QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How To Score That Book Review

If you want people to read your books, you need the get the right individuals to review them. I don’t mean your friends and family. I’m referring to book blog reviewers. I recently interviewed Laura Carter of Bookish Treasures to gain insight on how to increase the odds that your book will be reviewed on a blog. While not everyone will buy your book based on these reviews alone, it will get them thinking about your book.

Laura, what are some of your pet peeves for when authors approach you to review their book?

When people start with “Dear Reviewer.” It may be a bit petty but I really don’t like that as it seems a little like they can’t be bothered to find out my name.

What increases the chance that you will agree to review a book on your blog?

First of all, it actually being a book that I would be interested in. I get quite a few review requests for books that are nothing like what I feature on my blog and sometimes even are genres that I specifically state I won’t review.

A little extra explanation helps too as sometimes the synopsis may not cover the aspects of the book that makes it the sort of thing I read.

[Remember, querying a book reviewer is much like querying an agent or editor. The same etiquette that is expected when querying an agent or editor applies to book reviewers.]

What advice would you give to authors whose book is reviewed on a blog? Is it okay to respond to a positive review, or is it better not to comment at all?

As a reviewer when I give a positive review I really like it when the author comments thanking me for the review, especially if they requested it. If you didn’t request the review I think most people wouldn’t have a problem with you commenting.

If you ever plan to comment on a negative review be very careful. I personally wouldn’t have any problem with an author saying something along the lines of “thank you for your honest thoughts.”

What is the scariest thing that has happened to you (or that you’ve heard happening  to another blogger) when you’ve turned down a request for a review or gave a negative review?

Luckily I have never had anything bad happen over turning down a review request but I remember not too long ago a reviewer replied to a review request with a link to her review policy which stated that she was closed to review. The author then replies with a link to some sort of website or discussion which was about ways to commit suicide. I can’t remember who this happened to but she did write a blog post which you can probably find if you care to search. You also often hear about authors who verbally attack people who gave them negative reviews and often get their fans to do the same. Luckily that has never happened to me so far.

What can a self-published author do to increase the odds of her book being reviewed?

Make sure your synopsis sounds amazing. The majority of reviewers only accept a small amount of requests they receive so the better you sell your book with the request the more likely you are to get acceptances. Make sure the reviewer knows why you think they will like your book, if you have researched the people you plan on sending requests to this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Some authors use PR companies that organize blog tours. How have you found it working with these groups?

As a blogger I love working with PR companies though I am not more likely to accept a request if it has come through a PR company. In fact it is harder to say no directly to the author so I am more likely to accept direct requests.

You’re also an administer for a Goodreads New Adult Book Club. Do authors approach you to be included or is it something you choose on your own (or a combination of both)?

We set up a discussion thread where people suggest the books that they want to read. We then create a poll that has all the books that were suggested (unless they aren't NA or have already been a group read) and the group members then vote on which books they want to read.

When we created the group we decided that would be the fairest way to do it :)

[I’ve heard of authors trying to spam in these groups and being kicked out. This is not the best way to promote your book. It’s a great way to damage your reputation.]

If you decide to approach book blogs for reviews, remember that you won’t be the only one. A lot of other authors will be doing the same, especially with the most popular blogs. This means the sooner you contact the reviewers the better. Don’t wait until the week before your book is released and hope the reviewer can fit you in.

Have you tried querying book bloggers for a review?

Laura is a university student from the UK who loves books and anything related to them. She loves to lose herself in great stories that stay with you long after you have finished the last page. Whilst her current obsession is New Adult, her tastes in books are varied and she believes great books can be found in any genre. When she is not reading or studying Laura can usually be found spreading her love of books through blogging, helping authors and managing the Goodreads New Adult book club.  Laura is currently looking forwards to finishing her degree when she will then hopefully manage to fight her way into a career in publishing.


Miranda Hardy said...

Great interview with a lot of good information and tips. Thank you very much!

Julie Musil said...

Great information! I never thought of it like querying an agent, but that makes sense. Thanks.

Katya W. Mills said...

Thank you