A book review about book reviews? How very meta!
Full title: Book Review Secrets For Author Success: How to win great reviews to make your book shine by Barb Drozdowich.
As an indie author who’s been learning the industry for a few years now, one of the questions I most often see from folks who’ve just put their first book out is “How do I get reviews?” Well, if you’re lucky enough to be signed with one of the big publishers, they might do some of the work for you. Otherwise, dear rookie author, it’s all up to you, and Barb Drozdowich is here to guide you gently through the process.
First of all, what a lot of folks outside the industry don’t realize is that there are different types of reviews as well as different sources, and more places to share those reviews than you ever imagined. Drozdowich carefully explains the difference between professional or industry reviews, reader reviews, blogger reviews and others, and guides the rookie author to the right place to start looking for said reviews.
The most important chapter, in my opinion, is regarding author etiquette on dealing with negative reviews, and it’s covered pretty succinctly by the general advice; Don’t. DO NOT ENGAGE. Do not feed the trolls, if you think someone’s just being mean. And if they’ve got valid critique? Well, take that to heart and use it to become a better writer. Truth is, we’ve all got room for improvement, and nothing gets regular reviewers up in arms like an author on the attack. Trust me on this; there’s a new trashfire circulating every week on social media about an author who’s pulled an Anne Rice and attacked readers (google “interrogating the text from the wrong perspective” if you want to know why she’s synonymous with the practice). All I can say is, that behaviour only ever ends with the author doing it getting added to an awful lot of Do Not Read lists.
While Drozdowich does an excellent job of explaining what the different types of reviews are and how to get them, I do think the reference appendix falls a little short. There are plenty of professional trade review sites that don’t charge $200+ for reviews; Readers Favorite, Reading Alley are just a couple. She names sites which help you find reviewers and these stretch far beyond NetGalley too; BookSprout is a brilliant resource I highly recommend and a fraction the cost of NetGalley to get (for me) a far superior result.
I’m also a little surprised that the huge popularity of bookstagrammers and booktubers (Bloggers on, respectively, Instagram and YouTube) isn’t even mentioned, and there’s no advice for how to find and approach these incredible influencers. This is a fairly serious omission, and though it might be covered in one of her other books (there’s one about targeting bloggers) it would certainly make sense to at least discuss the topic in this one.
In the end, if you’re an author at the very start of your publishing journey wondering how to get reviews, this is a very handy resource. I’ll give it four stars, mainly because I think it’s lacking in the areas I mentioned above. If you’re a more experienced author? Well… you probably know most of it already. Just put it into practice. Oh, and join BookSprout. And no, I don’t get any kickback or anything from them. I just think they have a great service.
Book Review Secrets For Author Success is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.