Like many self published authors, I'm always in search of reviews. Why? Because reviews pave the path to sales. However, getting those reviews can seem a bit like undertaking a quest to obtain the Holy Grail. It's a definite challenge.
Perhaps, like me, you've posted requests to exchange a copy of your novel for a review. I've posted requests in Facebook and G+ communities as well as on Goodreads and was so excited when "reviewers" agreed. I sent the file (mobi/pdf) and waited... and waited.... in fact, I'm still waiting for some of those reviews. I'm not alone. I see posts on KBoards and Goodreads from other writers who are experiencing the same thing. In good faith, we gave a copy of our novel to a reviewer. The only charge (if you want to call it that) was to write a review and post it on Amazon and/or Goodreads. So yes - it's frustrating - because someone didn't follow through on what they promised.
So whose fault is it? The reviewer who didn't follow through or the author who blindly sent the file? Obviously, the reviewer was wrong. But did the writer (me) do the necessary homework? Did I ask for a link to the reviewer's blog? If the reviewer answered a Goodreads request post, did I make sure that the potential reviewer had actually posted reviews? I wish I could answer a resounding YES! but hindsight is 20/20 and experience is a great teacher and I have learned the importance of researching potential reviewers.
There are reviewers out there who are as good as their word. Michelle Randall at http://tammommyblogs.blogspot.com/ was one of those. She was upfront - letting me know that she would give an honest review - good or bad. I also had great luck exchanging reviews with other authors (Goodreads) and no - they didn't all give me 5 star reviews. They have reputations to maintain themselves. Blog tours are also a good source for obtaining reviews. Not only are you getting reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, you are being featured on multiple blogs - which in turn are being tweeted and shared. I've done three tours now, the last being with CLP Blog Tours. With this tour, I was fortunate enough to visit some awesome blogs. Both Bookish and The Book Bag have a lot of visitors to their blogs - which meant a lot of people saw the reviews for my novel.
The moral of this story is this - before you hand off your book baby, make sure you know to whom you are giving it. Forewarned is forearmed!