Who’s Review – and what’s it all about?

I was reading about asking folks for reviews. Lots of negatives and positives, mostly about asking family and friends. Really, for someone breaking into the game, there’s not much choice. Since Amazon pays a lot of attention to the number of reviews, rather than the identity of the reviewers, it devolves into something of a numbers game. That fact notwithstanding, what I’ve noticed is that a great many beginning writers confuse a posted review with a critique. A review from a reader implies an amateur who’s responding to the book. A review from an established author or a professional (or semi-professional) reviewer implies a much deeper evaluation. When an author asks friends and family for a review, it’s almost certainly going to be a cautious evaluation – and glowing. Still and all, in the world of self-publishing and audience-driven electronic reviews, that numbers game fact won’t go away. 

The other option is to pay for reviews. I don’t know, but I’d assume that means generally favorable comments. After all, who pays to be insulted? Newspaper and magazines that review books – and I’ve done the work  – get a nominal fee. And the author gets a serious evaluation. The services that’ll review your self-published book for a price may or may not know what they’re talking about.

In the end, it’s a matter of self-promotion and your willingness to ask for help in the matter. A review’s not a critique. At bottom, the whole idea of a review’s so subjective it boggles the mind. My suggestion? Scuffle for the reviews you feel you need any way you can. And never forget two things – we’re caught up in a chase for numbers and you’re the only person who’s allowed to change anything you write. I don’t care who reads the work and says otherwise.    

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