We will be discussing this on Monday, December 8, 2014 at 8 pm CST. by Micki Peluso. This will be held at Chapter One.
The Purpose For and Consequences of Reviews
Book reviews definitely help sell books, but like books they must be seen to accomplish this. Tonight we’ll discuss different types of reviews, and reviewers; how they can help authors sell books reviews, and how reviewers can sell their own books as well.
You may be aware the reviewers aren’t allowed to accept money for reviews unless the author goes to a review site that pays their reviewers. I've never understood this since a well done review is a piece of art, follows a precise formula and requires a great deal of time in both writing and posting in various book sites like Amazon and Facebook, Twitter Goodreads, etc.
Non-professional reviews are more like customer/reader comments as on Amazon and needed by authors. They are usually more emotional — “I stayed up all night, laughing and crying over this book." Potential buyers are reached on an emotional level by this type of review.
The professional reviews vary. I was taught by the New York Journal of Books to never put “I" in a review, stay in present tense, give a summary of the book, opinions on the skill or lack of the author, add a hook regarding the ending, and sometimes cite other works by the author.
This type review is written in an essay- like form and reads like a professional piece of writing. It's essential to have this type for press releases, book signings and in all forms of marketing. Not all so-called review sites write good reviews. I recently read an appallingly bad By Midwest Review which has a good reputation. It wasn’t my book. J
One of the authors I reviewed regretted paying $400 for a Kirkus review when mine was much better and free. That made me feel better about not spending money on Kirkus for my own review.
I begin writing reviews because I was running out of money buying print books. When I put ‘Reviewer’ as one of my professions on Linked-In, it snowballed and for the past several years I've been so swamped with review requests that I can't get to my own second book.
The upside is that most people I review for end up buying my book and then reviewing it. About one third of my book sales come this way, and I feel it's an honor.
Lately I've read and heard of nasty tactics among reviewers, especially in Good reads, Shelfari, and Amazon. Reviewers (non-professionals) are sniping at each other by giving a bad review to any reviewer who gave them one. This is tacky. If you get a bad review, ignore it and move on. A review, like a bad movie, often draws people to read the book to see why it was so terrible.
The easiest way to write a review is to take notes as you read the book so you get names/places spelled right. At the end of the book the review is ready to edit and post. This does take some pleasure from reading.
Some reviewers won’t give more than three or four stars because “no book is perfect." I don't think a book needs to be perfect to get a high ranking if it was a good read and fairly well written. Amazon’s star rankings benefit Amazon more than the author. Writers with a ton of five stars usually sell no better than writers with less.