India’s literary scene is slowly but surely undergoing a paradigm shift with the advent of self-publishing and indie publishing houses willing to take a gamble on a newer author and his work. In such a changing scenario, getting book reviews from readers and bloggers is an essential tool which not only provides constructive criticism to authors, but also helps spread news about their work – and of course, its quality, whether it is worth reading. Honest book reviews are worth much more than empty words of praise and faux compliments. The former will help writers learn from their flaws, and become better at their craft, while the latter will only provide a false sense of satisfaction and put the writer on a crumbling path to nowhere.
Here we list a few ways in which honest book reviews can be obtained:
Perhaps the simplest of all solutions – maybe that is why it is assumed to not work, most think it is too simple – authors or their publishers can reach out to potential beta readers and ask them for constructive critique by providing them advance review copies of the book before it is set to be released. These readers point out errors such as plot holes, mistakes in continuity, typos, grammatical mishaps and the like. These can then be polished to perfection before the novel is released, thus preventing a potential faux-paus.
There are a number of beta readers in the writing community willing to perform this task in return of getting an advanced review copy – and the bragging rights that it entails.
Approaching Reviewers & Bloggers
Once a book is published, there are numerous reviewers out there willing to review it. They can be approached via the contact details they provide on their website. The best of bloggers have a huge audience for their posts, so a good review can generate widespread interest in a book, however, it is a double edged sword and a bad review can lead to a lot of negativity for the author’s work.
Bloggers can also be found on book forums, writing forums, through social media channels. There are also lists of the best blogs provided on websites which can be perused before deciding on any of them.
The author should also be willing to accept all forms of critique constructively and not snarl in anger at the reviewer as some infamous authors have been prone to do so. Being humble, gracious, and approachable is the key to receiving honest reviews.
Reviews can also be obtained from fellow writers if they are willing to do so, but they should never be pestered for it, lest it turn them off the book.
Cross Platform Blogging
Many authors have their own blogs as well. In this case, participating in a cross platform blogging exercise is a good way to get reviews. In this case, the author gets a review on another blogger’s blog in exchange for returning the favour on his or her own blog for the blogger.
Accepting constructive criticism in the helpful manner that is meant to be, and writing a strong first book will lead to readers eagerly anticipating the author’s next work, and be willing to review it without even being asked to do so.
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