You’ll often see reviews and testimonials on the front page of a book or on the cover. It could be a few words, one line or even a paragraph about how great your book is.
Reviews and testimonials are ‘social proof’ that your book is worth a read. It’s much more powerful for others to say your work is good than it is for you to say it yourself.
But how do those reviews get there before the book is even published?
There are two ways a non-fiction author can do this, so read on!
How to get reviews
- Sending out your manuscript for review
Only do this if you have trusted contacts to send the manuscript to. This could be to peers in your industry, clients who love your work or people who are familiar with your concepts and ideas.
If you are asking for reviews, you’ll have to provide a copy of the manuscript. I would suggest you ask first then send the written work if they agree. This avoids unnecessary copies of your manuscript floating around town before you publish.
Ask the writer to talk about the specific results or benefits they received from your book. This will have more impact for your readers than a general acknowledgement of your fabulousness. Then give a date you need the review by to avoid holding up the publishing process.
- Reusing current reviews
If your book is about what you are currently offering in your business, you may already have reviews and testimonials for the content of your book. Those reviews will need to be carefully curated to ensure they match the content of your book exactly. If you find some reviews you can reuse, get written permission from the client to reuse them in your book.
Referencing your reviews
Consider how you will say who wrote the review. This will depend on how private you need to be with client names. Will you give initials? Or a first name? Of course, if you have some high profile names in there, you will want to let everyone know, so you’ll need to use a system that takes this into account…
Will you add their location? A book is an international product, so a broad spectrum of locations helps more readers identify with you.
Consider if it’s relevant to collect their website or a profile photo, so you can use these when you put the reviews on your web-based platforms.
How many reviews to use
If you have a bunch of testimonials we’ll only use the best ones. Less is often more in these things. If the reader sees three pages of testimonials, they won’t read them all. If the reader sees three absolutely knockout testimonials they can personally relate to, they will be more likely to be influenced by them.
We’d usually put the testimonials on the first page you see as you open the book and a great ‘sound bite’ style one (or one from a high profile name) on the cover. If you only have one or two testimonials, we could put them on the cover for maximum exposure.
Ideally, we’d choose the ones that say something unique, have a different slant or area of service, or fill a different client need. You can imagine then that the collection we publish will give a broad idea of the variety of issues you help with and the variety of people you help.
Don’t throw any of the others out though! All the reviews you gather can still be used on your website, your social media and other platforms. The same goes for testimonials that are on video or audio format – these are fabulous on your website and socials.
It can be hard to approach people to ask for reviews. Asking people to tell you how wonderful you are isn’t on everyone’s favourite activity list. If you need a hand, at Author Support Services we do offer our clients a service where we collect your book reviews for you. Just pop over to our Marketing Services and check out what’s available.
Reviews and testimonials create rapport with prospective clients and readers. You never know who is reading or what they are looking for, so showing them other people’s points of view is gold.
About Alex and Author Support Services
Alex Fullerton is an author's consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last fourteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing and promotion.
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