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How many books have you read this year that weren’t New York Times Best Sellers?

Chances are, you’ve read a lot of self-published and “indie” novels that are just as impressive!

The development of self-publishing has released a world of expression and unlimited possibilities. Favourable to readers, there is now a never-ending stock of books! The only downside to this infinite stream of content is having to fish through all of it to find what you’d like to read. We as readers must appreciate that not all books appeal to everyone, but we each deserve to read what interests us most. We can help each other decide what to read by sharing our thoughts and identifying the target audience. It is important to share your reviews because we all have different tastes in books, so even if you didn’t like the work, somebody else will!

But how do we target potential readers if we didn’t like the book? Obviously, book reviews are very personal, but remember to keep them subjective, not objective! Make it clear that everything is your opinion rather than a fact about the book, which can quickly ruin its entire reputation. Phrases like “this is bad'' creates a preconceived notion that gives readers a negative first impression before they’ve even had a chance to read it themselves! Instead, say, “this wasn’t my cup of tea” to express your experience but not taint it for others.

One way to target audience is by pointing out the #OwnVoice features, which often draw in and engage readers. Ownvoice features include age, race, nationality, gender, occupation, sexuality, and life experiences similar to those of the reader. These features tend to stick out and resonate with readers who can understand and comprehend the struggles, journey, and happiness that the characters are feeling.

Another way to identify potential readers is by recommending similar books and making comparisons to well-known content. You can hook readers by comparing this work with similar stories, characters, and ideas they’re already familiar with. This method helps readers identify with the types of books they’re interested in and increase their enthusiasm without giving a bias.

The reading community is just that: a community. We read different books, we write different reviews, and we support different OTPs, but we all have one thing in common: we all want to read a great book! What defines “great” differs from person to person, so to help each other out, we should share our reviews after finishing each book to help it flourish. Make sure to submit your thoughts to help a stranger find joy in their reading, because maybe that next stranger is you!


Emma Katherine is a voracious reader, fair and honest book reviewer, publishing intern, and CEO of International Girls and Books.

She runs her own review blog, It's A Novel Life. Find her on Facebook, too!

You can also follow Emma on Twitter at @emkatherineblog, or on Instagram, at @emmakatherineblog.

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