Some helpful information on choosing reviewers by author, Jess Frankel. Thank you, Jess, for coming today to do a guest post. Check out Jess Frankel’s interview on Jemsbooks Blog here.
CHOOSING YOUR REVIEWER
It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You slave away on your novel, you pour your heart and soul into it, and then you use every single social site and then beg your friends to read and review it. Sound familiar? It should, as that’s what most writers do when they’re starting out. You have to get recognized first, and after you make it (i.e. become one of the elite) then the reviewers will come to you, but that’s jumping ahead.
Okay, so choosing your reviewer. Here are a few things I’ve learned. I’m no expert, so take what I say with a gram or a hundred tons of salt.
1. Choose the reviewer who reviews in your genre. You’d be surprised at how many people toss a book at a review site, only to be told “We don’t review erotic novels on YA sites”. Know your genre and then move accordingly. There are lists out there of who’s going to review what, and it doesn’t take very long to see who’s going to take a look at your novel. Outside of this very nice site hosted by Ms. Spina, here is a link to some of the better, IMHO, sites out there. http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/09/15/100-best-blogs-for-book-reviews/
2. Check to see what kind of criteria they use. Some are very strict with checking grammar, tense usage, formatting, et. al. and for my money, the stricter the better. You may not like people harping on every mistake, but in the long run, even though you’ll take your lumps, you’ll come out a better writer.
Some sites will pick at the slightest thing. I’ve had people mention a lack of an apostrophe–one!–in my novels, and while I could have blamed the publisher, that was on me. I should have checked. It’s a minor point, but it showed me that I had to be perfect. And yes, I still make punctuation mistakes…I’m a lot better now, though. grin emoticon
3. Be prepared to wait. Reviewers, contrary to popular opinion, do have lives and they live them accordingly. If it means waiting a couple of months, then you decide. If you have to wait up to six months. then while that’s up to you, I’d have to say no, as it isn’t worth the aggravation. So check and see, but whatever you do, do NOT browbeat them and say “You’ve had it for two weeks. Why aren’t you reading it?” My answer would be, “They’ve got a life!” So there it is.
4. If, having done all that and they agree to read it, take the criticism with grace. I’ve had my share of good to excellent reviews along with a couple of stinkers. I’ve never written back to writers of the stinky reviews and yelled at them–as some writers have done–for panning my book. So don’t do it. It diminishes you as a person and word will get around. So be gracious, punch your Bo-Bo doll at home, and keep going.
5. If you do happen to get a good review, thank the reviewer. A simple “I appreciate you taking the time to review my book” will suffice. That serves three purposes. One, it makes you look good. Two, it stays with the reviewer and they may be more receptive to reading your work in the future. Three, I feel it’s the right thing to do. They’ve given up their time to do you a favor, so you should take that into consideration. If you feel so inclined, give them a shout-out on a social site or three. Again, word will spread and that’s a good thing, in this case.
6. Paying for reviews. If you have the cash and you think Kirkus (which is considered the gold standard of review sites) is your match, then go ahead. Be warned, though. Paying X number of dollars does not guarantee a good review OR sales. For what it’s worth, go through the non-paying sites first. If you get a lot of good reviews and you have the cash, then it’s up to you.
There it is. Keep writing. Keep up the good words.
Thank you, Jess, for this informative guest post and for the kind comment about my blog. I am sure my readers will enjoy your post as much as I did.
Here are some of J.S. Frankel’s books:
Thank you readers for stopping by. If you would like to know more about Jess Frankel and his books, go to my interview of him here. I have two of Jess’s books (compliments of Jess) to read on my TBR list. As soon as I read them I will add my reviews to the end of his interview and repost it for all to see.
REMEMBER: Reading Gives You Wings to Fly!