Professional reviews... no need to shudder. Trust me.

As authors, we are often asked for advanced reading copies (ARCs) for reviewers and book bloggers.  As a newbie author, I thought I needed to say yes to all opportunities for a review because it equalled publicity in my mind.  But that’s wrong thinking.  Now that I’m more experienced, I know that not only do we have some control over our professional reviews, we need to own responsibility for the fact that it’s our name on that front cover.

When asked by a book blogger or reviewer for an ARC, do your research. Do they have a following or are they just looking for a free read?  What kind of books have they reviewed in the past and were they like yours? Do you like the way they write? Yes, this is important because you’re going to use this review to promote yourself.  Look at the reviews they’ve written and decide if they can articulate themselves---after all, if they’re judging your writing, you have every right to do the same. 

There will be instances where a book reviewer will get the ARC from your publisher, in which case you’ve been taken out of the loop. That’s fine, that’s simply how the business works.  Just like with reader reviews, your responses to the review highlight you as either a professional or an amateur. 

Never respond to a bad review, especially from a reader.  I know we’re all tempted to go into defensive mode, but I’m urging you not to do that.  Every great book written and every prolific author gets bad reviews.  This business is highly subjective.  In the long haul, if you’ve written a good book, the positive reviews will outweigh the negative.  Responding in a defensive way will turn off anyone who may be objective.  Just let it be--rant to your significant other, your friends, your dog, your Muse, the bartender--but don’t put anything in writing.

On the flip side, always thank a professional book blogger or reviewer for their time, even if you received a mediocre review instead of the 5 out of 5 stars you know you deserve.  If you intend to be a career novelist, then every step along the way is building the foundation of your success.

The key here is knowing that we authors do have some control over who reads our ARCs and who doesn’t.  It’s okay to say no to someone who claims to want to do a review yet only has a following of ten people and writes like they’re in second grade. This is your career, your work that you’ve labored over, your name on the cover--own it.  We authors have no control over the general public and what they’ll say, so take the control we do have and use it to your advantage. 

Guest post by Amber Lea Easton, a multi-published fiction and non-fiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry.  Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows.
Amber Lea Easton 

Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.  Her romantic suspense novels, Riptide and Kiss Me Slowly, are currently available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and

Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and lifes twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream." 

Follow Author Amber Lea Easton via Twitter @MtnMoxieGirl, on her Facebook Author page or her blog at


  1. This is a great post! I particularly like the part about book bloggers. We've spoken about whether an author should comment on reviews or not on my blog (Riverina Romantics) before so your statement about acknowledging the time that we put into our reviews really pleased me.


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