Reviews and Ratings

July 3, 2017

It is essential for any writer who wants to get his or her work taken seriously to get it reviewed and get the review published on a webpage where it can be bought.  Most review sites ask reviewers to rate the books they review and these usually range from 1 star (the lowest rating) to 5stars (the highest).  It is good for the writer’s ego to achieve a large number of 5 star ratings.  This also encourages potential readers to buy and, in the case of sites like Amazon, can help boost its sales ranking.

But a 5 star rating is seldom always possible.  Readers are subjective about what they like to read and an author can never satisfy everybody.  One or two 1 star reviews will always lower a book’s overall ranking, but these should never put the potential reader off reading it.  The ratings are often chosen by the reviewer arbitrarily and a reader should read the reviews from a range of ratings before allowing them to let these influence their choice.

My tendency is to read at least three reviews ranging from the highest star rating to the lowest and then decide for myself if I think that the content of the book might be one that I will enjoy.  But if I have read the author before and like his or her work then this will tend to override the notice I take of the reviews.  More often than not the recommendation of a friend will take president as word of mouth is often the best way that works of real merit are disseminated.  When I finish the book I almost always review it and try to give it as honest a rating as possible.  As a writer-publisher myself, I know that most writers will appreciate this.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

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BOOKS ARE MY BAG

April 23, 2013

The London Book Fair has seen the trade launch of a new campaign to promote books and bookshops – BOOKS ARE MY BAG. www.booksaremybag.com.  The bags look to be cloth and recyclable and not plastic.

The BOOKS ARE MY BAG campaign launches to the public on September 14th 2013 and will run through to Christmas.  There are two elements: a PR Campaign and a Street Campaign

 Street Campaign

The trade launch of BOOKS ARE MY BAG at The London Book Fair got across just how massive the campaign will be.  Booksellers at the fair were placing their orders there and then, and the Book Sellers Association reports already that many independent booksellers are now ordering in good supplies to last the campaign period of 14th September to Christmas.  WH Smith, Waterstones, Blackwells and the large independent sector have signed up.

 PR Campaign

PR will centre on the passion well-known people share for books and bookshops, and a major element of the PR Campaign is a celebrity-led Photo Campaign featuring celebrities and authors.  These have all agreed to be photographed without imposing any fee.  As well as forming the centrepiece of the PR Campaign, all of the celebrity images – as well as those featuring members of the public in bookshops, on the street and in the workplace – will be available for booksellers and publishers to use.

 If you have a A-List UK or Irish celebrity on your books that you would like to be put forward for consideration to be photographed, please e-mail Caroline Hutton, the Campaign Co-ordinator on pidge@me.com


The Blurb on the Back

October 25, 2012

The most blatant piece of advertising connected with a book is the blurb.  With the traditional hardcover and paperback formats it is on the back of the jacket with sometimes the addition of a catchy one liner on the front.  With the ebook and audiobook, where to put it is not so clear but to gain the most benefit it must be placed on the website and all flyers, posters etc. where information about the book is displayed.

The blurb should entice the reader into wanting to read the story. It should never give away the ending.  It differs markedly in this respect from a summary sent to a prospective literary agent or publisher who should always be given more including the ending.

Great tips for writing blurbs can be found at http://www.prarts.com/news_view.aspx?articleid=15&LessonID=2

A good account of the history of blurb writing can be found at http://www.themillions.com/2012/02/i-greet-you-in-the-middle-of-a-great-career-a-brief-history-of-blurbs.html

Examples of what some consider to be the best blurbs can be viewed at http://www.rtbookreviews.com/content/writing-stars-vote-best-back-cover-blurb