Book reviews are critical to your book’s success! I’m sure you’ve heard that, but it’s true for a number of reasons. Not only does your publisher want them to use as blurbs on the cover or for inside, but also for book promotion purposes.
You’ll want to get traditional book reviews (in magazines and newspapers), but also online book reviews, which then translate into promoting the book through social media. Essentially, it’s “free” advertising. And with good reviews, your book is being promoted by a neutral party. Much more powerful than if you were to say: “My book is fabulous; it’s awesome. Just read it!”
Often, a couple of months before your book is released, your publisher will attempt to get book reviews for your novel or memoir or work of non-fiction. But sometimes, especially if your publisher is a small independent press or you’ve used a hybrid publisher or you’ve self-published, you’ll need to assist your publisher in getting book reviews. (It’s never too late to get a book review, by the way.) My UK publisher approached numerous reviewers last year, including Sophie Hedley, a prolific UK book blogger, and she agreed to do a review of my novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow, which you can find on her book review blog, called Book Drunk.
Over the next several months, Sophie and I got to know one another and she approached me in August 2017 for another project she was undertaking: to interview a series of authors about their novels, which she’d reviewed previously. I readily agreed, recognizing that the interview would be another opportunity to promote my novel nearly a year after it had been released. Once she published the interview on her blog (link at end of this post), we both used social media to promote her blog and my novel.
An excerpt from my interview on her blog “Social Media Stories”:
Sophie Hedley: Are there any particular authors that inspired you to write?
Herta Feely: “I wish I could tell you that, absolutely, it was Margaret Atwood or Ernest Hemingway or Isaac Asimov that inspired me because of their fine writing and prolific output, but honestly, if anything, reading Nancy Drew stories by Carolyn Keene growing up were as inspirational as the many literary and thriller novelists that I read later.”
SH: Saving Phoebe Murrow is Herta Feely’s debut novel. I asked Herta if she had always dreamed of being an author.
HF: “Not always. I did write stories and plays, even as a child, but I didn’t think in terms of wanting to be an author, not until my late twenties. Then writing became a way of life, and I worked in jobs that required writing of some sort or another.
“I studied journalism, which didn’t quite suit me. I was too prone to wanting to make up information, and that doesn’t do in that line of work. Eventually, in my 40s I left my job as executive director of Safe Kids Worldwide to stay at home with my two young sons, Max and Jack. It was then that I began pecking away at a novel and the fever to become an author struck me. So here we are!”