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Old 02-18-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
J. Garrett
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Blogs and review sites

Blogs and review sites can be a good way for writers [especially self-published writers] to gain attention and potential readers, unfortunately it's not always the easiest thing in the world to find these sites. With that in mind, I'm going to pull the collective resources of MobileRead and work up a list of blogs and review sites for novels [separated by genre specialized in].

We can start by everyone posting their favorites and then build the list from there.

Moderator Notice

This thread is for third-party blogs and review sites that authors have found to be useful. It is not for self-promotion of your own blogs or websites. Self-promotion is still restricted to the self-promotion forum.

Last edited by pdurrant; 02-19-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #2
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Well, I'll get things started with this little link:

http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/

They've got a pretty good database of blogs/review sites that cater more towards indie publishers and self-publishers. I haven't had a chance to dig too deeply into it, but I do see that they've got a pretty long list. Should be worth checking out.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:24 AM   #3
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I've come across review sites in one of three ways:

* I've followed up some from people here on MR because I've been interested in their comments on books they've read and mentioned on the "What are you reading now thread".

* I've followed links from book websites to reviews to see what they had to say.

* Most recently I did a Google and reviewed hundreds of review sites (including most of those on the site you linked above) - with a view to contacting some about reviewing my book. They're not hard to find. What's harder is finding a match. So many YA or romance only review sites. So many sites that operate for half-a-dozen books and get sick of it. So many sites where the existing reviews lead you to suspect the reviewer is unlikely to like what you've written. After all that I found half-a-dozen I thought worth contacting.

If I was better and more enthusiastic about this sort of thing I'd probably have done up a form-letter and sent out a blanket request to all of them regardless of what I thought of their reviews. But, for the moment anyway, I just went with the few I actually liked. I'm not going to list them here because I don't want them to think I'm either criticising (for not accepting ) nor crawling for attention (in the hope they will eventually ).

And, of course, like anyone that puts themselves in the public eye, reviewers get swamped with requests, so most don't even send an acknowledgement that they received the request (for all you know you might have gotten kicked out by the spam filter - but to keep sending doesn't win you any popularity contests either), unless they decide to review the book.

But I do I think the author promotions thread here on MR should go on the list. You see some authors there get readers acknowledging their books, and there's a sticky thread of "Blog/Website/Review site" in there that's worth visiting.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:34 AM   #4
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I have done the same as GMW with same basic results. The blogs that are worth mentioning all seem swamped and never reply.

I have not done much down in the self promotions forum here.. made a few posts (I think?) a long while back. I should probably poke around down there again - just have not used this site to market pretty much all.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Personally I could care less about reviews, they simply represent one person's opinion of your work and have nothing to do whether I will like your work or not. Here is how to get my attention: 1) You need to write in the genre that I am interested in; and 2) you need to be price competitive (I refuse to pay more that $9); 3) You need to give away a sample of each book, the first two paragraphs will do, I want to see your writing style. Notice I said nothing about reviews.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Personally I could care less about reviews, they simply represent one person's opinion of your work and have nothing to do whether I will like your work or not. Here is how to get my attention: 1) You need to write in the genre that I am interested in; and 2) you need to be price competitive (I refuse to pay more that $9); 3) You need to give away a sample of each book, the first two paragraphs will do, I want to see your writing style. Notice I said nothing about reviews.
Items 1, 2, and 3 in your list are all covered for anyone that has their book on Amazon or B&N (most indie published books are under $9) - but there's just so many new books all the time that no one, no matter how good their intentions, is going to see them all. (Well, maybe you can if your tastes are narrow enough to be only interested in very specific, less common genres.)

And there's one you haven't mentioned, the first one: 0) get the book in front of you long enough to be noticed. That, as far as I'm concerned, is what book review sites are about, getting your book out in more places where people that read might actually notice it.

I'm a firm believer that word-of-mouth is what sells the most books. A writer's problem is to get word-of-mouth (preferably favourable ) started. That means getting those first readers that like it enough to talk about it, and that means getting noticed in the first place. Book review sites are not the be-all and end-all, but they are one of the ways to try and get noticed.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
If I was better and more enthusiastic about this sort of thing I'd probably have done up a form-letter and sent out a blanket request to all of them regardless of what I thought of their reviews.
Personally, I think you probably did the right thing not sending out a form letter. Catherine Ryan Howard wrote a good blog post on getting your book reviewed:

http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/...book-reviewed/
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Personally I could care less about reviews, they simply represent one person's opinion of your work and have nothing to do whether I will like your work or not.
That's how you do it. I used to not pay mind to reviews, but that was back when I was only buying / reading trad-pub or personally recommended work. Now I look at reviews before adding a book to my "wishlist". I look at them again when going through that list to decide which to purchase now. Even after I buy a book, I often seek out reviews when I can't decide which book on my "priority list" I should read next.

I'm not alone in this, as is evidenced by the number of active users on Goodreads. (By active, in this case I mean those who read / write reviews and make purchase decisions based on them.) With that in mind, I'd focus on blogs that push their reviews to their Goodreads accounts, and other sites in that vein. (I don't use Shelfari or Library Thing, but I imagine it's a similar scenario.) I read lots of blog reviews, but rarely on the blogs themselves - I usually come across them on Goodreads first. There are simply too many review blogs for me to do otherwise.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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Personally, I think you probably did the right thing not sending out a form letter. Catherine Ryan Howard wrote a good blog post on getting your book reviewed:

http://catherineryanhoward.com/2012/...book-reviewed/
Yeah, I had read that one, it's cute. I tended to go on the short side of things with my emails. I think my emails were obviously not a generic mail-out, but mostly I thought a link to Amazon (where there is a free sample and more detailed about myself and the book) was a better choice than a long email. I guess I was looking at things from my own perspective, and thinking that - if it was me - anything too long would get the tl;dr flick.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Yeah, I had read that one, it's cute. I tended to go on the short side of things with my emails. I think my emails were obviously not a generic mail-out, but mostly I thought a link to Amazon (where there is a free sample and more detailed about myself and the book) was a better choice than a long email. I guess I was looking at things from my own perspective, and thinking that - if it was me - anything too long would get the tl;dr flick.
You may be right about shorter emails being better, I was linking to her post mainly to support my contention that mass emails are a bad idea. Personally, I'd say the most important thing is to read and follow any submission policies/rules the blogger has. You're asking the blogger to take the time to read your book, the least you can do is spend five minutes reading their submission policy.
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