Today on Moonbeams over Atlanta we are going to talk about Author Etiquette in regards to asking reviewers to review their stories. Featured is the 6th Edition Book Reviewer Yellow Pages, released in early May, as a great resource for authors regarding their book’s review, and I’m proud to be included in this book for the second year.
I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I signed up last year, but I’m glad I did. Not only do authors get much-needed publicity, but blog hosts, reviewers, and others in the book world get face time as well. As a reviewer and blog host, I get a lot of email. Some reviewer blogs are actually teams of reviewers (I’m a reviewer at Rainbow Gold Reviews
myself) and have multiple people who manage the reviewing and the blog. Then there are the independents, like myself, that manage their own reviewing and blog.
This year the Yellow Pages has a 10-point section on the RIGHT way to approach book reviewers (pg 17) that I’m posting with permission from publisher. If you don’t know how to approach a reviewer, check it out! At the end of this post is Forward by a well-known author, David Wogahn, that gives insight to the history of Yellow Pages and experience with his own publishing. Most of all, go get this valuable research resource and it will save you time and money.
6th Annual 2015 Book Reviewers Yellow Pages
1. Authors and publishers must realize that a book reviewer is doing them a favor. Book reviews are some of the best publicity in the world, and reviewers perform a valuable service. If you don’t agree, go spend a few thousand dollars on print advertising and see what I mean. Above all else, respect the reviewer’s time and opinion.
2. Know your genre! And don’t be upset if the reviewer doesn’t accept your genre. We all have our likes and dislikes. For example, please don’t try to submit a BDSM book to a “clean romance” reviewer. Everyone is allowed to enjoy what they want. Just move on to the next reviewer. Use our genre index to easily find the reviewers who will accept your book.
3. Even if you get a negative review, you should accept it as valuable feedback. Not everyone is going to like your book. It is never appropriate to berate or attack a reviewer over a negative review. Google the negative publicity that author Alice Hoffman received when she decided to attack a Boston Globe critic by calling her a “moron” following a tepid review of her novel The Story Sisters. Do not stalk or harass a reviewer that gives you a bad review. It’s petty, and it may come back to haunt you.
4. If your book is unedited or full of typos, then you shouldn’t be contacting reviewers in the first place. Nobody wants to read an unedited manuscript.
5. Don’t expect a reviewer to pay for a review copy. They are giving you FREE publicity, and the least you can do is pay for the review copy and the postage.
6. If you would like the reviewer to host a giveaway or a contest, that’s fine, but the reviewer should NOT have to pay for postage or the giveaway copies. Once again, this is a book promotion tool, and the reviewer is doing you a favor. You can either reimburse the reviewer for the postage costs (via PayPal or some other method), or you can send the “contest winners” their copies yourself. And don’t be a flake—if you ask a reviewer to host a contest, make sure you have copies to give away. If the reviewer prefers to mail out the copies herself, then that is fine. Either way, give the reviewer the option and let her decide.
7. Don’t bug a reviewer endlessly about your review once you have sent the book. Reviewers are busy, and many of them get dozens of review requests every week. If they give you an estimate such as “five to six weeks,” then it is appropriate to ask politely after that time period has passed.
8. Many reviewers will request a synopsis of the book to see if they like the subject matter. Be prepared to provide this, and make sure the synopsis is free of typos or other grammatical errors. When I get an e‐mail from an author that is full of errors, I usually just delete it. Do need help crafting a review request? Check out our new review request letters section (next).
9. Always visit the reviewer’s website and read the submission guidelines before you submit your review request. All reviewers are different. Some want a chapter. Some want a few sentences. Some just want a link so they can review the description themselves. Tailor your review request to each reviewer, and you’ll have much better luck getting some free publicity. 10. A quick thank you note to the reviewer is a nice touch, whether the review is positive or not. Also, once a positive review is posted, make sure you visit the blog and leave a comment. Reviewers like followers, so mention that you’ve followed their blog. They also really enjoy hearing an author’s response. It shows professionalism and class.
Foreword by David Wogahn
Book Reviewer Yellow Pages
I wrote my first eBook in 1991. In those days, like today, it wasn’t hard to do if you had something to say and a computer to produce it. But what was hard, was marketing those early eBooks. Even if you advertised the book on a service like CompuServe, Prodigy or AOL, how would you ever find people willing to tell other people about your book? I “discovered” the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages more than five years ago; April 29, 2011 to be exact (then called The Indie Book Review Yellow Pages). Newspapers and magazines were still employing book reviewers and “book bloggers” were considered an anomaly, given the same respect that big publishers were giving the new-fangled eBook formats like Kindle. Fast forward to today and those same reviewers—if they are still writing reviews—most likely have started a blog (and in fact might even be in this book). An indie author trying to get reviewed by a traditional media outlet is an exercise in futility. It’s also fair to say that eBooks have made the big publishers huge profits and now form a permanent part of their publishing operations. Book blogging today has grown into a serious business. It is a necessary marketing tool to promote books and Christy Pinheiro-Silva’s Book Reviewer Yellow Pages—now in its sixth edition—is the definitive guide to this informal network of book reviewers. Collectively they rival the promotional power of the large circulation newspapers and magazines. Individually they can help niche books break-out to a wider audience. And that’s what book marketing is all about: helping thousands of small products in scores of categories seek and find their own passionate audience. How I met Christy is a testament to modern book marketing, itself a lesson for new publishers. As a long-time reader of the pioneering eBook news website Teleread.com, I came across an article saying that her second edition was available for free. Free is still a popular way to connect with readers but in 2011 it was the fastest, sure-fire way to get your name and book noticed. Everyone had Kindles to fill-up and as a book marketer and author, who couldn’t use a free directory? By the time the fourth edition was published in 2013 it had grown to a 778 page tome. Seeing an opportunity for constructive feedback, I took to Amazon reviews to voice my ideas about what makes this guide book so important for my clients, and where I thought it could be improved. I’m happy to say that Christy read that review, contacted me, and took many of those suggestions to heart. Here are the two things you should know about the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages:
- It defines a standard of etiquette. Christy’s 10 rules for author etiquette should be required reading for every author, regardless of whether or not book bloggers are part of your marketing mix. I confess it is so solid that I based a section of my own book, Successful eBook Publishing (Sellbox, 2012) on her advice. The blogosphere would be a better place if every author took her admonitions to heart in all their book promotion interactions.
- It codifies the essential facts about a book blogger, so you don’t have to. Shouldn’t we be able to just “Google” book bloggers and fire off emails to reviewers? Nope. In reality it isn’t that easy. Trying to find the pertinent information so you can approach the reviewer who is right for your book (see point 1) is going to take you hours! There are no standard website designs for review websites, and you will need to visit each one (again, see point 1). Here is where the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages Your small investment will pay big dividends in saving time in finding the relevant reviewers, and their contact information.
But one thing still remains the same, as it did for me in 1991. You simply must get people talking about your book if you are ever going to be a successful author. A book no one talks about is even worse than a book that doesn’t make money. And that’s where this wonderful community of book bloggers comes into play. Let the Book Reviewer Yellow Pages be your Michelin Guide to the Wild West World of book review bloggers. David Wogahn President, Sellbox.com http://www.sellbox.com Publisher, PartnerPress.org Author, Successful eBook Publishing (978-0615710730)