Why You Need to Secure Book Reviews

One of the best forms of promotion for your book is reviews. These promotional nuggets can be utilized in many different places and ways to get significant impact.
Reader Reviews:
The easiest type of review to obtain is the one that comes from friends and acquaintances. This is the quickest place to start, and hopefully the end result will be positive. (Positive reviews are great. But you can't discount the not-so-positive. We'll get to that next.)

If your book is on Amazon, you can actually post reviews pre-release. The goal is to have a significant number of good reviews in place before your book actually releases to the public.
At Release:
               With your release date, ask friends and readers to post their comments onto Amazon or Goodreads. Your goal is a minimum of 25 reviews. This number is a catalyst within Amazon's marketing machine. It should be your first goal.
Post Release:
               Has your book slowed down in the marketplace? Are you seeing little movement? Go back to your reviews. Word of mouth promotion is trusted. Think about it. When you are looking for a movie to watch or checking out a new restaurant, where do you go for insight? We usually go to our friends or people we know who have already seen the movie or gone to the restaurant. Word of mouth recommendation is essential to the promotion of a product in today's market.
If you are smugly smiling to yourself that you have already obtained your first twenty-five reviews, congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back and get back to work. Your next goal is 100 reviews. I know it's a significant jump, but the marketing thrust that you will earn in the Amazon machine makes it worth it. Your book will populate in many other places once you hit that threshold.
These reviews shouldn't be limited to Amazon and Goodreads alone. Obtain permission and use them on your website or marketing materials such as a flyer or brochure.
Have you tried to obtain reviews from your local area newspaper or magazines? The smaller the city in which you live, the better the chance you will have to receive a review. But in any case, it never hurts to ask. Provide a book, a press release, an short author bio and how you are connected to the city.
Finally, Literary Reviews are another review that is slightly harder to obtain, but well worth the time. In the publishing world the heavy weights are from Kirkus Reviews or Publisher's Weekly--publishing industry trade journals. These reviews are highly sought after by publishers for their new releases, so if you are a self-published author is there any hope? Actually, yes.  
Kirkus offers Indie Reviews. It is a paid service ($425 per review) and takes about ten weeks for a review, but theKirkus Review name is well respected in the literary marketplace and carries weight. The review can be for your use alone, or you can allow Kirkus to use it on their website where it will then be distributed to Baker & Taylor, BN.com, Google and Ingram. It will also be considered for publication in the Kirkus magazine which is widely read by the ABA & CBA marketplace (general interest and Christian) and librarians.
(Note: If your book is written from a Christian persuasion, remember you will more than likely not be reviewed by a Christian reviewer. There is a religious editor that will probably be the reviewer, but they may or may not "get" some types of books. Choose wisely where you spend your money and what you submit.)
Last, if you're not on Goodreads.com, get there. Get started. And start reviewing other people's books. You need to do twenty to start. We'll talk about that later.