Walk a Mile in a Book Reviewer’s Shoes

by | Sep 14, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics, Social Media for Authors

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Guest post by Dana Lynn Smith:

Book reviews are a powerful way to introduce your book to potential customers and persuade them to buy, but your book is just one of many competing for the attention of book reviewers.

As you plan your book review strategy, it’s helpful to look at the review process from the reviewer’s point of view. Here are some things to consider:

  • Book review journals and other major media receive thousands of books a year and can only review a small percentage of them. The daunting task of opening, sorting and disposing of this huge volume of books is often assigned to interns. Your beautifully designed press kit might never be seen by the editor or reviewer, so be sure to tuck a well-written press release inside the book.
  • Reviewers receive many books that are not appropriate for the website or publication, have not been submitted in accordance with their review policies, or are not professionally produced. It’s frustrating for the reviewers to have to deal with these books-they consume both time and space. Be sure to read and follow the reviewer’s guidelines before submitting.
  • Newspapers and magazines are shrinking due to competition from online media and lower ad revenue, and many have dropped their book review sections. Find a way to make your book relevant to the publication, and also look for coverage beyond the book review section.
  • People who maintain book review blogs not only devote a considerable amount of time to reading and reviewing books, they also must create and maintain a website, post content to the site, and pay all of the associated expenses. Be gracious and considerate of book bloggers and their time. Ask how you can be of service. Consider offering an author interview, a guest post, or a book to give away on the site.
  • Book reviewers are avid readers, but many of them receive no compensation other than a copy of the book. Consider your book a gift to the reviewer, to be used as they see fit, and resist the temptation to deface the book or mark it as a review copy.
  • Your potential reviewers are most likely very busy people. Remember that you are asking for a favor and do everything that you can to make it easy for the reviewer to help you.

With good planning and a little empathy, you can get an edge over the numerous other books competing for limited review space.

Excerpted from How to Get Your Book Reviewed, by Dana Lynn Smith. To learn more about book reviews, follow the virtual book tour for How to Get Your Book Reviewed. Get more book marketing tips on The Savvy Book Marketer blog.

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  1. Dana Lynn Smith

    Paula and Penny, thanks for sharing my article today. I hope it gives authors some insight into working with reviewers and I invite authors to follow the rest of my book tour using the link above. I wish everyone much success with their books!

  2. Paula

    Dana – Thank you for writing this post! We’re already getting some great feedback on it 🙂

  3. Rick Fess

    Hi. Loved the article, and I don’t feel so bad now knowing that other reviewers don’t get paid, either! I have been reviewing books on spirituality for over a year now, and currently writing my own spiritual fiction book. I will be looking for reviewers to review it, and I appreciate your tips. Thanks!

    • Paula


      We’re so glad the tips are helpful, and best of luck with your book!

  4. Dee for D.I. Telbat

    Paula and Penny,

    Thanks for hosting Dana’s article today. It’s a good reminder of what’s happening on the “other side” of things. Sometimes we forget that there’s more going on in our world than marketing our own books! Dana made some good suggestions. I will remember her tip about tucking in a well-written press release. Good idea!

    • Paula

      Thanks Dee! We were happy to be part of Dana’s blog tour and knew she would share some great information with our readers.

  5. Dana Lynn Smith

    Rick and Dee, thanks for your comments. I am glad that you enjoyed the article.



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