Saturday, 8 September 2012

What Lengths Would You Go To Get a Review? - Lynne Garner


Most writers realise reviews help sell books. Grief even the courses I teach via WOW have reviews attached to them (and before you ask they are real reviews written by real students). To demonstrate what I mean I pulled a few books from my shelf and discovered many had a review or two on the back cover:


The Writers' and Artists' Year Book (a little dated 2010)


The Writer's Handbook (again a little dated 2010)


The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler


The Penguin Guide to Punctuation


How to Write a Children's Picture Book Volume 1: Structure by Eve Heidi Bine-Stock

So what options do you as an author have for obtaining these reviews?

Well you could follow the route traditional publishers have used for decades by sending out review copies and keeping fingers crossed the book is reviewed. You could perhaps offer a give-away as I did via Amazon with my children's picture eBook 'Clever Rabbit.' My return for giving away 830 books was three likes and a single fairly positive review. So quite an expensive exercise!

You could pay for a review and there are plenty of companies that offer this service.  However I've researched some of the companies offering a reviewing service (BlueInk Review, Reader Review, Palmetto Review, Kirkus Reviews and Divine Grace - please note I'm not endorsing any of these services, they were used for research purposes only) and none of them state they will give you a good review. So it seems a little dumb to pay (these review services are expensive) for a review when you're not even sure you'll be happy with what they write.

You could rely on family and friends. But let's be honest they start with good intentions but still months down the line have still not put up that review for you. Perhaps as some writers have started to do you write your own reviews under a pseudonym and post on the web or even tweet positive things under several twitter accounts. 

So my question is what lengths would you go to get a review? 

Lynne Garner
Please visit my blog: Fuelled By Hot Chocolate

Unashamed plug for my writings eCourses that start 6th October 2012



9 comments:

Lee said...

None. Simply put, if it's not the NY Times or the Guardian, I'm not interested - and probably not even then.

CallyPhillips said...

Just to be a wee bitty pedantic but what you showed us are 'quotes' rather than reviews (yes,obviously they probably came from longer reviews)I just think it's important to point out because we seem to live in a world where the word 'review' is being misused and abused constantly. What a writer wants (surely?) is a critical appraisal of their work (hopefully positive) which, when published, is a review. And in my opinion it's worth nothing unless the person writing the review is honest, unbiased and has the epistemic authority to write such a review. But we live in a 'pay to play' world and its our choice whether we engage on that basis. Me. Never. Of course if someone wants to pay me for writing a review I'd write anyway... ha ha ha... no. I stick by my principles on that one. I don't like the way things work so I work a different way. That's the point of IEBR. Like it or not, at least it offers a transparent and honest alternative. Without a gold star in sight.

Blair B. Burke said...

I think asking for reviews is fine - simply encouraging people in general to give you feedback. And yes, some of them may be biased towards you to begin with. But just asking, and asking for honesty, seems only natural and right. It's money that changes the equation entirely.

julia jones said...

I was amazed when I saw Kirkus Reviews in your list. Had always seen them as US booktrade gold standard. A Kirkus star is a sought-after accolade. So I wonder - is it only Indie authors who have to pay for their reviewing services? Expensive too -

Lee said...

Cally, a critical appraisal is not the same thing as a review, and publishing the former doesn't transform it automatically into the latter. Have I misunderstood what you mean?

CallyPhillips said...

Lee - I expect so. Give me your definition of a 'review' and we'll see.

Lee said...

A review presupposes that the reader is unfamiliar with the book in question; a critical appraisal proceeds as though both reader and critic are familiar with the text.

CallyPhillips said...

I'm getting weary as this is the third time I've tried to get Blogger to accept this comment!

Lee - basically what you call a review is what I call a critical review (or appraisal) essentially in so far as no I don't expect the reader to have read the book. I expect there's all kinds of ways we can argue whether a review can/should be 'critical' but it all just highlights how if one's not using the same terms of reference then as Wittgenstein says 'language lets us down at every turn.' Now once more to try and prove I'm not a flipping robot!

Lee said...

Cally, then I haven't misunderstood you at all - just find your understanding of the difference between reviewing and criticism rather muddied - Wittengenstein indeed!