Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Reviewing 101

Since starting this blog over a year ago I have received numerous emails from readers and reviewers asking for my thoughts on review writing for the romance genre; e-mails either asking advice on how to get started in reviewing or on how to improve their own reviews. Each email touched me, making me feel honored as an accepted book reviewer in a very tight book loving community, while also showing me how enthusiastic and devoted romance readers are towards their favorite genre and authors. 

Today I wanted to take three questions from my most recent emails and answer them here for all the readers that might be curious as well. 

The first question is from Beth Cobs She asks, "After reading your review for Roz Lee's The Lust Boat (BTW, I loved it!) I had an urge to take up reviewing for myself. I now have a blog but I don't know where to begin. Should I contact the publishers or the authors for a copy of a book I want to review?" 

Beth, thank you for your email and I am very happy to hear you like my review for The Lust Boat! The author, Roz Lee, is exquisite in her attention to detail is she not! As for your question, I'll try to be as detailed as possible so you can understand how to proceed.

Because publishers do not have the time or resources to answer all review requests and because of piracy issues, many publishers such as RedSage ( the publishers for The Lust Boat) have now moved over to NetGalley, restricting the amount of reviews per book and reducing accessibility as a side affect. While this switch reduces the amount of piracy for the author and publisher, as I stated above, the side affect is a catch twenty-two. Not many individual reviewers are approved by NetGalley, resulting in so many authors not receiving reviews from the book reviewing community. And unless you are accepted as a reviewer for a larger site, have a site of your own that is widely known or have been blogging for a year steadily, chances are you will be denied by the publisher through NetGalley. However this is not true for all publishers. My advice is to visit the publisher of the the book you want to review and read their FAQ on review requests. And don't by shy, you can also contact the author directly and let them know you want to review their title. In many cases the author will send you a print copy or an ARC (advanced reader's copy) or eBook if published through an e-publisher.  I hope this helps!

Questions two comes from Lilly Beau. She asks, "I am new to the reviewing scene and about to request my first book from a favorite author. Before I write her, do I need a blog in order to request books for review?"

Hi Lilly! It's wonderful to hear from you again. In short, no, you really don't because many, if not all, authors want you to post your review on three sites, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and GoodReads. However, to build credibility, a blog is a good way to let authors know you are here to stay. Having a small piece of internet real estate lets authors (and publishers) know that you are serious about your book reviewing and easily contacted for future reviews. Good Luck and let me know if you need any further help, Lilly!

Question three is from Hailey. She asks, "how do you feel about reviewing self-published books?"

Hailey, I am so glad you asked this question! So many reviewers are adamant about refusing self-published books that when I first started out I was myself thought I should follow the crowd. I was very leery about accepting books for review by indie authors, thinking the taboo of them being rejects of New York true. I am glad to say I had my mind cleared of all the misconceptions surrounding this subject. In fact, I have met some of the most wonderful authors by accepting indie books for review! H.P. Mallory, Felicity Heaton and Gabrielle Bisset just to name a few of my favorites. My point is, step outside of the pack and follow your gut. If you think and author's story is worth your reading time don't be afraid to read a book just because the author took it indie.  I review for a larger site, the fabulous Night Owl Reviews, and they have no qualms about accepting indie authors into their review site, why should I! Another tid-bit to remember, many New York Times Bestselling authors such as Carly Phillips and Courtney Milan are taking their works self-published and that is saying something in my opinion. Another reason I am glad you mentioned this is because within the next couple of weeks I'll have exciting news to share with all my fellow readers and reviewers! Mums the word until then! ;-) I wish you the best of luck and happy reading, Lilly!

I hope you have found my answers helpful today and if you have any questions about reviewing by all means please email me or ask in the comments section below. If you have any further advice to add, you are more than welcome to also add that in the comments section too! And don't forget to enter the awesome book giveaways on the sidebar! ;-) 

Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading....and reviewing! ;-)


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