Let’s be honest. All book reviews are not created equal. Sure, you can ask all your friends to write reviews of your book and post them on Amazon, but in an online world sensitized to “fake news,” readers have learned to take consumer reviews with a grain (or grain elevator!) of salt. Similarly, booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals discount these immediately.
Professional reviews from trusted sources (mainstream newspapers and magazines, well-schooled bloggers, etc.) command credibility from the outset and can be used in ways consumer reviews cannot.
Here are 8 ways to maximize the impact of a professional review. Use it…:
1. On social media: Professional reviews are an invaluable source of content for social media. Posting your review on your Facebook page, for example, gives you another way to remind your friends that you have a book out there. You might say, “Just got a great book review from XXX. They praised my ‘keen sense of setting and character development’!”; then include a link to the full review. And while you’re at it, do the same on Twitter and other venues.
2. On your author website: The more professional reviews you post on your author website, the more readers will take your book seriously. Include a tab for “Book Reviews” at the top of the site and run excerpts or links to full reviews on that page.
3. On your book jacket. While many authors include excerpts from friends on the back of their books, this can backfire, as readers will know immediately that you likely couldn’t find anyone else to vouch for the book. Professional reviews carry far more weight here. Post excerpts from these reviews on the front or back of your book jacket.
4. On press releases and other marketing materials: All authors should send a press release with their books when querying bloggers, mainstream press, bookstores and librarians. This is a time-saver that allows industry insiders to learn about you and your book at a glance. A compelling excerpt from a review at the top of the press release is sure to be eye-catching. And if you have many glowing reviews, attach a separate page to the press release with a full list of tantalizing excerpts. Additionally, if you’re sending out postcards to announce booksignings or making bookmarks to promote your title, be sure to include an excerpt on these items, as well.
5. To get more reviews. One great review is terrific. Three are better. You’re much more likely to get positive attention from a review source if you already have a glowing review to send with the package. Use the first positive review as leverage when contacting other reviewers, as in: “My book just received a rave review from XXX, which called me ‘the modern generation’s Jack Kerouac.’ Can I send you a copy?”
6. In the Editorial section of Amazon and Barnes and Noble: Both sites have designated spots for professional reviews, in contrast to those written by consumers. Readers know immediately that they come from unbiased sources. If you don’t know how to do go about posting in these spots, scroll halfway down in this link for directions: https://www.blueinkreview.com/how-to-use-your-review/
7. To improve your work: If your review didn’t bring the results you’d hoped, it’s never a total loss. Set it aside and read it again once you’ve had time to absorb the disappointment. Try to consider the reviewer’s points as dispassionately as possible. The reviewer is an uber reader who knows the genre; his/her comments are sure to help you when you tackle a revise or start a new writing project.
8. To boost your confidence: Authors often tell us a positive review helped them gain confidence and feel validated – which is no small thing. Writing is, by nature, a solitary endeavor. It’s easy to let self-doubt worm its way into your daily thoughts. A positive review from a professional source can give you the confidence to submit your book to contests and to promote it elsewhere with all your heart.
BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. We offer serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Our reviews are penned by writers drawn largely from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine, a highly respected review publication that reaches 60,000 librarians.
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