Sunday, April 11, 2010

Can First Time Writers Get Book Reviews? by Peter Stockwell

If you have written a book you may be wondering about endorsements and reviews. All books need both, but what are they and how do you get them?

Endorsements are the comments you see on the back cover of a book, saying how good it is and signed by a well known person. Reviews are articles in magazines, on Amazon or elsewhere giving the writer's opinion of your book.

Endorsements should be planned well in advance. Your publisher will want them in time for your cover and getting them can be a long process. First you must be realistic, President Obama or J.K. Rowling are not going to endorse a first novel by an unknown author.

Try to find somebody who is moderately well known in your field. If you write seafaring fiction Google 'seafaring fiction' or check it out on Amazon. If there is a writer whose work you admire you will need his mail or email address. A lot of authors have websites and these can be easily found. If not write to him at his publisher's address. If you write surface mail enclose a stamped address envelope. Tell him how much you enjoy his work, ask if he has the time to read your manuscript and to consider endorsing it.. Then wait.

Authors are busy people, with all the demands on their time it is amazing they are able to write anything at all. Your request is one more demand, so be patient. It is a good idea to write to several authors as you will get a lot of polite rejections. But with any luck you will get the one or two endorsements you need.

Reviews are easier. What seems easiest of all is to pay for them. But do not waste your money. There are websites offering paid reviews which seem most impressive and appear to give an excellent service. They will be happy to post your review on Amazon, in ezines and in magazines. The problem is that almost anybody can become a reviewer on paid sites. It does not help your book at all to have badly written reviews appearing in conspicuous places, sometimes identifiable as coming from a paid review site. There are those which offer to put reviews of your book on top article directories, where it will be read by a lot of people. Fine, but if the article writer's resource box links to his own book's website your book review is selling his book not yours. There are even websites offering to put a review of you book on YouTube. A very good idea if you do it yourself, but an uncomfortable amateur speaker reading from a badly written script will do your book more harm than good.

You need reviews, but get free ones. How do you do get them? Approach people on the Top Reviewers list on Amazon, some will agree to give you a review, some won't but their reviews are fair and respected. Contact literary ezines and magazines. Check out the quality of their reviews first, if the general standard is high your review will be worth having. Get as many reviews as you can. That way your book will become well known and one day you will be able use them on your author's website.

Peter Stockwell is the author of award winning children's book The Horse Painters.

1 comment:

John M. Wills said...

Good advice that translates into good marketing.