I hope I’m not wasting your time (because you’ve already written an article on this). I get it that you should contact potential reviewers first before sending your book out. I have made a good list of comparable novels that have been reviewed. But, finding a list of reviewers’ names that have reviewed said novels is proving tougher. When I have found a review with a name, they either provide no contact info., want you to sign up for their newsletter (with my email) before they will give it to you, or are buried in a sea of names (like the one I found written by someone with The Washington Post.) Plus most (all?) of the comparable books I found were written by traditionally published authors (not self- published ones).
How many of these reviewers will deal with indie authors? Should I pay reviewers for their services?
Any thoughts or help would be most appreciated.
First, don’t buy book reviews. Not only is it expensive, but buying book reviews can harm your reputation.
And, you don’t need to get reviews from big-name reviewers if you’re simply seeking marketing quotes from them. Any intelligent and well-written reviews of your book can result in great quotes for your marketing materials, regardless of the reviewers’ names.
If you’ve written a medical book and one of your physician colleagues reads it, likes it, and agrees to review it, you’ve landed yourself a book reviewer with “M.D.” at the end of their name. Ask their permission to publish their book review online and/or ask them to post it to Amazon themselves. Also ask permission to quote their review in your marketing materials.
If someone in your writing group has authored eight novels, ask them to read and review your new novel. Having “Jane Doe, Author of Eight Adventure Novels” appearing under your book’s review will look impressive to potential readers, too. What about your local librarian or used bookstore owner? Anyone involved in the industry should have a title that will be impress your readers.
If the parent of your child’s friend is a police officer, and if you’ve written a book on self-defense, DIY security systems, or anything related to safety, ask him to review your book. Having Officer John Doe, Pleasant Valley Police Department, appearing under the review will be impressive! In fact, for me, reviews by professionals related to a book’s topic carry far more weight in my book buying decisions than reviewers with no professional connection to the topic.
Have you written a children’s book? I bet you can find lots of teachers who would love to review our book!
Even if you don’t know a professional with a great title, it’s not difficult to find one nearby or online. In exchange for a free copy of your book, most people who are not book reviewers would be very happy to send you a blurb to use in your marketing materials.
Since there are so many different types of books, and so many different types of reviewers, there is no logical way to compile a list of professional (or self-employeed) book reviewers that will serve all authors. While seeking a review from a well-known reviewer is a valiant effort, your chances of winning the lottery are probably greater. Too many authors waste way too much time and money sending copies of their books, unsolicited, to reviewers at major newspapers and national magazines, as well as popular blogs. Most of those copies end up in landfills or, worse, get listed for sale as “used books” on Amazon, and in other stores. (Yes, some book reviewers sell the books they receive, even if they have decided not to review that book.)
Published book reviews of unknown authors’ works rarely result in many, if any, sales but the marketing blurbs you obtain through any review, regardless of the reviewer’s name or review experience, can be priceless.
Throwing Away Your Money on Review Copies?
For my own books, per the examples above, I seek comments and reviews from regular readers, or people involved in complementary industries. I then use snippets from those reviews and, of course, their names and professional titles, in my marketing materials.
I used to send review copies to major publications but, over the years, I never heard back from any of them and I never got my books back, either. That was an expensive but necessary lesson, and one I’m happy to share with you and our WritersWeekly readers. Hopefully, your review copies can avoid the same fate.
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