Friday, September 23, 2011

6 Common Myths About Book Reviews

by Dana Lynn Smith

Book reviews are a powerful promotional tool, but there are some misconceptions about how to obtain them. Here are some common myths about getting book reviews.

Myth #1 - Book reviews are just for new books.

It's true that book review journals read by librarians and booksellers review books at or soon after publication. It's best to focus your review efforts during the first year of a book's life, but some venues will review older books.

Myth #2 - No one will review a self-published book.

It is more challenging for self-published authors and small presses to get reviews in certain venues, but it's certainly not impossible. Self-published books are far more likely to be reviewed if they are produced to industry standards (well written, edited and designed). A number of book review websites welcome self-published books or even focus specifically on them, and there are several book journals like Midwest Book Review that are friendly to independent and small presses.

Myth #3 - Book reviews are just for books being sold to bookstores and libraries.

Trade journals like Publishers Weekly and Library Journal are designed to meet the needs of booksellers and librarians, so they focus on books that are available through major distributors and wholesalers at standard discounts. But there are plenty of other places to get book reviews, including book blogs, topical blogs, online bookstores, specialty publications, literary magazines, and reader networks.

Myth #4 - You can't get reviews for ebooks.

It takes some extra research to identify revenue venues that will review books that are available only in ebook format. Many reviewers accept only printed books, although that is slowly changing as the use of ebook readers becomes more widespread. There are several websites, such as Kindle Obsessed, that focus on ebooks.

Myth #5 - No one pays attention to the reviews in online bookstores.

I do believe that reviews (or lack of them) influence shoppers in online bookstores. In my book, How to Get Your Book Reviewed, I cite a study by the Yale School of Management that backs this up. With so many books to choose from, shoppers are often looking for some factor to help them decide between several books.

Having very few or no reviews on an Amazon sales page can give the impression that the book isn't very popular. Reviews can also give the shopper more insight into the book, beyond the product description.

Be sure to encourage customers and book reviewers to post their review or recommendation on Amazon.

Myth #6 – It's not worth the effort of pursing reviews.

Book reviews serve two basic purposes: they bring your book to the attention of people who might not have learned about it otherwise, and they help potential customers decide if your book is a good fit for them. The more reviews you have, and the more places those reviews appear, the greater your reach and your selling power.

All book marketing plans should include a strategy for maximizing the value of reviews, endorsements and testimonials.

To learn more about getting reviews for your book, see How to Get Your Book Reviewed, by Dana Lynn Smith, and follow the virtual book tour. Get more book marketing tips on The Savvy Book Marketer blog.
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4 comments:

Dana Lynn Smith said...

Yvonne, thanks so much for hosting me on the virtual book tour for How to Get Your Book Reviewed.

Yvonne Perry said...

Always a joy to assist you, Dana. Your books contain a wealth of useful information resulting from extensive research.

Word Crafter said...

Thanks for this post, it gives me renewed faith in book reviews - so many say its moot or a dead art...I think people read them and act because of them. Even a poor review is better than no review.
Thanks again.
Billie

Dee for Author D.I. Telbat said...

Hi Yvonne and Dana,

We've just begun our book review journey but what I've found so far, at least pertaining to ebooks (in the Christian fiction genre), is that people seem to be more open to reviewing them because they can put the PDF on the Kindle. That is a huge selling point for the Kindle! So I've been fortunate to find willing reviewers at the first two I've contacted because of that point. Times are a changin, thank goodness! Thank you for your insight as always, Dana.