How do I select reviewers?

Imagine you have spent anywhere from three months to a few years writing a 80K + word novel in a genre you love.

Now you need critiques or reviews, or both.

You can contact other writers you know and ask kindly if they would like to critique your book, detailing the genre, length and any other relevant information, like series number and ideal reader.

Or you can write a blog entry requesting reviewers like J A Konrath did on his blog. Understandably, J A Konrath has a huge following, and he writes thrillers which is very popular in USA.

I recommend copying his blog process and keeping it handy for when you are ready to market your own eBook or pBook in the future. Remember, publishers expect you to actively participate in the marketing of print books these days.

But how does a new author who does not write popular genres like thrillers select reviewers? Especially a new author who does not spend time on social networks like Twitter or Facebook or others sites. (Yes, that’s me. I do not participate in Twitter or Facebook because I don’t have time for it, and I refuse to give my personal details to companies that collect and distribute the data to other companies so they can pitch their products to me.)

I thought about asking for general education level, knowledge level in writing fiction, knowledge level in the genre for critiques, and for the readers previous review in the genre the reader normally reads. Not sure if the people offering their time would appreciate the questions.

I know I can look for SiFi groups on the internet and join their web site, research previous reviews and participate in commenting, but as everyone learns at a different pace, I wonder if the time involved will achieve the outcomes I am looking for.

I sent my latest novel to reviewers and got one good review. The reviewer also requested my next novel in the series to review.

Another reviewer gave me an in-depth critique, not a review. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful critique, and there were questions asked I would never have thought of.

But it did bring up the question as to what qualifications should a reader have for either a review or a critique in a particular genre.

So, for a critique from a writer who knows one genre inside out, for example romance or thriller, or a review from a reader who loves fantasy, what useful comments would result from reading in another genre?

Remember, my novels are science fiction adventure where romance is only background information, the high points are surviving either the planet or alien technology, and the only emotion touched on is surviving to achieve some outcome, but with few or no details on personal emotions.

In two of the five reviewers (so far) I have been questioned on showing feelings when the romantic interest kissed the protagonist, but in SiFi you do not write in-depth on romance and feelings, unless you mix genres.

SiFi is about physics and other aspects of science based on what we understand now and projected into the future, so laptops now could turn into plastic that can be rolled up or folded but still collect data and compute other probabilities, etc. It could be as small as a fingernail, or placed behind an eye, or built into a contact, and still work as a computer does now, using thoughts rather then keystrokes or touch screens. But it is still science as we know it projected to future times.

So, ignoring the conflict of what others perceive as SiFi, I will continue to believe in my stories and continue to write to improve my writer’s voice while telling stories I want to read, because I am my ideal reader.

Back to my dilemma …

How would you select critique readers and review readers? Or what have you done in the past to get either critique readers or reviewers?


2 comments so far

  1. Angela/Curiocat on

    Diane,you’ve asked a tough question. To be honest when you’re just starting out I’m not sure you can select your own reviewers.

    There a people you can pay to do a critique for you. Maybe someone at a college or university like a teacher looking for extra money?

    As for reader reviews, perhaps you can offer the book free to the first ten people who buy it in return for a review?

    Just some thoughts. I’ll be interested to learn what you decide.

    • djmills on

      Good suggestions! I agree that it is a tough question. I am grateful for all reviews (good or bad), but I am learning that some carry more weight than others. I am sorting out in my mind how to recognise the helpful reviews from not so helpful reviews. The only thing I can come up with is I need to know if the reviewer is widely read in the same genre as the story being reviewed.

      I think critiques are different, and well worth the money, if I find someone who specialises in the same genre. Otherwise, following HTRYN is the best critique I can do myself.

      I love the processes J A Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith used on their latest books, and will follow them, but of course, I am not in their league yet! 🙂

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