Romance Reviews

This workshop was a little disappointing to me, though perhaps it was my expectations that were wrong. I went because I thought they’d be talking about different review sites. Instead, they only talked about the 3 sites managed by the 3 panelists.


Moderator: Angela James, Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches),
Elissa Petruzzi (Romantic Times), Rose Fox (Publishers Weekly)

Twitter: #rwareview

PW: Books are reviewed by freelancers. They do write negative reviews. They’ve been doing a romance section about 1 year. They do not review digital first, but plan to.

Sarah Wendell: she tries to review books she likes. She was asked what her traffic was and didn’t say. Her DNF (did not finish) review sells as many books as her books she gives an A.

Elissa: reviews are primarily done by readers. They review more than 250 books/month. They also do urban fantasy, mystery and YA. They do digital first and a bit of self-published. They review 3000 titles/year in print and 250 online.

They have Reviewers Choice which they consider the best books of the year.

What will make you more likely to review a book?

PW: the book has to reach me (physically). Small publishers should send her the books. But they must be sent months in advance. Submissions guidelines are way at bottom of site in small print.

PW tries to pick books their readers need to know about –she errs on side of debut authors.

RT also works well in advance. In back of magazine are books they plan to review – 4-5 months in advance. Include: title, genre, your name, one sentence blurb and publication date.

Sarah:  Reads what she’s interested in. She’s not fan of romantic suspense.

Who are you writing the review for?

Sarah – for romance readers

Elissa – for people who love genre fiction – also for industry

Rose PW – for professionals in book world (librarians and booksellers)

Should an author respond to a review?

Elissa – don’t blog negatively (but they will still continue to review someone who does)

Rose – blog your reviews if you want. If you find an error let them know.

Sarah – should author comment on blog? Have a sense of humor if you respond. Don’t try to hide hurt; we’ll see it. But, if an author enters conversation, it will inhibit the conversation. People then know the author is listening. Never tell a reviewer their opinion is wrong.

Can reviewer be impartial with an author they know?

Rose: no review is impartial but she asks reviewer if he can be impartial. Reviewer can always turn down books.

Elissa: yes, they can be impartial

Sarah: authors are not really friends.

Should you say thank you for a positive review?

Elissa – yes

Angela – some reviewers don’t want a thank you.

Sarah – yes

Rose – her reviewers love them.


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