Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Utilizing the Book Blog Reviewer

Reviews are key to getting sales for your book, and a valuable resource is book blogs. On my sidebar is an extensive list, from the super busy who may not have time for you, to the ones just starting out who will be happy to get your request.

My Top Ten Tips on Getting Book Blog Reviews:

1. Start early researching reviewers. Don't wait until your launch. Look for reviewers in your genre. They will have an About Us page as well as Guidelines for Requesting Reviews page. Read it carefully to see if they'll be a good fit for you and your book.

2. Develop a relationship with the ones you pick. Follow their blogs and show up regularly. Comment on their posts. Thank them for their reviews. You yourself will need a blog to effectively implement this important step.

3. Pay attention to how they review a book. Some will copy and paste a Goodreads summary, and then give just a word or two about the book. Sorry, but this is not a review. You are looking for valid book reviewers, not just those willing to make an announcement about your new release. Watch for those who are intelligent, fair, and thorough in their reviews.

Helpful reviews will give highlights of the story, discuss themes, plot and characters, share how the story made them feel, talk about what they liked about it as well as what bothered them. "I don't like the cover," is not a review and is not helpful. You don't want a reviewer who gushes over everything, or one who is too critical-- you're looking for a nice balance

4. Check out the title of their blog. It should be something that will display well with a quote or blurb on your website or your book page on Amazon. Again, check out my sidebar and see how cool some of these blog names are. They legitimize the review, add interest to the blurb.

5. After you have chosen your favorite reviewers and visited their blog so they know who you are and it's finally time to email your review request to them, be sure to explain why you picked them.  Copy and paste requests are too easily ignored and refused. Make it personal.

6. Be patient but clear. Reviewers get a lot of requests and the good ones are busy. The good ones also read the book all the way through and take their time in writing a thoughtful response. Tell them your release date, give them a deadline if they ask, but let them know you'd still value their review regardless of when they get to it.

7. Don't get upset if it's not the 5 star review you had hoped for. Positive blurbs can be gleaned from just about any response. I once asked one of my English professors for a blurb. Her response after reading my ms of Uncut Diamonds, was critical and in the end said she couldn't recommend it. But she did say that she really loved the dialogue. Cool. We went with that because "I really love the dialogue..." makes a fine blurb.

8. Thank them privately, even if the review was less than you had hoped for. No need to add a thank you comment on your Amazon or Goodreads site. You want to be invisible and not seem like you're checking out all your reviews and commenting on them. That inhibits potential reviewers. But a private email showing appreciation is appropriate and should be sufficient.

9. Don't pay for anything. There was a time when paid review sites were popping up everywhere. After the negative press that led to Amazon removing reviews, I wouldn't think paying for reviews is even considered anymore. I never have done it or recommended it. Why should we pay? There are thousands upon thousands book review blogs out there, with more popping up every day. They are book-lovers happy to get an ARC in exchange for a review. Do NOT pay for reviews. It's completely unnecessary and even frowned on in the current climate.

10. Don't stop now. After the excitement of your launch and those first initial reviews you may think, okay time to write the next book. Which it is, of course. But still continue following book reviewers, add to your repertoire, keep building those valuable relationships. New blurbs and reviews will add to the saleability of your book, even if it's been out for awhile.

23 comments:

  1. I follow quite a few blog reviewers and have sent contacts to my publisher for both books.

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    1. Alex, This brings up another excellent point--the publisher.

      Whether it's your or your publisher that asks for the reviews and delivers the ARC (either print or electronic), be sure to share the information! Both publisher and author need the responses to use as blurbs and the links to reviews to share on social media. Double the effort means double the exposure!

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  2. Great advice Karen! I'm going to have to book mark this. ;)

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  3. Thank you so much for the tips and the list of reviewer sites. You rock, lady!

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  4. Point #7 reminds me of the blurbs I see on DVD and movie posters for real clinkers. You know, the sort that quotes a respectable source with a two word blurb that just screams faint praise. I'd add- make sure the quotation is effective.
    Love point #9. Can’t say that strongly enough.

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  5. Dear Karen, this list is going to help me next time I get a book published! Thank you.

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  6. I'm friends with some book bloggers. I'm always grateful when they read one of my novels.

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  7. I know you're right - but I'd far rather spend the time writing, or travelling - which probably explains why I don't have many reviews@

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  8. Thanks for this list, Karen. It's good to have more advice while I look for more ways to promote Locked Within.

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  9. This is excellent, Karen. I love to write reviews and I just did one for a book published by a blogger friend of mine, both on my blog and on amazon. I love it when I get an email from amazon where someone says my review was the most helpful. And so far a couple of people said they bought my friend's book based on my review. I really enjoy that. However, I have never reviewed a book I didn't like if it was written by a blogger friend. How do these more professional people handle that? Once you give them your book, you have to be prepared for their honest review? I will refer my friend to your blog if she doesn't already follow you.

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    1. Inger, Writers must prepare themselves to take the bad with the good. Even bestselling authors get bad reviews! But since I'm not a professional reviewer, I don't post negative reviews on books by people I know either. And I no longer post reviews on Amazon. They removed a bunch of mine so I'm not going to bother anymore. However, I do review every book I read on Goodreads. By read, I mean finish :)

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  10. Awesome post, Karen. I'm really excited (and a little intimidated) about this step in the publishing process. Your advice and your resources are invaluable.

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  11. I heard about those people who paid other people to write good reviews of their books, which really made me question not only the books themselves but also the writers.
    This is all very good advice, especially the part about getting to know your reviewers and doing research on them. I typically don't do reviews on my blog, but I have received many requests from people who don't even read my blog yet claim that their books are "relevant" to what I write about and will be appealing to my followers. It's clear that they know nothing about me because their books typically don't have anything to do with what I write.

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    1. Neurotic, And as busy as you are I'll bet you anything you don't bother with such inane requests. Who would? Copy and paste requests that show no relevance to one's own blog are just too easy to ignore.

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  12. I do like your festive blog header pic!!! Yay!

    Take care
    x

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  13. Hi Karen .. I had to go back and check your festive header - it is great.

    Love the points you make here - which I'm sure will make essential reading for many and be valuable in the times ahead.

    Interesting thoughts you put out .. especially about your Uncut Diamonds ...

    Cheers and happy Christmas preparations .. Hilary

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    1. Hilary, Glad you like the banner! It took some time to get it right but thanks to the amazing photographic talents of my daughter in law, it finally happened. And I am READY for Christmas. Just finished the last of my wrapping today!

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  14. Thanks for the great tips! Love the new banner. :-)

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  15. Just learning the ropes here. Thanks for your help. Great post!

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  16. Thanks for this, Karen! Any tips for getting reviews on a book that's already been out awhile?

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  17. Thanks for this, Karen! Any tips for getting reviews for a book that's already been out awhile?

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    1. Joanne, Good question! I'd suggest stating that in an email, that your book's been out for awhile but you'd still love to have them take a look and would appreciate a review.

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