Readers often trust the honest reviews of book bloggers (especially because online bookstore reviews can often be stacked by friends and family).
Authors covet all the help we can get in spreading the excitement about our books. Book reviewers can play a huge role in word of mouth promotion, spreading the buzz about a book beyond the scope of our usual circles.
But with all of the books out there, how do reviewers decide which ones deserve a spotlight? What are some wrong ways to go about soliciting reviews? And what are some of the best ways to garner attention from reviewers.
To help answer some of my questions, I invited Rel Mollet of Relz Reviewz, a talented and prolific book reviewer (from Australia!), to share some of her thoughts. She’ll be answering a couple of questions today and Friday.
1. First, give us a behind the scenes look at what goes in to being a book reviewer.
Most serious book bloggers/reviewers, once they’ve gotten over the initial thrill of receiving free books, are only in it for the love of it. Reading, reviewing and blogging is extremely time consuming and something bloggers/reviewers take very seriously.
Here’s an overview of the process I (and many other reviewers) go through:
1. Select a book (surprisingly, not an easy process with so many great books available!).
2. Read the book.
3. Write my review, appreciating the writer has spent months if not years investing themselves in the story, so choosing my words with care and integrity.
4. Locate cover art.
5. Locate and link to the author’s website and blog.
6. Locate and link to Amazon and Koorong (Aussie bookstore).
7. Link to other blog posts I have posted previously for the author.
8. Post review with said cover art and links 5 – 7.
9. Publicize my review on Twitter and FB, linking to the author, publisher and/or publicist.
10. Publish my review on Amazon or CBD (if requested).
11. Email review link to author, publisher and/or publicist.
In exchange for a $12 book, I spend anywhere between 5 and 10 hours of my time, with the variation mostly dependent on how long it takes to read the book. Bear in mind I am a fast reader so for other bloggers the time frame is likely to be longer.
As I said, we are in it for the love of it! What that means, though, is that most bloggers review because they want to support the industry they love, the writers and their fellow readers.
2. With so many talented authors and books out there, how do you choose which books to review?
With great difficulty! I'm offered books to review from a number of sources including publishers, publicists, and authors. I can also request books from the same sources and blog tour programs.
As much as I would love to read and review every great book available, with a family and day job commitments, that's just not possible. I've chosen to limit my blog reviews to Christian fiction as a starting point. I know there are amazing general market and non-fiction books out there I’d enjoy reviewing, but I’ve chosen to draw a line in the sand and stick to it. From there I still need to be selective if I want my family to remember who I am! Here are just a few ways I decide:
1. Of course, there are authors I love to read so they are easy to choose.
2. I also try to accommodate publicists and publishing houses with whom I have built a rapport and relationship, especially if a particular request has been made.
3. I also love supporting new authors. So if I have the opportunity to do so and I’m interested in their novel, I’ll work them into my schedule.
4. I base some review decisions on what I believe the readers of my blog are interested in, even though a book may not be my usual cup of tea.
My (Jody's) closing thoughts: In the scheme of marketing and promotion, we as authors can’t overlook book reviewers! I’ve found them to be some of my biggest and most critical supporters in spreading the news about my book.
Come back on Friday for Part 2, when Rel will be sharing some things that annoy book reviewers as well as some positive ways authors can connect and cultivate relationships with reviewers.
Question for you: If you’re a book blogger, how do you decide what books to review? And if you’re an author, have you given enough importance to book reviewers in your marketing plans?
BLOG TOUR STOPS AND GIVEAWAYS:
Thursday 10/6: I'm visiting with the adorable Casey Herringshaw on her blog and sharing one of the most enjoyable aspects of my writing career.
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