What is an Editorial Review?
Customer reviews aren’t the only reviews that can help give your book credibility and visibility. Editorial reviews can provide valuable insight about your book for potential readers.
Editorial Review versus Editing
While the term editorial can be used an adjective used to describe activities that include editing, there is a difference between editorial and editing. Editorial usually refers to opinions. Editing refers to the activity of correcting or rewriting done to improve written work.
In an editorial review, no correcting or rewriting of a manuscript occurs, even if a professional editor does the review. The review would be more accurately described as editorializing, meaning the act of offering opinions or interpretations of a work.
What Exactly is an Editorial Review?
An editorial review is an objective, third-party review of a book, by a professional editor, columnist, critic, or other authority in the book’s genre or topic. Surprisingly, an author’s friends or family are eligible to write editorial reviews, though their relationship to the author should be clearly noted in the review to identify bias and perspective.
Even more surprising is that editorial reviews may be paid reviews, and Amazon is okay with that! However, they must be posted as editorial reviews, not customer reviews.
Editorial reviewers usually have some special interest, experience, or insight in the genre, topic, or author that lends credence to their opinions of a book. This provides readers with a more in-depth review of the work than that from customers.
Some reviewers are widely recognized for their opinions. A famous example from the entertainment world were film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert who were widely recognized for their “thumbs up, thumbs down” movie reviews. So authors may seek celebrity level reviewers and experts for their work since to even be reviewed by these people is an accomplishment.
When are Editorial Reviews Done?
Are Editorial Reviews More Valuable than Customer Reviews?
Both types of reviews bring different value to authors and readers. Editorial or critical reviews offer third-party or professional opinions on the work. Customer reviews provide feedback from those actually buying the book.
There can be a huge discrepancy between critics’ and customers’ opinions of a book. So which one wins? These days, genuine customer reviews can carry a lot of weight with buyers. Editorial reviews can carry weight with true fans who often want more in-depth opinions. Seek both.
Where Do Editorial Reviews Appear?
Editorial reviews, or portions of them, can be posted in many places including:
- Major media such as newspapers (very common in newspaper book sections!), as well as radio and television shows.
- Amazon book product pages under Editorial Reviews.
- Amazon book descriptions.
- Websites and blogs, including those of the author or reviewer.
- Social media.
- Book promotions and advertising.
- Book cover copy (back cover, dust jacket flaps, etc.)
On Amazon, authors can post editorial reviews they receive on book product pages via Author Central. Multiple editorial reviews are allowed, and some books display several in the hopes of showing how credible and valuable the book is. But they should NEVER be posted as customer reviews!
Should you pay for editorial reviews?
Whether you should pay for editorial reviews depends on multiple factors including:
Budget. No money to hire a celebrity or expert reviewer? Then the decision is easily no. But you may have people within your social or professional sphere who want to support you and your work, and may be willing to do it for free.
Credibility. If having a celebrity or expert editorial review would help your book’s acceptance in your target market, it might be worth it.
Objective Marketing Copy. Within the review, there will likely be a number of statements that would be good as marketing quotes. It’s difficult for authors to say these things about their own work, making a paid review worth doing.
Should you get permission to use the review from the reviewer?
You should have a written agreement with your editorial reviewers that covers how and where you will use the review. The reviewer may instead offer authors a standard agreement with guidelines that they expect to be followed. However, the agreement is done, there should be something in writing.
The agreement should also address royalties. This is particularly the case if the reviewer’s writing is integrated into the actual book manuscript.
Consult a legal professional to develop an agreement for your unique circumstances.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2019 Heidi Thorne