Reviews are Important, right?
There are a fair number of posts on the internet about how to rustle up book reviews.
- We can add a plea to our author’s pages.
- We can give away copies of our books (with a disclaimer stating that a review is optional, of course).
- We can research top reviewers of books like ours, make lists, send emails, try not to be annoying.
- We can pay to add our books to lists where potential reviewers can download copies.
- We can hire marketing professionals.
- We can badger, beg, remind, reward, and ask nicely.
I browse the web once in a while, looking for the miracle formula.
You guessed it – I never find it.
However, I did find a Goodread’s Review Group and have participated several times in Reading Rounds. Their process is “Amazon Approved” because the reviews aren’t reciprocal. I actually like this no-fuss process. The reviews are honest, timely, and just about guaranteed.
How Reading Rounds work:
Ten people sign up to read each other’s books. Author One reads the books written by authors 2, 3, 4, and 5. Author Two reads books by authors 3, 4, 5, 6. The sequence continues and wraps around forming a circle. Everyone ends up giving and receiving four honest reviews.
Considerations and a few rules:
Four reviews for no fuss. All you have to do is read four books. You don’t get your pick of books; they are assigned by a moderator who makes sure that there’s no reciprocation.
No cost. Your only commitment is to read. This commitment is taken seriously by the group.
Guaranteed reviews (almost). It’s possible that someone will sign up and then blow off a review. If they do, they lose the privilege to participate in the future. I have received all reviews from every round in which I’ve participated, so I think this problem is very rare.
A schedule of due dates for reviews is posted by the moderator. There’s always plenty of time read and review (about 3 weeks per book).
Reviews are honest and Goodreads authors are a tough crowd. Unless a book is one of those “loved” finds, don’t count on 5-stars.
DNF (Did Not Finish) is not permitted. You must read the book from start to end, even if it has no punctuation, the writing is incoherent, and it’s 700 pages long.
You can only participate in one Reading Round at a time.
Reading Rounds are set up based on broad genre parameters. This increases the chance readers will enjoy the books assigned to them. The most common groupings are:
- Out of this World – Speculative Fiction: fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, horror
- In this World – Anything but Speculative Fiction
- General – Just as stated, this group is open to all types of books. My only warning is that you may end up with some of those reviews that start with: “I don’t usually read (this genre)…”
- 18+ – This group seems geared toward books with sex/erotica. I submitted a violent grim-dark fantasy and got a couple of those “I don’t usually read this genre” reviews. Just be forewarned.
- Less frequently, there are groups specifically for novellas, YA, or children’s books.
Finally, it’s fun to discover new favorite authors, make friends, and dip into genres that you might never have thought to try.
Here’s the link to the Goodreads Review Group and think about joining (you can always drop out if it isn’t for you). Once joined, click on “Reading Rounds,” check out the complete rules, and think about giving it a try. If a group is forming it will state “forming” in the title.