With so many self-published books on the market today, many new authors are wondering how to get those elusive five star ratings. We've all been through it at least once. We submitted our book for review expecting accolades and instead the review we got back was as tepid as warm soup. How did that happen? How could the book you poured your heart and soul into only rate three stars? Worse! How could it possibly have received only two? The following are just some of the reasons why your book failed to impress a reviewer.
Today I am very pleased to welcome guest blogger and author Laurinda Wallace. Laurinda has some very wise words on using Beta-Readers, what they do and what you need to know. Enjoy!
What's a beta reader? That question has been asked plenty of times when I mention the term. So here's the definition: a beta reader gets to read my manuscript after I've finished the revisions and before my editor gets her hands on it. Betas offer input on everything from the plot, to characters, to settings---everything. Nothing is off limits. My readers are six women who've agreed to give me honest feedback about each book I write. All were handpicked by me because they meet the qualifications below:
As an author, writing a book is the first challenge. As an indie author however, formatting and designing it is your second one. You want to put your best foot forward in this process because you don't want your readers to be able to tell the difference between your self-published book and a traditionally published book. If you have money you can get someone to design your cover as well as design and format your interior. However, if you are like me and you can't afford to do that, you have to do it yourself. The challenge of course is - can you make your interior look as professional as the exterior? That's assuming you invested in a cover designer, because if you haven't it will be obvious. If you have to spend money anywhere in the creation of your book, spend it on editing and a cover. Self-published book covers that are done in Microsoft Word are obvious and yes, I know you think what you created looks great. But trust me, we can tell you did it yourself. Unless you specialize in design, don't even attempt to design your own cover.
But today I don't want to talk about book covers. I want to talk about the inside of your book and the pages you should be including before you get to your actual book.
As a review site I thought it might be prudent to start these posts off on how to approach someone to review your book. We have a form on the site for you to submit your book but what if you run across a blogger or a book reviewer for a newspaper or magazine whose reviews you like, and you wondered if they would be as generous with your book? You've done your research, you've discovered their favourite genres, so what's next? How do you approach them?
The following are requests I've actually received over the years for reviews. Let's look at what you shouldn't do when asking for a book review.