Monday, October 24, 2011

Querying a Book Reviewer Part 1

Here's what I'm doing. I'm going to write the best tips and tricks I can think about to query a book reviewer. I'm asking those who comment/read the post write their own best practices and put the link in the comments. I will add their link to the bottom of this post so we can crowd source the best ways to reach out to book reviewers.

Querying Book Reviewers

The first question many authors have is "Where do I find book reviewers?" This takes some detective work. Try searching a couple of terms in your search engine of choice

  • [Your genre] book blog
  • [your genre] reviews 
  • indie book reviews 
  • book blog tour 
  • indie book blog tour 
Any other similar search tags you can find, use them. I like to keep a notebook and pen or a notepad file open as I do this. When I find a link to a book blog that I think will be a great fit for my book, I copy and paste the link into the file so I have a running list of places to query.

A few sneaky places to find book reviewers? Check out pages for book reviewer conferences. Yep. Sometimes they will put together a list of links from the participating blogs you can just go down and find the right blogs for you. Another place is an existing book tour for another author. Not all of those blog stops will be open for public submissions, especially if the author paid for a blog tour. But it's absolutely worth a shot. 

Submission Guidelines. 

You're not done. Once you have a list going, and this is where paper and pen can come in handy, I like to jot down the submission requirements quickly. Some won't take an ebook, so I can scratch them right off the get-go. I also like to write down one or two reasons why I like the blog site, either a review I enjoyed or a piece of information from the About Me section. There is a reason for this later. 

Set Aside Query Time. 

It takes time to politely and professionally query a book reviewer. Could you write out a form email? Sure. But most genres have a finite number of great book review spots and when was the last time you took action or clicked a link on an email you could tell went to a hundred people? You are asking a book reviewer to volunteer his or her precious time to not only read your book, but write a review. How would you like to be asked to do that task? In a form email or personally? I feel it is the later for most people. 

This is where the specific reasons I liked the blog site come in handy. I always start with a personalized subject title, usually funny. I always THANK the reviewer for taking time to write reviews. Trust me, a free ebook is not enough incentive, do not act like it is. Absolutely no one owes you a review, not even if they get a free book. Why? Because it takes hours of work for each review, and most of the "free ebooks" are a couple of dollars. Even in compensated terms, this is less than a minimum wage job. 

After a greeting, I explain in two or three sentences why I think my book would be a great fit. I use my one sentence pitch of my book, and if you do not have one of these, make one now. It's a great way to instantly get someone interested in your book. I have a few variations, but the basic one is this: 
A robotics engineer engaged to his business partner has a previous one-night stand reappear. Pregnant. And it's his.
Remember, you are using up the reviewer's time, brevity is a must. I close with another thank you and explain I can send the book in any ebook format he or she would prefer (if it's not clear from the submission page). I have also explained I am a do-what-I-say-I'm-going-to-do-author and commit to being present the day of the interview/review/guest post to answer comments. And I answer every single one on the day it runs, but that's another post.

I DO NOT SEND THE FILE UNSOLICITED. Why? There are a few reasons. First, you are a strange email address. Do you open emails from strange addresses with a paperclip on it? Probably not in today's world of viruses and malware. Second, it's rude. It presumes the reviewer will want the file, and judging on the size, could be an inconvenience to the reviewer checking email on a smart device. Third, it encourages more communication. If a reviewer is interested, trust me, he or she will let you know! This gives you another chance to be gracious and nail down dates, giveaways, and anything else the reviewer needs from you (such as links, cover pics, and author pics).

Make sure you ASK them to review the book. I know, this sounds silly, but it's Sales 101. You need to have a line similar to: I would like you to consider CANCELLED for review on sitename. Many authors I'm sure write a nice little email, describe their book, and then forget to ASK the person to review the book! An ask usually goes right before the final thank you.

So there you have it, that's how I approach book reviewers. I take on only 3-4 a week because I'm very serious about not letting anyone down. I hope others include their best tips and maybe a piece about the pros and cons of reviews/interviews/guest posts.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! Now I wish I had read it five minutes previously - just before hitting 'send' on my latest review request.
    My approach to these is to try to flatter them into submission. I think I'll try tickling them with gentle humour next time.
    Thanks for a useful and interesting blog.