If you put “editorial reviews” into a search engine, you’ll find lots of articles on what editorial book reviews are and where you can find them. Some of the articles might suggest that you could look at lists of reviewers or bloggers and pitch your book to them for a review, and you might be thinking, “Great! I can get what I need for my book’s advertising for free!” Right?
Editorial reviews aren’t the same as book reviews. Editorial reviews are used for the back of the book, for websites and book graphics, and editorial review sections of your book’s online purchasing information.
And here’s why just anyone can’t write one.
A Balanced Viewpoint: Most book reviewers write without a rubric. They use stars or hearts or kisses or bananas for their rating system, but they might not cover everything in your book. They might examine your characters but not your narration. They might mention your editing but not talk about your imagery and symbolism and plot.
Editorial reviews, when done well, offer you a review that covers all the main concerns and interests readers would find in your story, reassuring them that they’ll actually enjoy your book before they buy it.
Professional Tone: Most people approach a book very personally, looking at what they like and don’t like. They don’t really care about whether a book fits its genre or whether it might appeal to other readers. They just want to share what they enjoyed and what they didn’t, and they generally don’t worry about how they sound.
When you get an editorial review, though, you want it to have a professional tone and not sound like either a gushing fan or a raging critic.
Appropriate Grammar: There’s nothing worse than a solid quote you can’t use because of how the writer spelled or worded it. You could always fix the quote, but if you do, it’s technically no longer a quote and could get you into all sorts of trouble. You want your editorial reviews to be full of solid material you can use, word for word, without having to resort to sic.
Positives and Negatives Included: The best editorial reviews will include your book’s weaknesses but mention them in a polite way, thanks to the professional tone. Instead of saying “This writer badly needs an editor” they might say that your book “could use more polish in places.”
Why would you want negatives, you might ask, especially if you’re paying for the review? Because featuring your book’s weak points actually helps you sell more, as readers will trust that the positives are genuine. Otherwise, the whole thing will come off sounding like a paid content advertisement. That will send many readers running for the hills.
Industry-Wide Understanding: Most readers don’t approach books as a business. For them, it’s a hobby, a getaway, or entertainment, but for an editorial reviewer, it’s a job. Thus, they’ll have read far and wide to where they know the genre expectations of books outside their “private reading taste.”
They’ll be able to applaud your efforts even if they, personally, aren’t the sort of reader who would pick up your book.
As you can see, an editorial review is a professional document geared toward fair, unbiased reading. It has more similarities to a newspaper article on your book than a typical book review, and thus, it takes a professional to point the right type of reader to your book.
To see how we handle editorial reviews here at The Book Review Directory, check out our details page for examples and testimonials.