January 3, 2012
Sitting here with nothing to do … and if you believe that, I have some swampland to sell you. I was actually winding up several hours of work putting together book reviews for my blog and I began thinking that the process might make a great story – well an okay story at least.
Most of us who have blogs are also writers – published and non-published – so we all know that writing is a process and takes time – lots of time. I admire those who have managed to string together enough words to make a book and then to go through the publishing process. Then, once the book is published, book reviews are needed. That is where I (and others) come in.
When I receive a book for review, before I even sit down to read the book, I will spend at least an hour on the computer researching the author and previous books written by them. I then begin putting together my book review material and setting up my document sections so that when I complete the book, I can sit down and concentrate on writing my review. I find a picture of the book (not always provided), the date published (not always provided), author information and picture (again, not always provided), where the book is being sold, and the book blurb.
Once I have my information ready, I begin reading the book. Reading a book can take anywhere from 6-8, and sometimes more, hours to read. Add to that, the time needed for writing notes for the review. Using my Kindle comes in handy for this part. It is easy to mark passages that I want to quote in my review as I read, as opposed to having a gazillion pieces of paper sticking out of a book.
When I finish reading a book, I begin my writing process. I will bring up all of the passages on my Kindle that I highlighted during the course of reading and decide which quotes I think will draw the reader in or make them laugh, etc. Sometimes I will try to use just a little bit of a quote to throw the potential reader off and to make them think, “I really need to read this book.”
It is at this point, if the author and I have not already agreed on a Q@A or guest post, I will contact the author and request one or the other. I will also set up a giveaway of their book to go along with the review. I will try to find out the sites where the book will be for sale (not always provided) so I can post my completed review on those sites. I also encourage the author to tweet the review and stop by for a visit and comment. The readers like the personal attention that authors give to the review.
Waiting for information from the author sometimes takes a while, depending on how busy they are. While waiting, I begin the process of posting my reviews on the different sites (sometimes 4 to 5 sites). This process can take upwards of two hours, depending on the number of sites. As I post, I also add the book to my blog’s sidebar to be permanently displayed – example: Shelfari, Goodreads.
Once the author returns the guest post or Q@A information, and I add it to my review, the post goes live on my blog. I take the time each day to tweet and post the review to face book and other sites for exposure. I belong to one website that thousands of other book reviewers belong to, which means I have access to thousands of other bloggers. I am a member of twenty groups on this site and I promote the books I review on each group’s page. What this means to an author, is I promote their book to thousands of potential buyers on this one site. I have memberships on several different websites, and I spend a lot of time promoting books.
I think most authors appreciate the work we do, and the exposure that book review blogs can offer. I am not sure, however, how many realize the time and effort some of us put into the review process. That is the reason I decided to write about the book review process. I spend an average of eight to ten hours on each book I agree to read and review.
So…no I have no swampland to sell – wouldn’t have the time if I did – I’m reviewing your book. I would love to hear feedback from authors and book reviewers on this topic.