your book. However, just as it’s difficult to make sales it can be difficult to get an editorial review. Getting those five-star reviews can help you immensely, so let’s talk about reviews in more depth.
Before we dive in, please note that reviews are important in and of themselves. An honest review that praises your book can be just the nudge a potential reader needs to purchase. Editorial reviews are a bit different than your average review and we will discuss why. For a deeper dive into editorial reviews, how to get one, and why they are such a powerful tool, keep reading.
What Is An Editorial Review?
According to Tough Nickle, “An editorial review is an objective, third-party review of a book, by a professional editor, columnist, critic, or other authority in the book’s genre or topic.” To break it down, an editorial review is a bit more nuanced than an average review.
Author Jane Friedman says, “Pretty much anything and everything is allowed in the editorial reviews section. That’s because editorial reviews and customer reviews are two completely separate things. Customer reviews are written by people who have bought your book and is thus a fiercely guarded component of Amazon. Whereas editorial reviews are written by people who’ve received your book and agreed to do a review for you.”
If someone leaves an editorial review, they’re likely more familiar with the topic of your book. If you write a book on your personal journey to healthy living, someone in the medical field could leave an editorial review. They are well versed in the topic, have a genuine interest, and are equipped to leave a review with more insight than the pleasure reader.
An editorial review can also act as a type of endorsement. If a big-name author or an expert in the field of your genre leaves an editorial review, this will likely garner the attention of potential readers.
For instance, if Jane Smith leaves a glowing editorial review of your young adult dystopian, readers will be encouraged to give it a read. However, if Veronica Roth (Divergent) or James Dashner (Maze Runner) leaves an editorial review on your book, readers will view it through a different lens. Both these authors are credible in the young adult genre, have sold many books, so their reviews carry a bit more weight* than the average reader’s.
*While editorial reviews provide more credibility to a book, customer reviews are still helpful and should be pursued. Each type of review has a different purpose and is important in different ways.
Similar to an endorsement, an editorial review will likely be done prior to the book’s release day or soon after the book is released. Editorial reviews can also be a placeholder for customer book reviews, which are not eligible for posting until release day.
An editorial review is also objective, so while customer reviews may show bias, editorial reviews should not. Keep this in mind as you consider who you want to leave an editorial review. That said, let’s move on to the how of getting editorial reviews.
How To Get An Editorial Review
First, consider who you want to leave an editorial review. Research books you love and look through their reviews. Is there a particular review that sticks out to you? Look the person up. Is there a certain author you love? Reach out. Don’t flatter them, but communicate that you enjoy their work and would be honored if they would leave an editorial review for your book. If they agree, don’t forget to send a free copy or PDF version. Pursue editorial reviews in much the same way you pursue blurbs.
Goodreads, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are great places to find like-minded individuals who have a substantial following. Browse through hashtags and following lists to find influencers who represent the type of book you’ve written. Engage with them (don’t be spammy) and reach out. Don’t be afraid if someone says no or doesn’t respond. The important thing is you’re trying. The more people you ask, the higher your chances of getting a yes.
If social media doesn’t get you the responses you hoped, don’t forget about author websites. Many authors have a contact form or their agent’s email listed. Query, and respectfully, in a concise way, explain who you are and what you are asking. Don’t pressure them, but don’t be afraid to ask.
Speed Up The Process
Ideally, you will have a substantial list of potential editorial reviewers. While you definitely want to personalize your messages to the individual, creating a generalized template can be a big time saver when it comes time to craft your queries. You can create a generalized template to work from, then customize it per individual.
Create your greeting, briefly explain why you respect their work, introduce who you are, what your book is about (an elevator pitch is a concise way to explain it), make your request, and leave your name.
Below is a rough template to get you started:
My name is [author name] and I enjoyed your book [Title]. The [insert details] […].
[Your Book’s Title], my [debut novel or nonfiction] releases [date]. It is about [elevator pitch].
I would be honored if you would leave an editorial review.
Thank you for your consideration,
Work from this template, or create your own, to speed up your process in solidifying your editorial reviews. Don’t forget to include a compelling subject line!
Do Editorial Reviews Cost?
The cost of an editorial review is dependent on the reviewer. Chances are, you know other writers who would be happy to write up an editorial review at no charge. However, there is also the possibility that a well-known author or successful influencer would also write a review for a fee.
At this point, it’s crucial to ask yourself if you’re comfortable paying someone to review your book. While this is considered ethical in the publishing world, it is always the best policy to include honest reviews. While those honest reviews may come at a cost, it is important to make sure your editorial reviewer leaves a non-biased review, whether they are doing so at no charge or for a fee.
Obtain Written Permission
As you collect your editorial reviews, be clear about where and how you will share the review. Make sure you have their written permission to use their review and you’ve followed the guidelines exactly. Consulting a professional who works in this field is an invaluable step before making your editorial reviews public.
While all positive editorial reviews are helpful in their own way, there are differences in each review. These should be taken into consideration when brainstorming the best place to put each review. If you obtained a review from a celebrity or influencer, you may want to put this editorial review on the front cover of your book. Why you don’t want to cover the front of your book with reviews, the back cover is a great place for reviews you don’t want to go unnoticed. Consider the reviews of lesser-known authors, readers, or professionals in the field for the places mentioned previously.
Wherever you choose to place your reviews, give them substantial thought and consideration. A well-placed editorial review could grab the attention of that potential reader’s eye and help them make the purchase.
Why Editorial Reviews Are Powerful For Authors
Editorial reviews are powerful for authors because they establish the credibility of your book in a non-biased way. Customer reviews are often subjective, based on the reader’s interpretation of your work. If they did not particularly like your writing style they may leave a poor review. This does not mean that you are a bad writer. It simply means they did not resonate with your writing in the way you hoped they would. It also does not mean that another reader will not absolutely love your book and leave a glowing five-star review.
The power of editorial reviews comes from their non-bias. An editorial review will often be more thought-out than a general customer review and reflect the thoughtfulness and nuance of the reviewer. After all, an editorial review is often left by an expert in the field in which you write. Take note that the term expert in regards to an editorial review is not always the same as the definition in the professional world. While most anyone can leave an editorial review, typically, an editorial review is considered more professional than a customer review. However, all well-crafted, complimentary reviews are helpful to market your book.
Hope For The Best, Expect The Subjective.
Just like customer reviews, editorial reviews are subjective. While editorial reviews are known for being non-biased, any review is likely to be subjective in some way. As you receive your editorial reviews, don’t be discouraged if they are not phrased exactly how you had hoped. Every writer has a different way of reviewing books and it’s unlikely your editorial reviewers will do so in the exact manner you expected. You do not have to use every review that comes in, but remember, editorial reviews are subjective. A variety of well-crafted reviews will likely resonate with a variety of potential readers.
As You Start Your Customer Review Journey…
The more invested you become in the writing industry the more you will realize how small it is. Writers know writers who know writers who know writers. This should be encouraging as you pursue reaching out to editorial reviewers. Keep in mind that if you ask somebody to review your book you may be asked to review their book in the future. Of course, not every reviewer who reviews your book will ask for the returned favor, but keep this possibility in mind as you reach out.
Writing a book is hard work. The crying, frustration, and stress of getting all those words down on paper (and it is fun!) but let’s be honest: Writing is work. Knowing how to sell your novel is even more work.
But what about selling your book once it’s published?
Marketing Your Novel
This is—for every author—when the real work begins. You created this great book, and now, you have to sell it and try to recoup your money from the initial book production investment. Now, I said it was a lot of work, but it’s the part of the process where you really learn how to promote and sell your book. That can be both scary and exciting.
To sell your novel like a pro, there are several things you MUST get right before you even think about publishing. As an author, you want to set yourself up for success in every area possible. Ask yourself:
Do you have a great cover?
Is your book professionally edited?
Did you research your market genre to write to market?
Are you in at least 8 categories to rank well on Amazon?
Do you have a lead magnet set up to build an email list?
In this article, we are going to dive deep into the best ways to sell your novel. Although we can’t promise you will sell books by the truckload, we are confident that by following these steps and implementing the process for getting noticed, you will create an impact with your message and possibly change many lives along the way.
Book Selling Strategies
If you’ve already published your book, you can start implementing these book-selling strategies now.
If you haven’t yet published, you can start working these ideas into your book launch plan. Every action you take towards having a successful launch will funnel your book’s success.
Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch?
Here are The Four Pillar Strategies to Sell Your Novel
Run Ads with Amazon Advertising
Book Your First 5 Podcasts
Create a Box Set Bundle & Series
Run Regular Book Promotions (Book Promo Sites)
Before you think about selling your great novel, we need to dial back to the basics. The reason most authors fail to sell their books after publishing, is because they fail to set up the book for success before publishing.
You need to have the critical elements lined up first. Briefly, let’s take a look at what these best 5 elements are:
5 Critical Elements for Selling Your Book (Before You Sell Your Book)
Optimize Your Book Description
Your book description will be a sales page that lists the best features of the book, and why readers should buy your book over another in the same genre. The description should have a mixture of various font styles and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book.
Here is an example of a fully-loaded novel description:
A Magnificent Book Cover
Your book cover has to be smashingly convincing. Unless you’re a famous author, and can guarantee to move millions of copies per year no matter the cover, you need to impress people with your cover design whenever you can. But even best-selling authors need great covers. Your cover doesn’t have to win an award for creativity, but you do have to win the sale.
Here are a few examples:
Best advice is to do your research. Check the authors and books in your genre, see what is selling, and then customize your cover design to feed your market. When you write to market, you are also presenting your book with a professional design.
Please don’t forget to edit your book. Or better yet, hire a professional to edit your novel. Nothing will kill a book sale faster than a poorly edited manuscript.
A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews. By poor writing quality, we’re not talking about the occasional grammar error (which can easily be corrected,) but a book filled with bad grammar, misspelling, and a sloppy appearance.
You can hire a great editor. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book but, you don’t want to cut corners with this. The cost is worth the price for your book’s success.
Optimized Keywords for KDP
Finding the best keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results, which means it’ll turn up in front of your customers as they search for the relevant keywords. High rankings mean more visibility which leads to greater book sales. This makes it easier to promote your book when you already have the best keywords locked into your description and KDP.
As mentioned, your best tool for this is Dave Chesson’s Publisher Rocket for sorting out great keywords. Keywords that rank in the Amazon algorithm will drive the right traffic to your book. This accumulates into book sales.
Publish Your Book Across Ten Categories.
When you publish your novel, did you know that you can promote your book in ten categories, and not only the two categories offered in KDP? At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.
There are thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.
Using Publisher Rocket, determine 8 more categories to place your book in. Be sure to make a list of the category strings and then, when your book is live, email Amazon directly through the KDP contact form and request your book to be placed in the additional categories.
Click on the top tab and then send them an email with your list that should look something like this:
You can do this for both the eBook and paperback version. Then wait 24-72 hours for Amazon to update this.
Here is a walkthrough of the top 4 book selling strategies to sell your current novel—and all future books
Our Best 4 Top-Level Strategies for Selling Your Novel
Learn to Run Ads with Amazon Advertising
If you want to sell books (and we all do!) setting up and running AMS ads (also known now as Amazon Advertising) is a must. You should be using this platform, even if you hire someone to set up the ads for you. You can use the AMS feature built into the Publisher Rocket software to discover thousands of keywords for your ads.
The best way to set up AMS is to dive right in and get to it. You can sign up for AMS by following these steps:
In KDP, next to your book and under Promote Your Book, click on this.
Scroll down to Amazon Ads and go into Amazon.com Store (if US based). Yes, you can run ads in many more countries, but keep it simple for now. Only set up ads in the US store to start with. Click on Create an Ad Campaign.
3. You will be met with a choice of three types of ads. Only do the first option, Sponsored Products.
To further demonstrate, we will set up an automated ad. This ad is easy to do in under 5 minutes as it requires almost no research.
There are several types of ads you can create that are keyword specific ads, suggested keyword ads, and category/product ads.
4. After entering the ad section, fill in the required information. Keep your budget to $5.00 to start and set an end date of two weeks to one month out, so you remember to check it.
Next, select automatic targeting.
Then, choose dynamic bids—down only. You can choose up and down but be aware, you could end up with high click costs.
Now, choose your ad format. You can enter a customized blurb (recommended) or a standard blurb, in which case, Amazon pulls your blurb from your book description. At this point, your screen should look something like this.
Next, choose your book. Note: You should set up one ad per book format, so one for eBook and another for paperback.
Select your bid price. Amazon defaults this to 0.75. But if you want to bid less, you decide what your pricing is. Recommended 0.15 cents to 0.40 cents for a first generation ad.
Now, hit Publish Campaign!
Amazon ads are a great way to start selling your books. For a FREE course on how to set these up and organize your campaigns, we recommend you check out Dave Chesson’s FREE AMS training.
Book Your First 5 Podcasts
When Hal Elrod launched his international champion The Miracle Morning, he says he did over 250 podcasts in one year. That’s a lot! You don’t have to do that many, but this goes without saying, podcasts can drive book sales in a huge way.
Podcasts can be broken down into three areas as seen here:
Reachout: These are cold call direct reach outs to podcasters through a contact page or website. Depending on your own platform, this will determine if you get an interview or not. For audiences with large subscriber numbers, you may have to wait until you can build up your own platform.
Research: You can do a quick Google search to find podcasts in your genre. Or, the best strategy is to go directly to iTunes and discover the loads of categories there with direct links to podcasts. This is the fastest way to put together your list of nifty fifty (the best 50 podcasts for your platform). Start with direct reach outs, and then, as you get these interviews you can use…
Referrals. During your podcast interview, you should have a few minutes before and after to talk with the host. This is an opportunity to ask for a direct referral to another podcast. It is a thriving community and somebody knows somebody that can help you get featured onto another podcast. Referrals are far easier to get connected than direct reach outs.
To begin putting your list together, here is what you should do:
Put your list together by visiting the iTunes store.
Reach out to podcasters via cold calling by visiting their site
After you get a podcast booked, ask for referrals for getting featured on more sites.
Now, go line them up! Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.
Create a Box Set Bundle & Series
A book series keeps readers returning for more of your content. It shows your fanbase that you’re a serious author that continues to deliver value-packed content with each book release. Plus, if you have a series, readers are anxiously waiting for your next release. The box set product is a great way to balance your writing between the next set of books.
For a series author, publishing a box set bundle of your books is a strategic way to boost sales. Box set bundles have been around for a long time, and if you visit a bookstore, you will likely discover boxsets in the traditional fashion for popular series such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
This method of releasing box sets has been a strong marketing strategy for book publishers and the music industry giants. Who doesn’t want to pick up a compilation album featuring all the #1 singles from their favorite artist? The book industry is no different.
For authors in the self-publishing space, writing a series and creating box sets are effective strategies for increasing book sales consistently and cross-promoting other books.
How do you set up a box set bundle? What are the specific steps to launch for success? Here is a screenshot walkthrough for setting up a series page:
Then you’ll go to this screen. Name your series. Change necessary toggles and add a description. Write a description that reflects the series as a whole instead of focusing on one specific book.
Then you’ll add the books to your series on this screen:
What are the advantages to publishing your series in a boxset and series format, even after the single editions are published?
The Benefits of Creating A Series Page for Your Titles:
1. All books in the series are linked together: Having multiple books allows you to discount one title to 0.99 for a limited time, or offer it for free to drive higher converting traffic to your backlist and the series funnel.
2. Build a Higher Converting Traffic Funnel: You can drive traffic to your book series page instead of individual books. Linking to your series page will result in higher conversion rates than linking to your individual book product page.
3. Provides advanced options for 1-click purchases: A series page lets readers view all books in the series on a single page. You can see the titles in the series already purchased. Amazon allows you 1-click shopping to grab the rest of the titles you don’t have yet.
4. Reduce “Click” Distractions: Series pages are free of ads and other distractions keeping customer attention on your books only. When you direct potential readers to your single book options, they still have recommended books from Amazon in your genre that could result in losing a sale if the customer opts for another book that is more appealing to them. Keep the user experience on your storefront whenever possible.
5. Customized Series Description: You can now create a description—similar to a book description—for your series page only. Generally, Amazon will pull the description by default from the first title features in the series. This could lead to a poor user experience if they land on your series page and want to know more about what the series of books is about.
Setting up Your Box Set (and Series)
A couple of things to note:
You can create a series page in any format on KDP, and you don’t need to have every book published yet.
Limited stores available for the series page. As of now, series pages are available: Amazon.com. Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.co.jp. Amazon is increasingly expanding these options and will improve in the future.
Your series page should be live within 24-72 hours, but generally, takes only a few hours to appear. Now you have a book series!
Once you have a few books in your series, you can drive traffic to the series page instead of individual books. This works better for conversions and the more books you have—your backlist—the better are the chances that you’ll sell a ton of books from just one click.
When running BookBub Ads, you can now include a link to your series page.
For Amazon Ads, you can now run ads for your series page through sponsored brands, as well.
Create a Box Set
It is surprisingly easy to create a box set for your trilogy.
Here is how you do it:
1. Hire a cover designer to make a box-set cover. Get a 3D and a flat version, since iBooks only accepts the flat version and Kobo recommends the flat version for better sales, so it’s better to have both options.
2. Merge all books into one file. When you build your boxset, you will need to take all the books that are to be included in the set and combine these together into one file. Depending on the size of the box set, this could be three books (Life-Changing Habits Series) or ten books (Universe in Flames Series).
3. Set Up Your Kindle Box set in Amazon KDP. You set up a box set the same way you create an individual book.
Upload your formatted manuscript. Check for KDPs recommended formats that include MOBI, Word, or ePub.
Upload your box set cover in jpg format. This could be a 3D version of the cover with a side shot of all books in the series.
Set your price. Recommended $0.99 for launch. KU reads are critical for box set launch success.
Now you can run Amazon ads to your box set and BookBub ads.
Publish Your Book in Various Formats
Here is an example of a great lineup in the Amazon store:
If you have your book set up with every variation possible, you can exponentially expand your book sales. Instead of having one income stream with a kindle book, you have two with a paperback. Instead of just two with kindle and paperback, you have three if you add an audiobook. And you can now add a Hardcover book published through Ingram Spark or Amazon.
The more variations you have of your book, the broader your scope and this feeds into the Amazon algorithm. When you run ads to do your books, this works even better! People can land on your Amazon page and take full advantage of your other versions of the book they want.
There are many other ways to get your book out there. To break it down, you can publish a:
Kindle Book: This is the first version of your book used as the initial launch out of the gate.
Paperback. With a different format in PDF form, you can sell paperbacks to customers in over 12 different countries through Amazon.
Audiobook: Record this yourself or hire a professional to record your book. Audiobooks are on the rise as huge sellers for driving book sales. Don’t miss out on this!
Hardcover: This is optional but another version of your book that is easy to set up. And now, Amazon is rolling out hardcover books (currently in Beta) but is another option for authors to expand their reach. Note: You will need a different formatted size for your hardcover book size.
Social Media Snippet: Another alternative is to record five minute snippets of your book and post to social media. This doesn’t bring direct income, but it can bring indirect income.
Advantages to Publishing in various formats:
Earn more royalties per book
Build your email list exponentially
Become an expert in your field by reaching a wider audience
Feed into Amazon’s algorithm that fuels traffic towards your products
When you launch your book, consider all the options available as a self-publishing author. Plan ahead and make the most of your launch! Expand on your potential for maximizing book sales.
Run Regular Book Promotions (Book Promo Sites)
I run regular promotions with my books—at least once every three months—and a great way to leverage this is to use the best of the Book Promo Sites for bringing in sales. These are the book promo sites you should use to rocket to a #1 bestseller by gaining book sales.
Launch a new book: Stack up your promo week with book promo ads.
Promoting an existing book: You can promote current books every 3-6 months using the book promo sites. Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days and set up the ads. Use this in conjunction with your email list (or influencer lists) and you should have a successful launch/promo week.
How to schedule book promotions
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula for scheduling book promo sites. You can set up one promo per day over the course of 10-12 days, or stack 2-3 promos per day over five days.
When I launch a book, I usually set up a group of paid promo sites to boost the rankings and get the book onto the front page [and the #1 spot] of that category.
Book Promo List Consolidated
Here is a list of the best performing promo sites I target for both a new book launch, and running regular promotions on existing books.
The price will vary depending on the category and audience (wide or niche) of your book.
Most of these sites charge a standard one-time fee to promote your book for one day at 99 cents, or when running a free promo if your book is in KDP. For best results, and to maximize on your book rankings, I recommend using the sites for their paid ads (at 0.99cents).
Price: $29. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote a 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote each book once every 6 months. You can apply here: https://buckbooks.net/
Great gig but can be hard to get approved. Takes several days for a response. $50.00. http://ereadernewstoday.com/ 0 reviews needed but they do check if you have reviews. May sway their decision to promote your book or not depending on review count.
You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few [if only] sites that does that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle [$90] that gets you 50+ downloads KU borrows. [https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/]
Note: Books butterfly has a lot of packages so be sure to choose the right one.
My Book Cave offers authors the possibility to promote their book to an audience of 75,000+ readers. According to their notes they prefer to select titles with over 10 reviews, but will consider books with at least 5 great write-ups. In addition to promoting links to retailers, authors have the option to offer \reader magnet\” titles to attract new subscribers.”
Choosy Bookworm provides subscribers with a daily selection of free and discount eBooks. So long as your books are $3.99 or less, you can submit it for free consideration. For a guaranteed placement, you’ll be looking at one of their paid options starting at $25.
Awesome Gang is a place for Kindle book authors to share their books and get them in the hands of readers. You can submit your book for free and also decide to have it featured in their special books listing for $10/book (this includes a featuring in their homepage for 2 days, as well as a special mention in their newsletter and social media). Paid promotion: $10
[http://bookrunes.com/]. Global reach with over 40k mailing list, $25—$35. Good results. Trustworthy Site.
Reviews: No reviews needed / For Fiction and Nonfiction
There are both paid and free book promotion sites to tap into.These sites, depending on their conditions, will help you get more exposure by putting your book in front of thousands of visitors on their website.
As you can see, it takes a lot of effort to sell your novel. But with the right pieces in place and a commitment to marketing and promoting your work, anything is possible. The secret to book sales and selling a truckload of books varies from author to author.
You have to try several strategies and often, do several things together to make it work. I would recommend trying one strategy first, get the results, and then diving into something else. Give it a chance to work, and if it doesn’t, you can always try again later on.
How do you sell your book? What has worked for you in order to get more book sales? Share your story here!
Want to learn how to grow your fiction career from a full-time fiction author?