One piece of exciting news: I finally landed a request for review for _The Watchman of Ephraim_ by a professional reviewer! It's a big deal because it can be very difficult to get a professional review for your book.
Why is it important to get your book reviewed by a professional reviewer - in other words, not a review from a reader? Well, there's a few reasons - one is that most professional reviewers are respected by readers and have their own following. Another important reason is that professional reviewers will allow their reviews to be posted to bookselling sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can also use professional reviews on the inside of your dust covers.
Now, all of the above is very helpful if ... and this is a BIG IF ... if the review is favorable! Writers don't have control over reviews, so this writer must wait to receive the review to know if it will be favorable or not. Here's the thing - regardless of whether it's favorable - it WILL be published and while a good review can lead directly to more sales - a bad review can really hurt your chances of selling your book ... especially for new authors.
One last point ... some of you may have heard of 'paying' for a professional review. Yes, there are people/sites out there that in return for a fee, will publish a favorable review of your book. My advice: DON'T EVER PAY FOR A REVIEW ... EVER! First, people aren't dumb ... they WILL discover your deception (it only takes one smart person to discover it and post it on the net). Once its known that you paid for a review, your reputation as a publisher/author will be forever soiled ... perhaps even ruined. It's not worth it.
Yeah, I'm taking a chance having my book reviewed by a professional reviewer - by the way, her name is Fran Lewis and she's part of 'Book Pleasures,' a well-known and respected review website - but that risk is all part of the world of literary publishing. If you're not up to the stakes, you can never reap the rewards!
As to how I went about getting a professional review - it was one of the steps laid out by Dean Wesley Smith in his blog about self-publishing (click the link and go to Step 10). I put together a list of review sites and people. Then I sent each an email requesting a review. Just to let you know - I sent out to a dozen in January, as soon as the eBook version was published - a few things:
- Most reviewers will only review paper copies
- Most reviewers will not review new authors
As a result, I was turned down by 11 of the 12. All but a man named Norm Goldman, President of Book Pleasures turned me down. Norm responded by asking me for specific info. A good site to check out that will tell you a lot about how you should communicate with reviewers is here.
The key is to conduct yourself as the Publisher, not the author. Reviewers prefer to communicate with publishers - and its just more professional.
So, Norm requested info and said he would pass it onto his staff - I remit the info via email and voila .... nothing. I never heard back from him or his staff ... so I moved on - started writing my next book and figured I would give it another attempt in a few months.
Well, my social networking efforts paid off, when out of the blue a week ago, I received a request to link with Norm on LinkedIn! I get a lot of LinkedIn requests but I always look at each one and I remembered his name (and his photo). I immediately accepted his invitation to link and wrote him a message, recalling our emails from the month prior. Norm was a real gentleman! He asked for me to resend him the info and said he would make sure, this time, he would get it to his staff ... and within an HOUR I received the request from Fran Lewis ... how cool is that!
If you ever come across this blog Norm or Fran ... thank you both very much! Regardless of whether you give my book the thumbs up or down - I appreciate the opportunity to be reviewed!
As should all of you self-publishers! Make sure you contact professional reviewers. Do your diligence - look for them on the net (there's a ton of them), contact them - acting in your role of Publisher and make sure you have a print copy ready to be mailed (there are a few that will accept eBook versions but the majority don't).
(Please feel free to leave comments – your comments can be as helpful as anything I write for others. I hope this series turns out to be less my talking at you and more – a group of like-minded storytellers that self-publish or intend to. Peace & God Bless!)