Free book reviews for YA authors (Shearwater launch)

My first novel (part one) will go live on January 26th and I’ll need some reviews posted the same day. I don’t like to ask for anything unless I’ve given something first – so I’d like to trade reviews with some YA authors (and you’ll get the better deal).

My book will be 99cents, but I’ll buy and review any book up to 2.99, and post a review in the next two weeks. In exchange, you can buy my book on January 26th and post a review. I know you can’t read that quickly, so you can also get an ARC copy here. I’m insecure about my writing: I think it’s clean, and parts of it are pretty good, but it’s my first and it’s difficult to judge. I’d really appreciate feedback from more experienced writers.

Leave a link to your book in the comments, and I’ll buy and review it.

Doesn’t this break Amazon’s rules?

Yes, it does – asking anybody to review your book at all, even your followers, is against the rules now. Amazon only wants reviews from complete and total strangers. But reviews are important, especially during launch, and indie authors need to do what we can to get them. That said, I’m not asking for fake reviews: I appreciate honest, authentic and critical feedback (and I will give you the same). Nor is this really a “review swap” – we aren’t promising each other raving 5 star reviews.

Editorial reviews…

It is fine, however, to swap editorial reviews with other authors in your genre: I’m looking for about 5 great editorial reviews from authors writing YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance to post in my book description. I’m planning a massive launch so the book will get a great deal of visibility. Having a review with your name and “author of X” on my sales page = lots of free promotion for your book.

If that sounds good to you, email me your blurb or review and a link to your book; I won’t choose everybody (if I don’t, I’ll ask you to post it as a regular review on the 26th). But if not on Amazon, I’ll add your review to the launch page on my website with links back to your site, and use it in promotions. Ideally, editorial reviews will hit important sales points and include a few keywords.

The book launch

I’m using a combination of giveaways, a ThunderClap campaign, and a fundraiser to save mermaids for my launch campaign. Even if you don’t have time to review my book, which I totally understand, you should check it out and see if it inspires you to improve your own book launches. The day of launch I’ll be emailing over a thousand book bloggers and reviewers directly.

Check it out here, and support the ThunderClap campaign if you can. I look forward to returning the favor.

Comment with a link to your book and I’ll review it!


  • Reply S. A. Gibson January 6, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Feeling a Way is a YA story about a quest through future primitive California in pursuit of a child stolen by a dangerous guru.

  • Reply Beth Rodgers January 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    ‘Freshman Fourteen’ is a young adult novel about Margot, a high school freshman girl who is trying to win the heart of her first true crush, Peter, while fending off advances from a dorky boy who likes her and escaping the torment of the school bully. Here’s the Amazon link:

  • Reply Tracy Lawson January 11, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Hi Derek,

    I’d love to take part–and what I really need is a review of Resist, the second book in my YA series. I’d be happy to send you a quick synopsis of Counteract, the first book to lead you into the action if you’re so inclined. Here’s the blurb and link for Resist:

    Knowledge comes with a price.

    Tommy and Careen no longer believe the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s miracle antidote can protect them from a terrorist’s chemical weapons. After accidentally discovering the antidote’s real purpose, they’ve joined the fight to undermine the OCSD’s bid for total control of the population.

    Being part of the Resistance brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Not everyone working for change proves trustworthy, and plans to spark a revolution go awry with consequences far beyond anything they bargained for.

    Tommy and Careen’s differing viewpoints threaten to drive a wedge between them, and their budding relationship is tested as their destinies move toward an inevitable confrontation with the forces that terrorize the nation.

    Where does love fit in when you’re trying to start a revolution?

  • Reply Beth May 28, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I loved Shearwater enough to track down other books by you. An honor I’ve only given to a handful of authors. I found your writing less like a teenage girl’s mind than some of the YA novels out there, which really made it more palatable to me as an adult to read….

    • Reply Derek Murphy August 14, 2016 at 2:01 am

      awesome, thanks so much!

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