By Francine Silverman
The 1500 subscribers of my bi-weekly ezine, Book Promotion Newsletter are welcome to contribute articles, announcements, feedback, and queries. One reader has questioned the value of book reviews.
A compendium of the best marketing strategies of 325 subscribers, Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2005) is in alphabetical order for ease of use, i.e, A for Advertising through Z for Zero Promotion – when the book sells itself. Since published in mid-March, the 400-page guide has garnered nine glowing reviews.
How did I find these angels and are their reviews manna from heaven?
Prior to publication, I began an on-line search for “book reviewers.” On Amazon, I searched to see who reviewed books of the same genre and then “Googled” them. Some had websites so I was able to email my pitch letter. To my amazement, almost all were interested. In total, I collected 50 names of reviewers from both the U.S. and abroad.
The advantage of writing a book in the writing and publishing genre is that many reviewers are also authors and welcome the tips. In fact, five reviewer-authors have since subscribed to my newsletter!! Novelists and non-fiction writers on other subjects are urged to find reviewers likely to review their genre.
Some good sites for finding reviewers are: www.geocities.com/ladyjiraff/reviewers.html
Reviewers International Organization http://www.rio-reviewers.com. Click “Our Members”
While rave reviews do not guarantee best sellers, they do have legs. Thus far, they’ve generated interviews, tele-seminars and invitations. Charlene Austin, founder and moderator of Writing Road, and founder and reviewer for Writers and Readers Network, featured her review of my book in the Writing Road Newsletter. As a result, I was invited to be guest author in her chat room.
Some review sites assign ratings to their reviews and authors whose books are highly rated can use this honor as promotional fodder. When Tami Brady’s review at Blether (www.blether.com) was first placed under “Latest Reviews,” mine was the only book to receive a 10/10 – A Blether Gold Award. This represents “A truly exceptional read, the finest example of a genre, a book in which the reviewer can find no fault, and which will usually have universal appeal.”
Liana Metal’s review at http://lianametal.tripod.com was subsequently accepted by Midwest Book Review (MBR) and featured as part of the “Reviewers Recommend” column in the April 2005 issue of Reviewer’s Bookwatch, where it will remain for at least 12 months. The review will also be included in “Book Review Index”, an interactive CD-ROM series for corporate, academic and public library systems.
In the interim, Shirley Johnson, senior reviewer at MBR, also wrote a beautiful review to appear on the site in May. I asked Jim Cox, its Editor-in-Chief, about the implications of two reviews of a book on the same site. “It’s been my observation that the more reviews the better—even when appearing in the same publication or website,” he responded. “That’s because different reviewers bring different qualities, abilities, degrees of expertise, and experience levels to assessing the same books; readers will sometimes see one review but not the other. There’s no such thing as too much publicity.”
Is there a magic number? Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Book Promoter (Star Publish 2004), maintains that an author is branded after 7 reviews. “In terms of branding, reviews are quite important,” she says.
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