We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
— Bill Gates
Four Kinds of Book Reviews
There are FOUR kinds of reviews an author can receive — APPLES, ORANGES, PEARS, AND PEACHES:
- Apples: Apples are your friends! You ask them to read your book when it’s just an ARC (advanced reader copy) or PDF. If they give you words in writing, then you thank them profusely and consider those words seriously. If the words are nice, you ask them if you can use their words on your book cover, website, etc. Most importantly, you ask them to leave you a review on Amazon or Goodreads when the book is published — the Streetdate! Amazon allows some apple-friends to leave a review on the Amazon book page. The apple-friend has to do this action themselves on their own computer/phone/tablet (not you, and not the publisher). The reader-reviewer must put the review on Amazon and Goodreads and Barnes & Noble themselves. Books need at least ten reviews on Amazon in order to advertise on Amazon. (NetGalley is meant to help you increase reviews on these sites, as their reviewers regularly post those reviews.)
- Oranges: Oranges are NetGalley reviewers. The author or publisher subscribes the book as soon as it is ready for pre-release as an eBook to NetGalley. NetGalley reviewers (readers, librarians, and booksellers) read the book, if interested, and leave honest feedback for the author. Sometimes those reviews are posted by the reviewer on Amazon and Goodreads.
- Pears: Pears are book organizations, such as The Midwest Book Review and Booklife, etc. who cater to authors and will sometimes review books that are submitted following their guidelines. Pears are those reviews that THE AUTHOR OR PUBLISHER REQUEST by sending physical books or NetGalley links to the review organization or editorial desk. If received, THE AUTHOR OR PUBLISHER puts these reviews — or portions of the reviews — on the metadata section of the book’s Amazon page (and the author’s website, and on other advertising). NetGalley reviews can also be used in advertising.
- Peaches: Peaches are reviews the author pays for from review services such as Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Reader’s Favorite, and others. As with Pears, the author or publisher put the review on the metadata section of the book’s Amazon page (and other advertising) if received.
There are two sections on a book’s Amazon page where one might view reviews:
- Reader Reviews: scroll down to the bottom of the page, past all the advertising, until you see “Reviews” – Click: leave a review. Do this for every author who has written a book you love! Seriously. It makes a difference. And karma. You want others to do this for you! Sometimes Amazon will block you from leaving a review. Getting reviews on Amazon is much more difficult today than it was in the past. When you create your Amazon book page, don’t connect with social media sites such as Facebook. Amazon will flag your “friends” as close acquaintances and block them from leaving your book a review.
- Editorial Reviews: look at any book description on Amazon and you might see some glowing words quoted from a prominent, relevant person or organization (such as Kirkus, or Midwest Book Review, or a famous author.) That review was not placed there by them. The author or publisher placed it into the book’s metadata description area.
ADVICE ON GETTING REVIEWS FOR YOUR BOOK
- Start Early: send your manuscript to your apple-friends and start getting feedback on your book before you are finished writing. This saves time working with your editor (you still need an editor!) and your readers may give you ideas you hadn’t thought of.
- Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket: consider using all book review options rather than selecting one or two. The more reviews, the better!
- Keep writing! The more you write, the better you get!