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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: How to Get Your Book Reviewed

How to Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn SmithI was pleased to receive a review copy of the brand new How To Get Your Book Reviewed by Dana Lynn Smith, aka The Savvy Book Marketer.

Here is my review, which I am posting today as part of Dana's Virtual Book Tour to launch the guide.

How To Get Your Book Reviewed is provided in the form of a downloadable, 116-page PDF, with two extra bonus items. You can also order it without the bonuses in versions for the Kindle and Nook e-book readers, and in paperback form from Amazon.
I read the manual in both PDF and Kindle formats. In both cases, my first impression was that it was exceptionally well written and formatted (no mean feat with Kindle non-fiction books, incidentally). The text uses a clean, sharp, readable font, accompanied by screengrab illustrations where appropriate.

As with Dana's other manuals, Twitter Guide for Authors and Facebook Guide for Authors (links are to my reviews), I was also impressed that the table of contents is fully hyperlinked, not just to the main chapter headings, but to the section headings as well. It's a shame that not all e-books adhere to this format.

How To Get Your Book Reviewed begins by looking at what book reviews are and how the book review process works. This was familiar stuff to me, and I thought that some of it was basically common sense. Still, it's a useful starting point, especially if you're new to soliciting reviews for your books.

Chapter 3 is titled How to Submit Your Book for Review, and this is where the guide really gets down to the nitty-gritty. Dana sets out her suggested strategy for getting your book reviewed, including setting a budget, identifying potential reviewers, getting yourself organized, and so on. She also talks about the items you should include with review copies of your book: press release, sell sheet, and so on. The emphasis here is largely on print books, so not all of this will be relevant if your book is only available in electronic form.

The guide goes on to look at some potential pitfalls in the reviewing process, including the bias that still exists in some quarters against self-publishers and e-book publishers. Dana's message here is an upbeat one, however: the times are changing, and the prospects for such authors are improving all the time - as long as the books themselves are good, of course!

Chapter 5 of How To Get Your Book Reviewed looks at the value of endorsements, testimonials and customer reviews. It focuses especially on Amazon (rightly, in my view) and looks at the various things you can do to solicit more, good-quality reviews at the world's favorite online bookstore. I picked up a number of useful tips here, some of which I am applying already with my own titles.
Later chapters cover other avenues for getting your books reviewed, and for generating publicity more generally. There are chapters looking at virtual reader communities (e.g. Goodreads), book review blogs, book trade journals, newspapers and other print media, and so on. Even creating audio and video reviews gets a mention, and some useful resources for doing this are revealed.

Dana also examines the controversial area of paid review services. She sets out the arguments on both sides, so that readers can decide for themselves if this is something they wish to pursue.

The guide concludes with chapters on the value of reviewing other people's books (in which I'm quoted) and how to use reviews to drive more book sales. As you might expect, there is also a comprehensive list of useful resources.

Overall, I was highly impressed with How To Get Your Book Reviewed, which more than maintains the high standard of previous authors' guides by Dana Lynn Smith (pictured). It is crammed with useful, practical advice that any writer could apply to generate more reviews of their books and potentially boost their sales many times over. I was also impressed by the wealth of examples and case studies included, and the quotes from other successful authors and publicists.

My only criticism of How To Get Your Book Reviewed is that the low-key title probably under-sells the mass of useful information it contains. This isn't just a guide to getting more book reviews, but also about obtaining endorsements, testimonials and customer feedback, and using all of them to promote your book as powerfully and effectively as possible. As such, it is undoubtedly the most comprehensive guide to this subject I have seen, and I plan to refer to it frequently when promoting my own titles in future.

Photo of Dana Lynn Smith provided by the author.

Disclosure: I received an advance reading copy of How to Get Your Book Reviewed from the author/publisher. In addition, the links in this review are affiliate links, so if you go on to make a purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission. This has not affected my review of the guide in any way.

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Anonymous Neeraj Sachdeva said...

Nick, This sounds very promising. I am currently working on a book (and have planned a few ebooks), so something like this would be very useful. Thank you for the review.
Good luck to Dana :)


11:42 AM  
Anonymous Jane Reynolds said...

What a coincidence. I've just been thinking about how I can get more exposure for my book and there was your tweet.
This sounds like just what I need!

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn CJ Jones said...

What an excellent review! I gained much information in a concise manner. Thank you!

Carolyn CJ Jones

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Nicky VanValkenburgh said...

Thanks for the review, Nick. I apprecaite what you've written-- even your criticism that "This isn't just a guide to getting more book reviews, but also about obtaining endorsements, testimonials and customer feedback, and using all of them to promote your book as powerfully and effectively as possible." Sounds like Dana could teach all writers a thing or two, even if we've been published authors for some time. I would love to win the freebie book, and I promise to write a review as well (if I win) on Amazon. I also enjoyed Dana's teleseminar with Terry Whatlin.

Thanks again and take care,
Nicky VanValkenburgh
Author of "Train Your Brain, Transform Your Life: Conquer Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 60 Days, Without Ritalin.’

Voted Best Motivational Book, Reader's Favorite Awards, Las Vegas, NV.
Best Self-Improvement Book of 2011, Mom's Choice Awards, Chesapeake, Va.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Nick, thanks so much for your review and for hosting the book giveaway on my tour. Neeraj and Jane, I appreciate your interest in the book and good luck in the drawing!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Mary Lou Searfoss said...

This sounds like a must have for new authors. Can't wait to read it for myself.

Lynn McMonigal

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Joseph Federico said...

This sounds very detail-oriented - thanks for posting this! Every author needs guidance!

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Gibson Goff said...

With the house of self-publishing being built and the house of traditional publishing being currently in such disrepair from neglect, it looks like Dana's book, and your review should become cornerstones.

Looks like her book will become the go-to manual for new and aspiring self-publishers when seeking peer review.

And it looks like she makes it easy, and I am all about easy!

Thanks for the great review, Nick!

6:06 PM  
Anonymous mpwelters said...

Hello Nick,

I am sort of astonished, this can be no coincidence! I am working on a novel, and a "beautiful-labyrinths-pictures-with-short-poetic-texts" book and the planning is tight (available printed etc Nov. 12)

I could really do with some ideas regarding promoting my books with endorsements, testimonials. In Holland there is just a limited market, only 15 million people speak/read dutch (incl infants ...) and I have been reading your tips on your site before.

Once again, thank you for this review and you help,


Marc Paul Welters
REAGENS taal, tekst en advies

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Karen A. Wyle said...

I could certainly use guidance in this crucial but intimidating area!

8:10 PM  
Blogger Chrissy said...

Hello, I have recently added a book on Amazon Kindle e-Books and the great advice contained in 'How to get your book reviewed' would certainly come in handy! Thank you for this review and this great series of written and spoken free material!!

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Dana Lynn Smith said...

Thanks everyone for your nice comments, and good luck in the drawing!

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Dee for D.I. Telbat said...

Hi Nick,

Don't enter me in your contest because I was fortunate to be a winner of one of the other drawings on Dana's book tour! :)

I've only gotten through a few chapters of How to Get Your Book Reviewed so far, and let me tell you, it is packed full of practical info, how-tos, and even a template to help you get it done!

This is perfect timing for us because we are about to get a Christian fiction up on Amazon, but because of Dana's input, I now see how important it is to first have a media room set up so when you get reviewers, they have a specific place to go to for your info. As a newbie, I appreciated even her common sense info. And I've already used her very helpful bonuses, one of which was a template.

I'm very grateful for this fantastic resource. I think this book is an absolute must for any author! And I'll for sure be leaving a review on Amazon when I'm finished!

6:14 PM  
Blogger Twisties34 said...

Thanks Nick, I was wondering about something like this for my computer books. I have several written for Creative Media classes.

10:30 PM  
Blogger A.F. Heart said...

This sounds interesting and I would appreciate winning a copy! Count me in.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Karen van Wyk said...

Great review, Nick. This sounds like something I need to read before I get the second novel out there.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Rohi Shetty said...

Hi Nick,

Thanks, excellent review, as usual. I have already subscribed to Dana's blog and have read one of her other ebooks. I plan to publish my ebooks and reports on Kindle so this book is bound to be very helpful.

Thanks for the generous giveaway.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Jo Huddleston said...

Nick, thanks for a great review. Would love to win the book. Thanks for entering me in your drawing.

11:16 PM  
Blogger kdoyle said...

Although I'm not near the publishing stage as yet, this sounds like a very useful book. Thanks for offering it as a giveaway!

1:31 AM  
Blogger sloanwriter said...

Hi Nick,

A really comprehensive review from yourself,really inspires one to buy whatever you are talking about and this is no exception.
Dana I also follow your work, hints and tips on FB,wish you every success with this but feel you really don't need my good wishes.You have another winner which is sure to help many authors time and again. Good luck. Thanks again Nick for great review.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Debbie Summers said...

Hi Nick

Great review. I always wondered how book reviews worked, so this book would be a fascinating read for me, particularly as I'm planning to epublish in the future.


3:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a whole new area to me and very interesting. I can't wait to read the book. Thanks Nick for writing about it.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment. The prize draw is now closed, and I will announce the winner shortly.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous J.D. Hughes said...

Thanks for the review. I may buy this book since social media is a mystery to me.

10:02 AM  

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