Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why An Author Needs Reviewers

This week’s blog post is by William D. Bushnell, a local Maine resident and book reviewer. Watch for his guest posts once a quarter—his next will discuss how reviewers work.
 
Asking an author what he thinks about book reviewers is like asking a fire hydrant how it feels about dogs. However, as an author you need book reviewers—they are essential to your marketing efforts.
Writing the book was easy—now you have to sell it, and believe it or not, reviews sell books. Reviews are cheaper than advertising and it should be no surprise that readers believe in them more. Even an adverse review is better than no review at all. Remember, though, that book reviewers are not responsible for selling your book—that's your job. Reviewers are only responsible for telling people about the book, the rest is up to you (and your publisher).
 
Spring for enough review copies to send to those magazines and newspapers in your target market. Send review copies to the editors with a short cover letter asking for review consideration. More than 316,000 books are published each year through traditional publishing methods (1.2 million through non-traditional publishing methods), so there is stiff competition for limited review space. It is possible your book will not be selected for review at all, but the more review copies you send out the greater the odds of landing a review.
 
Once the review copies are out, don't bother the editors or reviewers. This is the perfect example of the squeaky wheel being ignored. Be patient. Reviewers work weeks or months out with their columns, and you are not likely to hear anything from them. Be aware, however, that there is a time limit for reviews. A book is only likely to be reviewed within the first twelve months after publication. A book more than a year old is not considered timely and will generally not be reviewed.
- William D. Bushnell
 
Guest Blogger Bio
Bill Bushnell
Bill Bushnell is a retired Marine Corps colonel, and has been a professional book reviewer for more than twenty years, publishing more than 2300 book reviews in thirty magazines and newspapers. He reviews fiction and non-fiction, everything from history, biographies, science, nature, and current issues to westerns, historical fiction, mysteries, children's books, and contemporary fiction. His reviews have appeared in Library Journal, Maine Times, Civil War News, Military History magazine, the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Brunswick Times Record, and the Sun newspapers. He currently writes regular review columns for three Maine newspapers (Kennebec Journal, Central Maine Morning Sentinel, and New Maine Times) and two national magazines (Publishers Weekly and Military Officer), publishing 100-120 reviews a year. He is a long-time member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He taught a class on book reviewing at USM for eleven years and now teaches that class for the MWPA. He is also currently one of the judges for the Maine Readers' Choice Award for Fiction.

Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Books, a publishingbusiness with the tag line: Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb theAndroscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk project--building a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: jstwrite@jstwrite.com

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