Monday, August 11, 2014

Reasons to Become a Book Reviewer by Annette M. Irby




Stack of books*

Hey everyone, Annette here. No doubt you've heard that good writers are readers. I recently participated in a blog tour for an historical author and was reminded that book reviewing is a great way to explore books both within and outside your genre, while you learn and grow as a writer. 

Let’s look at some of the other perks:

Free copies. Publishers and authors are desperate to get word-of-mouth marketing kicked off even before a book releases. They do that by providing copies of their books to reviewers. Just a couple of years ago, the only option (which was sometimes limiting for cost) was to send paperbacks. But now, publishers can send e-book and save the paper, ink, postage, and shelf space. Either in e-book or paperback format, publishers often send ARCs (advanced reader copies, which are pre-proof) and as a book reviewer, you get to read the novel or non-fiction before it’s even released, all in exchange for an unbiased review. 

Research. Reading an abundance of books in your genre can only help you as a writer. You’ll find (and honor) your own voice. You’ll see what publishers are looking for. You’ll watch publishing trends change. And, if you’re a bit of a grammarian, you’ll get a chance to practice editing. *wink*

Build a Platform. You need to focus your blog on something, right? Why not post book reviews? I started out posting them on my main blog, but then found I was so overwhelmed with books to read for review and reviews to post, that I decided to launch a separate blog. But even if you keep it all to one, you can mix things up and post reviews occasionally. Plus, all the while, you’re getting your name out there. 

Practice writing. Book review writing is different from book writing. Even if you normally pen non-fiction, you’re still in a different voice when book review writing. But, you can still let your voice shine through in those reviews. 

Making contacts. If you’re a Seriously Write reader/writer, I’m guess you love supporting Christian fiction. Me, too. So I work to encourage and promote writers, their books, Christian publishers, etc. That’s my motivation, and through those connections, in the spirit of promotion, I’ve made some great friends. You never know when your review might be the best part of some struggling writer’s day. The Christian publishing world is small. Keep that in mind as you share your opinions and make contacts. And focus on service. Then you can’t go wrong.

Those are just a few benefits of becoming a book reviewer. Can you think of others? Do you read for review? What kind of contacts have you made? How has reading in your genre helped you grow as a writer? 

Read on! 

Annette M. Irby
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Annette M. Irby has two published books and runs her own freelance editing business, AMI Editing. She recently signed a book contract for an upcoming e-book. She is also an acquisitions editor for Pelican Book Group. See her page here on Seriously Write for more information.
 
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*Photo Credit: Multicolored Stacked Book by antpkr



12 comments:

  1. I review for Revell on my blog. I love getting the books and helping writers with promotion. It's led to being contacted by PR people and an opportunity to post reviews on the Suspense Sisters' blog once per quarter. So, it's not just a matter of putting your opinion out there. You don't know where it will lead. :)

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    1. So true, Sandra! And your opinion matters as much as your willingness to promote others. It really is a win-win. :)

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  2. I've met so many writer friends through book reviews and it supports my "reading habit," too. Helping others is the biggest benefit. Helping yourself is just the sprinkles on the cake!

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  3. Hi Annette, what a helpful review with wonderful reasons. At present I don't feel I have time to review regularly, but there a few recent reads I want to post on. (Wow, awful sentence there.) One thing I don't get is reviewers who rave about a book, then give it a three. Out of five, that's 60%, or a D. LOL. Aw well. Good post today.

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    1. As a multi-published author, I'm sure you've seen your share of "unexplainable" reviews where they give a lower score but a rave review, Tanya. Hm... A mystery to be sure. Thanks for chiming in. :)

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  4. Like Sandra, I review for Revell. But I also write reviews on books put out there by other publishers too. I enjoy sharing good stories with other readers. Besides that, I learn a lot from writing reviews - the process helps me focus on what I liked or didn't like.

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    1. Right, and that informs our writing. Well said, Dawn!

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  5. I love reviewing books because it gives me an "excuse" for reading so many when I should be doing something else. LOL. Seriously it's been a great way for me to connect with and support authors and Christian fiction.

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    1. I love that "excuse" too, Susan. :) And even though it's part of my work, I sometimes feel guilty. Thing is, for writers, reading is not a leisure activity. It's a student's effort and a delightful one at that. ;)

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  6. I don't mean to sound dumb, and I guess this does, but how do you become a reviewer? Do you just purchase a book and post a review on amazon or something like that?

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    1. Great question, Barbara, and yes. Also, most review programs or teams want to see you have a blog where you regularly post reviews. The publishers are looking for your "reach." They want more people to learn about the book, so building a following on your blog is also helpful. But you don't need to belong to a reviewing program, or have a blog, to get started. I hope that helps. Thank you for asking and thanks for reading!

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