Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Do's and Don'ts - Getting Your Book Reviewed




Congratulations, you've written your book! It's been edited, proofread and now it's finally ready to be sent out for review. But how do you go about getting it reviewed? I'm no expert and I don't claim to be, I am not an author (yet!), I have never worked in PR, or at a publishing house. That being said, I have been on the other side of the process - as a reviewer. So here's my hints and tips for getting your book reviewed.






Finding The Right Reviewer For You
DO approach Booktubers and Book Bloggers. Finding someone who can give your book some buzz is a great thing, but how do you go about it? Book Bloggers and Booktubers are very similar, the only real difference is how they produce their content, whether it's a blog or videos on YouTube and some people do both, like myself. 

DO make sure you do your research. There's hundreds, thousands of Book Bloggers and Booktubers out there and it's important to find the right one for you. Make sure to familiarise yourself with their content, don't just pick one with the highest views. View count is great and of course it's important but it goes without saying that often those with the most numbers also have the least of amount of time, and likely the longest wait list. 

Watch their videos, read their reviews, check they are on the same wavelength as you so that you come to know what to expect. If you don't do this, how do you know they are right reviewer for you? After all, there's no point sending an email promoting your book on WW2, if the person you are emailing is a reader of fantasy and contemporary. - Yes, that's happened to me. 

DO read their review policy prior to making contact. Here's mine as an example


Making Contact

DON'T send unprofessional emails. This may seem like an obvious tip as it goes without saying that you should be polite and professional, but there's a few common mistakes I have seen several times when being asked to review a book.  

DON'T tell your reviewer they will love your book, even if you have followed the advice above and found someone who suits your book perfectly, telling them they will love your book creates pressure, and can make the person you are emailing feel uncomfortable. A simple 'I watched your channel, and I see you like Urban Fantasy books, so I am emailing you to see if you would consider reading my novel 'insert title here'...' etc, would suffice and it's WAY less pressurising. 

DO briefly introduce yourself and your work. Length is key here, too little and your reviewer won't be pulled in, and too long and they will likely click off. Include the blurb, links to Goodreads and Amazon, and a couple of sentences about yourself and you're good to go.

DON'T guilt trip. It's an easy mistake to make, because people do this without realising. For example, emailing a review saying 'I know you probably get books for review from publishers all the time, and you probably won't even read this but it would mean the world if you could give this book a chance..' is majorly, majorly overdoing it. For a start, it's already awkward before I've even considered reading the book. Secondly, it makes assumptions about me as a reader, and as a reviewer. And thirdly, it just isn't professional. 

DON'T ask a reviewer to buy your work. I've had this a few times, and it's just not how it's done. I buy books all the time, way too many books - but buying them is my choice, and it's up to me if I review them. If I am asked to review a book, it's just standard procedure for that book to be offered for free in exchange for a review. 

DON'T send your book out before it's ready. I don't like to generalise, but this is one specifically targeted at the self published authors out there. Traditionally published authors aren't in this position, because the publisher controls when the book is released and makes sure it's ready. But when you are self published, YOU are in control. You should always send your book out for review when it's ready to be released, and not a minute before. Your reviewer is not your beta reader, your critique partner or your proof reader. 

DO be upfront about your timeframe. When you first make contact, let your reviewer know the when you would ideally like the book reviewed by. It's important to do this in your first email, don't send off a great email and then tell them once they have replied saying 'Yes, I would love to read this book!' that you need it read in two weeks. Be upfront right from the start, because then the reviewer will know if they can fit this book into their schedules. The more time you have to give, the better. 

DON'T give your book to a reviewer without prior agreement. You may feel like you are doing a kind gesture, in giving that book as a gift but if you are expecting it to be reviewed, shown in a Booktube 'haul video' or promoted in any way - it is not a gift. If you attend networking events, book conventions, author events, then that's a great way to meet potential reviewers. But offer a business card, not a book. They'll make contact if they would like to read your work. 

Respecting the Review

DO respect your reviewers opinions. In an ideal world, everyone would love your book, but unfortunately it is not realistic to expect glowing five star reviews every time. Your reviewer has the right to publish their review on their blog or YouTube channel, and whether this is a positive or negative review is down to their reading experience. Remember that while you may feel that you and your book are one and the same, you're not. A negative review does not reflect you personally. Your book may end up in 'book tags', and such like on YouTube and blogs, even after the review has taken place.

DO embrace a positive review. Retweet, shout them out on twitter or Facebook.  

DON'T try to correct them on their review. This is a big no no. Remember, reading is subjective and we all take different things from a reading experience. You might be dying to point out that the character development works because of what happened in chapter two, or desperate to point out why the world building makes perfect sense - don't. It's hard, and it might feel harsh but criticising a review is one of the worst things you can do, and it makes it unlikely that anyone will offer to review your work in the future.

DON'T rant on social media. We all have bad days, and we all sometimes want a little moan via Twitter or Facebook. Your own personal Facebook is just that, personal - so if you want to moan, that's the place to do it. Not your author page, your twitter or your blog. 
Whether you address this person directly, or make passive aggressive comments that may or may not be about this particular reviewer, it's never, ever a good thing.

It may seem unfair that you are expected to ignore negative reviews and embrace the positive, but unfortunately that's a whole other topic, and one I will address another time.

I hope this helps some of you, and please remember that this is just my opinion, I don't claim to be an expert. If you have any other tips, please leave them below in the comments, and check out the video on Youtube.

Thank you!
Sarah Jane 




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