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The Value of Book Reviews for Indie Authors

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Editorial book reviews are consistently one of the most powerful tools available to traditional publishers for promoting their books, making them one of the most powerful tools available to indie authors for book marketing also. 

Different Types of Book Reviews

First, a lesson about the different types of book reviews (and, yes, I recommend books have all four):

  1. Editorial book reviews by professional reviewers within the publishing industry
  2. Peer reviews by peer authors or same-genre authors who are further up the book sales food chain.
  3. Consumer reviews by individuals (readers). Quantity over quality counts here.
  4. Manuscript Reviews: these are pre-editing, pre-publication evaluations.

The Importance of Book Reviews for Indie Authors

Why is it that the major traditional publishing houses have staff whose responsibility it is to secure editorial book reviews for upcoming releases? Because reviews lend to a book's success, and here are some of the ways how:

  • They're needed for pre-order sales, bookseller tradeshows, sales catalogs, distributor catalogs, sell sheets, and to create other book marketing collateral.
  • Editorial book reviews establish credibility and competence in the publishing marketplace.
  • They help set the tone for reader interaction.
  • They give readers the language and vocabulary to write consumer reviews, thereby, increasing the number of consumer reviews a book receives.
  • Editorial book reviews distinguish your work from the millions of other books that are vying for the reader’s attention and help to crystallize what your book is about (book discovery tools).
  • Editorial book reviews support your author platform by adding evidence that your work has been evaluated and validated by publishing industry professionals.
  • They are critical to your book’s success in today’s digital age of publishing. Many potential readers may never see your book in print at a bookstore, but your reviews will be easily available on the internet via your book metadata, and add credibility to your books in a digital environment.
  • They connect readers and promote discussion on social media, forums, and book clubs.
  • They give authors and their publicists something to post, blog, and chat about that a publishing professional has said about the work. Authors can easily retweet, share, like, and comment on their editorial book reviews without looking like “self-promoters.”

What Book Reviewers Look For When Reviewing a Book

If you know what book reviewers are looking for when reviewing a book while you're writing it, you'll be that much better off in your early drafts. Make sure your book is meeting the following criteria from the manuscript stage:

  • Compelling storyline
  • Professionalism of editing and formatting
  • Characterization
  • Pacing
  • Continuity of storyline
  • Intriguing opening
  • Satisfying ending (not necessarily “happy”)
  • Uniqueness of story
  • Writing craft
  • Plotting craft
  • Other genre-specific criteria

Negative Book Reviews

At Chanticleer Book Reviews, if your work is not well-received, our editors will write an “evaluation” that addresses the major issues and problems found so that the writer may work on improving the quality of the work in question. We do not publish a review when it is “negative.” However, we do give constructive feedback to those who submit their work for an editorial review and it is less than positive. The goal of this is to help authors achieve their publishing goals, not publicly criticize their work, and the best way to do this is with a pass on publication but an offer of constructive and objective feedback.

Where Authors Can Use Their Book Reviews

Positive reviews are valuable book marketing tools. Once you get a review, don't let that be it. Add it to your book metadata and apply it to your book marketing strategy. Book reviews generate great content for:

  • Social media posts & blogs
  • Point of sale marketing materials
  • Shelf talkers
  • Press releases
  • Author platforms and author websites
  • Metadata
  • Interviews (most interviewers do not have time to read the book of the person they're interviewingwe are all busy).
  • Book discovery
  • Distribution reviews

All of which increase book sales for digital and print copies of a title.

Specials related to Book Reviews

And, as a special for those who have read all the way to the end of this article, please accept this discount code for a $75 discount from the standard rate of a  Chanticleer Book Review Package.

$75 Discount Code: P75PNNPF93U7

Book reviews are valuable in your title metadata to help contribute to your book discoverability. Learn more about how to apply your book reviews to your book's online discoverability with our free Book Metadata Course.


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Kathryn Brown

Kathryn Brown, co-founder of Chanticleer Book Reviews, has been involved in publishing, sales, marketing, and PR for more than 30 years. She also oversees the annual Chanticleer International Writing Contest that culminates with an author conference weekend and awards evening in Bellingham, WA in early spring. Visit ChantiReviews.com for more information regarding book reviews and the writing contest.