Reviews? Really?

Okay, another hot button for readers. I keep hearing how important reviews are when deciding what books to buy. How true is this?

As an author, I can tell you readers how difficult it is to get anyone to review a book or short story unless you have been published by one of the big 6 publishers in NY or have made it onto a best seller list.

How is a new author supposed to get the ball rolling when they hear the same thing every time they ask for a review. “We don’t review every book that is submitted.” What that really means is, “We have never heard of you so we aren’t going to waste our time.”

As a publisher, I have submitted hundreds of books to reviewers that have gone ignored. This is a HUGE expense to us as a business. I have queried so many Bloggers and reviewers and most of the time I get rejected. I have even offered FREE downloads to anyone who would read them, those have also been rejected.

So, whose reviews are most valuable? Whose opinion is the right one? What makes a good reviewer? Why don’t more readers post reveiws if they find them so important in their selection process?

I’ve got a new novella out and would love to get some reviews. Anyone want to review it? You can get more info at OmniLit.com

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6 responses to “Reviews? Really?

  1. he problem I’ve had with reviewers is the some of the hoops you have to jump through. Also, the fact about half of the ones I’ve looked at, eitehr don’t review eBooks or want a hard copy of the eBook.

  2. Reggie,

    The problem with paid for reviews is that once you pay for them they really are not longer unbias. If I were paid to reveiw something, I would damn well feel obligated to say something nice about it, and I have read plenty of books that i simply could not find one damn good thing about.

    Have you read my review of THE LOVELY BONES? LOL It may disagree with every other person in the world who loved that goofy ass book, but I hated it. Does that make me right? Heck no, but it is my opinion. I think it is kinda silly to pay for an opinion.

    But again, other people have to make their own decisions. I can tell you though that I out little to no stock in Kirkus reviews. But that’s just me.

    I get asked all the time to do reviews, and if time allows, I will, but everybody better know that I don’t mince words and I feel no remorse if I hate a book and say so. 🙂

  3. I am book reviewer/blogger and have this year alone read and reviewed over 85 books, last year almost 500 books and whether the publishing house is large or small, each produce excellent books and not so wonderful books. I cannot possibly read fast enough to keep up. I have nothing against small publishers actually one of my favourites is a small publisher.

    Do book reviews count? I believe so. I rely solely on book reviews and Tweets to determine what books I will buy. I ignore the “big” online bookstore reviews.

    As an unpaid reviewer what bothers me is when my book review policy is not read. It wastes my time and the time of whomever is sending out a book or review request. So much time would be saved if my policy was read, then one would notice which genres (no matter how well written) I will not read. From what I have heard this happens often, which is truly a waste of everyone’s time. I do not know a reviewer without a policy.

    Back to your comment “we don’t review every book that is submitted” you are correct, but not because of the publishing house. I state I will not read paranormal books, yet they still arrive at my house and end up being donated, unread and unreviewed, regardless of the publishing house.

  4. Good advice and food for thought Karen. I think the reviews on Amazon or Omnilit or Smashwords are great unlw=ess they reflect negatively. Then of course they can be damaging. I know how you feel about paying for a review but this my be the only way to get a review if self published or not by a fortune 400 publisher. It is a good point that reviewers have to read your book first. This could be a daunting task.

  5. Personally I think the market is currently overwhelmed and both good and boring reads squeeze out of all cracks of the industry.
    Picture yourself getting several requests per day and keeping up reading, reviewing and posting such in appropriate outlets.

    I only know one person (Marci) who reads several books per day, and posts her findings once per month.

    Truly I believe that marketing is everything. When the word is on the street of an upcoming release and the marketing is intriguing, readers will make an effort to obtain a copy.

    I sent out many free paperbacks and got great responds from every single one of the readers. I should mention though, giving out free copies alone won’t do the job. You have to keep them involved and interested otherwise the story gets stock piled. I know because I piled a few myself.

    –Martin Bartloff, author of Torn From Normal.
    http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Normal-Martin-Bartloff/dp/0615310729/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300378145&sr=8-1

  6. I used to rely on reviews a lot more when they were a regular part of the Sunday newspaper or appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic.

    Now, I tend to notice them only when I’m already on Amazon, and just happen to glance up at the mainstream reviews from Kirkus, PW, and Booklist.

    I go book reviews frequently on my blog. They are usually for small press books when I am contacted by the publisher with a specific title on Facebook or via e-mail.

    I have a feeling that a lot of bloggers tend to review books they plan to read anyway because they are not paid professionals on the staff of a newspaper. So, when they get a request to review a book they’ve never heard of any/or that they might not even buy if they have heard of it, they’re going to think about the reading time. Basically, it takes me a week to read a book. That’s a great expenditure of time, especially for something that may be outside my normal area of reading.

    The small press publishers who contact me all the time tend to know what I like to read, so that’s what they suggest. That shows me they know me and have done their homework.

    Malcolm

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