A Book Reviewer is Born
Blog post by Valerie Taylor on 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News
Book reviewing became a new passion of mine in 2019, quite by chance. After I signed the contract with She Writes Press for my first novel, What’s Not Said, I began my search for a publicist.
I had set two criteria for selecting a publicist—location and budget.
Luckily, I discovered Meryl Moss Media (MMM) and met with principals at their office in Westport, CT, on a cold, rainy, and windy day in January 2019. Though I was a debut author, I was treated as though I’d written the next, great bestselling novel, spending more than an hour talking about my goals, my book, and their credentials.
Since there was a year and a half before What’s Not Said was scheduled to be published, I was concerned that I was being too anxious, too premature.
That’s when I learned about BookTrib, a subsidiary of MMM that exists to address the needs of “under-the-radar authors,” like me.
They showed me a menu of options to promote my book from which I could pick and choose the options I wanted. This meant I could manage my budget according to my terms.
But wait, BookTrib wouldn’t start promoting my book until three to six months out. What could I do in the meantime?
Build my “platform,” they suggested. Honestly, someone should create a four-letter word for platform, because to a novice it feels like a swear word. Before leaving their office, I promised I would do that. At least I’d try.
Anything else I could do?
Certainly. Would I be interested in being a book reviewer, a Contributing Author?
I jumped at the opportunity without much thought. On the plus side, I’ve read and reviewed a dozen really great books over the last year. On the downside, it’s a significant time commitment—both reading and reviewing—especially when my own writing beckons.
Once the review is published on BookTrib.com, the work doesn’t stop there. I post it to my website and promote through social media and on other book-related websites. For me, that’s one of the most important aspects of the process because I’m simultaneously self-promoting my own work.
Recently, in fact, a publicist read my reviews on BookTrib and reached out and asked if I would read and review her client’s book.
So the circle is complete. With What’s Not Said published, and the sequel, What’s Not True, scheduled to release in August 2021, I’m no longer just a debut novelist, but a published author and a credentialed book reviewer.