8 Ways to Find Good Reviewers for Your New Book
Review Your Reviewer: You will be sorry if you do not take the time to get a pretty good picture of your reviewer. Use e-mail, snail mail or anything else you've got to pop a few questions to your reviewer. If the review is on radio or TV place a few phone calls in advance. Why? You must get a fix on your reviewer's position and general inclination. If your writing is in religion, check the doctrinal position of the reviewer. A Pentecostal book is bound to come up short in a conservative catholic review. If your book is written with a conservative political bent, it will not do well under the scrutiny of a liberal democrat. You must check out every aspect of the reviewer's mindset that you can by any means you can. If you disregard this advice you will suffer for it.
Review the Reviewers Reviews: Read carefully everything you can find that your reviewer has previously written. They can be aggressive without being hyper critical or belligerent. Some reviewers have a pompous attitude. Usually they are not writers themselves. If you find some that are writers they will be far easier to work with because they know all the problems and pitfalls in this profession. A reviewer has opportunity to rub elbows with some people that the rest of us will only know in name only. This does tend to give them an exploded sense of their own importance. How will you know if this is the case with your reviewer? Simple, read their stuff. An attitude is an easy thing to spot. Don't get the idea that your book is so good that no one could possibly find anything bad to say about it. Cranky people are usually very consistent, don't take a chance.
Avoid the Reviewer who is Too Personal: When reading a reviewers work see if they are comparing what they are critiquing with other writing that contrasts the book under review. Also do they find similarities to the book under discussion and other books perhaps in the same genre? If every reflection they make comes from their own position, emotion or mindset you should be very careful about submitting your work to them. Remember you spent weeks, months or years putting together your book; they may spend only a few hours at the most perusing your labors. Don't let someone who is having a bad hair day remove your first chance to get a little press for the great American novel.
Grammar and Spelling Snafus: It goes without saying that all grammar and spelling issues should be covered before the publication of your book. It also goes without saying that no matter how hard you try, they are not. If you self publish or use a (POD) print on demand publisher there is a greater chance of these errors breaking through un-noticed. The galley proofs offered by these publishers may be very hard to negotiate and it is usually the author doing every bit of the work. Most authors getting published for the first time are duly excited and such mistakes are prone to make it across the bar. Remember that the best authors in the world will have spelling and grammar problems at times. Even in the major publishing houses where a mile long group of proof readers have taken up to a year to finish a book, mistakes are made. Here is the bottom line when it comes to a reviewer noticing and dancing with your mistakes in a review. It stinks. First it is the sign of a very unskillful reviewer, especially when it comes to first time authors with POD books. It is almost understood that first tries will have a few more mistakes than the veterans do and for a reviewer to make a big deal of those problems is hitting below the belt by any standards. Don't even approach such reviewers if you see they make a practice of this. If they feel a need to say that a book is a self published work they are miserably out of touch. This is the day of the POD and thousands of books are coming through this conduit that can stand beside any of the big boys from the major houses.
Don't Forget Online Newspapers: Online newspapers usually follow the same editorial guidelines of the printed paper. They are far more forgiving than online reviewers. These are the people who make corrections daily of things misquoted, misspelled and missed completely. They deal with writing and John Q Public everyday and that daunting task makes them more understanding of fellow journalists. Follow all the same rules for approaching web review sites and above all get to know all you can about your critic before you bundle up a dozen review copies and slide them off the runway to the papers.
Look for the Honest but Skillful Reviewer: An honest reviewer won't hide the negatives and failings of your book but they will skillfully blend them into a larger picture without burning down the city. Such people are artist experienced in balancing of literary achievement and fledgling endeavor. How do you find such people? Once again review the reviewer's reviews!
Let The Public Be Your Reviewer: Amazon has a program that allows some of the pages of your book to be seen as a means of drawing the reader into your material. You will receive responses from this, that can be perused, archived and used on your website, your publicity efforts, and your letters and anywhere you choose. Google also has a wonderful program called, Google Print. They put up the cover of your book, a bit of an author bio and not more than twenty percent of the content of your book to be seen by anyone worldwide. Links can point directly back to your site or any other place where the book may be purchased. You will receive various responses that can be archived for press releases, short web reviews, blogs or whatever.
Beware Of Blogs: For a new author to submit the contents of their new release to a blog in whole or in part is like running the gauntlet. Blogs are all too much of a free for all. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has got an opinion. They are certainly entitled to their opinion but be sure of one thing, an opinion does not a review make. The chance of getting a fair review on a blog is in general about zero. What you will have is a lot of people passing around a lot of second hand information. You may have someone praising your stuff and in the next minute calling you something that is several notches hotter than PG-13. Till you have a better rep as an author, do not expose you're writing to the free for alls.