Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Reviews - Do You Need One?

By Mike Nardine

If you've just written and published a book and have any hope of selling it to strangers rather than just annoying your friends and relatives, you certainly do. You've spent an enormous amount of time and energy writing it. If it isn't an eBook you've probably spent some pretty good money getting it bound. If you're like most authors you wouldn't mind getting something back for all those hours and dollars. So now comes the ugly part, going out into the world and selling this child of your inner self.

In order to sell the book you've got to let people know it's available. Even if you don't own your own bookstore you've got to shelve it where people can see it. You can set up an expensive kiosk at the mall or buy advertising in any number of places from newspapers to billboards. You can display it on Facebook or Twitter(but you're depending on friends again). You can go to Google AdWords and pay per click for possible customers. I've even seen them advertised at garage sales and on the beach.

All of these will work to a greater or lesser extent. But whatever method you use to get publicity, you're going to need to display some evidence that people have read your book and liked it-or didn't like it. Your book review tells people you thought the book was worth taking a chance with; that it's worth a gamble with your emotional capital. If you can survive the bruising to your ego, even a bad review is better than no review; who knows why; maybe people buy just because they don't want to miss something, good or bad. As Little Johnny the problem child learned long ago, any attention is better than none.

It's not hard to find someone to review your book. Send a copy of your book to your newspaper and ask them to review it. Many local papers are thrilled to get books from local authors. People like to read things about and by people they know. Reviews of a local author's book will draw more attention than a review of any but the most hyped bestseller. Perhaps that's because your neighbors are wondering if they will find themselves in your pages.
Have your friends and relatives write your book review.

You've already annoyed them by getting them to buy the book, so why not get full value for your social outcast status. One thing about having a friend or relative write a review for you is that you can almost certainly count on a good review; of course you don't have to tell potential customers about your relationship with the critic. There is even a school of thought, including some articles on the Internet that says you can review your own book (I guess I've got a problem with this one.)

Look for book reviewers on the Internet. There are a number of sites that will read your book and write about it and showcase it. Some of these reviewers work for nothing some expect to be paid. There is something to be said for both. Do a little research. In any case, the more reviews of your work the better. Good luck.

Mike Nardine is a professional book reviewer doing business at

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