What do Reviewers Want?

Written By: Admin - Jun• 17•15
Julie Whitely

#eNovAaW Resident Reviewer Julie Whiteley

How it’s done ~ Approaching a reviewer…

Hi, everyone. I’m  Julie Whiteley, a blogger, reader and reviewer. Jackie asked me to write a post for you concerning issues between authors and reviewers. And, especially to address what reviewers look for and to note some of the things we all need to work on.

What makes a great blurb?

Never judge a book by its cover or by its title! Do not over use superlative adjectives such as Brilliant! Wildly Creative! Don’t write a blurb that is as long as your novel and don’t use a quote or excerpt from the book in the blurb. Blurbs are always composed in present tense. Stick to a brief introduction of plot, hint at the adversity and possible outcomes. Think about a book trailer when writing the blurb. Reviewers are readers first and we like being teased into reading a book just as any other reader. One of my pet peeves is a blurb that rambles all over the place and mentions every character in the book. Reviewers know there is a supporting cast. We’ll meet them in the book all in good time. Sloppy sentence construction and misspelled words in a blurb puts my radar on high beam. While I might be forgiving of some errors, I won’t miss them because the blurb has put me on full alert.

Do reviewers read author profiles?

I cannot speak for other reviewers, but yes, I do read your bios. Books are such a personal experience it is nice to know something about the author and what inspired them to write. I like personal details such as where you are from, if you have pets, why do you write novels, and what other things you like to do. I love finding some zany thing about an author that makes the author seem approachable and human so I feel as if I can relate to you in some way or perhaps have something in common with you. Amazon bios that read like a job resume do not appeal to me. I’m not hiring you for a job. I’m reading and reviewing your book. That’s our connection.

Does back of book data matter?

For an indie author it does. Jackie has told me how she hounds you to put what she calls that little gem at the foot of your book. When I get to the end of your book, I like seeing…

“Thank you for taking time to read Title of Book. If you enjoyed it,  please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated.”

So few indie authors do that, but it tells me you consider your readers. When I reviewed one of Jackie’s books, I was surprised to see a “from the author note.” I read it, and found it so interesting; I asked to interview her for my blog.

The request for a book review.

I often get emails saying: “Will you review my book, please?”  THAT’S IT!

When asking for a review, do introduce yourself, tell the reviewer what kind of book you’ve written. What is the genre? The buy link? Provide a blurb. Offer a book cover or author photo. While this seems obvious to some, apparently it isn’t to others. DO offer the reviewer a free copy of your book in the reviewer’s preferred format. Yes, I do have authors asking for reviews who expect me to buy their book. That is not the done thing and extraordinarily unprofessional.

Never send a reviewer a copy of your book without first asking the reviewer to review it. That is presumptuous and no reviewer feels obligated to read or review a book just because the author sent us a copy.

There’s more: The Good, Bad and the Ugly. But I’ll save it for next time. Jackie has invited me to eNovel Authors at Work and I’m glad to be here—on your side of the fence for a change.  I hope I get to know all of you soon. Visit my facebook page and say hello HERE… Regards, from Julie Whiteley

“I read the reviews with one thing in mind — they’re really none of my business.” ~ Frank Tuttle, author of  Saving the Sammi 

Thank you for visiting eNovel Authors at Work. We share the real scoop with indie authors so that indies can make the best decision for his or her book.  Go here to read the first in a series on promotions. Go here to read actual promotion results and figures from author, Mary Smith. Another excellent report and recent results can be found on Carol Bodensteiner’s blog: Does Paying for Book Promotion Pay off?

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel's newsletter.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel’s newsletter.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of  eNovel Authors at Work, a community of indie authors who believe in paying-it-forward.

Comments and sharing are always welcome.

@Copyright 2015 Jackie Weger

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  1. Sue Ward says:

    I have just read this through, and I have to say, I so very much agree with you.BLURBS I find so many authors even give the spoilers themselves or give so much information that you feel you’ve already read it!

    Yes I tend to agree, as a personal reviewer for several Indie/self published authors and published authors + publishers, its nice to read a “friendly” bio of an author. Its nice to be able to connect with them. In some way.


    When I occasionally read Thank You’s at the end, I feel this is a lovely personal touch. I really dislike seeing it at the front of the book and you have to read through lots of pages until you start the first chapter. I counted 10 pages recently in a book I read, that’s BEFORE I even started to read the story. At the end is preferable to me. It is just a nice ending to the book, and I am happy to read all the thank you’s, and the reference to readers, well, that is an added touch that should be used more often in MHO


    Oh how I understand what you have just written. Totally agree.

    • Sue,
      I’m sure you do understand!! LOL! I agree with you that there is often way too much front matter and people tend to skip over it if it’s at the beginning of the book. Authors should leave a personal note to readers and by all means remind them to leave an honest review of the book. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  2. “Yes, I do have authors asking for reviews who expect me to buy their book.” Wow.

    Thank you for joining us, Julie! It’s great to hear your perspective.

  3. Thanks, Julie. There’s a lot in your article that’s very helpful to know!

  4. melindaclayton says:

    Really great information, Julie – thank you! I had no idea book blurbs were always written in present tense, but it’s something I’ll definitely remember!

  5. Malcolm says:

    A lot of new authors will benefit from reading your post. Like you, I read the author’s bio and the back-cover copy before reading a book, and especially before reviewing it. If the book has surprises, plot twists and other unexpected things in it, the back cover tells me what I can say in a review (without it being a spoiler) and what I can’t. Nice to see what other reviewers do.

  6. Laurie Boris says:

    Great info, thank you! Even though writing a good blurb at times feels like the hardest thing in the world, you offer another good reason why it’s worth the effort.

  7. BigAl says:

    Good advice, however, I would point out that every reviewer is different. If they have a page on requesting a review, whatever it is called, read it and follow the directions, even if (maybe especially if) the instructions differ from the norm.

  8. Wonderfully informative article! So happy you’re part of eNovel Authors at Work, Julie. And Big Al, agree 100%: When all else fails, read the instructions!

    • Thanks Linda! Yes, each reviewer has their own guidelines. It’s a good idea to get all those details worked out in advance so their is an understanding between author and reviewer.

  9. Wow! Look at all these great comments!! Thanks everyone for adding your thoughts and suggestions. I am really excited to be a part of this team!!

  10. Thanks for this informative post.

    I wrote an entire blog post filled with “Thank-yous” after my first sci-fi ebook, This Changes Everything, went on sale, but now I want to put some more gratitude in my “back matter” for Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, which is about to go on sale this spring.

    Thanks for the idea!

    Sally Ember, Ed.D.

  11. Mike Markel says:

    Julie, this is excellent advice. Thanks very much.

    One quibble: Although I’m okay with being human, I don’t circulate my author photo more than necessary. My photo is scarier than the generic devil’s face (or whatever it is) that pops up next to my name on this comment.

    • Mike,
      LOL! I also avoid putting my picture out there. I’m just self conscious I guess, and pretty private. But… a professional photo like you might use on your LinkedIn profile might be a good idea. Eventually, you will have to put your face out there. It’s inevitable.

  12. Dale Furse says:

    Great info, especially how to request a review. And Al’s point of checking any submission rules is a good one. Thanks, Julie. Now I’m off to rewrite my blurbs…again. 🙂

  13. You’re doing good work here, Jackie. Lots of good information. Thanks for mentioning my blog about book promotion results.

  14. […] her post, What Reviewers Want, Jackie Weger suggests that authors add the following line at the very end of their […]

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