Business Resources for Authors

Intro to Book Reviews

by Amy Atwell

Welcome to our section all about book reviews. This area is available to both authors and reviewers. The menu at left will show the pages available to you as we add them.

Where Readers Post Reviews

There are a number of sites that allow readers to post reviews of books they’ve read.  These sites generally attach the review to the book’s page as well as the user’s profile. These reviews can benefit authors by raising the visibility of a book. Also, some promotional websites require that a book have a certain number of high-rating reviews before they will consider promoting the book.

  • Amazon
  • Audible
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads
  • LibraryThing
  • Shelfari
  • Smashwords

There are also well over a thousand—and the number is ever-growing—online book reviewers. These sites range from the single reader who writes a blog that includes reviews of books s/he’s read to major review websites that post hundreds of reviews per month. Often, these reviewers will have additional followers through Facebook or Twitter.

How To Approach Reviewers

In a word? Professionally. Treat reviewers with the same respect as agents and editors. Plan ahead and seek reviewers in advance of your book’s release so they can schedule a review. Nudging, begging, whining or outright badgering will often do more harm than good with a reviewer. Remember that publishing is a well-connected industry. Many reviewers are also authors or are good friends with authors.

  • And at Warrior Writers, Kristen Lamb posted How To Win the Hearts of Bloggers, a lovely post with tips on how to and how NOT to approach reviewers.
  • The Book Deal features a post by Alan Rinzler explaining that Book bloggers can help sell your book: Tips for authors.
  • You may want to check out Phil Torcivia’s group called Review Seekers on Facebook. Click on the Doc link under their header for a document that explains how to post your book. Their target is readers and bloggers who post reviews on Amazon, B&N, iTunes and blogs.
  • Alice Bradley ponders the burning question, Should You Read Reviews?, in her blog at Babble Voices.

Fretting Over a Bad Review

Worried because you’ve received a lowly one-star review on Amazon, B&N or Goodreads? Draw a deep breath and resist the urge to defend yourself or your story. Repeat after me: READING IS SUBJECTIVE. Not everyone is going to like your story. Not everyone is going to get your sense of humor or your voice or your hero’s sarcasm. “Bad” reviews actually give your book page more credibility with many readers who tend to suspect that any book that looks too perfect has been padded with reviews by friends and family.

Reviews—good or bad—are promotion of your book. Trust the intelligence of most readers. They will cull through your reviews as a whole, if they’re inclined to read reviews at all. What one reviewer will complain about as a trite story line could be a basic plot premise that is well-loved by many other readers (think amnesia or secret babies or cowboys or runaway brides or prodigal sons or reunion stories or…well, you get the picture).

Need more talking down from the ledge? Try these two posts:

Where To Find Reviewers

If you’re commercially published, check with your publisher to find out what efforts they will make to get your book reviewed. There’s no need to duplicate efforts.  Some publishers have a short list of reviewers to whom they send all titles.  Some publishers are using NetGalley more and more.

If you’re self-published or want to expand the search for reviewers for your upcoming book, we’ve done our best to help.  Want to follow book reviewers on Twitter?  We’ve curated a list of 400+ reviewer peeps. Twitter list of Book Reviewers

We’re happy to share a number of other sites that list reviewers. Some lists are sorted by genre, others are in alphabetical order.

  • BookReviewBlogs.com — Powered by Blog Nation, a listing of 80 book bloggers.
  • The Indie View — Has an Indie Reviewer List of 100+ review sites that feature indie books.  Note: you now need to register with the site (free) to access the list of reviewers.
  • Indie Book Reviewer — Listing of reviewers who review self-published books. The navigation bar allows you to search reviewers by genre.
  • Kidlitosphere — The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature offers a huge list of reviewers and book bloggers with links.
  • Step-By-Step Self-Publishing — Lengthy list of reviewers, many for self-published books. Has a special listing of Kindle-focused reviewers at the end.
  • Midwest Book Review — Offers a list of other review site links.
  • Complete Review — Listing includes foreign language review sites as well as English. This link lands on the general fiction category.
  • Best of the Web Blogs — A general listing of book bloggers in alphabetical order.
  • The Book Blogger Directory — A lengthy listing of book bloggers in alpha order and also sorted by general categories.
  • The Book Blogger List — A fairly new site that lists book bloggers by genre and sub-genre.  Bloggers register themselves, give a brief intro plus a list of genres they read, and each entry includes a link to the blogger’s site.

Should You Pay for Reviews?*

This will be a decision each author needs to make individually.  There are success stories, such as indie author Darcie Chan hitting the bestseller lists.  Where can you buy a paid review?

  • Kirkus Reviews—Kirkus Indie:  Kirkus Reviews allows indie authors to pay for a review that can then be used for whatever the author sees fit.  Kirkus editors will select some reviews for inclusion in their magazine and newsletter. The cost is $425 or you can cut down the wait time by paying $575.  Your book or manuscript must be snail mailed to them for review unless it’s in digital only format, in which case you may email it.
  • Publisher’s Weekly—PW Select:  This program offers indie authors a chance to list their book in a quarterly supplement to Publisher’s Weekly subscribers, plus it’s posted online.  For $149, your book is listed, and the PW staff will select at least 25 of the listed books to review.  Bonus: your fee also buys a 6-month subscription to Publisher’s Weekly.  (If you already have a subscription, one book listing is included free.)
  • BlueInk Review:  This website offers paid reviews for self-published authors or authors who used vanity presses. Their current fee is $395, or $495 to expedite the review. Reviews are posted on their website (you can tell them not to post), and you’re free to use the review elsewhere as you deem appropriate.  Books may be snail mailed or for an additional fee you can email them a PDF.
  • ForeWord Reviews—Clarion Review: ForeWord Reviews offers three different review packages, but the Clarion package will accept all books by all publishers and indie authors with no publication date restrictions.  Current fee is $355.  The review will be published on the ForeWords website (if publisher desires), licensed to the three top wholesale databases and supplied to the publisher/author for use as they see fit.
  • BookRooster: This program supplies your digital book to readers who agree to leave reviews for it on Amazon. These are not professional reviewers, simply builds the number of reader reviews you can get.  Currently, the price is $67.

Be aware that Amazon has guidelines governing paid reviews.  Paid or professional reviews are permitted in the Editorial Reviews section of your book page. Authors can update this portion of the book page via the Books tab in Author Central. Reviewers posting in the Customer Reviews section should not receive any form of compensation other than a free copy of the book.

Read more information on Amazon’s Customer Review Guidelines and Amazon’s Editorial Reviews.

*Please note that our listing of a site is not an endorsement or recommendation. We urge you to be businesslike and do your research before paying for any services.  

 

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