On Writing: Some thoughts on Reviews

I wouldn’t class myself as a regular book reviewer, though I often post recommendations for books that I have enjoyed on my Blog and Facebook Page The Librarian’s Cellar. I like to keep these personal recommendations separate from any reviews I may receive on my own book, Lady Beth, though occasionally there may be an overlap – a mutual appreciation of written work. Nothing wrong with that. Good books need to be shared!

For any author, book reviews are not only the greatest compliment that a reader can offer, they really do help to terms of visibility for a novel, which otherwise, can get lost in a very crowded book market. Honest reviews are also so helpful to other readers in discovering books and making informed choices when spending hard-earned money in an environment so inundated with material. As I seek reviews for my own novel, I’ve been doing a bit of research, looking at the many ways authors look for reviews:

  • ARCs: Advanced Reader Copies: Sent out to a mailing list of readers for review before the book is published. This helps to get reviews up early in the week of publication.
  • Media Submissions: Sending the book to newspapers, magazines and radio. A hard slog which requires a lot of research and correspondence, but gold when a book is featured.
  • Author Endorsements: Not always resulting in a written review, but generally a quote on the book that can be used for marketing purposes. For an author, particularly a newbie, these endorsements are gold. (I treasure mine!)
  • Giveaways: Competitions for free downloads of ebooks or the chance to receive a paperback version. Can be successful when used as a marketing tool, but there is no guarantee that everyone who receives a copy will review, or even read the book. Also, postage costs can be expensive if sending paperbacks out.
  • Book Bloggers: Book lovers who read and review books. These are wonderful people with a genuine love for reading and an interest in sharing good work, and it is an honour for an author to have a book featured. However, they can often be inundated with material and may not get to read and review everything they receive.
  • Virtual Book Tours: A pre-arranged virtual tour where book bloggers and authors feature book reviews/interviews with authors. Hard work, but a lot of fun, and a great way to connect with readers and to highlight books and authors.
  • Author review groups:
  • (a) Where authors swap reviews (I would not recommend this option!)
  • (b) Where an author chooses a book to review in the hope that another member of the same group will choose theirs, either through a verified purchase or as a free download. There are some very ethical groups who engage in this process, but I’m not sure – some authors complain that while they have read and reviewed several books, their own books have not been reviewed – in other words, people want their own books reviewed, but aren’t willing to become reviewers.
  • Purchased Reviews: Websites that authors can submit books for review for a fee (a definite no-no as far as I am concerned!)
  • Honest Reviews from Readers: Reaching out to readers to seek honest reviews in the good old-fashioned way.

If you have any proven tips or are aware of any other methods for seeking reviews, please share! In the meantime, I have some review copies of Lady Beth to send out, so if you, or someone you know, is interested in writing an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads or any good book review site, please do get in touch and I will send you a free copy. You can contact me HERE, or via FACEBOOK or TWITTER

Thanks for Reading!