How to Use Reviews Effectively

Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved 


“It's fun. It's fantasy. It's reality. It's a darn good read.”   


These were the first sentences of the first review I ever received for my very first book, and you can understand, I’m sure, how pleased and excited I was to read it. It went on to say: 


“Lady Blue by Judy Bagshaw is a smashing good story, taking you away from your everyday, humdrum, boring existence into a world of blues singers and high powered music executives.” 


I got chills and butterflies, and read the review over and over. I phoned my mother and read it to her. Heck, I read it to anyone I’d ever known! 


“This book is a dream to read. Dramatic, bold with those characters in living color you want to gulp it all down in a single sitting, at the same time regretting and fearing the end of the story.” 


I wanted to find this reviewer and give her a great big hug! The review did so much of build up my confidence as a writer.  


Once you have your romance written and your publisher found and the contract signed, you and your publisher will be sending your book out for reviews too. It’s still one of my favourite parts of the publishing process. 


That’s not to say I haven’t had bad reviews as well, but the good have far outweighed the bad. I remind myself that it is an opinion, and it is subjective, therefore I cannot take negatives personally. This is a good attitude to have—part of growing the thick skin you need in this game. Use the negative comments as a learning opportunity. 


Once you’ve garnered a few reviews, you can begin to put them to work in the promoting and marketing of your book. Remember, a good review gives you “creds” as a writer, and helps build name recognition. 


The obvious first thing is to have them posted on your author website. I have a page devoted to my books and links to reviews and an excerpt for each of the books. Visitors to your site can sample the excerpts and get a feel for what others thought of your work. 


But don’t stop there. Here are some effective uses of reviews for promoting: 


Bookmarks  : Put your author info on one side and review snippets on the other. Or create bookmarks for each of your books—book info on one side, review snippets on the other. 


Brochures  : Include a few key review snippets in your author brochure. 


Media/press kits: Have a page of your best reviews included in your press kit. 


Quotes in print, audio or video promotions : Wherever you promote, include some reviews snippets. 


Query letters: In your query letter when you submit new work, make sure to include reviews of already available work to give your submission an extra kick. 


Flyers  : Flyers that go to customers, librarians, bookstore buyers etc. should include some enticing sections of your reviews. 


Ads/Trailers  : If you create ads or trailers to post on the web, consider incorporating small quotes from key reviews. 


Make sure your publisher has copies of all reviews you receive. They can be posted on your publisher’s site, and possibly used on future printings of the book or on other books by you. 


It’s always nice to send a thank you note (or email) to the reviewer, whether it was a favorable review or not. Most, especially in e-publishing, are not paid so this simple courtesy can mean a lot. Plan on approaching them again with other books you have published. It doesn’t hurt to foster a relationship with a few key reviewers. 


And if you quote a review, give credit where credit is due. Reviewers will remember those authors and publishers who remembered them. 


For more information on promoting, consider these articles: 


Free and Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Romance by Judy Bagshaw 


More Free and Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Romance by Judy Bagshaw 


10 Steps to a Fab Job as a Romance Writer - by Lori Soard 



Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include several novels, a collection of short stories, and short stories in multiple anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in  Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website 



Easy Way to Write Romance - by Rob Parnell