Professional, Paid, and Blog Reviews
Dear Author, are you ready to get your books into the hands of reviewers by giving them a copy?
With ebooks, it’s a little more affordable to get your books into the hands of reviewers. Yes, I want to send everyone a copy of a free paperback book, but after the hundreds of dollars that went into the book, I can’t right now, and that’s the reality. This will be a long post that chronicles professional, paid, and blog reviews.
Why reviews are so important. Reviews are recommendations, and they are the most important thing to get if you are an Indie. A certain amount of views will open up new advertising opportunities, and get readers excited about your book! Word of mouth from peers is extremely important. Don’t stop at 10 reviews. Contact book bloggers and remind your readers of how important their reviews are.
I love book bloggers, and they’ll be getting their very own post with details on my experience as a first time author. Here is what you should know to start off:
Why reviewers need to be approached BEFORE the release. I often see books produced by a small publishing house that have under 10 reviews on amazon.com. Some of these are 6 months later, and some are 2 years later. Blogger usually prioritize Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) first, and while you can ask them to review after the release, they will continue to prioritize NEW news. Makes sense, right? Set a goal for how many reviews would impress you on amazon, or make your limit outer space. I have no idea why the professional authors I have seen with few reviews aren’t focusing on reviews when a publishing house is guiding them (unless the houses bank on Editorial reviews—which are important, but peer reviews are ultimately easier to find and can be MORE influential).
Reviews on Book One will be the most important reviews you get. You will be advertising book one even as new books continue to be released (and book one will likely become a free ebook at one point). It sets your foundation.
Reasons you are not getting reviews:
- You are not being genre specific enough. Anything you do from this point on in your career needs to be in your genre or niche, or it will be a complete waste of time. I mean ANYTHING. The more tailored you go the better. You also need to be true to your genre when marketing. For example, you have a book that has fantasy/adventure, but your book also has love at first sight, explicit sexual encounters, and your points of view alternate between two lovers, then you should probably be in fantasy/romance or paranormal romance, and not something like urban fantasy. Your book title should reflect the romantic relationships and not the adventure elements. You have to make that call, or you’re setting yourself up to hit a lot of bumps. Subscribe to one genre and stick to it.
- Your writing ends up in the Did Not Finish pile. It’s refreshing to be an Indie and not have to hear, “No thanks but I can’t give you an explanation” from literary agents anymore, but even though a reviewer accepted your book, it doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to like or finish it. If you are habitually rejected, or specifically told that it’s a DNF on account of technical error, you might need a re-write/over-haul/reality check. You might be a good writer who needs a little more experience polishing a manuscript. As an Indie you can always go back when you get a plan and some constructive criticism.
- You’re not working it. Even if you aren’t social, correspondence with book bloggers is just an email, and it’s easy to reach out to them. How many should you have to work it? I have a list of over 400 (some are not currently accepting reviews), and submitted to 160 total. My minimum was 20 reviews (hopefully they will cross-post to Goodreads) to start off with for book bloggers, but there is no maximum when you want to succeed.
Bad reviews. Not everyone is going to like your book, and when you start to see success, the attention will attract some bad reviews (and some might be purely out of spite). I remember my first 1 star, and it was from someone who was incorrect in their main points from the reading (ex. Fred makes a point that he doesn’t want to be a teacher in the book and the reviewer said that he wants to be one),
and didn’t proof-read their blog entry. Even though the reviewer was spreading misinformation through a reading that wasn’t all that accurate, I cannot personally comment or acknowledge it, and the 1 star lives on. When you send your book out, people will get things wrong or gloss through their free-book pile. Some people will be upset that the rooftop in your book has a railing and view the rest of the book from said rooftop. Do not ever acknowledge bad reviews because they are a magnet for negative energy. Leave the bad reviews be, and focus on the good ones. Do not start a fight. You will appear professional by letting bad reviews go.
They are magazines and publications that allow you to send even your Indie book to them. Some book bloggers will even write you amazingly-worded editorial reviews.
Rule of wrist: try not to push that your book is self-published when you pitch. Obviously, lying flat out is a bigger no-no, but I suggest grabbing your own imprint when you get your ISBN (see my CreateSpace post), because after all, you are an Indie who is contracting services and paying for high quality content. Also, follow the rules. If they say no self-publishing, you’ll be wasting your time.
Check this list out for professional reviews:
but keep your eyes open for any opportunities.
I will not do this, mainly because I don’t have the funds right now with only one book out, but even Kirkus somehow makes me hesitant, because I don’t want to have to pay someone to read my work, and I feel like I’m buying them. The pro to a review like Kirkus is that you can use it as an editorial review on your amazon page. They are an esteemed source. RT used to accept review submissions through their emagazine if you didn’t make the print, but now they charge for emagazine reviews so that they can get to more books. If you have the funds, look for reputable sources, but remember that you’re not paying for a good review if they don’t like it. Some reviews are paid because they will enter you into contests, which is another topic all together. Enter the world of paid reviews at your own risk, but always remember to make sure they are legitimate and that you will get a guaranteed review out of it. Anyone will take your money, but not everyone will read your book.
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