As a children’s author, I’m very aware that it’s never easy securing reviews in print. Unless you’re already well-known, or have written a children’s book aimed at the adult market, the chances are slim. And the problem that not having reviews means for anyone wanting to create an advert is that you won’t have any good, punchy quotes.
Children’s book reviewers online, on blogs and the like, are still getting established so there remains quite a bias towards the authority of old media. A favourable snippet (even tailored) from a big newspaper will look wonderful writ large in the advert, and will definitely add kudos.
Now having said all that, this advert for The Museum’s Secret by Henry Chancellor (it has no visible website, otherwise I’d link to it!) from Saturday’s Guardian does have a good quote – from the Times – about the first chapter being as gripping as an Indiana Jones film. But that is the second quote. To make up the numbers they’ve reproduced an ‘amazing’ un-credited quote from a review on Amazon.
For anyone who’s never looked at the reviews on a book’s Amazon page, I can tell you that there’s a good chance two of them will be by members of the author’s family, three of them in their circle of friends, and one of them by their cat. Alright, I maybe made up that last one, but you get the idea.
I’m not saying that the review isn’t real, because it is, it’s by someone called Davina, and here’s the link. She’s the first reviewer of the book on the page. (I must admit, I prefered her other review of a pregnancy book, which started, ‘ OK if you are a 1st time mum with no clue and no instincts’.)
So come on Oxford Children’s Books, if you’re willing to print quotes to sell books, do everyone a favour and credit them to their creators. Without a source it’s of no use and might well have been written by the author’s mum.