Get Book Reviews: Writing the Perfect Query


Get Book Reviews



Great! Your book is finished, and now you need a bunch of reviews (hopefully positive).

It all begins with a concise, compelling query email to potential reviewers.

But here’s the thing.

Most reviewers are super-busy, and they already have a TBR (To Be Read) file that’s megabytes long.

How do you break through the clutter and get him (or her) to review your Great American Novel?

Start with the subject.

This should be fairly straightforward: “Review Request,” or “Book Review Request,” or (my favorite:) “An Humble Request That You Review My Book.”

Don’t laugh. It’s just quirky enough that it might grab the reviewer’s attention. Plus, it shows humility and respect.

Use the reviewer’s first or last name

Reviewers are like anyone else — they like to see that an author has done them the compliment of perusing their site and guidelines at least long enough to get their name (and for heaven’s sake, spell it correctly.)

First impressions go a long way and the reviewer now has two reasons to read on (a catchy subject line and a personalized salutation.)

Get to the point quickly

Reviewers are busy (but you already knew that, right?) Grab them right off the bat with a cinematic, show-stopping mini-book trailer in print. Something that summarizes the key thrust of your book in a single, short paragraph.

Something like:

“Imagine a world gone mad. Stacy Bozeman is a researcher for the Centers for Disease Control who has less than 48 hours to stop a repeat of the Black Plague that killed millions in the last millenium.”


“Nathan and Sarah must unlock the secret to a 100-year-old curse to stay alive. Their only hope: a friendly spirit that resides in Sarah’s beachfront Victorian home on the Jersey shore.”


“Healthy relationships are grown, not born. These ten tips to marital bliss will bring happiness and joy back into even the most fractured friendship.”

Follow that up with the book’s particulars

Pay strict attention to the details each reviewer needs. For the most part, you can cut and paste from a Word document you already have prepared containing:

  • The book’s name
  • The book’s author
  • Your thumbnail bio, including, if appropriate, your qualifications for writing your book.
  • The page count and word count
  • The ASIN on Amazon (or the book page’s URL)
  • A longer description of the book (but not too long — a couple of paragraphs, max).
  • Your email address
  • Your website (if you have one)

Finally, wrap it up

Close your query with a polite thank you for their time, and that you look forward to hearing from them. Indicate that you’ll be happy to send a review copy in whatever format they’ve specified.

Keep a spreadsheet

Make sure you keep track of which reviewers you’ve contacted and when. Don’t get discouraged if your response rate seems dismal. The rule of thumb is that for every 100 queries, you’ll receive one reply.

I know that seems depressing, but it really is a numbers game. Your odds will be markedly improved by following the guidelines outlined above.

What’s next?

Write another book, after you have exhausted all your potential reviewer leads. No sense in dwelling on the stuff you can’t do anything about.

They’ll either request a copy or they won’t. Keep querying and keep writing.

DON’T pester the reviewers with followup emails. If they haven’t responded within a couple of weeks, chances are you weren’t a good fit for them

Make a note on your spreadsheet and forget about it.

Final note:

If you want me to craft a compelling query for you, I offer that as a service. Click here for a full list of my editing and review services.

That’s it. Please let me know if you’d like help in promoting your hard-earned work.


Don Sloan








Spread the love