How To Get Book Reviews Without Spending (Too Much) Money

I believe that book reviews are critical for sales. They are up there with writing a great book and using pro editors and cover designers.

If you can get great reviews, you will make sales and they definitely impact the Amazon algorithms. I also believe in writing reviews for books I like – a little review karma comes in handy! In today’s guest post, short story author Ken Brosky shares his tips for places to get reviews. 

There’s no better way to generate buzz for your books than to get some positive reviews. Heck, even negative reviews can generate some buzz! But how do you go about getting those reviews, and what should you pay?

Is it worth paying for reviews?

That all depends on your goals. While there are some major book review services that provide reviews at a fee (Kirkus and Foreword are the most popular), that fee might be out of your price range. Are you willing to spend $400 to get a book review from one of the biggest and most respected book reviewers in the business? Keep in mind it’s not necessarily a good review, either. It’s an honest review of your work, and it’s coming from tough reviewers.

More importantly, there might not be any benefit to this. Book sales probably won’t magically increase after a review by Kirkus or Foreword is published. What you can do is show other people the review to convince them to buy your book, which can be important. “Here,” you can say, “look. Someone thinks the book is good! So buy a copy why don’t you?”

This isn’t a unique sort of thing anymore. Google “15 minute book reviews” or “San Francisco Book Review” or “Pacific Book Review.” You can get reviewed by these organizations … but they can be costly. There are dozens more book review web sites that offer “expedited” reviews—basically, guarantees that they’ll review your book … for $150 or so. This adds up quick.

Reviews for the price of a book

So let’s talk about the cheaper ideas instead. And when I say “cheap,” I mean in most cases “the cost of shipping a book” and nothing more. Because it turns out there are still plenty of places online that still provide reviews for free.

First, let’s start with Midwest Book Review. This is a perfect place to start. It’s respected and run by good people who don’t charge you for reviews of print editions. They also make a point of making their reviews available to libraries and keep the reviews up on their site.

Next up, head on over to Reader Views, which allows you to send a copy of your book for free. They also have express services and other publicity services. They’re willing to review galley submissions.  They have lots of dedicated reviewers, too, which helps your chances.

When you’re done there, take a look around The Book Reporter. While they’re a little backed-up most of the time, it’s still worth sending out a copy. Why? Because they provide comprehensive reviews and they do it without charging a fee, that’s why. Also, the site is easy to navigate and has a strong following from book lovers.

Here are a few more worth trying, all of them willing to accept either print copies or electronic versions without a review fee. Note many of these are particular about getting a Kindle version:
1. Kindle Obsessed
2. The Kindle Book Review
3. Red Adept Reviews

So there’s a good start, if you ask me. What? You didn’t ask me? I’ve just been spouting all of this wonderful information for no reason? Well, as long as I’m talking to myself, I should probably mention that there are hundreds—hundreds—more book-obsessed bloggers who are more than happy to review books for their sites and don’t charge a fee, either. Here’s a giant book blogger directory.

Please be patient

One note of caution: as you peruse these various sites, you’re likely to find more than a few statements such as “Due to overwhelming demand …” and “Please be patient …”

Why is this?

Because there are a lot of authors. A lot. Likewise, there are a lot of books. And there are very few reviewers for all these books, so they have a tendency to gather on reviewers’ desks. Be patient. Give them time. Cherish them. And while you’re waiting, go on and buy a few of your fellow authors’ books. Support each other. Read. It will make you a better writer. And it’ll make us all a little richer.

Do you have any tips for getting book reviews? Any favorite places to pitch?

Ken Brosky’s first collection of published short stories, The Unauthorized Biography of Michele Bachmann (and other stories), is available in print and at a discounted price on the Kindle. There are more stories available in his author store on Amazon, which you can reach by clicking here. He also runs a blog detailing his attempts at publicizing his book. The blog is titled “The Death of a Dream.” Maybe he’s being satirical.

Top image: Flickr Creative Commons hawkexpress

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  1. says

    Pacific Book Review is really good, I have used them and I alo know other authors who have been very pleased with them. They seem to be very professional. Pacific Book Review has different levels of book review packages depending on the level of marketing he author needs.
    Here is a link:

    They also own Hollywood Book Reviews that offers one book review package.

    Hope this info was helpful.

  2. says

    Joanna Penn is the reason I got into fiction in the first place.

    Thank you so much for continually sticking with your site even though I know that your books (which are great bytheway) are taking off!

    Thanks for this great post!

  3. Emily says

    I’ve been using It’s a review swap. They aren’t editorial reviews but they go up on amazon and goodreads. I’ve been having good luck so far.

    I can’t afford the more expensive options.

  4. says

    Wow! I know I’m late, but great article. Very informative. I actually didn’t know anything about Kirkus. I’ve been just talking in forums and other websites trying to get reviews and also handed out a bunch of copies. But, i would never hand out that many again without some type of certainty of reviews or at least feedback. I did pay one Service for reviews which turned out great. I’m currently trying to figure out is getting/paying for more reviews even worth it and whether or not i just at this point invest into finding an agent to help with the buzz load. Nonetheless, thanks for the article. Great read.

  5. says

    I just checked out The Book Reporter, and found out they are no longer reviewing indie books. I pulled this verbage directly from their website:

    “Please note that at this time we do not review eBooks, POD Books and other self-published titles as we only offer books that are available with wide distribution offline as well as online.”

    You might want to update this article so other indies know that The Book Reporter is no longer an option.

  6. Craig says

    I actually used two of the pay-for-review sites. I thought it was a painless process, but I did prefer one over the other, and I’m still considering doing their “recurring reviews” offer. I did them both at the same time, and it took a couple weeks to get the 5 reviews I ordered from each of them, but presumably that was because their people actually read the books. From the reviews they posted, I do believe they actually did. Has anyone else noticed a difference in sales after using this kind of service? I noticed a good jump, but it might have been unrelated to it – not sure yet.

    In case you’re curious or want to try them, they were: (they’re the ones I’m thinking of trying the monthly service)


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