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Mar 05

Review a Book and Feed an Author

Once you have written a book and have gone through all the proper editing steps as outlined in Building a Quality Book, it is time to publish and begin selling your masterpiece.  You are probably filled with excitement as the book officially goes on sale and can barely wait to count all your royalties as they hopefully begin to pour in.  Unfortunately, the story goes quite different then you had expected as the sales do not come despite all of your best efforts via Twitter and Facebook.  Social media is an extremely important set of tools, but it is not the initial catalyst that will get your book sales moving.  The book review will be the most powerful tool at your disposal to translate into sales.

Book reviews are extremely important for new authors as their names will be relatively if not completely unknown.  Reviews will often become the deciding factor for the average reader who has happened upon your book.  If there are plenty of positive reviews, it will make it much easier for the reader to buy your book.  The number of good reviews is important and there is never a worry of getting too many reviews.  If you only have a handful of reviews, this can be troublesome even if they are all five star and absolutely glowing.  The reason is that it is not hard to imagine a handful of reviews coming from friends and family which would be biased.  Once you have between fifteen and twenty reviews or even more, the friends and family scenario becomes less likely and the reader can get a more accurate view of your book.

It is easier to suggest that you get twenty reviews than it is to actually get them and I will not lie and say that it is going to be easy.  Getting reviews is a hard and daunting task that will make you crazy at times but will be worth it in the end.  One of the first things you need to consider is the book bloggers as they will often review your book for nothing more than the enjoyment of reading it.  They will be brutally honest and if you submit a draft or an unedited version in hopes of getting reviews in place for your launch, beware they will not be kind.  You also need to realize that they have a long waiting period as many books will already be ahead of you.  In most cases you can be looking at a four to six month wait.  On the bright side, once they review your book, they do have considerable followers who may be swayed by the book bloggers review to try out your book.

There are other ways to get reviews as you often want to get the sales sooner than waiting for the book bloggers to post reviews.  One idea is to trade reviews with fellow authors. Review trading can be effective though time consuming and I recommend you try this method at your own risk as you may or may not get favorable results.  To date, I have tried this three times  and only two returned the review while the third did not for whatever reason.   The other downside to this method is if you do not like the other author’s book and post a less than favorable review, they may retaliate with an unfair review of your book.

One of the best ways to get some fast reviews is by giving away your book for free.  I know, it is your masterpiece and you should get paid for it.  However, if you get your book into a lot of hands quickly, you will hopefully get a five percent return on your giveaway in the form of reviews.  Once you have the reviews, you can then sell your book for money again and the income lost on giving away books will be recuperated and then some.  You can also use giveaways and contests if you want a more controlled method for keeping track of the free readers.

In addition to the efforts mentioned above it is also a good idea to try whenever you can to educate readers about the importance of book reviews.  They may not realize that even a quick two sentence review can make a difference and help the author whose book they just enjoyed.  I often post to Twitter a little tweet about book reviewing in which I state that if you like a book, review it.  If you follow me on Twitter (@candacemountain) and see one of my book review tweets, you can help get the word out with a simple RT.  The title of this article is quite literally the truth, book reviews do indeed feed authors and many of us are hungry right now.

Normally I like to close out with a quick plug for my book but this time I am going to do something a little different.  I would like to offer my book for free to any of you reading this provided you are willing to throw up a review on Amazon after you have read it.  I can provide it in a .mobi format for the kindle or as a pdf.  If you are interested in this offer, please email me at candacem@gmail.com and I will email you a review copy right away.

Thank you for visiting and as always feel free to hit the comments below and feel free to link any related resources that have helped you with your quest for book reviews.

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12 comments

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  1. Liz

    Candace, can you list some book review sites or important book bloggers? Or is Amazon the only website that matters?

    1. camountain

      I found one a master list of reviewers that I like a lot. http://pippajay.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-reviewers-list.html

      1. Pippa Jay

        Thanks for the mention! :)

        1. camountain

          It’s a great list you put together Pippa :-)

          1. Pippa Jay

            Thanks, although equal credit has to go to Lauri J Owen who worked on the list with me.

  2. Michelle Gilstrap

    Would be willing to help you review anytime.

  3. J.L. Campbell

    Good article, Candace and good advice on working with book bloggers and giveaways, despite what might be a long wait.

    I’ve given away books on my blog, with the understanding that I expect a review in return. Haven’t seen one posted yet, but I’m hoping it’s because other people have long reading lists too.

    1. camountain

      These are great, thanks.

  4. LuKa (Lubna)

    There is such a lot of debate going on, on whether books should be given away for free, whether via an author’s blog, giveaways on other blogs, or giveaways through sites such as GoodReads etc.

    It is likely that some web-surfers may opt for a giveaway, because it is FREE. They may not review it, or worse still may pen a review without understanding the book (because the book did not fall in a genre they are comfortable with).

    If you are giving a book away against a request made (rather than as a giveaway where you have no control over who will win it), it is best to check past reviews by the person, his/her blog, membership on GoodReads, to name a few instances.

    I do review books falling into genres I am comfortable with. I do so because I love books. Yet a few authors who approach me at times do not go through the guidelines laid down on my blog. I think both authors and reviewers need to respect each other, only then will it be a win win situation.

    Your post set me thinking. Thanks for an interesting post.

  5. Bob Warren

    nice…Have a Fantastic Wednesday!

  6. Laura Sykes

    I review books as part of my blog – about 2 or 3 a month. These have mostly been sent to me by the publisher (I am on 3 publishers’ lists). I also asked someone I follow on Facebook for a copy to review in advance of publication – I worked off the ‘manuscript’ and he then sent me a copy after publication.

    As the author of several books, I know how excruciating it is to receive a bad review. I therefore decided early on only to give good reviews (in Amazon terms, 4/5 stars). I do not want to lie, obviously, so I am careful only to review books which I am pretty sure I am going to like. If, on reading it, I found I did not like the book, I would not review it at all. So far this has not happened.

    The books that I have written have been about places – but they were published before social media became the force that they are now so I cannot make any helpful suggestions. I have read your hints with interest, though, Candace. Thank-you!

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