If you’re serious about self-publishing, you might want to think about getting your book reviewed.
Why get a review?
There are two good reasons to get a book review. First, you get the benefit of one or more pairs of eyes that can point out some ways you might want or need to improve your writing. Second, your reviewer can help spread the word about your book. And unless your work is really bad, there’s usually nothing wrong with some free publicity. But how do get those book reviewers?
First steps first
Before starting to search for reviewers, there are some things you’ll need.
- Electronic book—If you’re planning to publish your book electronically, you can supply a review with a Microsoft Word® document or a PDF. This should include any graphics you plan to use. You should also have a graphic of your proposed book cover, front and back. All graphics should be in JPG format or equivalent.
- Printed book—If you’re planning to print your book, you need to have a supply on hand to send to your list of reviewers. If you’re using a print-on-demand (PoD) publisher, that’s easy enough.
- Cover letter—This should be a short introduction of your book to the reviewer.
- Press release—This should be about a one-page description of your book, written as if it would appear in a publication (which it might).
- Biography—A clear and concise verbal picture of who you are, with a brief list of credentials and experience.
- Author photo (optional)—If this is not already included on your book cover, you might want to include a friendly-looking picture, so your reviewer has some idea of what you look like.
How to Find Reviewers
There are some reviewers who work for a fee, and there other who do it for free. The quality of the review is often independent of the price. But as with editors and book designers, you want to work with someone who’s a professional. Getting a review from Aunt Bessie is not the way to go. The internet has lots of resources you can check out. And don’t forget to ask a colleague. You can also offer to trade reviews with a fellow author.
- Select your reviewers—Start by finding out the types of books the reviewer typically reviews.
- “interview” your reviewers—What are their requirements? Find out if they mostly review eBooks or print books. It’s important to find a mission match.
- Send them your book—Ask what format your reviewer prefers. Then send them their choice. Ask them for an approximate date when you should hear back from them.
- Follow up with your reviewers—Many of these people are often busy and may not get to your book immediately upon receipt. If your expected response date passes, you should probably contact them for a progress report and a new review completion date. You might find out that they can no longer write a review, or don’t want to.
- Thank the reviewer—This is just common courtesy, but it shows that you appreciate the time and effort someone took to do the review and maybe help publicize it. Whether you paid the reviewer or not, it’s often a nice gesture to sent them gift card, to Starbucks for example, for a nominal amount.
Book reviews can be very effective for improving the quality of your work and for publicizing your book. As a form of marking, word-of-mouth can be very effective. Book reviews can help do that.
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