A Quick Guide to Book Reviews
The content in this blog article was written and provided by Chanticleer Book Reviews.
Book reviews are tools every author can use – wisely!
Types of Book Reviews
Generally speaking, there are four types of reviews you will encounter. Here they are:
- Trade/Editorial Reviews – These reviews are written by professionals in the publishing industry – quality matters here.
- Peer Reviews – Done by other authors or professional peers
- Manuscript Overviews – The professional writer’s first step in the editing process.
- Consumer Reviews – These are written by readers – quantity is what counts here search engine operations and algorithms.
Each type of review serves a specific purpose – and each type resonates with different book buyers and services a different purpose.
Editorial Reviews aka Professional Trade Reviews provide useful information for publishing professionals for preparing for book launches.
Post Launch: Traditional Publishers and Book Publicists also know that editorial reviews set the tone for consumer reviews.
Publishing Professionals know that editorial reviews give readers (and consumers) the language and terms to discuss books, thereby, making it easier for readers and fans to write reviews. Because more reviews generate more book buzz and trust me, book buzz is what you want, you will want to make it extremely easy for readers (aka book consumers) to leave a review.
Make sure that blurbs of your book’s editorial reviews are listed in the Editorial Reviews section of your book’s Amazon page. Blurbs from Editorial Reviews are also handy to have when uploading your book’s information in the ISBN forms and in the information upload page of your book on digital platforms. Review blurbs also help Indie bookstores to determine if your book would sell in their stores.
Peer reviews have run into some problems lately. While it’s tempting to trade review for review with your author friends, be careful where you post them. Some large retailers have caught onto the review-for-review and have subsequently pulled reviews they suspect come from other authors. I’m not saying you shouldn’t review your friends’ books – you should! In fact, you need to be fostering those relationships with other authors. But don’t be surprised if your reviews are pulled from the giant’s webpage. So, when you seek reviews, don’t just seek peer reviews only. Go for a mix!
And remember to get peer reviews, you must give peer reviews. Make it part of your marketing checklist to read your peer writers’ books and then review them. Remember the reviews do not have to be long — 25 -to- 50 words for a consumer review will work and will be just as effective as a 250 -to- 500-word review. Quantity is what counts here.
One hundred consumer reviews are what we hear it takes to get on Amazon’s radar for SEO and algorithms.
A final word of advice regarding consumer reviews: If you do receive an unfavorable review or even a scathing review (it happens to even the most successful authors), do not react or respond especially if they fall into the “troll” category. Never interact with a “troll” — just don’t. No good will come from it. As hard as it may be to do, focus on the positive reviews. If writing craft issues (changing POV, grammatical errors, typos, etc..) are mentioned in the review, address the issues and correct them. In today’s digital world, there is no reason not to.
Manuscript Overviews is dollar for dollar, one of the best writing tools you can utilize. Traditionally published authors receive great editing and feedback from agents and senior editors on early drafts, a benefit that most self-publishing authors never receive. When feedback comes early in a work’s progress it allows the author to not only create a more polished final product but also publish more works and build their backlist.
When working with an agent or publishers, the author works on a rough draft – the early drafts of a novel. He creates the theme, the characters, the setting, the tone, the story, the plot lines, the dialog style, and selects the genre and has an audience in mind (YA or mystery fans, fantasy or Science Fiction readers, etc.). After the author creates the story with a beginning, middle, and end, she then sends this early unedited draft of the story to his editor or agent to read and to get feedback.
Consumer Reviews are awesome. Don’t we all like to hear what total strangers think of our work? I mean, cringe-worthy as these types of reviews can be, they are important. How do you get them? That’s an interesting question. My statistics show that for every 100 queries you send out to review your book, you may get 8-10 actual reviews in return. I’m talking about sending your books out to bloggers, reviewers and the like. But those reviews do drive the Average-Joe reviews. The more you get of one, the likely you will increase the other. This is where your mailing list comes in handy – a topic for another blog… sorry.
Now that we’ve got the four types of reviews covered, what do you do with a review once you have it?
After getting your reviews, make sure you are using them effectively. By that, I mean, use them everywhere! Post them on your websites and your book covers. Splatter them all over your social media! Share them with your friends – use snippets of them in your marketing collateral. Use them as a way to introduce your book to your local libraries and brick and mortar stores.
Let’s break it down.
Online retailers (Amazon, Kobo, Apple) have specific places for you to insert editorial review blurbs. Many brick-and-mortar stores will place shelf-talkers with trade review excerpts near your displayed books.
Have a REVIEWS page on your website where you place quotes – or entire reviews. Insert links to the original reviews and always give attribution!
The book cover is the place for trade/editorial and peer review blurbs. (It’s a cover – don’t cram an entire review on there!) Choose the top or bottom of your front cover to place awards, book stickers – some piece of information that draws the book reader to your book. Put the review blurbs on the back cover or if you have a lot of meaningful blurbs, you can use the first couple of pages of your book to place these. Again, don’t overwhelm the reader with the entire review. Be selective. It will pay off.