Sunday 10 March 2013

Indie-friendly Book Reviewers

by Liza Perrat

List updated November 2017

Before I had a novel published, I didn’t even know review bloggers existed. Reviews, you say? I must get reviews for my book? But why? I quickly learned that book reviews are very important and I was about to discover a vast and increasingly influential network of review bloggers. 

Firstly, it’s good to know what your readers think, and secondly, it’s often a critical part of the decision-making process for book buyers.

Nowadays, most authors - not only indie-published ones - are their own sales reps, marketing managers and publicity departments. Review bloggers, who are gaining more and more respect among readers, booksellers and industry professionals, are responding to this self-publishing need to secure high-profile reviews from successful review bloggers. 

 I’ve heard so many complaints from self-published authors about the difficulties in getting their book reviewed. While there are certainly many bloggers who won’t review self-published books, I’ve discovered many who will. There are literally thousands of websites and blogs where people offer to review books free of charge. Certainly, you’ll need to spend some time searching for suitable ones, and you’ll need to approach them the right way. I’ve sent out dozens more requests for the replies I have actually received, but I’ve learned not to take it personally. Book reviewers are just as busy as the next person.

Before I list the best way I’ve found to get an indie book reviewed, I’d like to mention a few, fairly obvious, ways NOT to get your book reviewed:

  • Ignore the reviewer’s preferences and guidelines. If they say they don’t review self-published books, or chick lit, sending them your self-published, chick-lit novel is a waste of everyone’s time.
  • Send out mass emails such as: ‘I just published a great book. Let me know if you want to review it.’ Or, ‘If you want to review my book, click here.’ Nothing turns a reviewer off faster than an impolite, demanding request implying you are doing them a favour by giving them the opportunity to review your masterpiece. Don’t forget they are doing you the favour.
  • Think the book blogger cares about you and your book. You have to entice the reviewer into devoting many hours to reading something written by someone they’ve never heard of before.

So, how does an indie author go about getting reviews?

Make a list of possible reviewers. This takes time, but Google is fairly efficient at finding this information. Also, many authors and websites have already compiled lists through which you can scroll.


Don’t send requests to anybody and everybody. Most reviewers have submission guidelines clearly stating the genres they are interested in, and the way in which they operate.

Formulate a polite, typo-free review request document, giving the reviewer the following information:

  • Who you are
  • The genre of your book and the blurb 
  • How, when and where your book was published  
  •  If you’re offering an e-book or a paperback
  • Any additional information such as extracts from existing reviews, interviews you may have done (with links) - anything that might be of interest to the reviewer. Bloggers receive so many review requests that they are overwhelmed. Don’t make your book look like just another one “on the pile”.
  •  A last line thanking the reviewer for their time and details of how to contact you if they want to review your book.
  •  Keep track of reviews you’ve requested, and replies. I use a spreadsheet. Reviewers don’t want to receive a second request - and only follow up (after a lapse of at least four months) if you don’t get a response.  
  • If the reviewer informs you they would like to review your book, send them a “thank you” email and explain what type of file you are attaching, unless you are sending a paperback. 
  •  Then wait, or preferably get on with your writing. It could be months before you hear back.  
  • When the review is posted, write and say thank you. Even if you hate or don’t agree with the review, you still need to say thank you. And don’t bother arguing with negative reviews. No author can be a crowd-pleaser and it’s not worth your time. Again, just forget it and get on with your writing.

Enjoy it! Most book bloggers are nice people, and I’ve met some really lovely ones. If they like your book, they will spread the word. Review bloggers are worth getting to know not only for reviews, but as a long-term support group for your writing career.

ATTENTION AUTHORS AND BOOK BLOGGERS: With thanks to book blogger Anne Williams (@Williams13Anne) for this helpful tip: A great way to connect authors with bloggers who'd like to review them is via the Facebook group, Book Connectors.

1. A list of review bloggers we have found helpful for our Triskele Books indie-published novels.

2. A (non-exhaustive) list of sites compiled by other authors and reviewers you might want to check out.





  1. Here's the link to a list of reviewers that I have been compiling, on my facebook page.

    If anyone wants to be added to the list, just comment on the note (follow link above), and I will add your info and then delete your comment.

    P.S. I copied your list of reviewers to have to share. Hope you don't mind.

    1. No problem, Jacqueline, I'm glad it was helpful for your list.

  2. Fabulous resource. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for including my blog in here Liza. It really is sound advice.
    Anne x

  4. two more for you! Sir Read-A-Lot based in the UK: a huge supporter of Indie authors, and not a blog site, but the Historical Novel Society issues a review magazine every quarter for mainstream fiction - but also has an Indie Review section online on their website. I am the UK editor for UK HF Indie books, & we have a US-based side as well. We're very keen to promote well written, well presented historical fiction written by indie authors.

    1. Thanks Helen, that's really useful to know!

  5. Thanks for this post, as someone completely new to review bloggers' existence, it's nice to know a bit more about how to go about it and where to find them :-)

    1. Thanks Sophia! Glad it helped and we wish you all the best with getting some great reviews.

  6. As a complete novice I've found this post extremely informative and the resources are more than helpful.
    Thank you!

  7. I am thrilled to find you have included my modest blog on your list Liza. I am only too pleased to help indie authors by reviewing as I have great admiration for them.

  8. Thanks for all the great information on your blog! I'm picking up a lot of useful tips, keep up the good work!

  9. Really nice post. Thanks for the great information. It is very useful and informative.
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  11. Dear Liza, The illustrations are being completed as I write. I am hoping to get reviews at pre-orders stage prior to publication of my new book - Ants In Space! Is this a possibility with you? Thank you in advance,
    G J Griffiths (

  12. Thank you for sharing this list Liza.
    Wish me luck!
    ~Icky. :-)

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