Before my first novel was released, I spent hours upon hours of web searches for book reviewers. I found a great site that listed hundreds of them along with a note detailing what kind of books that particular reviewer liked. As I worked through the list, I'd find old blogs that hadn't been updated in months or even years. Others were current, but so overloaded with requests that they had stopped accepting requests. Every once in a while I'd find a reviewer, send an email and get a positive reply.
Why do we go through so much trouble?
Because review numbers count. People are comforted to see that lots of other people have read a book. It makes them feel like they have a better chance of enjoying a story if hundreds of other people already enjoyed it. In a way this is silly. Reading is so subjective that I could try a book a million people loved and still not be able to get past the second chapter. (Slight exaggeration, but it has happened.) However, as authors we have to accept this truth and put in those grueling hours.
I only knew one way to approach that task before the conference--combing through long lists hoping to find a few honest reviewers interested and with time to review my book. However, I've got another way to find them now, and a new perspective.
First, the perspective.
I book review bloggers were the only people I could approach to review my book. However, it was pointed out that approaching focus groups outside reading groups can open up an whole new world of reviewers.
For instance, let's say you wrote a suspense novel where the MC runs a bakery. You can contact bakers to read your book and give a review. Maybe your MC loves horses. You can search for online groups who love horses and see if they'd be interested in reading your book. And so on.
Now, a new way to find readers who review.
1. Pick/search for a book on Amazon comparable to your book
2. Click on the link for their reviews
3. Browse the reviews for ones that you like how they were written and click on the reviewers name
4. Look for the email link (Note: not all reviewers have an email link, but don't give up, keep looking) and send them a query just like you would any reviewer
Good luck and happy hunting!