Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The author's guide to contacting reviewers, part 1

This is a topic, a series of articles, that I have been thinking about writing for a while now. A recent unpleasant episode has prompted me to go ahead and put up the post and start the series.

The focus of this series will be to enlighten authors about contacting book review bloggers for reviews. There's all kinds of articles on everything else, but I've never run across one like I plan to write. So, let's get started, shall we.

First of all, be nice, be polite.
When dealing with book review bloggers, rudeness will get you nowhere. These folks, for the most part, do a whole lot of work for no pay except for the free books that they get. They spend time working on their blog, their review format, keeping up with books they've agreed to review, contacting authors, promoting their blog, etc. They deserve your consideration and respect for all the hard work they put in that mostly benefits you. And they mostly do it because of their love of books and reading.

If someone wants to charge you for a review, run, don't walk away.
You should never pay for a review. It's a taboo thing in the reviewing arena, and severely frowned upon. Yes, there are places like Kirkus that charges for reviews; and you can find others elsewhere that charge for reviews, but they are all in the minority. Similarly, do not offer a reviewer payment in exchange for a review.

All you should offer a reviewer is a free copy of your book.
Do not offer a reviewer money to review your book. All you should give them is a free copy of your book in the format of their choice.

Be prepared to give them a copy of your book in the reviewer's preferred format
Do not expect the reviewer to just take whatever format you feel like giving them. Every reviewer has a preferred format that they like to read in, and you as an author should be prepared to be able to send the reviewer your book in their chosen format. Now keeping your book on hand in these three formats shouldn't be that hard; the 3 formats are:

  • pdf
  • mobi, or kindle version
  • epub, or nook version
All reviewers will use one of these 3 formats. Do not expect them to take what you send! Instead, send the format they prefer.

If you aren't prepared for a frank, honest review of your book --
Book review bloggers aren't there to pimp your book, and they aren't there to flatter you or your book. They're there to do honest reviews of the books, telling their honest opinion of that book. Their reviews may range from, 'It's great!', to, 'That really sucked!'. If you as an author aren't prepared to accept what you get, do the blogs a favor and don't request a review. Once again, let me repeat, they aren't there to flatter you! So before you go and request a review, be prepared to accept whatever they may say.


Well, this makes a good start on the subject, and is, I think, a good place to stop in this first post. Future posts will talk about how to find bloggers, more on what to expect from the review process, and what to say to reviewers.

If you have any suggestions or requests or questions that you would like to be covered in this series, be sure and let me know by filling out my contact form. You can find it under the 'Contact me' tab in the menu bar above.

So till next time, be nice to the reviewers.

-- jd --

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