Book Reviews

111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews

COMING SOON:
111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews
e-Book, covering the best strategies for getting lots of great reviews – including over 1,200 direct links (clickable links to each website!) to reviewers and book bloggers.

 

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Book Bloggers and Reviewer contact addresses can be found at the end of each chapter. And if you send us an email, using our contact form at 111Publishing.com, you will receive twice a year the latest reviewer contacts.
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Even More Benefits for REVIEWERS:
Send us a link to your review at Amazon or Goodreads of this upcoming book 111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews  o r  for the already launched: 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free and we will refund you an Amazon gift card for two book purchases.
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Table of Contents

WHY ARE REVIEWS SO IMPORTANT
HOW TO GET FREE REVIEWS?
THE IMPORTANT LAST PAGES
WHERE ELSE TO FIND REVIEWERS
VIRTUAL BLOG TOURS TO GET REVIEWERS
WHAT BOOK REVIEWERS LIKE
EXAMPLES OF REVIEWER SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
HOW TO CONNECT WITH INFLUENTIAL BOOK BLOGGERS
HOW TO PITCH TO BOOK BLOGGERS / REVIEWERS
PLANING YOUR PITCH TO BLOGGERS / REVIEWERS
PAID BOOK REVIEWS
EXAMPLES OF PAID REVIEW SITES
NEWSLETTER MAILING PROMOTION SERVICES
PAID BOOK REVIEW CONNECTING SERVICES
PAID REVIEWS FOR TRADE PUBLISHERS
GOODREADS REVIEWS
AIM FOR AMAZON TOP REVIEWERS
EDITORIAL REVIEWS
AMAZON READER REVIEWS
UNCOVERING FAKE REVIEWS
APPLE iBOOK REVIEWS
AUDIO BOOK REVIEWS
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR BOOK FOR REVIEWS
ADVANCE REVIEW COPIES (ARC)
REVIEWS READ BY LIBRARIANS
WHY STAMP YOUR BOOK “REVIEW COPY”?
IMPORTANCE OF PRESS KITS / MEDIA KITS
ENDORSEMENTS FOR YOUR BOOK
MEDIA BOOK REVIEWS
TIPS ON HOW TO GET MEDIA BOOK REVIEWS
READER WEBSITES / FORUMS / COMMUNITIES
BOOK GIVEAWAYS at READER COMMUNITIES
JOIN GOOGLE+ REVIEWER COMMUNITIES
JOIN THESE GROUPS TOO
HOW TO WRITE BOOK REVIEWS
HOW TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS
WHY READERS – YOU – SHOULD WRITE REVIEWS
CAUTION: DON’T LOSE YOUR REVIEWS
HOW TO LEVERAGE YOUR BOOK REVIEWS
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Getting your book reviewed is the direct outcome of these three factors combined:
Preparation – Presentation – Luck of the Draw.

You can at least totally influence the first two! For the last one, I cross fingers for you!

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Tagged: Advance Review Copy, ARC, Book Bloggers, book critiques, book reviewers, editorial reviews, media reviews, Tips to get free reviews



Book Lovers Can Be Found Here:

Reader-Groups

You might have already posted your book’s cover on Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram, and other image-based social media sites with some success.  Sometimes readers are even able to order your book right away from these sites, such as from Pinterest.

But you can do more: most reader / writer book communities and forums are also places to show your books cover, and meet future readers, and find even reviewers for your books.  Always read carefully the guidelines on forums you want to join, and their policies.  Some are very generous, such as many Google+ communities, others are stricter, and you can only show a stamp-size picture of your book.
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Popular Meeting Places for Bibliophiles:

http://www.librarything.com/

http://www.BookLikes.com

http://www.kindlemojo.com

http://www.Wattpad.com

http://blog.booksontheknob.org/

http://www.goodreads.com/

http://www.booktalk.org/

http://www.booktalk.com/authors/

http://bit.ly/1e1pCCN

http://bit.ly/1a827Xv

http://bit.ly/13NFyBT

http://bit.ly/HwcJpA

http://bit.ly/VmtVAS

http://bit.ly/1dy6IU9

http://bit.ly/1dy6IU9

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More book forums and reader communities can be found under 99 Top Forums.
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After you joined a group, contribute and be an active part of conversations.  Don’t sign in and start immediately talking about your own book.  Other members will find out about it from your profile.  To be more engaged in discussions is the key for success on these places.  There are many ways to provide writing advice and book recommendations.  Offer to become a beta reader for others writers.  Ask members for their favoured books.  Your suggestion to read your book will be welcomed more once book lovers get to know you – especially when you announce your giveaway to the group.  Do write lots of book reviews for other writers – it will make you and your books popular!
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Find Not Only Readers, but also Reviewers:
Goodreads comes to mind, where are ten-thousands of groups await readers and writers, and also reviewers.

Google+ has a dozen or more book lovers / reviewer communities.  They built a large community of users online, sorted by interests – for example these communities of reviewers and authors:
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Book promo-review group
“Writers/readers/bloggers group. Join if you love to read, write, review and promote books. There are for example two sections: ‘Books Need Reviews’ and ‘Readers Offering Reviews’.”

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MODERN GOOD READS Free Ebooks 4 Review
“FREE ebooks available to all, but please leave an honest review.”
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Indie Author Book Reviews
“The Place to promote and be promoted. Modelled on the Indie Author Review Initiative on Goodreads, this is the place to write and get reviews for your Indie published books.”
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Book Reviewers.
“For readers, writers, and reviewers. This is a place to introduce your books, share your reviews, post giveaways, author interviews, or just simply be creative.”

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Join at least a handful of online communities or forums to find beta readers, mentors, book buyers and writing buddies.  Contribute through comments, messages, friending, and active participation in forum discussions.  Spread the good Karma!

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Important Tips on How to Write Book Reviews

Book-Reviews

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Reviewing can be a daunting task.  Someone has asked for your opinion but you may not feel qualified to evaluate this book.  Who are you to criticize a book if you have never written a novel or a nonfiction book yourself, much less won a literature prize?  You might have questions, such as:

  • What should the review contain?
  • Can I really voice my opinion?
  • What are the do’s and don’ts of reviews?

Above all, a review makes an argument.  The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a content summary.  It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in not reaching its merit.
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Review Writing Techniques
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While Reading:
Take notes while reading the book, including the page number of interesting content, to make the review writing easier and to remember important points.  Record impressions.
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Opening
Try to capture the reader’s attention with an interesting opening sentence.  The introduction should state your central thesis, and set the tone of the review.  Outline the title of the book, the genre, the author and maybe if it is a newly launched book. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it?
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Content
Describe the content or theme, what goes on in the story, introduce some of the main characters and elements. From what point of view is the work written? What is the author’s style?  Is it formal or informal?  Does it suit the intended audience?  Write it a briefly, general story line, as not to spoil the reader’s experience.  This rule must always be followed: never give away the ending.
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Plot
Here you should write down how good the plot was. Was the plot fast paced or subdued’, was the plot a good length, or was it all over too quick, was easy or difficult to follow. This part of your review is really important, as the plot is what drives a story in a fiction book.
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Characters
How does the author portray his characters? How do they develop? Are the characters in the book interesting or not, did they fit with the plot? Or has the author a very distinct writing style? Use quotations to illustrate important points or peculiarities.
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Non-fiction Books
What sources did the author use – primary or secondary?  How does he make use of them?  What has the book accomplished? Is further work needed?  Compare the book to others by this author or by other writers.
Typically, reviews are brief.  In newspapers and academic journals for example, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries.  In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:

A review gives the reader a short and concise summary of the content.  This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.
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However, more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content.  This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.
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Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience might appreciate it.  It can include a final assessment or simply restate a thesis.  Reviews should be about the book.  If you think a book is a masterpiece, tell people why.  If it had potential but fell short, share your perspective.
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Introduce the book title and its author and why you wanted to read it.  Tell readers what the book is about in two or three sentences.  Name the main characters and basic plot, but don’t give away any secrets or the ending.  Share some of your favorite parts or quotes from the book.  What did you think of the main character?  Did this book remind you of any other books you’ve read?
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Before you Publish Your Book Review:
Edit, spell-check, correct grammar, refine.  Allow some time to elapse before going over your review.  Carefully read through the text, looking for clarity and coherence.
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Reviews Don’ts:
Unfortunately there are these “collectors” of free books on Amazon, who click on every book that doesn’t cost anything on a particular day, no matter if it interests them or not.  Later they might read it – and often slash it in a very unprofessional manner.

Even when it is most difficult, a review is not an emotional response to a book, and should not be used as an opportunity to criticize an author’s personality.  A book review should never be used as a “bully pulpit” for the reviewer to preach to others about his or her own beliefs.

A review is not a synopsis of the books content.  A review should tell readers what the reviewer thought of the book from multiple perspectives, not to repeat the book blurb.

Try to avoid platitudes, such as “I could not put it down”, “a page turner” or “it kept me up all night”

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Reviewers Role
It doesn’t really interest others if you liked the book or not!  Be impartial.  If you are reviewing a book by a favorite author of yours, approach it skeptically.  If you disagree with an author’s philosophy or politics, keep an open mind.  

***Your task is not to champion or chastise the author – it is to evaluate the merits of the work – and if the author accomplished it.***

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Tips from the The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC:  A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples.  The New York Times Sunday Book Review  and The New York Review of Books  can show you how professional writers review books.  Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, yet, careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned opinions.
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Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertion.

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Part 2: How to Get Media Book Reviews

Book-Reviews

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You might have read Part 1: Amazon vs Media Reviewers. Here are more tips and a couple of links to Media Review sites. Our next book “111 Tips on How to Get Book Reviews” (launch in late spring) will contain over 600 direct links to book reviewers.
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Steps Before Sending Your Review Submission.
Your first step is to read book reviews of the publication you want to pitch with your reviewer request.  What type of books do they usually review?  If possible read some of the titles and compare your own insights with those of the reviewers.  What does he or she especially look for in a book of the same genre you are writing?  And most important:  What is the name and title of the reviewer?

Prepare an Excel spreadsheet or any kind of list, where you type in the title, name, address, phone/email of the recipient, the date of submission, and their guidelines.  Write a personalized email to the potential reviewer.  No one likes to get a form letter, or spam.  Use a salutation, and their name.  Never, ever sent it: “to the editor” or “to whom it may concern…”, always address it to the reviewer’s name.  An exception is for example Kirkus Reviews, where each book is assigned to a different reviewer, who could be a freelancer.
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Book review editors are not the only ones who might accept your books for review, try columnists as well, especially if you write non-fiction.  If your book is about an adventurous bike tour in Jamaica, you can send your review submission to both, the travel section editor of a major newspaper or to the sport editor of this publication.

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Always Check Carefully Submission Rules!
Most media review sites want hard copies – Advance Review Copies (ARC’s) of the book at least 4 – 6 months prior to publication.  Other reviewers, especially top book bloggers take review books also after their release and more and more accept e-books.  Even if you have planned to publish an e-book, purchase 30-50 copies printed at a digital printer, at CreateSpace or use any of these Espresso-Publishing machines that you can find in major cities, but who will also deliver via mail or UPS to your place.  Having print copies is not only important for reviewers, but also handy for your book launch or book signings and to sell them to people who prefer print instead of e-books.
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You may start sending out your review submission to your local newspapers and even weekly papers and test the waters first before you head out to the nationals.  A review is serving your purpose as well as a feature article, mentioning your book.  There are a tons of books and lots of writers seeking reviews, however, there is only so much space / time in a reviewer’s calendar.  You may email a reviewer first to see if they have an interest in your book.   To capture interest and establish credibility an effective email pitch should answer these questions:

  • Why is this worth reading at this moment?
  • What’s the news hook? Why should people care?
  • Why am I the best one to write this piece?

Don’t give reviewers a reason to disqualify your book right away:

  • Mail or email your submission to their name.
  • If they want a press release, make sure you send one.
  • Don’t send galleys, if they want finished books.
  • Verify that they review your genre of book before you submit.
  • Follow their publication-date deadlines.

Make sure that you include all your contact info: name, mailing address, website address, phone number, and email address. Use http://about.me to create an appealing info site about yourself and include it in your contact info. Important: Don’t forget all the book information: price, ISBN number, number of pages, and genre.  Carefully pack your book in cushioned envelopes or boxes.  You want them to look professional and brand new when they arrive at the editor’s office.  Add a media kit, including your biography, high-resolution and professional (600 dpi) images, a book trailer link, a blurb and the synopsis of the book and contact information for you.

When Should You Send out Your Review Submission?January & February for spring and July & August for fall, because there will be less competition from major publishers. Don’t send it out to arrive at the office on a Monday, the busiest day.  Best arrival day for your submission is on a Thursday or Friday.

Follow Up:
Thank the editor for responding, even if they said “no.” A “No” can be the beginning of a conversation that can eventually lead to “yes.”  If you don’t hear back for two or three weeks, send a friendly follow-up email to the editor asking if your book is considered for review, mentioning your launch date.

It is not easy to get your book reviewed in these journals: however, it is possible. Librarians read reviews — at least those in Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.  Both are paid review sites, so are a couple other professional book reviewers, which are often used by Trade Publishers, and are open to independent authors as well (for a fee).

Here a couple of useful links to (mostly) reputable reviewers, many more in our upcoming book:

Los Angeles Reviews
Armchair Reviews
MacLeans Canada
ForeWord Reviews
Midwest Book Review
NY Times Reviews
Indie Reader
USA TODAY
South China Morning Post Intl
Dallas News
The National UAE
The Huffington Post
San Francisco Book Review
Library Journal

 

Paid Reviews:
Kirkus
Publishers Weekly

Most important: send a thank-you note / email to anyone who reviews your book.  They took a long time reading and reviewing your work – so you take five minutes and write them a thank-you!  If they reviewed your book, thank them not for showcasing you – but for giving space to the ideas and issues in your work.

If you want to become a beta reader / critic of our upcoming book (digital advanced reader copy – before the final edit) drop us a line via the contact-us form on top of this page. Thanks.

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