The trials of getting book reviews and scary math…


About a month ago, I began the laborious process of requesting books reviews for my  sci-fi romance, Mated with the Cyborg, which was released on TuesdaySoliciting reviews doesn’t mean recreating the wheel with each new release, but it does mean tightening and/or replacing missing spokes. I can never just hop in the wagon and go.

There is no standardized review submission process. Some reviewers use an online form. Others want to be emailed. Some want a lot of information about the book; others want only the basics. Some want the book at the time of request; other don’t want it until they accept the request. Just  because they’ve reviewed your books in the past, doesn’t mean they’ll accept your current book. Seeking a book review is like applying for a job. You have to tailor your resume to the job.

Reviewer attrition occurs between releases.

Bloggers get burned out and stop reviewing/blogging. Some bloggers get pregnant, give birth and decide taking care of their baby is more important than reviewing books (go figure!) Others get overwhelmed by the volume of requests and temporarily stop accepting them until  catch up. Others decide to only accept releases through Net Galley. So with every new release I have to find new reviewers to make up for the loss.

I crunched the numbers the other day. I estimate I get a 10 percent positive response to my request for reviews. Of the 10 percent that accept the book, 25-30 percent will actually review it. So, If my goal is to get 10 reviews, I need to make 400 book review requests. 400 x .1 x .25 = 10.

I can tell you that I don’t send out anywhere near 400 requests, but I do send out a lot, hoping to get a few.I assume  other authors do the same. Slammed by requests, book bloggers turn down most requests, so authors send out more to compensate, so bloggers refuse more…it’s a vicious cycle.

The solution?

I don’t know the solution. I do know that if you love to read and are willing to write a review, you will receive more books than you can handle. Every day will be like Christmas. Many, many  sites are looking for reviewers. Contact them. Or start your own blog to reflect your personal reading tastes. If you build a blog, authors will come…

Mated with the Cyborg is available now! 

Amazon US | Amazon UK |Amazon CA |Amazon AU

Barnes & Noble | All Romance

Get notified of future releases. Sign up for my author newsletter today!


Kai Andros’s orders were simple. Get in. Gather the intel on the terrorist organization. Get out. Then he met her. Mariska. Beautiful. Innocent. Ignorant of her father’s atrocities. And marked for death. His orders said nothing about saving her. But he did. He went off-mission. Can a rogue cyborg outrun both Cyber Operations and the terrorists to save the woman he loves?

Mated with the Cyborg is an action-packed erotic sci-fi romance between a man with a mission and a woman with a secret that jeopardizes their lives and the fate of the galaxy.

If you’re a reviewer and would like to request an ARC, email me at carabristol50 @ yahoo (dot) com. Be sure to include a link to your blog.


This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The trials of getting book reviews and scary math…

  1. LOL – ‘if you build a blog, authors will come…’ creepy.

    Getting reviews is days and days of work after all is done with the actual readying of the book for publication and yes, every time, it’s different. I started a spreadsheet a few books ago which I do use and it helps, but it’s not a quick process at all. Your math up there scares me by the way.

    Net Galley is great but again, many of those users don’t post reviews to Amazon or Goodreads, and unless you do it with a group of authors, it’s expensive. I am pretty much just grateful for any reviews I get (unless they’re mean to me – not my book, but me, which is not okay) and just keep focusing on the writing of the book itself. It’s one of the few things we have control over.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I also keep a spreadsheet. Net Galley is very expensive, which was why I hadn’t done it before, but I just joined an author’s co-op this week.

  2. Whilst I have not worked directly with ebook publishing before I have had extensive experience on working with online Marketing and a stint as Web Producer at a major news magazine. This kind of exercise is what I would normally term inbound marketing in the sense that the review, especially if it is positive, drives potential customers to your product. The maths you quoted (4% response rate) also make sense in this context as I would suspect that it will come between a response ratio such as the 1% rule or the Pareto principle

    This of course doesn’t help you at all in your quest to find a reviewer and I can see that there myst be a huge investment in time for you to keep on top of this.

    As it happens I have a vested interest in this type of thing from both a professional (I now build systems for online reviews of articles and blog posts) and in personal life (together with a partner we are looking at online publishing of content similar to yours)

    At present I am building out a site for our personal venture but looking to extend this to the outside world.

    If you want to explore this further please give me a shout as I know that there is a better way than a spreadsheet or the rather expensive netgalley option.

  3. Anne says:

    As a reviewer I use NetGalley because it cuts out the direct link with the author – I know that some reviewers like this but I have had some unfortunate experiences when I haven’t written the review that they wanted or done it as quickly as they wanted (although, to be fair, this was mostly with self-published authors). I don’t take books offered direct now although I have reviewed a few from a small publisher that approached me.

    NetGalley doesn’t give me the same pressure or guilt feelings (after all I do this as a hobby, in my spare time) but I am interested in your figures for how many of those given a review copy don’t publish a review. I confess that I have a large number of books lingering on my Kindle because I over committed myself – by the time I get to them it will be well past the publication date. I have been trying to be more realistic in my requests and now that I see this figure I may well ration myself even more to make sure that I can review in or around publication time.

    I published reviews and they just threw books at me ! I am weak and I took them !

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thanks, Anne, for commenting. I understand why reviewers would like Net Galley, and how it’s possible to over commit. I buy a lot of books and some I never get around to reading. If I had people sending me free ones, most would probably go unread.

      As an author seeking reviews, it’s frustrating. And Net Galley is very expensive for an author as an individual to join. It cuts out a lot of authors who have written phenomenal books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.