Book reviews are key to both seasoned and up-and-coming authors. Just as moviegoers depend on the opinion of others prior to spending their money on a new blockbuster, bookies are just about the same when it comes to book releases. They look for feedback from other readers before they pay for a book that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
When requesting to have your book reviewed, there are very important things you need to keep in mind.
1. If your book is not edited—say so! Do not send an unedited copy to a reviewer without their prior knowledge. Reviewers are already inundated with submissions. To have to suffer through 300+ pages of unedited copy is not only time consuming, but it is a nuisance. The only time an unedited book is acceptable is if you are sending out an “Uncorrected Proof” that is currently in the editing stage, in order to receive reviews that coincide with the release date. I, along with many other reviewers, have given 5-Star reads, four stars based on editing issues alone.
2. Your book is your business. You should always put your best foot forward no matter whom you’re submitting to. Send a fresh copy of your book, not a dog-eared, weather-beaten copy. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions and you can easily lose a star or two on appearance alone.
3. Research is key. Do your homework on who you are submitting to. You don’t want to send your urban romance to someone who hates romance novels. Some will be impartial, but most will give your book a bad review because it’s simply not their forte. You should look for a reviewer who favors your genre. They will be more favorable when it comes time to rate your book.
4. Reviews are typically 4-6 weeks on a good day, but sometimes reviewers are flooded with requests and that turnaround time can easily jump to approx 2-3 months. So, do yourself a favor and submit as early as possible. If you are looking at an October release, try to get your book in their hands as early as July or August.
5. Find out the reviewer’s submission guidelines and practices.
What is the usual turnaround time?
Where will the review post? (Make sure that Amazon.com is among the list.)
What is the preferred format? (Kindle, PDF, paperback, etc.)
What are their credentials?
Are their reviews credible? (Work off references and goodwill, if you are new to the game.)
Most important, what is their full forwarding info?
There are other aspects to submitting a book for review, but these tips will keep you ahead of the pack every time. Book reviews are an integral part of your book’s success. Again, do your research and make the most of each review opportunity. Like the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”