The Saturday Series On Reviews # 4: Finding a Reviewer: Guest Post by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey
Last week we discussed genres and how different titles can be classified by genre, sub-genre and market classifications. While it is helpful to know your preferred genre (and that is something only you can decide), finding reviewers isn’t quite so straight-forward for readers OR authors.
Why would you want to find a reviewer?
For authors: getting your book into the hands of someone who both understands and likes the genre, and can write a review that will encourage others to read your book is a never-ending process. The good ones fill up their quotas for reviews quickly, you never really know what someone will write until it is complete, and pitching your title to reviewers is a constant trial and error.
For readers: finding a reviewer, or group of reviewers that you can look to make book buying simpler. If your thoughts on a story match, and their reviews stir your interest, you may have found someone who’s recommendations you can take to the book store.
I’m going to address a reader’s search for a reviewer, or reviewers to become their ‘go to’ list when contemplating a new read.
First: Read reviews for a book you liked.
This sounds simple: but it isn’t always. What you are looking for is to find a reviewer who’s style tells you what you want to know about the story (yes-you’ve read it – but what style fits most closely with your important bits to tell your friends about the book when you encourage them to read it).
Second: Go to that Reviewer’s page and read more of their reviews.
Look for books that you have read to start – those will give you an idea if the two of you have similar thought processes. Then, look for books that you may have on your “want to read list” and see if they have reviewed them. Do they tell you enough about the book to make a choice?
If you have someone that you like to this point – investigate further – look for their blog, see if you like their presentation: can you find things easily? Is there an “about” page where they discuss what they review? What about an explanation of their rating system? Does it make sense?
When you have answers that are more positive than negative, follow that blogger. Comment on a post, ask a question, participate in a drawing. You’d be surprised how interactive book chats can be on a blog. Ask about titles, search their archives, see what they choose as favorites, or what they are reading next. You don’t want to get into multiple sites a day – sign up for mailing lists or RSS feeds – you get the posts in a list – it’s up to you to read or not, and when.
What to Avoid?
I don’t use the star ratings to determine a book choice – I use the words. I want to read a review – not watch a never ending series of gif files with overly exaggerated exclamations and OMG SQUEE everywhere. I want examples of what was good, not so good and annoying to that reviewer about a specific book. I also want to have a sense that the reviewer understands that their opinion is no more right or wrong than the next persons: and that just because the MC name is their first ex-husband who turned out to be a total troll, their dislike of the MC who has that name just may be an issue that was exacerbated by their personal reaction to the name. I want a reviewer who is happy to read a book, even when it doesn’t meet all of their expectations, and while I hope to see information about grammatical and spelling or formatting errors, I also want to see that they took the time to tell readers about both sides, good and bad. They also must have read the book – a DNF (did not finish) is not a review – even with their own justifications for not completing a read.
Taking the time to explore and investigate will help reduce your pile of “why did I bother with THAT book” down significantly.
Finding a book reviewer is an entirely different prospect for an author…
Our journey to finding out new reviewers/bloggers within our genre—Romantic Suspense/Erotic Romance—is like a treasure hunt. Especially in a time where paranormal and erotica are the prevalent genres.Reviewers who lean toward Romantic Suspense with more explicit sexual content are buried jewels. However, not all is lost. We make use of a piece of advice that has helped us dig for those jewels.How? Simple.Leveraging Goodreads. Goodreads contains a wealth of information that can help in the search for Reviewers/Bloggers who are a good match for your novels.First and foremost you need to know your own genre, your own style, and second, you need to know other authors in the same genre. With that in hands, you can easily find those authors’ works and check their reviews for reviewers/bloggers who enjoyed that specific book.• Armed with your list of authors, search for them on Goodreads;
• Select one of their titles that most closely matches yours;
• Search the posted reviews for constructive ones. You might find those even in less positive reviews. Constructive negative reviews are important to help authors learn about their shortcomings in storytelling;
• When you locate a promising review, check the reviewer’s Goodreads profile for contact information;
• If the reader doesn’t have a blog, you can try sending a private inquiry to assess interest in reading your book. Be courteous. Never pushy;
• If indeed, the blogger does have a book blog, visit the site and look for his/her review policy. Learn more about the reviewer’s preferred genres. It might be that the preference is for other genres and that he/she had come across that one similar title by chance;
• If the preferred genres match your title, submit the book for review using their form or any specific format required.
Using the same process, you can expand your search to their tags, bookshelves, and friends. Mostly likely than not, reviewers in a genre tend to friend others with the same literary taste.The process is time consuming—expect to spend hours identifying suitable/potential reviewers—and bumpy as you jump from author to author and reviewer to reviewer, but the path forged during the hike can yield reviewers who may be better suited for your work.In the end, it becomes a win-win situation as your titles garner more attention from bloggers you hadn’t reached before and amass precious reviews.Sláinte!Chris & Cecilia
Next week: phrasing your personal prejudices, writing that review.