Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So, How Much Credit Do You Get If You Review Books?

As those of you who subscribe to my Sharing with Writers newsletter, I sometimes run a feature called Q&A a la Ann Landers, one of my favorite columnists from the days when I helped do page layouts and edit for The Salt Lake Tribune. I just love the format.  Anyway, occasionally I rerun one of my favorites here.

If you'd like to subscribe so you don't miss a single one (or submit questions to be answered there!), please send an e-mail to with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. 

Dear Carolyn,

I have been reviewing newly released books (and enjoying it very much). I think my reviews are well done and fair. At the end of the review I write, "Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont." Where allowed (only on Amazon), I post a link to Crestmont.

I thought it was the industry standard for authors to list their books when reviewing to give credence to their status as an author reviewer. However, recently, I received a criticism that it appeared I was trying to promote my own book, not the one being reviewed. The author of the book The Other Life, Ellen Meister, was thrilled with my review. When you read the review, you will see that there is nothing in it about my book, only Ms. Meister’s.

Am I following industry standard here, or, in your opinion, am I off track?

This is the only criticism of this nature I have received from any of the twenty-two reviews I have posted. I want to remain professional, but, in addition, would like to be known for the book I've written. I am very new to the industry and respect your opinion. Can you give me some guidance?

Thank you so much for your help.

Best wishes,

Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont, 
"Crestmont is a fine and riveting read for historical fiction fans, highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Review


I agree with you, Holly. And you are backed by the experts. The LA Times for instance, uses a credit line in the reviews in their Calendar section. It often gives the title of a book written by the reviewer. So does The New Yorker, one of the greatest magazines of all time (in my humble opinion!). Most feel that a book published by the author of an article (or a review), gives that review more credibility.

If you'd like to know more about writing reviews as part of your platform and career, check out Mayra Calvani's The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, .

One word of caution, though. Though Amazon provides the link capability, they have very strict rules governing credits. And they change all the time. So you might want to check their guidelines or go back and remove the live link to your book. But I certainly wouldn’t remove your mini biography or your title.

One other suggestion, double-check the automatic link that Amazon provides when people add content to their site. There is a way to include your title there as well, and that link goes back to your Amazon profile page.

PS: You'll also find a chapter on how to promote you book by writing book reviews in The Frugal Book Promoter.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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