Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 02•15

 Yes you can! PROMOTE  a book without a single review


      New Release Promoted w/o reviews

New Release Promoted w/o reviews

In spite of what you hear and read on author blogs, Linkedin, on Facebook pages, author forums, and chat rooms, you darn sure can promote your book without a review. How such toxic information managed to find such a poisonous and penetrating life in our indie author universe is beyond me.  I am weary of listening to it and I’d like to put it to bed. Here is the single complaint that plagues me the most:

How many times have you heard this: “Without reviews, the best promotion sites won’t take my book.”

That is so not true. Many of the best [and worst promotion] sites have a slot for New Releases. You have to P.A.Y. for those slots. It is a fact that some sites have a minimum review requirement with a minimum review ranking. For the best sites with the greater reach, that review rank is often 4.0/5.0. If you don’t invest in your book, why should a promoter or a reader? Here is why promoters have those restrictions: Their subscribers are looking for entertainment, NOT to beta read our indie books and offer critiques in reviews. I don’t blame them. I know when I download a new release, I am taking risk on that author/book. But the rest of the time when I download a book on promotion free or priced, I want a book I can read and enjoy without having to plow through formatting mishaps, ill-composed content, gaps in the plot, or 23 adverbs and exclamation points in the first two pages of text. I don’t beta read! I read fiction for pleasure. It is a treat. So do newsletter subscribers.

However, an indie author can promote on many sites without a review restriction.  I recently purchased promotion for a new release, No Perfect Fate on 25 sites. No Perfect Fate had Z.E.R.O. reviews. In the comment box on most of those sites I mentioned to the promoter No Perfect Fate had been professionally edited, formatted and covered. If you cannot put that in the comment box, you may be at a disadvantage. Ed Crotty of OHFB

Published January 2014 ~ 400+ Reviews

Published January 2014 ~ 400+ Reviews

accepted No Perfect Fate for promotion on FREE, as well as EReader News Today and Booksends and Fussy Librarian–four top promo sites. Goodread’s ads do not have a review restriction. Kindle Nation Daily  does not have a review restriction. 29.99 for the ad. That is just for starters. Notice the author has to pay for book promotion.

Some sites consider a title newly released up to 90 days, others only 30. That is enough time to get your ducks in order. If an indie author misses the deadline for a new release slot, that is on the author. NOT the promoter.

So! What is it really all about?

I suspect those indie author complaints are not about promo sites, but all about reviews. Say the word: R.E.V.I.E.W.  and you somehow ignite an indie author psychic explosion. It reaches all the way into the old brain which is all about survival and instant reaction. Complaining of having few or zero reviews is a wonderful and engaging excuse NOT to promote a book. Perhaps the motivating factor is no promotion budget. I get it. Rent and groceries come first. You have to get creative. Did you know you can run a RaffleCopter from your blog for under $10 to hype your book?  Yep. Hire Book Partners in Crime Promotions. Margaret or Darlene will do the entire set up. All you have to do is NOTHING until the RaffleCopter is closed, a winner or two is picked for the book giveaway.  And your book does not have to have a single review. How about that?

Here is  a primary hidden never-to-be-revealed fear factor: “Suppose I promote the heck out of my book, 5,000 readers download it, and nobody likes it?”

Guess what? That is the chance and risk every indie author takes. You are not alone. What do you do? You rise to the challenge. IMO, I when I write 75,000 words into a book, one word after another, I’m going to put it in the public domain come hell, high water, or the devil knocking my door.  I hire an editor. I hire a formatter. I hire a cover artist. Honey, I  made the supreme sacrifice: I gave up Bingo for three solid months to pay for those services. I didn’t go out to eat or to the movies. I skipped Starbucks. If readers don’t like it, I’m gonna suck it up and WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

What happens when you promote a title with no reviews. Well, if you put this gentle golden gem after THE END, reviews will start ticking in. Yes they will. Here it is:

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. 

Now, if a title ends up with 100 reviews and forty of those reviews are one and two star, the book is in a world of hurt. I will venture all of the good luck pennies I save in my kitchen during Leap Year, that an indie author who faces that situation knows the book was not ready for publication in the first place. But, golly, in every social engagement when asked, “What line of work are you in?” the author can say, “I’m a writer.” … “Really? Are you published?” … “Yes, I am.” Next the published author can join writer’s groups, compose blogs, interview other authors, and produce another book or two. Yet the hand-wringing mantra does not change: “My books don’t sell because they don’t have enough reviews to get on the best promo sites.”

Next we find the author begging reviews on Twitter and and Facebook. And if by some wonderful chance an author gathers a review, he hugs it. It gets touted all over Facebook and blogs. It is Tweeted.  The author seldom stops the cycle to promote and sell the book. IMO, if that is what makes an author happy, Go For It. But do stop spreading toxic misinformation.

The nice thing about social environments is nobody ever asks, “Does it sell?” Not only that, you can travel from one writer group to the next and Facebook page to Facebook page with the poor-mouth threnody that you can’t promote your book because it doesn’t have enough reviews. That is playing it so safe,  you never will get up to bat.  What it boils down to is a toxic comfort zone. You cannot talk an author out of it. Nobody can.

On the off chance that you are willing to work to slog through sites to find those that will accept a title without a review, here are several links to a raft of promotion sites on which we can submit our books with and without reviews.

Rachelle Ayala posts a really nice list of promo sites Here.

Indies Unlimited offers Martin Crosbie’s Best promo sites Here.

eNovel Authors at Work  has  Useful Links pages with of list of favorite promoters. All vetted.

Here’s an idea. If your book happens to be in Amazon KDP Select, you can schedule FREE days. There are a wealth of sites that will mention your title for FREE. No charge. One of my all time favorites is a Facebook page, the  Ebook Korner Kafé   Another favorite is Masquerade Crew  99¢.

Jackie Weger

Jackie Weger, Author

Producing a book is not easy. Selling it is W.O.R.K. I read about creative ways we can market our books every day. Some ideas work for me, some don’t.  But, early on, before I learned the ropes and how our indie industry worked, I believed every single word about needing reviews to promote my titles. I engaged in book and review trades twice. That experience remains the worst in my short indie author career. I will NEVER do it again. Recall of that experience prompted me to promote a new release without a single review. About 18,000 readers downloaded the title on FREE and have started posting reviews on Amazon. That gentle golden plea for reviews after THE END on my  titles has prompted readers to post over 960 reviews in a year and a month. Not all are four and five star reviews. My books won’t please every reader in our expanded market place. I know it and I don’t expect them to. However, whether a five star or a two star, I appreciate the reader taking time out of his or her busy life to log onto Amazon and post it.

Comments are always welcome. If you have a creative or inexpensive way to promote your books, share.  The single thing I have learned about indie authors is that when we network and share our ideas, we help pave a path to success for all of us. Small success are just as important and effective as large.

Don’t forget! Save all of your pennies in your kitchen for good health and great good luck all year.  If nothing grand has happened by January 1, 2016… just haul those pennies to the bank! Works for me.  Y’all have a good one.

I’m Jackie Weger

Stay safe.




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  1. Neil Ostroff says:

    Once again a great and informative post. Always makes me think. Too bad I’m confident enough in my books that I don’t ask friends to buy my books and post over-hyped reviews. Cause that would defeat the purpose of knowing your talent. Thanks Jackie.

  2. Thanks, Jackie. And good luck with the new book!

  3. KJD says:

    As usual, Jackie, a great and informative blog. Thanks.

    Don’t some promo sites take note of an author’s review stats from previous books? Can’t remember the ones that do offhand.


    • Jackie Weger says:

      KJD: Yes, some sites take note of earlier review stats in order to promote a book with no reviews. However, a new release slot is just that. Promoters get it. Their subscribers get it. You will find more and more promoters giving a new release slot opportunity because they want that promo $$.

  4. Julie Frayn says:

    FKBooks & Tips has a new release section for books with no reviews. I have used it before and will do it again. And if folks are desperate for reviews (let’s be honest, who isn’t?) there’s always read & review programs…

  5. Thank you, Jackie…and yes, Neil.

    I prefer reviews from strangers, but those aren’t easy to solicit. Sadly, many reviews are bogus–either paid for or “rubber-stamped” by review groups authors participate in. It’s a black eye on the entire review process.

    Finding an honest readership should be our main goal–that and becoming the best writers we can. Talent must be nurtured and developed.

  6. Jackie Weger says:

    Kerry Donovan: Yes, some sites may note review stats from previous books of an established author. However, most do not on a new release or a new indie author. The concept of a new release slot is to introduce the author and book to a subscribing audience. Almost every promo site has rules and guidelines. FKB&T would not accept No Perfect Fate sans a review. And my other titles have almost a 1000. So. I moved on. It can be hit or miss. The point is: Submit a new release to those sites that accept new releases. But see: You are suggesting sites take note of previous review stats and you are not offering any facts or sites that do so. “Can’t remember the ones that do offhand,” is a throwaway line. I put links to more than 100 sites in the blog. It is the author’s responsibility to work those lists. Check them out–or not.

  7. Laurie Boris says:

    Great info, Jackie, thank you! 😀

  8. Dale Furse says:

    Thanks, Jackie. I hadn’t thought about doing this bfore but now I’m going to make a list of the sites who promote new releases without reviews in time for my next release.

  9. As always, very helpful! Thank you, Jackie!

  10. Rebecca Dahlke says:

    One of my favorite sites, Digital Books Today has a promotion for new books, new authors with no reviews. His site sells books too!

  11. As always, you debunk the rumors that cause author inertia.

  12. Fab post. we have a new release coming soon so gonna make that list. Really helpful.

  13. Mimi Barbour says:

    Great post – Jackie… you’ve given us all something to think about. Personally, I’ve always used the blurb in the back of my book to ask for the reader’s support and I’m sure it’s help get me reviews. But in case others haven’t thought of ut, the advice is solid.

  14. I am one of the authors who still struggle to get rid of the notion that reviews are important as to sell a book. Sure, there are multitudes of free sites that will not put up a minimum number of reviews as a restriction, but some big, important sites do… Also, I am still unable to get new reviews, even though I have given both my books by the thousands in the past year through free promos. And I have put in the gem after ‘The End’ that you point out but it never made a difference in my case. I m starting to think people download free books and never read them. Can’t explain it otherwise. Still, your post provides excellent arguments and tips. I will definitely look into them, especially that Rafflecopter idea. That should work splendidly to put my books in front of readers without me spending much. Thank you, Jackie 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Effrosyni: Every reader will not write a review. Of 75,000 downloads, 400 of those readers were motivated to write a review for The House On Persimmon Road. Our books are NOT entitled
      to reviews. We just hope that our books are enjoyed by a reader who will post a review. You are correct that many readers download free books and do not read them. I do that all of the time. A downloaded book, whether read or not, supports the author. Those downloaded books help improve best seller stats and the book’s placement in popularity lists and also boughts. Perhaps you might consider a mailing list. Which is another tool in our efforts to get our books in front of readers. Mad Mimi is FREE. I know Martin Crosbie talked about it in his book and you read it. As authors who want to sell books, we need to use ALL of the tools available to us. IMO chasing reviews is not an effective use of our time. However, if that is what an author wants to do, go for it. Promotion is the only thing that sells our ebooks. If there are budget constraints, then one must get creative.

      Take care. Thank you for commenting.

      eNovel Authors at Work

  15. Pete Barber says:

    Thank, Jackie. Perfect timing for my upcoming new release. I’ll pass the info on (I’m probably not the only person with an impending new release :-)).

  16. Great article as usual, and a great tip I hadn’t thought of.

  17. Rich Meyer says:

    Great post as always, Jackie. And glad to see you don’t have a mustache like the TV Mythbusters… 😉

  18. Good stuff, Jackie. Thanks for putting it out there. 🙂

  19. Mary Smith says:

    Great advice as always, Jackie. I’m about to do a KCD for Drunk Chickens and was fretting about its lack of reviews but now I’ve read your post, I’m going to find as many promo sites who don’t require a minimum number of reviews as I can and give it my best shot.
    By the way – 2015 is not a Leap Year. Leap Year’s are divisible by 4 so it’ll be 2016. You should have lots of pennies in the kitchen by then.
    Mary Smith

  20. Great info Jackie. We’ll have a new one coming out here soon and as always, you’ve pointed us in the right direction. Keep on busting those myths, Ms. Jackie. It’s a dirty job, but we’re REAL glad you do it!
    Marsha Roberts
    Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer

  21. April Wood says:

    Hi Jackie!
    Great post. It’s funny, I’m a reviewer and yet I never check reviews for novels I purchase. I could care less what others think. I think reviews are more for the Authors then the customers. 🙂
    ***RT this post on Twitter!***

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, April! I love your refreshing comment. For the author, a nice review is an affirmation that that author got the story told in a way
      that the reader enjoyed. I’ve been writing romance novels off and on for 30 years. Until I went indie, not a single one of
      my titles was ever reviewed. I did not expect a review. A review was not on my radar. Amazon created the indie book review craze.
      It brings traffic to Amazon. Book promoters caught on early that many indie books were not ready for publication. Hence, the review
      restrictions. Reviews don’t sell books. They are just one tool in a chest of tools for the indie author. IMO, when a title is on a promo site,
      the book description is what engages the reader to download it. That is how I chose books. Not by the number of reviews.
      Again, thank you for stopping in. I appreciate you taking the time.


  22. I just found your web site thru Good Reads…I was so thrilled. I had a Bookstore for many years, and have sold many of your books along the way. I lost track of you after I sold my store and thought you must have quit writing. I really missed reading your books so I would have to go back and reread. So I’m glad that your back from your travels and I look forward to reading the books I missed.

    I just finished reading “No perfect secret” and I enjoyed it very much. It was funny, warm and peopled with new friends that I’d like to have a cup of coffee with. I expect to reread it several more times, and that’s the true test for me of how good a book is. Will I keep it?…… and will I reread it? I like that your people grow and evolve. I’d be pleased to write a review for you any time you like. We just retired and moved to Sarasota so i have lots of time……….lol But thats another story. Just send me the site you want me to send the review with and name the book.
    Take care…..Later…….. Joyce in Sarasota

  23. Thank you Jackie for your informative and straight forward information. I am a newly published author and I had a feeling that I needed to work harder to promote! Thank you for taking some of the mystery out of it.

    Best regards,

  24. Mo Bola says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading ebooks for about 12 months now and I’ve always wondered who these people were that wrote reviews and/or comments. Then I read ‘No Perfect Fate’…it really is a beautiful book. Thank you!

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