“…Certainly Never Boring…” Book Reviews Deep Dive: Trade Publications, Book Bloggers, and Readers
Posted On June 4, 2020
I’d like to start off by saying I hope everyone is staying safe, sane, and keeping their wits about them. My thoughts go out to friends and family, marginalized individuals and communities, no matter their struggle, and everyone just trying to preserve a modicum of humanity out there.
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of your own head long enough to see how bad others have it. Sometimes, like now, it’s really f**king easy.
So, hang in there, don’t give up, assume positive intent, let me know if you need anything, and if you feel the need to escape for a little while, read a not boring book like Opposable.
This is a tough time to promote a book, but following the suggestions I just laid out, I’m trudging along.
I’ve had my eyes on Kirkus since before work began on the second edition of Opposable. Not only do they have a cool name, but they’re one of the most respected review sites for self and independently published books.
Still, there were enough positive remarks for me to have them publish the review. As with the other two reviews, you can’t excerpt a review unless you have them publish it. Here are the excerpts I could use.
Hammond is at his best in moments of stillness, when he allows his players to stop all the quipping and actually explore their connections to the world and one another. The author’s descriptions can be genuinely lovely, as when they address the American landscape, the feeling of being in a car headed nowhere, and the unbearable hugeness of the world in general.
….it is certainly never boring, and fans of its particular style will likely find themselves entertained by its hedonism and gruesome revelry. An ambitious interplanetary tale…~ Kirkus Reviews
And since you’re the shit, here’s a link to the full review on the Kirkus website.
And so it goes. It’s part of the deal and comes with the territory. The one comment I would make about the review is, as much as I appreciate the praise, I doubt Opposable is preferred reading for anyone who would use “…genuinely lovely…” to describe any part of this book.
The point is, when you solicit reviews from large, well-respected book review agencies, either trade (Kirkus, Foreword) or hybrid/reader (BlueInk), with an extensive pool of reviewers, an author doesn’t get to choose their reviewer.
You shell out the dough. Yes, you pay to get your book reviewed without the guarantee of it being positive. You wait a few weeks, fingers crossed, and hope you get something that will help you sell books.
When you get the review back, you have to make the decision of whether or not to publish it. If you don’t publish it, you can’t excerpt it. If you do publish it, the entire review goes public, warts and all.
Full disclosure; the ROI on these reviews wasn’t foremost in my mind. It was an ego thing. I wanted validation, expert feedback that what I published was a viable piece of literature.
I may have gotten it, and at least I have some marketing tools to help promote Opposable and solicit more reviews.
I’m using them to try and gain interest from book bloggers right now. So far, I’ve looked into 38 book blogs. 17 aren’t accepting review requests at this time. I sent formal requests to 17, receiving one review (THL), with another on the way (ARTM). There are dozens more to look into.
I signed up for Reedsy Discovery; a program that puts your book in front of dozens of reviewers, who can choose to pick it up for a review. Goodreads, Book Riot, Book Bub, and Amazon top reviewers are also being explored.
Reader reviews are the most valuable at this time. The two written reader reviews I’ve received (RJT and NW) are highly visible on Amazon and/or Goodreads and readers are finding them helpful.
The ultimate goal remains the same; I want to bring a little gory joy into the lives of people who yearn for it. What becomes more apparent to me every day; I’m gonna have to claw and bite for every book I sell.
There will be blood, and it won’t all be in the book.
As always, thank you for reading!
Until next time, don’t bother me. I’m stalking book bloggers.