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Tuesday, October 30, 2012


How To Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith (Review and Giveaway)

I know I'm a lucky person--I'm a writer, a mommy, a wife, a dog owner!--but when the opportunity came to review Dana Lynn Smith's book, How To Get Your Book Reviewed, I thought about buying a lottery ticket, too. This is such a timely book for me--since my historical fiction, middle-grade book, Finding My Place, just came out. So, what did I think of Dana's book, why should you care about getting your book reviewed, and how will this Savvy Book Marketer's guide help you to get your book reviewed? Read on to find out!

Dana begins her guide by explaining why you should care about getting book reviews (which, nowadays, are also recommendations or endorsements from readers on social networking sites and online book stores). This quote sums it up perfectly: "There's no guarantee that reviews will translate into sales, but they certainly increase the odds. With the huge amount of competition facing your book, reviews are one of the very best ways to get your book noticed and to influence purchasing decisions of potential customers."

Okay, so now that you are convinced you need reviews, Dana shows you how to get them. This is a very thorough book with live links in the e-book version. She has three sections basically--by the way, she's thought of everything!--the book review process: how it works and how to submit, different places where you can get your book reviewed (you will read about places you never thought of), and what to do with the reviews once you have them to create sales. She also goes into the pitfalls of book reviews, so you will be aware of what can happen if things don't go exactly as you hoped. 

Dana Lynn Smith
One of the coolest parts of this book are the "case studies." Case studies are real-world examples of the points that Dana makes in her book. For example, she suggests going for the gold and getting high-profile endorsements. Then she presents a case study of Rabbi Ed Weinsberg who wrote a book about prostrate cancer and got endorsements from people like John Gray (Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus)  and Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Another one of her case studies is about getting reviews on Amazon--a self-published author shares his experiences. She shares some important and vital information for all authors--self-published or traditional. Whether you like Amazon or not, this site has great influence on readers. So, you must learn to work with Amazon, and the case studies help you do this.

I also liked the "Savvy Tip" highlighted boxes in How to Get Your Book Reviewed. If you just have a few minutes to skim through the book when you first get it, then read all the highlighted boxes, and you will be well on your way to understanding what you need to do get book reviews and use them to drive sales. Her tips include information on where to concentrate reviews, book promo materials, linking to reviews online and your media kit, and more.

The section of the book that I found the most helpful, full of new information that I didn't know and active links so I can easily explore, is the list of online resources, including reading communities like LibraryThing and Author's Den, and how to work with book bloggers. Authors cannot underestimate the power of social media and blogs--if you can get these readers behind you and supporting you, you are well on your way to success. Some of these bloggers have quite a following and passionately endorse and promote authors they like.

If you have a book coming out in the future, Dana's book is a must! If you already have a book out, How to Get Your Book Reviewed is going to help you--although it may make you panic a bit (like it did me!) because many places want to review your book right when it comes out or even before. But never fear, there are still plenty of resources and information to help you market your book in Dana's guide. I can't wait to get started getting reviews and then check out what other resources Dana has to offer on her website!

Even better news, we have a copy of How to Get Your Book Reviewed to giveaway!

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

We're giving away a copy of How to Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Blogger Sioux said...

Margo--This sounds like it's very user-friendly as well as crucial, considering the publishing world today.

Thanks for the post, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I win.

4:10 AM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

I'm still revising my first MS and never even thought this far ahead. Good to know this resource is available. Thanks for sharing.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Margay said...

I could really use some reviews for my book, Sloane Wolf.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Renee Carter Hall said...

I have three stories/books I'd love to see more reviews for.

"Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" is a light fantasy novelette available on Smashwords and Amazon, suitable for tweens and up (though most of its readers so far seem to have been adults).

"Six Impossible Things" is a mini short story collection (6 stories), mostly quirky fantasy with a range of moods. It's free on Smashwords (and 99 cents on Amazon, because I can't get Amazon to make it free no matter what trick I try).

And for those wanting something longer, there's my anthropomorphic fantasy novel By Sword and Star, available in print and Kindle formats on Amazon, and in EPUB format at Lulu. Medieval fantasy with talking animal characters. If you like Redwall but want something geared more toward older teens/adults, you might find it an enjoyable read.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Margo, this sounds like such an organized and appealing book on reviews.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Lisa Bowring said...

I'm getting ready to start NaNoWriMo in 2 days and I know I will have lots to do still once November comes to a close. Knowing about and preparing ahead of time for Social Media and Marketing is a great idea. Dana's book sounds like a wonderful addition to any writers toolbox - newbie and veteran alike. Thank you for reviewing this book and getting it out there for us to find!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

This is a very timely post for me as my book will be coming out next year and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about marketing. Thanks for sharing, ladies!

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Ev Bishop said...

Great review on the importance of getting reviews! Thanks.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Monette Chilson said...

My book, Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga, will be out in January. I know reviews are important, but I am intimidated by the process. Even though my publisher will handle some of them, I want to understand how I can help. These days even those of us with traditional publishers need to know how to work it!

Thanks for writing a book that addresses this critical area of book marketing!

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Thank you to Margo for the terrific review of my book, and to everyone for your comments. Those of you who have not yet published your book, I encourage you to start planning for reviews now! And even if your book has been out for a while, there are still plenty of ways to get reviews. I wish you all much success with your books!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

It really, really is a good book, everyone. Thank you for taking such an interest, and good luck. If you don't win, consider purchasing and following the advice BEFORE your book comes out. I wish, oh how I wish, I would have. :) LOL

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Michele Boyer said...

I'd like to read this because I need to find reviewers for "how to" books. That's not as easy as for novels and more interesting genres.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Renee Carter Hall said...

I tried posting a comment yesterday morning, but it still hasn't shown up, so I guess Blogger ate it. :/

Anyway, in answer to the Rafflecopter question of what I'd like to see more reviews for, some shameless self-promo. (Hoping I didn't misunderstand the question!)

I have three stories/books I'd love to see more reviews for. The first, "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" is a light fantasy novelette suitable for young teens and up (though most of its readers so far have been adults). It's available on Amazon and Smashwords.

I also have a mini short story collection, Six Impossible Things, that features six stories with a range of moods and subjects, though mostly quirky fantasy. It's free on Smashwords and 99 cents on Amazon (since I can't get Amazon to make it free no matter what trick I try, and I don't care to make it exclusive to them).

Finally, for readers who might want something longer, my novel By Sword and Star came out earlier this year. It's a medieval fantasy featuring anthropomorphic characters -- if you grew up on the Redwall books but want something targeted more to adult readers, you might want to give it a try. (It has some adult themes, so it's not for young kids -- I recommend it for teens and adults.) It's available from Amazon (print and Kindle) and Lulu (print and epub).

Links to all of these are on my website, on the "Books" page. :)

Thanks for the giveaway! I really wish I'd had this book back in the spring, before my novel came out, but there's always the next one... :)

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Renee, it's not too late to get reviews for your book - there are lots of other options in addition to pre-pub reviews in major review publications. Good luck with your books :)

8:34 AM  
OpenID rcponders said...

I'd love to read this before I finish my novel:) These days the marketing lands in the authors lap whether a book is traditionally published or self-pubbed; I'd llike to know what I'm getting myself into :)

11:40 AM  
Blogger Great Lakes Romances said...

I'm in the process now of getting reviews. I'd be very interested in what Dana has to say!
Donna Winters

5:11 PM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

Margo, does the book address paying sites to review books? I review for a few print and online review publications and they offer sponsored reviews, which the author pays for. I took on one of these reviews and it was one of the worst experiences I've had.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

LuAnn, the book does discuss several different types of paid review services and talks about the pros and cons of paying for reviews.

11:54 AM  
Blogger momof5girls said...

I'm still writing, but eventually I'm going to need reviews.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Cheryl Reinhardt said...

I have written about 5 childrens stories....... and could use some direction and help, this book would be wonderful !

10:34 PM  
Blogger Double Creations said...

What a wonderful review on a book about reviewing!

I am a literary publicist who supports self published authors get their book the recognition it deserves. This includes writing reviews along with marketing and management services. I cannot stress enough the value of an honest review. I love to meet and chat with authors

11:39 PM  

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