A Candid Conversation About Book Reviews


I’m one of the reviewers at InD'tale Magazine. I’d like to talk to you about the general worth of professional book reviews, our Crowned Heart of Excellence, and what it means.  Say you recently released a book, or have an upcoming release, and you’re wondering if you (or your publisher) should submit the book to be reviewed. In a word—yes, by all means, yes!
Your goal should be to gather as many reviews for your book as possible, with the added importance of garnering at least one credible, quality professional review.
Because reviews posted in online magazines, on online purchase platforms like Amazon or Goodreads, and reviews written on the book itself are guides to help interested readers decide if they want to buy the book or not. Have you ever shopped for something, a lawn mower, TV, kitchen appliance, or anything else and checked out the reviews first? It is the same for books. Readers have so many choices in their genre, reviews help them filter through the options.
What is so important about a professional review?
In a nutshell, along with lots of personal opinions, you need one or two that, by mere name of the reviewing publication, will hold the weight needed to give your book credibility. Since I review for InD'tale Magazine, I will stick with our review process. So, let’s go deeper into the process for a moment to help you understand why a professional review is so imperative.
InD'tale’s reviewers, like me, are assigned books each month by the review coordinator, based on our genre preferences. This way we’re not given a book in a genre we just don’t like. Steam levels are also within our preferences. Reviewers are tasked with reading each book with an open mind, open notebook, and then asked to rate the book from a set of criteria on a scoresheet.
This scoresheet includes such things as creativity, pacing, characterization, technical writing, conflict, and more. Each main area has further breakdowns of sub-topics within it. A 1-5 score is assigned to each individual thing on the list, not just to each “area.”
Meaning, a book is not just given a rating based on one or two areas, the scoresheet is two pages long and comprehensive, and because the scores are given for every item listed, a book weak in one area can make up for it in others and still earn a high star rating. All of the numbers are added up, and a grand total is given. That grand total number is how the star rating is assigned.

Read the entire article in the June 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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