Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Help! How do I find reviewers for my book?

At every writers’ group (and I belong to several), I hear the lament – where to find reviewers for our books? With the rapid disappearance of print media, traditional venues for book reviews are disappearing faster than ice in the Arctic.

Not quite two years ago I blogged about reviews published in my local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News. The bad news, said DMN staff writer Joy Tipping (who has since left the paper), is that the chances of getting a book reviewed in a big circulation newspaper like Dallas’s are also vanishingly small. The paper receives between 300 and 600 books weekly from authors hoping for recognition. How many reviews does it publish out of those hundreds? Perhaps only six to eight in a week.

Writers of independently-published books need not apply. Neither, in most cases, should those whose books were first published in paperback format. That said, preference goes to books by local authors, with local settings, or at least to Texas authors of books about Texas.

image: wikimedia commons
And the “Neighbors Go” community section of the paper? It's now defunct.

But when it’s tough to get paper reviews, tough writers don’t cry. They turn to cyberspace.

Besides Tipping’s list of book review sites (see “To get your book reviewed, take Tipping’s tips,” February 3, 2014, at this site), I found still more sites with review-hungry readers more recently, courtesy of author/blogger Maria Murnane’s “Marketing tip: connect with book bloggers” at She Writes. And you don’t have to be female to subscribe to She Writes, which also has tips for connecting book bloggers to authors and publishers. 

Besides listing “100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews” Murnane suggests contacting bloggers with a personalized email explaining why you think your book is a great fit for their site. (Think the kind of email you’d send an agent you’re querying about book representation.) Also, ask if a blogger who reviews your book will also post on Amazon (and I’ll add, Goodreads). I do, routinely.

Yes, you will need an Amazon account to post reviews there, but you don’t necessarily have to buy the book itself from Amazon. (See last Tuesday’s post, “This year’s resolution: read, review, repeat,” for information about reviewing on Amazon.)

And then, check out the bloggers those bloggers follow for even more possibilities. I’m listing the blogs I follow – including several who post reviews – on a separate page at this site.

One final caution before you hyperlink madly to Tipping’s or Murnane’s lists: blogs change. Several I checked are inactive if not outright dead. I’d post an updated list but it would probably be out of date before I finished writing this. Others, however, are more active than I could have imagined, with multiple reviewers, and/or reviewers who read hundreds of books yearly.

There are probably even more popping up as I type these final words. Find, share, write and review!

Does something look different here? That's because this site is undergoing a major update for 2017. Everything changes, and this isn't the first one for my blog since it debuted in August 2010 with a single post for the month that, I think, found fewer than a dozen readers. Tuesday postings will continue to be a given, as they have for the past several years under the former title "Wordcraft." And although I've ditched the Wordcraft name, the format will continue, including updates on current literary events, with an emphasis on those in my North Texas region, as well as more -- lots more! -- reviews of books both current and classic.

The previous Adventure classics posts that appeared on Fridays saw their final postings in December 2016. Those older posts are still available in the archives, as are the Totally Texas posts of still earlier years, that highlighted kid-friend outings in the state.

So, is there any point in visiting this site now on days other than Tuesday?

Definitely! I'll continue to post during the week as events occur and as I review books. The new, more flexible schedule will let me post more immediately -- and more frequently about literary events, writing advice, contests, and anything else that doesn't fit in Tuesday's slot.

Wishing everybody a year of more reading -- and writing -- in 2017!

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