Reviewer

Finding Mr. or Ms. Right for Your Books

Find-Readers

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Trader Joe’s might be spying on Whole Foods, BMW is test-driving Mercedes, Audi or Porsche cars, Chapters is checking out Barnes & Noble, and both are – for sure – now visiting all the latest Amazon bookstores…

What writers can learn from big (or small) business:  In order to find customers for your product, it is essential to study your competition.  Get lots of ideas how to find readers and reviewers:

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“Who is Your Audience and who is Your Competition?”  
These are essential questions that are not only very important for self-publishers – but also for authors who want to go with a traditional publisher!  You need to proof to the agent or the publisher that you have done your homework and that your book idea is a viable one.
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Know Who Are Your Potential Readers.
I know: the word research is not very popular with authors – but unfortunately many writers can relate the lack of success for their book to the lack of research before writing, publishing and marketing.

  • Who are the readers in your genre?
  • Where are they on Social Media?
  • Do you follow or invite them to follow you?
  • Who are the readers of your competition?
  • Who are the reviewers of your competition?
  • Which bloggers write about your books competition?
  • In which communities / forums can you find readers in your genre?
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Join Reader Communities.
There are thousands of reader communities on Goodreads, Google+ and other forums where you can meet your future readers. Know your audience BEFORE you write, rather than look for one after it’s done!
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Have a Tribe!
Engaged readers spread the word about your writing. To find engaged readers you have to reach out first: Following readers, reviewers, network, offer free writing examples, post single chapters on reader communities. Join writing / reading groups, and create excitement for your new books.
Your tribe is everyone who follows you on Social Media, on forums or reading / writing communities or subscribes to your blog or email list. It also consists of everyone who knows you, has heard of you, has purchased one of your books, wrote a review or even an author interview. Ask these people to tweet about your new book releases or offer them a free e-book “for the price of a tweet”.
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How Can You Research Your Competition?
Knowing your audience  is essential and it means understanding their age group, interests, educational status and economic class.  Monitoring tweets, Google+ and Facebook posts, blogs, and media mentions of other writers in your genre is an easy and cost-effective way to learn about the readers of your competitors – and in turn of your potential readers.
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Start With Keywords.
Make a long list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book.  Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Books, Waterstones etc. and study all the books, that could be akin to your future work.  Visit several public libraries to learn about your competition.  Borrow or purchase the most interesting ones, not only to read them, but also to study the book layout and design.  Read the online reviews of their books carefully!

  • Where are these books sold and for which price?
  • In which format are they offered: e-book, print, audio-book?
  • Who are the customers of these competing books?
  • Who reviewed these books and where (Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks etc.?)
  • How are these books received and which ones are bestselling?
  • Which categories did they choose, and which keywords?
  • In which categories / genres are these competitive books listed?
  • What cover designs have been chosen for these books?
  • How many books of this topic / with the same keywords have been published already?
  • Which author represent him / herself and their book the best – via their Amazon and Goodreads author page, and on their website or blog?.
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How to Find Your Competitor’s Readers.
Whether you want to admit it or not, you might have lots of writing competitors out there.  Devote some time and energy to research your competition and their followers.  Find out about their readers, book reviewers and social media followers on their platform, such as their online accounts or their website / blog.  Invite these followers and book reviewers to your own sites or to review your titles.
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Search Function Your Best Tool.
The tiny search function on every social media site is your best tool.  In order to know their reviewers, use online retailer’s sites, such as Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble etc. and certainly Goodreads, where you can see their fans and friends.  Follow these people too and invite them to your own platform.
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Learn About Your Competition – to Find Your Readers.
AdWords campaigns might also give you interesting insights into your competition.  And don’t forget to set up Google Alerts, not only for yourself, your own author name, but also for all of our competitors – in order to know what they are up to.  Other resources you can use to dig up information on your competitors: Alexa.comCompete.com, or KeywordSpy.com.
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Always Keep in Mind:
Social media is more than posting on your page and gaining followers, it’s about fostering relationships. Interact with your followers.  Respond to their comments, ask questions, answer questions!  Be a true friend, and you will gain followers and future readers.  Don’t forget:  You are in this for a long time if writing is really what you like best in life.  Get it right from the beginning!

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Why Readers (You) Should Write Reviews

Author-Reviews

Bestseller authors have the support of multinational publishing houses with billions in revenue behind them – and who have connections, and often pay for reviews. Writing reviews for independent authors means: helping individuals who have gone it all alone and need all the support they can get.

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In this article well-known Authors who are also book reviewers encourage readers and fellow writers to evaluate the books they are reading.  There are many reasons, here are just some of them:
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Bestselling Author Bil Howard 
The more important reasons for a writer to become a book reviewer has nothing to do with money making, but have an intrinsic value to them that are a long-term investment. Here are just a few of the many benefits for authors to become a book reviewer:

Feeding Your Passions.
As writers, we tend to develop our skills in only one or two genres. Essentially we have and must limit ourselves to our specific genres in order to compete well in the market. However, it is very likely that you love reading books of other genres and often not only desire, but need to remain linked to those books that fed your passion to become a writer in the first place.
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Helps avoid writer’s block.
Every writer has a different method for avoiding, preventing or overcoming writer’s block. The methods suggested are as numerous as there are authors, but two that often show up in nearly every author’s suggestions are inspiration and action. Inspiration can easily come from a well turned phrase or image that is gained from reading another book. The second, the action of writing out a review, often times, will get a writer’s mind flowing in the right direction and get them back on track.
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Making Friends With Other Authors.
I have reviewed several hundred books and have therefore exposed myself to the opportunity of friendship with several hundred other authors. That does not mean that they have all become my friends, but there are a few with whom there is a special connection. Something within their writing or within my review sparks a special relationship.
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Building Up Your Knowledge.
If you are wise, you will review books from which you might also learn new skills. In today’s world writers have also become business owners. By reviewing books that teach you the skills necessary to understand your role as a business owner, publisher, marketer and website manager, you can expand your knowledge and become a better informed business person. You might also review a book that happens to be a part of the research for your next novel; something that you were going to do anyway.
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Improve Your Writing Skills.
Sometimes our dialogue can seem forced and dull or a particular, non-cliché words or phrases elude us. Often times, when I am reading, I come across a well turned phrase or a particular way of describing something that captures my attention.  Just like I learned from the masters when I began reading the classics and studying their style, I often pick up contemporary tips and tricks from the books that I review and add them to my toolbox.
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Increase your library of ideas and characters.
Besides running across well turned phrases which become a part of my tools, I sometimes create an image in my mind that develops into a new book. In the past year alone, I have added at least a dozen novel ideas or character sketches that lend themselves to, at some point in the future, become novels or be incorporated into other novels. The author does not even have to be writing in your genre to foster an idea in your mind that can grow into something bigger.
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Bil Howard an indie publisher and novelist, a native of the small ranching community, Powderhorn, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he was raised on a cattle ranch. In 2013 he exchanged the Rockies for the Andes and took up residence in San Antonio de Prado, Colombia. He has a BA from West Texas A&M University.
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Author Marcia Meara
Leave a Review – It’s How You Thank an Author.  In fact, it’s the best way in the world to thank an author for his or her hard work. Not only does it make authors feel good, but it most definitely has an impact on the book’s ranking on Amazon, and where a plethora of good reviews can make a substantial difference in a book’s ranking and a writer’s pay check.

I’ve heard lots of opinions on exactly how much of a difference it might translate to, and I don’t claim to be an expert on Amazon’s system, but I can tell you from my own personal experience as a reader, I pay attention to reviews when I’m buying books there. I honestly believe that’s true of most readers. Here’s a query for you: When 90 out of 100 reviews rate one book at 4 or 5 stars, and 90 out of 100 reviews rate another book at 2 or 3 stars, which one are you more likely to spend your money on? Assuming that Book #2 is not a relative or personal friend? Yeah, I thought so. Me, too.

So, my word about reviews is that we should ALL remember to leave them, especially if we really enjoy a book. But I just realized that I have another word or two to say about reviews, as well. Specifically about negative reviews. I quit leaving those, period. Why? Several reasons.

No need for me to do so. Apparently many people would much rather leave negative reviews about books than positive ones. For sure, there are plenty of folks willing to do so, ad nauseum, and some actually seem to enjoy it. 

If I think a book is really bad, I don’t finish it. My reading hours are very precious to me, so I prefer to spend them reading books I’m enjoying, and I’m certainly not going to review a book I didn’t even finish.

I can read a book that’s flawed, and still enjoy it overall, if I care about the characters enough. That means, I might not be able to give the book 5 stars, but I can probably find enough positives to rate it at 4, or at the very worst 3/3.5 or so. I can GENTLY point out that there were some problems, but that because of certain other factors, it was easy to overlook them, and I enjoyed the story anyway. And I can emphasize the positive aspects. This approach makes ME feel a lot better, too.

One last thing I want to say about Reviews: LEAVE THEM, please! Oh. Did I say that already? 😉  Well, it bears repeating, because those reviews can make or break a book. Or an author’s heart. Read the whole article why you should leave reviews here.
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Book Reviewer Rosie Amber
In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

The best type of author wanting a review is one that has found my blog, spent a good time checking out the type of books we read, the style of reviews we write and actually getting involved with some of the posts via comments and sharing on social media. I hang out on Twitter a great deal.

Then when they have got a good feel for us I’m happy for them to make contact via the contact forms. There is a good set of instructions about the RIGHT way to go about it.”
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Book Blogger Bridget Whelan
Reviewers have probably never been so important. They have always been the lifeblood of an author’s career, but they are no longer the sole preserve of the ‘professional’, the paid contributor to a newspapers literary pages. A new kind of democracy has grown up with the internet where the amateur (aka the reader) can play an important role whether on Amazon’s pages or on their own blog.

I read reviews if I’m going to buy a new vacuum cleaner or a new book from an author I haven’t read before. I read the best reviews and the worst and very often they help me to make up my mind. But sometimes it will say more about the person who wrote it than it does about the product under focus. I don’t like gush. It’s easy to say a book is awesomely wonderful, and much harder to give a reason why it deserves such positive comments.
Words can also wound and sometimes it seems that the reviewer forgets that there is a real person behind the novel or work of art. 

I also read reviews of my own work. Of course, I do. Every. single. word. I don’t really believe writers or artists or musicians who say they don’t – well, I don’t suppose Mick Jagger bothers much anymore, but most people who create something want to know how others respond to it. It may hurt, but the only review worth having is an honest one.

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How to Get Reviews for Your Apple iBooks

Apple-iPhone

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Amazon is not the only digital book retailer where reviews are important.  If you are selling your ibooks on Apple, request reviews on this platform as well.  If you fail to get as many reviews on your iBooks products, you may be missing out on an opportunity to sell more copies there.
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How to Post an iBook Review:
Using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, you can rate and review in the iTunes Store or App Store.  Apple explains on their website:
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Review or rate via iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

  • Open the iTunes Store or App Store app.
  • If you’re not signed in, sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Find the item that you want to review, then tap Reviews.
  • Under iTunes Customer Reviews or App Store Customer Reviews, tap Write a Review.
  • If prompted, enter your password.
  • Select a star rating, enter a title, write your review, then tap “Send”.
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Review via iTunes:

  • Open iTunes
  • If you’re not signed in, sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Click iTunes Store.
  • Find the item that you want to review, then click Ratings and Reviews.
  • Under Customer Reviews, click Write a Review.
  • Enter a title, select a star rating, write your review, then click Submit.

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Get Apple’s iBooks Review Codes.
Authors selling directly through iBooks gain 250 promo review codes for each book once they have made a request. According to Apple, these codes can be distributed for reviews, media, and testing.  Once you’ve obtained the codes, you must provide them as quickly as possible because they expire within one month’s time.  By following Apple’s rules for review codes, your books will show up with higher ratings and they will have a much better chance of closing the sale.
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More Than 100 Million Potential Readers.
How many readers in North America alone carrying an iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad with them every day?  Well, I can only tell you the numbers from a year ago, according to CNET.com: An estimated total of 94 million iPhones were in use in the US at the end of March, 2015.  And in 2016 it might be well over 100 million in the USA alone.  Add Canada and the rest of the world… and add the owners of the iPod Touch, or an iPad.  Book lovers on all these gadgets can download the iBooks app and read and review books.  If you are not yet a supplier to iBooks, get detailed info in an article by MacWorld.
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iBook App
The iBooks app has the benefit of having been designed by Apple itself.  So it’s no surprise that iBooks sports a slick interface and features a built-in bookstore (free of Apple’s third-party app restrictions).  Fortunately, iBooks has other strengths, most notably including a scrolling view as an alternative to pagination, an automatic night mode that gets toggled depending on the ambient lighting, and the ability to actually copy excerpts from books for sharing or note-taking.
But unlike Kindle, iBooks has no built-in Web browser for opening links embedded in books and instead goes to Safari for that purpose.
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The team from Author Marketing Institute explains in five detailed steps how to obtain your 250 iBooks review codes:

  • Visit iTunes Connect through your Apple account.  You must have “legal level” access to obtain the codes, so it’s best to do this yourself as opposed to letting someone on your team find the codes for you.
  • Click the “My Books” tab and select the book you would like to get codes for.  Click “Promo Codes” and enter the number of codes you would like to download.  You can download up to 250 promotional codes at a time.
  • Click “Download” and make sure to read the Terms of Service agreement for the codes before you approve it.
  • After you go through the above steps, you will receive an email that contains a plain text document with the number of codes you requested.  The email will also include code redemption instructions that you can provide to each person that you send the codes.
  • You must include certain wording when you submit the codes to your readers, so make sure to read all the documents that come with your codes.
  • Send the individual codes to each of your readers and request a review by a few days before the code expiration date.  This will allow for any late reviewers to post it before the codes expire.

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Getting Reviewers on Board.
When self-publishing authors talk about book reviews, they almost solely mean Amazon.  Your true reader fans won’t mind taking a few extra seconds to post a modified version of their Amazon review on iBooks.  It’s just a matter of asking them.  You may feel as though you are inconveniencing your readers by asking them to do extra work for you, but it’s a necessary evil.

The readers who love your work want you to succeed. Getting more reviews on iBooks will do that.  It is a win-win situation, so it’s definitely in your best interest to go through the above process and get reviews on all your Apple books.

This is a short excerpt from our upcoming book: 111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews: Best Strategies for Getting a Boatload of Great Reviews
Pre-orders available soon – or become a beta reader to get it for free
Contact us here: http://SavvyBookWriters.com/blog/contact-us/

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How to Deal With Negative Book Reviews

Bad-Reviews

Many authors are a bit devastated when a negative review shows up on their books’ sales pages.  However, a book with lots of reviews has real legitimacy and gives readers and potential customers a range of perspectives, making them more likely to buy it.  So, trying to get lots of reviews is advisable.  But how do authors handle the inevitable bad ones?  And why might these unfavourable reviews – or often might not –  influence book buyers.  Last but not least: Why would anyone write a negative review?
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Remember: Bestsellers Get Bad Reviews too!
Just read the list of real bad reviews of now Classic Books in an article on Huffington Post.  
Digital Book World also listed snippets from negative Bestseller reviews:

It was one of the most boring and shallow books that I have ever read.” —review of the American classic The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Not nearly enough consistency and far to [sic] little plot.”—review of Harry Potter And the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

If I were you, I’d peruse it briefly at your neighborhood library before putting hard-earned money out.” —review of children’s classic A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Superficial, shallow, boring and inconsistent.This was easily the most overrated book of 2013.” —The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, a real Bestseller and Pulitzer Prize Winner.

I find myself saying to myself as I read it ‘bla bla bla’ as that is what the author seems to be saying.” —review of National Book Award Winner Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen.

Find more Bashing Reviews of Classic Books, that are bestsellers and award-winners.
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Funny, Negative Reviews:
Bestseller author Rayne Hall once blogged about negative, but funny reviews she received, some are really hilarious, for example This book is too long. I had to spend many hours reading it. I’m busy and have other things to do.”  Or: “The character of Queen Matilda is not believable”.  Sorry, but there’s no Queen Matilda in the book…
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But You Might Not be Amused…
After all, your book is your baby, and you don’t want it bashed.  Consider this: Are Book Reviews really THAT important?  In a poll 70% of book purchasers admitted to buy books after checking the reviews.  Surprisingly many did not pay too much attention to 5-star or 1-star reviews, rather more about the number of reviews and the average rating.  Many negative reviews are short and not talking much about the book, rather about the preferences of the reviewer.  And the bashing reviewers are often only showing their mean character, which makes it easy to ignore them altogether.
Don’t forget:  A 5-star review could be a good friend or family member and a 1-star someone from the competition, right?  So, what I am doing is to check the “history” of the reviewer.  How many books does he or she review. Just click on the reviewers name and go to their Amazon site to find out more.  Interesting also, if it was a “verified purchase” or if the reviewer states at least to have the book received in order to write a review.
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How a Review Should be Written.
Reviews on book review sites should be about the book under review. Other readers don’t need a diatribe on why a reviewer dislikes a particular genre. If you can’t judge a book based on the quality of the story in the pages, you have no business reviewing them. Why should anyone care how you “feel” about the book or the genre?  THE one and only important  judgement should be: Has the book fulfilled its purpose? Has it entertained, was the plot thrilling in a mystery, or had the protagonist a believable character?  In the case of a non-fiction book: Did I learn a lot of new things?  Did I receive lots of valuable information that I couldn’t get in a dozen of Google searches?  Was it filled with detailed instructions?

A review is not a synopsis of the book’s content.  A review should tell readers what the reviewer thought of the book from multiple perspectives, not to repeat the book blurb.  It doesn’t really interest others if you liked the book or not!  Take care to be impartial.  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. Read more detailed tips on How to Write Book Reviews in a former blog post.
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It Happens to EVERY Writer!
No matter if you won the Pulitzer Price, or if you teach English in high school classes, or how many books you have sold.  Negative book reviews, especially those that are potentially malicious, are near the top list of nightmare scenarios for every writer. You have been putting your heart and soul into pursuing your passion. So it is understandable when you would like to act first in the face of negativity and have regrets later. Please don’t!
A bad review is, of course, very uncomfortable to read. You can cry, have a few too many drinks, or get mad. Sometimes – or often – the review has nothing to do with the actual book or with you:

  • The reviewer regrets the purchase or someone make a negative remark about his / her taste.
  • The reviewer expected a different content – and hasn’t read the description, or clicked on the wrong book to order.
  • The reviewer thinks there is too much violence or sex in the content for her or his taste.
  • The reviewer could have a bad day, a very bad day even, and just overacts.
  • The reviewer could even be a competitor (or their friends).
  • Maybe the reviewer thumbed through the book and read only a few sentences.
  • The reviewer is jealous of your success, or is not able to write a decent book.

Quality reviews would describe the writing style, plot lines, and characterization and back up the positive or negative comments with specific examples.
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How to Deal with Negative Reviews?
Anyone who chooses a career in the arts, no matter if it is music, acting, painting, or writing, should accept that reviews, good, bad, and non-committal, are a part of the business. All artists have to deal with all kinds of reviews.  Writers tend to be quite emotional people, that’s what makes them good at what they do – being creative – but it also means that they are likely to take a bad review to heart.  The best way to deal with bad reviews is to ignore them.  If they really hurt, talk with your writer colleagues or friends about it. They can go to your books page and choose the “fair” reviews, and click on: Helpful.  Do I need to say more? Consumers are smart enough to sniff out and ignore a negative review in a sea of positive ones.
Lev Raphael wrote in the Huffington Post: “I’ve published almost two dozen books and I now read as few of my reviews as possible. Why? Because I’ve learned more about my work from other authors through their books, conversations, or lectures than I have from any reviewers, and I don’t look to reviews for education or approbation. I hope they’ll help with publicity, but I’ve seen people get raves in the New York Times without any impact on sales.  We authors shouldn’t let our self-esteem be held hostage by reviewers, and we should try not to over-estimate their importance or expect them to stroke our egos.  As for bad reviews? Ignore them along with the good ones, and keep writing.”
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Never Contact a Reviewer!
There’s no point in doing so. Everyone has an opinion, and all opinions are valid to the person who has them.  Never respond to bad reviews on any forum or blog, because you will never win the argument.  Life is too short to worry about what anyone thinks of your work.  You shouldn’t be reading your reviews at all!
A review is nothing personal – It’s business.  Your book, written with the labor of love and handled like your baby, is still a book, a product.  You are an entrepreneur.  You’re in the business of writing to make money.  It’s a business of skills like most other businesses.  Never forget that no matter how much one reviewer hates your book – others will love it.
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Just Work on More Reviews.
Hopefully you worked hard on getting lots of reviews, so that few bad ones diminish in a sea of brilliant reviews. If you can afford it, try to get as many professional reviews as possible, such as Midwest Reviews, Armchair Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, Kirkus Reviews etc.  They are trained and know how to write a fair and professional review.  Any review, good or bad, is better than no review.  Readers who like the genre you write in will give you a better quality review, whether it’s a good review or a so-so review.  Join as many reader communities as possible, in order to meet people who like you genre, post short stories or single chapters there and make lots of friends who might review your next books. Join Wattpad, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari etc..   And contribute to the good karma and write lots of reviews about the books YOU are reading : )

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Sending a book, either traditionally published or self-published, out to the world puts an author in a vulnerable position. But as Stephen King once famously wrote: “You can’t please all of the readers all of the time; you can’t please even some of the readers all of the time, but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.”

In Conclusion:
Reviewers are often expected to predict a novel’s future, which is impossible to fulfill with complete accuracy.  One reason why the art of the negative review has been called into question: Self-Published Writers need our support, and there’s also often a dissonance between critical reception and, say, some of Goodreads’ crowd-sourced opinions.  The Goldfinch is just one example of a title that failed to garner the support of top reviewers, but charmed book lovers, as well as the 2014 Pulitzer judges.

Want to Read More About Negative Reviews – And How to React?

Got a 1-Star Review? What Can You Do?

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/got-a-1-star-review-what-can-you-do/


How to Deal With Negative Book Reviews?

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews-2/

More About How to Get Professional Reviews

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/prestigious-reviews-and-how-to-get-them/

Huffington Post Collection of Articles Regarding Bad Reviews

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/bad-book-reviews/


Funny Review Article by Rayne Hall

http://venturegalleries.com/blog/have-you-ever-received-any-negative-reviews-that-were-really-funny-most-authors-have/

 

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10 Tips on How to Pitch Book Reviewers

Book-Review

Getting reviews is a bit like “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” question. It’s harder to get people to buy your book if you don’t have reviews, but it’s hard to get reviews if people don’t buy and read your book.  Besides asking your readers for reviews – in person or in your last pages of the book – the second-best method is to follow book bloggers and reviewers and approach them eventually.
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However, there are a couple of rules how to proceed
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1. Follow the reviewers blog, as well as their Social Media sites.
2. Read at least a dozen of their reviews.
3. Double-check that they prefer the genre you are writing in.
4. Read carefully their submission guidelines – and follow to the point.
5. Only when you are “friends” for a while – at least online – query them for a review.
6. Submit the book exactly in the format the reviewer asks.
7. Wait. Wait. And wait some more… and if you are lucky your book will be reviewed in a couple of weeks / months.
8. Once the review appears on the website, and/or Amazon and Goodreads: email or post a thank-you note.
9. Link to the reviewers page when you post a snippet of the review.
10. If the reviewer is an author as well, promote his/her books too.
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Writer Beware of these Mistakes:
Scrolling through blog posts of reviewers and book bloggers, I am randomly citing some statements from some frustrated folks:

“What I hear most from top reviewers is that indie authors do NOT approach them with courtesy, or consideration for the types of books each reviewer prefers.  The sad fact is many new indie authors do NOT take the time to read reviewer instructions, and also often believe reviews sell books, so they keep searching for more reviews and do NOT promote their books.  Reviews are static unless they are read and they only get read when a book is in front of an audience–via promotion.”
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“I still get people asking me to review material I clearly do not read.  In my case, I spotlight romance and mystery, with some images that are explicit or graphic and the text is usually for adults only, but I receive countless request to review children’s books or middle grade.  I have a profile on Amazon and Goodreads, and my blog that clearly states what genres I will review.  Does anyone ever bother the look at my profile?”
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“If you want me to seriously consider your book, please spend the time to find out my name, and do not address your email vaguely “to whom it may concern” or such – I will immediately delete it.”
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“And please do not send me a bunch of links to look at – if you want me to spend a few hours reading your book and then spend another hour reviewing your book on various sites, please invest five minutes telling me about your book.  Again, if you just send me a bunch of vague links, I will delete your email without a reply.  It has come to this point, because I’m sick of vague, mass produced emails.  I don’t get paid for reviewing books.  Yes, I love to read and write reviews, but I do this for fun.”
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“Some authors take offence if their books don’t get a four or a five star review.  A three star rating is nothing to be ashamed of.  How many stars should be given to Stephen King, Harper Lee or J.K. Rowling?  Did you really just write a novel that comes anywhere close to their books?  When you write a novel of that caliber, you have earned a five star review.
You should be concerned with one and two star ratings, if the reviews mention plot failures, grammar, punctuation and faulty formatting.  Yes, some reviewers are cruel and take things too far sometimes.  But they embarrass themselves, not your book.  Readers who compare reviews will identify mean-spirited reviews.  And yes, authors need elephant hide to survive out there.  Most reviewers don’t want to make you mad or hurt your feelings.”
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Tips for “Advanced” Book Reviews:
Reviewers and book critiques from magazines and Newspapers can be important for multi-book authors when it comes to getting the word out about your work. Your novel might be the next great American classic, but if no one reviews it then … Literary critics, both offline and on, already have your prospective audience’s attention, so what can you do to guarantee that they focus it on your book? Well, unfortunately, the short answer is that you can’t. There’s no way of ensuring that a critic reviews your book. However, with just a little research, you can avoid making rookie mistakes that keep some books from even being considered for review.
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What are Rookie Mistakes when Offering a Book for Review?
Some major Magazine Book Critics gave almost identical advice for Advance Review Copies and how to pitch them:

  • Research what kinds of books the editor personally reviews for the magazine.  Don’t send your 18th novel to an editor of nonfiction or scientific books.
  • Use e-mail only.  Never call.  Never write through the PO.  Do not include gifts.
  • Make sure your press kit tells us exactly when the book will be released.  To review a book, I have to schedule it.
  • What is the subject, in just a couple of sentences?
  • What are the author’s qualifications and previous books?  You can include much more information below that, but try to get our attention with the brief summary first.
  • Send a galley or ARC (Advance Review Copy) at least! three months before publication, with a one-page pub letter (consisting of the title, the author, the pub date, plot summary, any blurbs, and a paragraph telling me who the hell the author is).
  • Shoot a single (1) e-mail, a month before publication, reminding me that the book is coming out and why I should care.  Three: a finished book, also a month before publication.
  • Just an envelope or bubble mailer will do the job.  Don’t send a parcel.

More tips on getting book reviews – lots of reviews – will be explained in detail, peppered with hundreds of book reviewer contacts, in our upcoming book: 111 Tips on How to Get Book Reviews. It will be launched in late Spring.
If you are subscribed to our monthly newsletter, you will receive a handful of book reviewer contacts in each of these newsletters.

In the meantime, contribute to the good karma, and write lots of reviews about the books YOU are reading : )
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/most-important-guidelines-to-write-book-reviews/

How you can place your reviews on Amazon sites around the world can be found in this former blog post:
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/amazon-book-reviews-worldwide/

 

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Matchmaker for Early Book Reviews

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LibraryThing.

LibraryThing is full of great conversations about books with groups talking about every little sub-genre, every aspect of books and reading, and lots of other stuff too. It’s a site for READERS.

LibraryThing is a website that allows people to catalog their personal libraries, discover new books and connect with others who share their tastes.  It is an open, collaborative project.  The best reason to join for AUTHORS is to have an e-Book or print book giveaway with high possibilities for REVIEWS.  The great benefit of LibraryThing is that you can even have your e-books as giveaways – and that you can use the reviews you might get for promotional purposes. 

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A section of the site is called Member Giveaways – which are an informal way for members to give away copies of books to other members. Authors can use this to give away copies of their books in the hopes of getting a review. You upload the cover of your book, add the blurb, as well as a line saying something like “reviews are not compulsory, but would be greatly appreciated”.

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While at Goodreads (an Amazon company) you have to buy – in advance – one- hundred eBooks to offer them all for giveaway prices, at LibraryThing you can choose the amount. It might be as small as only one eBook. And you send it out to the lucky winner at the end of the contest.

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LibraryThing Advises:
“You must indicate how many books you are giving away, and what the time limit is for members to sign up (one week is the minimum).  Once the allotted period is up, you will be emailed a list of the “winners”, and it’s then up to you to send out the copy of the book.”

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As a new member, explore the site first and build up your library before you consider doing a giveaway – you will receive a much better response.

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Questions and Answers About Book Giveaways
What is “LibraryThing Early Reviewers”?
“LibraryThing Early Reviewers helps publishers distribute advance copies of books to interested readers. The publisher provides books, LibraryThing members sign-up to request them, and then we match up books with members based on the rest of their LibraryThing catalog. Books find their way to readers who are likely to enjoy them! LibraryThing members get books, publishers get reviews—LibraryThing plays matchmaker.”

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How does it work?
“You supply LibraryThing with a list of the titles that you’ll be offering to the Early Reviewers. We announce the titles (in monthly batches), and LibraryThing members sign up for whichever books they’re interested in. We use an algorithm to find the members most likely to enjoy and create buzz for your titles. We send a list of the winning members and their addresses to you. You send out the books. Early Reviewers read the books, and then post reviews to LibraryThing. They are encouraged to also cross-post to their blog, etc.”

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What does the publisher (You) get out of it?
“You get a community of readers, creating early buzz about your book and giving you insight into how it will be received. The publisher and author are granted perpetual non-exclusive permission to use the reviews.”

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What formats of books can I offer through Early Reviewers?
“We are happy to list paper copies, ebooks, and audiobooks. If you are offering an ebook, you must specify the file type (epub, Mobi, PDF, etc.) in the description.”

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How many books do I have to provide?
“We ask for at least fifteen copies of each title, and welcome more than that! We encourage both diversity and quantity.”

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How far in advance of the release date should I offer my titles?
“That’s up to you—whenever you want the buzz to start. Early Reviewers is completely free. We reserve the right to charge for this service in the future.”

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Who ships the books or emails a PDF version?
“The publisher is responsible for shipping. LibraryThing provides a list of names and addresses.”

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How do you pick which LibraryThing members do receive a book?

“We use an algorithm to calculate winners, which is based on a number of factors, for example the contents and organization of the reviewer’s LibraryThing account. How many books the reviewer has received from LTER in the past, and whether they’ve reviewed them. Factors that suggest someone likely to review a book, and talk about it widely, on LibraryThing and elsewhere.”

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Do the books I provide need to be pre-publication?
“In general, we prefer books that have not yet been published. Publishers who don’t produce advance reader copies, or publishers with less “release-driven” titles should email loranne@librarything.com to discuss when to offer books.”

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Can authors offer review copies to LibraryThing members outside of North America?
“Absolutely. Most publishers that we’re currently working with offer books to residents of the United States and Canada—we’d love to open it up to members around the world and are eager to work with publishers to make this happen.”

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I’m an author, can I offer up my books for Early Reviewers?
“We only accept Early Reviewer books directly from trade publishers. If your publisher isn’t participating in Early Reviewers, then you can offer your books up for review yourself! Use our Member Giveaway Program.”

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What about self-published authors and vanity presses?
“Self-published books and books from vanity presses are encouraged to use our Member Giveaway Program, which is similar to but separate from Early Reviewers.”

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What Else Can You Find on LibraryThing?

  • List of current titles on offer.
  • Frequently asked questions about Early Reviewers.
  • Read LibraryThing blog posts tagged “Early Reviewers”.
  • Check out the Early Reviewer discussion group.
  • Find out about other ways publishers can use LibraryThing.

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Join Almost 2 Million Readers on LibraryThing and Start Your e-Book Giveaways

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6 Reasons for Making a Long-term Investment as a Book Reviewer

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Antique-Library
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Earning cash through writing book reviews is not really the primary reason for becoming a book reviewer. The more important reasons for a writer to become a book reviewer have nothing to do with money making, but have an intrinsic value to them that are a long-term investment.  Allow me to share six reasons for becoming a book reviewer.
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Feeding Your Passions.
As writers, we tend to develop our skills in only one or two genres. Essentially we have and must limit ourselves to our specific genres in order to compete well in the market. However, it is very likely that you love reading books of other genres and often not only desire, but need to remain linked to those books that fed your passion to become a writer in the first place.
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Making Friends With Other Authors.
I have reviewed several hundred books and have therefore exposed myself to the opportunity of friendship with several hundred other authors. That does not mean that they have all become my friends, but there are a few with whom there is a special connection. Something within their writing or within my review sparks a special relationship. The special relationships that you develop with people who suffer through the same maladies that you do, will serve you well as you continue to face the ups and downs of your career.
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Building Up Your Knowledge.
If you are wise, you will review books from which you might also learn new skills. In today’s world writers have also become business owners. By reviewing books that teach you the skills necessary to understand your role as a business owner, publisher, marketer and web site manager, you can expand your knowledge and become a better informed businessperson. You might also review a book that happens to be a part of the research for your next novel; something that you were going to do anyway.
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Improve Your Writing Skills.
Sometimes our dialogue can seem forced and dull or a particular, non-cliché words or phrases elude us. Often times, when I am reading, I come across a well turned phrase or a particular way of describing something that captures my attention. Just like I learned from the masters when I began reading the classics and studying their style, I often pick up contemporary tips and tricks from the books that I review and add them to my toolbox.
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Increase your library of ideas and characters. Besides running across well turned phrases which become a part of my tools, I sometimes create an image in my mind that develops into a new book. In the past year alone, I have added at least a dozen novel ideas or character sketches that lend themselves to, at some point in the future, become novels or be incorporated into other novels. The author does not even have to be writing in your genre to foster an idea in your mind that can grow into something bigger. If you take notes, you will find plenty of ideas to boost your collection.
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Helps avoid writer’s block.
Every writer has a different method for avoiding, preventing or overcoming writer’s block. The methods suggested are as numerous as there are authors, but two that often show up in nearly every author’s suggestions are inspiration and action. Inspiration can easily come from a well turned phrase or image that is gained from reading another book. The second, the action of writing out a review, often times, will get a writer’s mind flowing in the right direction and get them back on track.
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Bil Howard is an indie publisher and novelist whose works include: “The Wolf of the Highlands”,  “Zipaquirá” and “Rionegro”. Bil is also the author of a blog, which discusses reading, literacy and language development.  Bil lives in a small town near Medellin, Colombia where he teaches English, writes and reviews books.  Enjoy his blog or visit his website at Bil-Howard.net.
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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars   Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
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Tagged: Bil Howard, book reviews, get new story ideas, how to get book reviews, increase your writing skills, Reviewer


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