The Giving and
Receiving of Book Reviews
suspect by now you have my message that the best gift
you can give your favorite novelist or a writer whose
book has helped you in your life or career is to write
a career. But did you know that when you do that, you
can also benefit your own book or business? In other words,
you can make a good deed—in this case writing reviews
for others’ books—work to benefit your own
life in both the sense of Karma and in the real, down-to-earth
sense of benefiting in little ways like building your
Google footprint or furthering your career.
not worry. It’s all ethical. It’s all part
of traditional publishing industry standards. You include
bylines and tag lines or credit lines as part of the copy
you submit. You know what a byline is. Your name appears
under the headline of an article, book title, or whatever,
and suddenly those solitary hours sitting in front of
a computer make sense. Tag lines or credit lines are the
caboose on almost everything you publish.
identifiers are as important as a lunchbox filled with
a hearty sandwich is to a railway engineer. Without one
he or she would have a tough time maintaining the energy
to keep the train moving. These credits are your assurance
that if someone wants to communicate with you or offer
you an opportunity, they can do it easily. By including
them as part of your submissions, they help you control
what you would like your audience to know about you and
even direct them to the best place to learn more about
your book. They also help the author whose book you are
reviewing. Because your name is known by many (or soon
will be), they add credibility to any review you write.
know which media use credits and what styles they prefer
because you read their submission guidelines and pay attention
to the styles of the magazines, newspapers, and Web sites
you read. No matter what you write—including reviews—you
save your editor the trouble of writing the tagline by
submitting your copy the way you’d most like to
see it. In doing so, you make her job easier and maintain
better control of your own branding.
credit line should include your name, the URL or address
of your Web site, the name of your book, and a little
about you. It’s a nice extra to include an e-mail
address your readers can use to give you feedback. Many
authors maintain a separate e-mail account to accommodate
and identify responses generated from their credit lines.
Rarely seen in taglines is some kind of a
hook to encourage the reader to visit your Web site.
It might be an offer for a free e-book, a contest, or
an intriguing bit of information that will pique the
reader’s curiosity enough to take action.
these credit lines can be expanded to a mini biography.
You will have one in your media kit, and to save time
you can copy-and-paste it at the end of the reviews where
word count is not as important or style guidelines aren’t
as restrictive. Many bloggers, as an example, love to
publish a full paragraph with your review rather than
keeping the credit line to twenty-five or fifty words.
See examples of taglines in Chapter Twelve.
are two examples, the first a mini bio, the second a shorter
tagline. The longer one might be a credit used with an
article on a Web site where length is not as important.
Notice that information may be mixed and matched to fit
with style guidelines for different media and to suit
the different titles (genres) an author may write in.
of a Long Tagline or a mini biography:
Krygier is the author of First the Raven, When She Sleeps,
and Keep Her. She was a finalist in the Ernest Hemingway
First Novel Competition the James Fellowship, and the
William Faulkner Writing Competition. Lauded for her
“linguistic spell” and “poetic prose,”
Leora is also the author of Juvenile Court: A Guide
for Young Offenders and Their Parents. She is a referee
with the Superior Court of Los Angeles, and has been
profiled in the LA Times for her innovative use of essay
writing in juvenile dispositions. She lives in Los Angeles
with her husband and is looking for the perfect poodle
to become a member of her family.”
of a Short Tagline, the kind that newspapers and some
Krygier is a juvenile court referee and frequent contributor
to magazines for young adults and parents. Reach her
and a personal touch can work very well in your credits
Editors may edit your tagline or may not use it at all.
If they publish content you have offered at no charge,
they should include a tagline or mini bio as a courtesy
and probably will if you’ve included it as part
of the copy you submit. If not, politely request that
they use one. If they refuse, offer your material elsewhere
is an exception to the rule for using credit lines with
your reviews. Do not include either a byline or credit
line. However, when you have an Amazon Author Profile
Page, your reviews on the site will link to that page.
It’s a very nice tradeoff indeed. Check Chapter
Nine of this book much of this column was excerpted from
(How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically:
The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain
a writing career) will give you information on babying
your Amazon Profile Page and Chapter Five will tell inexperienced
reviewers a little help writing reviews they can be proud
Tips and Tidbits
(Each month in this box, Carolyn
lists a Tidbit that will help authors write or promote
better. She will also include a Tip to help readers
find a treasure among long-neglected books or a
sapphire among the newly-published.)
for Holiday Gifts for Friends and Writers
for Writers and Readers!: :Everyone is a
reviewer these days. It’s about time.
I have always loved to share our love of
books. My new How
To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically:
The ins and outs of using free reviews to
build and sustain a writing career is newly
available as a paperback book. It is a big,
fat 340 page book that covers the getting
and writing of reviews so thoroughly that
it will be helpful to both readers who want
to share their books and writers who need
to use them to share the books they have
recently reviewed Herodotus’
Histories (published by Penguin) here
on MyShelf.com. If you’ve tried to
read it and put it aside, now is the time
to try again. If you’ve always wanted
to read it and haven’t, now is the
time to do it. The translation and foreword
are truly remarkable and the paperback is
a special edition worthy of placing on a
coffee table to impress fellow readers.
Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist, poet
and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of
how-to books. She occasionally teaches classes for the
renowned UCLA Extension Writers' Program.
Website - My
Review Blog - Email