3 Tips To Help You Contact Book Reviewers

By Rachel Thompson | Author Marketing

Mar 20

3 Tips To Help You Contact Book Reviewers! man with megaphone

 

Despite multiple articles on this topic, I still see authors every day begging, pleading, and spamming their books to people on social media who:

 

  • Are not their demographic
  • Aren’t reviewers or book bloggers
  • Don’t read that genre.

 

Let’s deconstruct.

 

  • DEMOGRAPHIC

 

Do you know who your ultimate reader is? You should.

 

Let’s use my latest book, Broken Pieces, as an example. As I wrote it, I knew that I wanted women and men to read this, but I focused most on looking at how women would relate to the material. It’s dark, it’s real, and it’s not humor like my past two books.

 

Betareading. This created a challenge: whom would I ask to betaread it? Which reviewers would I approach? Who would ultimately buy it?

 

Research, interact. If you can’t answer those questions, you’ve got some work to do. How? Google, Goodreads, even your social media (I use primarily Twitter and Facebook) to connect with people and discuss the subject matter and if it’s of interest to them. Social media is the ultimate in free market research.

 

I sent my book to about twenty-five betareaders who expressed interest in seeing it as well as giving me feedback. Leaving a review is by no means expected or required, but by creating a ‘sneak peek,’ many readers are happy to leave you a review when your book goes live (usually on Amazon and/or Goodreads).

 

And when Pieces went live, I had about ten reviews within a few days. It’s been three months and I’m up over seventy-five!

 

(Betareaders can be anyone who is interested in reading your book before it’s available for sale. You don’t pay them anything, other than a free ARC — advanced review copy — of the book.)

 

  • REVIEWERS AND BOOK BLOGGERS

 

Are your friend. BUT, if you’re spamming anyone and everyone with your book, you risk losing followers, annoying potential shot in the dark readers, and having your account suspended for spamming people.

 

I received about thirty of these every day: Hi Rachel. Thx for the follow. Plz read, review, & RT my book It’s All About Me on Amazon. Thx.

 

NO.

 

When I check their stream (which believe me, I do), I see they’ve sent the same message to hundreds of others and usually unfollow.

 

Sigh.

 

Get informed. Read this article (from Amazon Hall of Famer Dr. Bojan Tunguz on my blog for suggestions on what to do and what not to do). Here’s another one by Tracy Riva of Midwest Book Review.

 

I get it. I was confused, too, before my first book came out. So I asked people what to do! I researched. I learned.

 

If you’re not sure how to approach reviewers, Google it! Ask another writer. Read blog posts about it. But for the love of all things holy or otherwise, don’t spam your book in a welcome message or blanket your stream in spam. It’s unprofessional and you will actually repel potential readers.

 

  • GENRE

 

Read the guidelines. Book bloggers and reviews are very specific in what they review and they post their review guidelines right on their blog and sometimes, even in their Twitter or Facebook bio. It’s there for you to read and pay attention to. Why waste your time asking people to review your book who don’t review your genre?

 

Be selective. I get several requests daily to read and review someone’s book, and I’m not even a reviewer! I don’t review books; I’m not a book blogger. So, why is this happening? It’s not that I don’t appreciate it and I’m honored people give a darn about me at all, but there are thousands and thousands of book bloggers and reviewers who do this professionally. Why are you wasting your time on people like me who don’t even do that?

Finally, here’s a great list put together by WordPress whiz and romance reviewer Barb Drozdowich, titled the Book Blogger List. Read it. It’s broken out by genre — the work is done for you!

 

Hope you find these tips helpful. Any questions or experiences, please share below.

 

If you’d like to read Broken Pieces, click for a free sample on Amazon (no Kindle required – they have free apps for any smartphone, computer, or tablet). It’s on sale today (2.99, regular price 5.99) through Friday, 3/22 only. Thank you!

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my weekly posts! Just enter your email address over on the right hand side of this page >>>>. It’s easy, and I won’t share your email address with anyone. Redhead’s honor. 

Need personalized help? Check out my BadRedheadMedia.com services page.

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month – created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader’s “Best of 2015” top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed.

She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs,  #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Leave a Comment:

(43) comments

@thecharlesiwas March 20, 2013

@lorrainereguly Dang! It’s been that kind of day: Try this http://t.co/aP1tIuwcWC Thanks for letting me know!

Reply
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Jhobell Kristyl March 21, 2013

As a book review blogger, I shout a big YES to your article. Finally! There’s someone who explains the ethics of requesting a review from a blogger. Thank you!

Best,
Jhobell Kristyl
http://bookmavenpicks.wordpress.com/

Reply
    Rachel Thompson March 21, 2013

    Oh, good. So glad you approve, Jhobell. I think if someone really has no idea what to do, they can use this article as a basis, and then go more in-depth with the articles I reference by Tracy Riva and Bojan Tunguz, both super helpful and informative reviewers.

    Best of luck with your reviews and if you are interested in adding your name and site to their list, click on the BookBloggerList.com to do so. I’m sure they’d love to have you!

    Reply
Dario March 21, 2013

Rachel, good post, and thank you. I have to say though that even following ALL the above, crafting a personalized query, closely researching and ensuring that the reviewer/review site is interested in the category/genre in question, generally observing all stated protocols, AND having some verifiable track record as both editor/publisher AND author…most reviewers and book bloggers of any importance are so swamped that they either don’t review or decline–in fact, many don’t have the courtesy to reply to a query.

In short, I think the entire book review process is breaking down. I mean, *seriously* breaking down.

Best,
Dario

Reply
    Rachel Thompson March 21, 2013

    You have great suggestions, Dario and I agree, with the changing industry, so is the review process. I wrote recently for IndieReader.com about sites selling fake positive (or negative) reviews. It pathetic, but possible, in some cases, for only $5.

    Something is going to happen…I can feel it.

    Reply
      Dario March 22, 2013

      Rachel, thanks so much for your reply (and I did read your IndieReader article, and many others on the topic).

      I agree, something will happen soon. The best thing IMO would be–crazy, but needed–a vetting/gatekeeper service for reviewers, very similar to a slushpile. Here’s how I see it working:

      Author submits ms., pays a minimal fee, say $10, for ms. assessment/vetting. The assessment is *not* an attempt to review the book but simply to verify that it meets some moderate standards of formatting and writing (perhaps equivalent to what we call semi-pro).

      As you likely know, anyone who’s been near a slushpile can tell within a paragraph or a page at most if the writing is at least competent. At the same time, a glance through the doc or ebook can determine if the formatting meets an acceptable standard. The whole process would take no more than 10-15 mins, and is not paying for a review, only a check that book isn’t a complete waste of reviewer time.

      If the book meets this criteria, it could then be put in a holding pile and be made available to reviewers to pick and choose. The process would cost reviewers nothing and would not bias any reviews. What it WOULD do is cut down on the deluge of really poor work reviewers are barraged with and at the same give authors of work that actually is worth the time to read and review–and let’s be honest, these are a minority by any standard–a crack at being reviewed. The cost to authors would be very small, and IMO the people putting out the really terrible work, which *everyone* is drowning in, would be largely paying for the service.

      It could work. It could help both authors and reviewers. And it would also generate some jobs for first readers/vetters. Just a thought 😉

      Best
      Dario

      Reply
        Rachel Thompson March 22, 2013

        Love it.

        Amy Edelman, who founded IndieReader.com has a project called Rabble — something like a vetting for reviews. I think it’s an excellent idea also that has a lot of merit.

        Can’t wait to see where this all shakes out!

        Reply
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