Book reviews are crucial to book sales, but nobody wants to take a chance on a book with no reviews. How can you get book reviews up quickly, before doing your major book launch or starting your book promotion campaign?

Big publishers use their networks and connections to solicit reviews from newspapers, or ask other authors they work with to give a favorable blurb.

Indie authors don’t have that luxury. You can pitch famous, important people or bestselling authors but they will be hesitant to support your self-published book. You can pay for reviews, but that’s often seen as dodgy and could have negative backlash.

It makes more sense to trade book reviews with other indie authors in your genre. That way, you’ll both get a review for your book.

Even better, giving a blurb to another author is free marketing: whenever a reader buys that other book they’ll see your blurb, and know that you have a book they may like as well.

To sell more books, you should be giving blurbs to as many other authors as you can; BlurbTrade makes it easy to do that, while earning more reviews for your own book at the same time.

Isn’t trading book reviews against the rules?

Amazon frowns on reviews from “a directly competing product.” But books aren’t really competing products – readers won’t buy a book in a genre they like and then give up on reading – they will continue to seek out similar books in the same genre.

Professional authors trade blurbs all the time. You can trade blurbs and add them to your cover, or use them under “editorial reviews” in your book description rather than having them posted as normal reader reviews.

It’s important to start getting reviews early; if you get a handful of quality reviews you can add them into the front matter of your book – it makes you look more professional, and also gives the author authors a boost in visibility. Win-win.

Isn’t trading book reviews dishonest?

Only dishonest book reviews are dishonest.

We cultivate a supportive environment dedicated towards helping indie authors succeed – but we are also committed to producing honest reviews that help readers find books they will like, and not mislead them (after all, pleasing the readers is what it’s all about).

Glowing five star reviews are mostly ignored, because people don’t trust them. They get skimmed over for the 3 and 2 star reviews that seem more honest. Asking someone to leave a dishonestly positive review will not help your book sales: if you get too many falsely positive reviews, readers are going to have higher expectations and end up disappointed, leading to a flurry of negative reviews that will ultimately tank your book.

At BlurbTrade, we believe that all reviews are good reviews, and a balanced, fair review will sell more books than a glowingly positive one. It may not seem “fair” if you give someone else’s book 5 stars and they only give yours 3, but just because you’ve agreed to review each other’s book doesn’t mean you will both end up equally impressed.

That said – of course you’re only going to feature positive blurbs on your book jacket or in your sales description, so authors who want to raise their own platform and who genuinely enjoyed your book may craft their reviews carefully so that you feature them.

Here’s the good news

If someone applies for a trade, but then either one of you doesn’t feel comfortable reviewing the other person’s book, you can bow out gracefully by saying you’re too busy or that it’s not a good match. No harm, no foul.

If you think the book has redeeming qualities, but needs work, you can give the author invaluable direct criticism (which they can accept or ignore, but shouldn’t argue with or defend).

Got it? Make sure to check out our Rules and FAQ.