Here are some things book reviewers like:
- Review copies which we don’t pay for. Before you think you’ve died and gone to book heaven, though, realize that the implicit contract is “we send you this book with the expectation that you will read it, review it, and send us a link or your written review in a reasonable time–usually within two months.” And if you think you are getting a deal, just consider the retail cost of the book divided by the time it takes to read it, write your review, and post it.
- I like getting real books rather than e-galleys. I know this is more costly, but I find I interact better with print copies than e-galleys, and hopefully write better reviews.
- I appreciate it when publishers and authors re-tweet, post, and otherwise share reviews, particularly with links to the blog. I understand that they won’t publicize something they think is unfavorable, of course. But we work in a symbiotic relationship. I help get the word out about books and usually I choose to review things I think are worthwhile. Publishers and authors can help bring new people to my blog and extend its reach.
- I don’t expect it, but it is always nice to hear from an author. Perhaps the best message is, “you understood what I was saying and represented it accurately.” Of course, I don’t mind being corrected if I am wrong.
- I enjoy people who read my reviews and ask questions or share their own take on a book if they have read it, even if they disagree with mine. Reviewing online is an interactive process. I appreciate it when people take the time to understand what I’ve written and engage with me. I hope I show that! I learn, and sometimes change my own mind when I read others thoughts.
- I love it when a review encourages someone to get the book. I’m not a bookseller, but reading worthwhile books and reading them well is something I care about because it is vital to lifelong learning, and thoughtful engagement with our world.
- I love it even more when I hear from someone after they’ve read a book they bought because they read a review at Bob on Books, especially when they’ve had a good experience with the book.
- Sometimes there are people I don’t even know are paying attention, who I’ll run into personally, who tell me they follow the blog, or really appreciated knowing about a particular book, or reading a particular post.
- I started writing reviews because they helped me remember what I read and what I thought about what I read. I still love that because it makes me a more intellectually engaged reader. And if it proves helpful to others, all the better!
Bob on Books is coming up on its fifth birthday and over that time, I’ve written over 1600 posts, including roughly 700 reviews. On balance, it has been a great experience, and much of the reason has to do, not with books as much as I love them, but with people–ranging from helpful publicists to fascinating authors to booksellers who really love books and work like crazy to make a go of it. Finally, there are all of you, who follow, who write and comment–sometimes online, and sometimes personally. Thank you for reading, writing, and interacting and making this a space where people across their differences talk about things that matter!