The only way to do this is to find reviewers, or someone who represents a group of reviewers, and get them to review your book. (Well, that's the only legitimate way, we won't even talk about buying reviews because it's completely unethical.)
To connect with reviewers, you can either search for reviewers and/or bloggers one by one, via groups, or paid services which will distribute your book to reviewers for you.
Should I use a paid reviewer service?
I would say no, but that's based on my own research.
There are a few problems with a paid reviewer service:
- It's difficult to tell if they will send your book to actual reviewers or if they will just post fake reviews instead.
- Phony reviews can hurt you, even if they're positive reviews/ratings. If you have all 5/5 star ratings, it's pretty obvious that something's not right. Everyone has different tastes, so even the "best" books get bad reviews.
Better safe than sorry, I say, but I would love to hear about anyone else's experience! If you're on the fence, ask around. See what other authors or publishers have experienced. Never invest blindly!
Social Media Blasts
Good Idea or Bad Idea?
Since word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool, yes, having a well connected person/company post about your book can be worth it. If someone with enough followers posts about your book, their followers will potentially do one of a few things: either learn more about your book, interact with/share the post with their friends/followers, ignore the post, or just not see the post.
When a social media post is engaged with (interacted with/shared), it can potentially branch out and reach many more people, just like a conversation. We call this "going viral". In this case, viral is a good thing. ;)
How Do I Know if Their Service is Worth Paying For?
Check the numbers. First, how many followers do they have? For an effective social media blast, their follower numbers need to be 100,000 or more. Second, look at their recent posts. Are people engaging with their posts (liking, commenting, sharing, +1ing, favoriting, or retweeting them)? How many? To get your money's worth, someone with 100,000 or more followers should be getting a few hundred (hopefully more) of each type of engagement (shares, likes, and/or comments).
I recently stumbled across a service on Twitter that advertised, "AUTHORS: Promote your books to our network of 360,000+ followers!" Sounds great, right? That's a lot of people! However, when I looked at their Tweets (Twitter posts), there was hardly a retweet (post share) or favorite to be found. That means that, while they were being followed by a lot of accounts, no one was really cared about what they said. Paying them to share your book on their Twitter account would be a horrible waste of money.
Remember that "engagement" is when a post is interacted with by liking, sharing, commenting, favoriting, retweeting, etc.
If you look at posts on Facebook, you'll notice that the number of likes is usually significantly higher than shares or comments. (We can go into why another time.) Next highest is usually comments, then number of times the post was shared. Likes are good, comments are better, shares are the most desirable. If someone likes a post, it might get shown to their friends/followers, but it's more likely to be shown to their friends/followers if they commented. But the very best chance a post has to be seen by others is if it is shared.
It's similar with Twitter. Favorites are good, but retweets make a Twitter post most visible to followers. Look for good engagment!
Think carefully about who you're trying to reach. Does that social media account frequently post about topics that interest your readers? After all, you want that person/company's follower's to become your readers. For example, you wouldn't want a Facebook Page whose main theme is stocks and bonds to advertise your YA fantasy. That's like showing a toy commercial during an adult program. Sure, you'll have a few interested people but the percentage would be significantly higher if your commercial was aired during a kids' show.
Remember, before you invest, do your research! Check the numbers, be sure it's the right place to advertise, and ask people you trust about their relevant experience.
I'll be posting more soon. In the meantime, sign up for my email updates so you'll be in the loop! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook!