Book Reviews – Are They Really Necessary?

You have just received your masterpiece in print, and it’s both exciting and scary at the same. Perhaps you’ve just realized that you aren’t the only new author out there, and nobody knows who you are. Perhaps you’ve just asked yourself, “How competitive is the book publishing industry anyway?” The statistics may surprise you. According to a recent survey of the top book publishers, an estimated 25 million people in the United States consider themselves writers, but only 5% have actually been published. Even more surprising is the fact that an astonishing 5 to 6 million manuscripts are still looking for a publishing home at any given time. So the real question is, in this flooded field of book writers, how would a lesser-known novelist get noticed? In this highly competitive industry, how can you, as a first-time author, turn your dreams of having a best seller into a reality? Possibly the most important step you can take in ensuring the success of your book is to be actively involved in your own promotion. If you have just written your first, or even second, book and you are not yet well-known in the literary world, your chances of getting signed by a major agent who could “take you all the way” are pretty slim. Once it’s published, promoting your own book takes hard work and diligence, and you have to be resilient. As your own book promoter, it is common to be anxious and you may want to start your book tour right away, or begin scheduling book-signings at retail bookstores nationwide. However, getting stores and retail outlets to promote a book that no one has heard of is unlikely. So, now what do you do? One of your first tasks is to get your book reviewed. If you are like many other new authors, you have probably always thought that book reviews are typically unsolicited. Now that your book is in hand and ready for sale, however, you don’t have time to wait for the local columnist to stumble across your book, read it at his leisure and then hopefully be inspired enough to write a review in the town paper. In the real world of book publishing, reviews are indeed solicited and are sometimes a fee-based service to newly published authors. Contracting a professional book reviewer has many benefits; the first and most obvious is a well-written book review. The book reviewer will not only critique the book, but the author as well. It’s important the review be favorable, as a less-than-favorable review would be detrimental to not just you and the sale of your book, but also your publisher. Your professional book review will probably be posted on many review sites, directories, and online bookstores. The review can also be used in all of your promotional material. If you acquire a book reviewer prior to publication, the endorsement can be included in the book cover. Typically, the review should be the foundation of your campaign. Book reviews are by far the best way to let the public know your book is available, and is worthy of being read; the review can be vital in the success of your book. Using a book review service is a good idea, especially if you are a self-published author, as it is extremely difficult to grab the attention of media and potential readers in this saturated industry. Be sure your book review is not a sales pitch; that’s your job. A book review should entice a reader to pick up your book, and hopefully not want to put it down.

Book Reviews

Many people of all ages enjoy reading books as a past time, books are one of the most accessible mediums of all and can be read by people anywhere and at anytime. One of the problems faced by someone who enjoys reading books is that there is such a sheer volume of books available from novels to biographies and recipe books to factual publications. This means that readers are faced with many choices on which book to start reading next and whether a book they read will be worth the time and money they spend on it. One way that many readers can find out information about a book is to use online book reviews. Many websites, large and small provide these online book reviews for people to use free of charge. People who have read a particular book can write a review describing what they thought of the book, the strengths of the book, the weaknesses and even a short synopsis of the plot. Other users of the site can then read these reviews and decide whether they wish to read or indeed purchase the book. These sites also help readers by allowing them to read reviews by people with similar tastes in literature as themselves. Many people who post reviews will have a list of their favourite books or books that they have recently read to help narrow down the reviews they are interested in. Many of these book review websites offer discounts for online book purchases which encourages users to purchase. This can help to increase interest in the site as well as encourage the people who have purchased the books to write a review and increase the size and popularity of the site. The percentage of books being sold online is increasing year by year due to the convenience offered by online retailers such as Amazon and WH Smiths website. A major advantage of online book stores and online book reviews is that they are so very easily accessible. Rather than having to visit many stores in shopping malls or on the High Street in order to try and find out information on books or to purchase the books themselves, people can do all this from the comfort of their own homes. It allows users to make more informed decisions on the book they wish to purchase and also means that time is not an obstacle. Nobody has to rush round shops trying to find the book they require, they can instead read many book reviews by like minded people at their own leisure so to absorb more opinions and information about the books. This allows them to be more sure and more satisfied about the purchase they eventually make.

Getting Effective Book Reviews

Every book sells better with good book reviews, but who do you know who will provide you a great review? Do you know anyone who has the clout to raise eyebrows and gain you the level of attention your book deserves?

When people are browsing Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other online bookstores, they pay attention to what others have said about a book. The choices they have to purchase a book are insurmountable to make a simple choice, so how will you compete with all of the other books available and stand out in the crowd?

I did a brief search for Law of Attraction books and the results on Amazon are 8,893. How to Start a Business has more than 64 thousand results and diet books more than 77 thousand! Any category you choose will show you the competition is stiff.

Book reviews have proven to gain attention of those searching for a book, especially from online resources. Often authors will trade reviews to build up a stockpile of reviews, but the real gems are those reviews written by well know authors and experts in the same field as the book’s topic.

One of my friends sent a request to 25 well known speakers and authors requesting a testimonial for their book and sent along a copy of the book so they would know it was not just a fishing expedition. They received two generic comments about their book, but the names on the comments were priceless.

Another author I met while I was in Arizona told me he sent out 50 review and testimonial requests to well known individuals and received 12 in return. What was the difference? He actually looked through their books, used words they had written and wrote out the testimonial for them. He told them in his request what he had done and if they agreed all they had to do was send the suggested testimonial back signed or with the changes they preferred. He only requested reviews from people who were in the same field he is in and not just random authorities.

The difference in the response was impressive to say the least. Well known people are busy people, often with too much on their plates to read anyone else’s books or to write out a review and put their reputation on the line for someone they’ve never met. When you make it easy for them the results you achieve will be much greater.

There are many other resources for great review results. Newspaper, magazine and periodical editors and reviewers can make an impact on the perception of their subscribers and sway them to purchase your book with a positive review. They are often overlooked in today’s marketplace. One of the best reasons to have them do the reviews is they have the built in audience who already trusts their opinion.

Good book reviews impact Amazon algorithms drastically. It is one area of marketing however most authors shy away from. One method of gaining reviews is to write reviews for other books listed on the online bookstores which are in your genre and you will more than likely receive a reciprocal review in return.

Then, there are paid reviews. You can pay as much as $400 for a well known and respected reviewer. It doesn’t mean your book sales will sore overnight either. You might see an increase, but there are no guarantees. The reviewer will provide their honest take on your book and based on their reaction, it might not be what you are expecting from a paid review.

There are other sources such as Google’s “15 minute book reviews”, “San Francisco Book Review” or even “Pacific Book Review.” They can be fairly expensive but they will guarantee the will review your book for around $150.

The best place to start however is Midwest Book Review. They don’t charge for reviews and they are well respected and make their reviews available to libraries as well as posting the reviews on their website.

There are a few more suggestions such as Reader Views, The Book Reporter, and for ebook reviews, Kindle Obsessed, The Kindle Book Review and Red Adept Reviews.

But don’t overlook the book obsessed blogger who scours the world for their next favorite book of the week. Yes, they’re out there and all you have to do is ask them for a review and send them a copy of your book if they agree to read it. But don’t expect an immediate return on your requests, everyone seems to have more to handle than they have time to accomplish their tasks. So be patient!

Using Twitter to Get Book Reviews

One of writers biggest challenges is to get book reviews, whether good or bad. Not that we want bad reviews, but, we do need book reviews in order to sell more books. It is like the chicken and egg puzzle, you can’t sell books without reviews, and you can’t get reviews without selling books.

Yes, you can get friends and family to do a review, although you do need to be careful here as Amazon can detect an invalid review or a review from a family member. Those reviews that are detected as too close to the writer are not generally published. I think they want to discourage writers from pulling in family members to do a review and actually have you go out and get third party reviews which, in turn, will give more legitimacy to the review.

So what can you do about it? I know for me, those reviews are all important, and the more I have the more likely I am to sell a book.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you through the process:

Find one or more reviewers that are relevant to your genre. In other words, do not look for reviewers for a science fiction book by finding someone that reviews business books. Your job here is to find those relevant reviewers using at least one social media platform. In this article we will use Twitter to get to the reviewers you want.

Start by doing a Twitter search for [your genre] book reviewer. I generally will then pick the option from the bottom of the list “Search all people for… ” You will be confronted by a number of options for your search. Using the Accounts tab at the top will yield hundreds of Twitter feeds. If you prefer you can simply head to the Top tab and go from there.

Open (in a new tab) one or more of the search results. This way you will be able to find out a little more about the reviewer. How many people they follow, how often they tweet, and perhaps a look at their personal website.

What to look for in a reviewer: Active postings of reviews, a list of followers that seems reasonable, a website that publishes the reviews, and someone that is passionate about your genre.

Avoid the top tier reviewers as they are likely to have a long list of books to read ahead of yours, you want to find good reviewers who will have time to really read your work, and get the review out in a timely manner.

Look up the latest tweets on reviews from the current list you have put together, go under more options and select tweets to get a good insight into some of the reviewers in your search.

Under more options, selected the Advanced Search from the bottom of the list. This is where you will be able to zero in on the exact reviewer with whom you wish to connect. What you want to do in the search criteria is added as much as possible in order to really get to those reviewers that have good ratings, have a following, and love to read. You should not have to pay for a review but you may have to buy the book or send them a copy so they can do their work.

Make a list of reviewers as a start, I generally click through to their profile, read their tweets, look at the website, and then decide if that reviewer belongs on my list. I try and make a list of at least 10 potential reviewers and possible more, if time permits. This way I can get in the queue of their reading list and monitor what happens. If I get a review and a positive one (Which is what you are truly looking for), I add this reviewer to the permanent list of reviewers to use in the future.

Be aware that you need to take the time to find the right reviewers for you book, don’t just take anyone. A well written review will make the difference between book sales and hoping for sales.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. is a speaker, author (over 170 books, articles, and publications), and consultant. She has provided marketing, sales, business development and training expertise for companies such as Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Varian Medical Systems, Accenture, Avaya, Cisco Systems to name a few. Dr. Daoust has also done extensive work with authors in developing their recognition and marketing strategies.

Amapola – Book Review

Alan Heywood in his novel Amapola, has made a good attempt to write a very exciting, and adventurous novel which at times is unbelievable. I call it unbelievable because of the manner in which the characters appear at the same place and time. This can happen in fiction only. However the rest of the scenes are resonant of a James Bond movie. There is a lot of suspense created, which captures the interest of the readers. I really loved the wit which the writer Alan has used in this entire novel. Humour in the right places is really appelaing. In addition I was also impressed by the female characters who portrayed depth and tact even in the most difficult circumstances which they handled with maturity.The onus on significance of friendships is also very much appreaciated as it speaks about human values. So this book has the right mix of romance, suspense, crime , values like friendhisp and all this laced with humour. The Pro Canada theme used is really appealing

The story is about a retired Major, George Magee and his undying love for his Costa- Rican sweetheart Sakai which has stood the test of time despite him leaving her. He thought he would get over his feelings for her in course of time, however he was proved wrong as he still experienced the torment of missing her. The romantic elements have been handled well and pieced carefully.

He sets up an import –export business post his retirement so that he can keep himself busy and it is this business which takes him to Mexico frequently to deal with his customers. He is very much attached to his sister’s family as he does not have a family of his own, but fate dealt a cruel blow here also, as his brother in law and young niece are killed in the most brutal circumstances by some members of a drug cartel. This leaves George very disturbed and enraged. He is seething with anger and wants to punish the crminals.

He soon gets a chance to avenge the murder of his dear ones when the Canadian Government seeks his help to curb the serious Mexican drugs issue. He uses his business as a cover to reach the culprits and punish them. The novel is a real thriller when it unravels George’s experiences in the drug trade while keeping alive his chances of reconciling with Sakai his sweetheart.

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Write Book Reviews for Money

Each year thousands of authors publish thousands of books; fiction, no fiction reference and more, books sell in varying numbers but one thing that can strongly influence how well a book sells is its reviews. Reviews are published in industry publications, newspapers, magazines and on the internet, and you could make money by writing book reviews!

If you think you would be good at writing book reviews you need to know the basics; a review is brief overview of the book – plot or content included in synopsis – with your personal opinion of its overall feel, and a final recommendation. It is to be read by those who may be interested in buying the book with a view to getting someone else’s idea of how good it is, or if it is worth reading.

There are many minor publications where you can place book reviews, many of which will pay (use the search engine and type in ‘book reviews’) and there are several other places where you can find avenues for writing paid reviews. The writing world has many house publications – writers guides and so on – and these are useful places for finding review websites and publications; the local press is always a good place to ask if they want reviewers, especially if the books are of local interest; local radio stations may also want a regular book reviewer, and this can lead to bigger things too, while the search engine option is always a good one to start with.

One thing to remember is that major publications will be inundated with reviews and reviewers, so your chances of getting reviews published in a well known weekly without prior exposure are minimal.
Do not let that put you off, however, for the publishing world is replete with many smaller publications and these are worth trying.

Remember to read the chosen publication first to get an idea of the style they require, and to follow any review format and submission guidelines they may have, and make sure that your review is grammatically correct, of the required length and correctly formatted for inclusion – all aspects the publication will inform you of.

Writing book reviews is fun and enjoyable, but if it can be made profitable then it becomes even more so – start now, you never know where it may lead.

How To Write A Book Review?

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The Paleo Recipe Book Review

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Book Review Term Papers

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