This is a topic that I've been thinking about for a long, long time. In the past few years, book blogging has become an art form. I love reading reviews of new releases and posts about old favorites.
I believe a lot of authors overlook the importance of the book blogging community, whether from ignorance of negligence, I don't really know.
With the fairly recent explosion of digital publishing, book bloggers are even more important than ever. I hope Andrea's post will teach new authors and remind the ones who've been at it for a while, the ins and outs of having your book reviewed.
First off, thanks to Laura for having me. The idea that someone actually wants to hear what I think makes me giggle.
I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic of Indie/Self-Pubbed authors, bloggers, and reviews. There’s a lot that’s been said about the topics. I’m not sure I add anything new or worthwhile to the discussion. But I’ll try.
Laura asked me to give a few tips about what to do and avoid when approaching bloggers for a review. Let’s start with what NOT to do:
Please don’t ask for a review via GoodReads, Twitter, or FB
I go on GoodReads strictly as a reader. I don’t hang out there a lot. I check out reviews of books I’m interested in, update my book status, and add new books to my to-read list. That’s it.
If you ask for a review on Twitter, that just seems lazy. And awkward. What if I don’t want to read your book? Do you really want me to put that out in the twitterverse? I’m usually a really nice person on twitter, and wouldn’t actually do that. But I have seen authors get blasted for requesting via Twitter and it makes me cringe. The exception to that rule? My good friends. The people I talk to almost daily. They can hit me up anytime. Usually it’s just to let me know an email about their book is headed my way.
If you ask me for a review on my blog’s Facebook page, there is a 99.9345% chance that I will not see it. I am tragically in denial over the new Facebook. And though I’m trying to do better about posting there, still NO.
Crappy, Lazy Review Requests
If you’re going to request a review, take the time, do a little background work. I know, authors are busy. Guess, what? So are reviewers. It takes a lot of my time to read your book, write a (hopefully) meaningful, unique, helpful review. Then, I have to cross-post to all the sites, tweet links and post it to FB. That takes a lot of my time. So, if I have to hit a bunch of links to find your cover and synopsis, then chances are I’ll just hit delete. Also, make sure that I read the genre your submitting.
Don’t be weird
This sounds funny, I know. I am completely serious. I have gotten some strange requests in the time I’ve been blogging. So have my friends. I have two favorites. In one, the author seemed to really think he was a vampire. He talked about how he became a vampire, and his lonely existence. I mean, I think I know what he was going for, but dude, it was strange. The other request still baffles me. I’m not sure that I wasn’t being Punk’d. In that one, the author requested a review for a book that he and his Momma wrote about their dead cat, and about said cat’s life (?) in heaven. Oh, and he included a YouTube video with a song they wrote. I really wish I hadn't deleted that request. I would love to watch it again.
Okay, the part I like: What TO do when requesting.
Let me know in some way that you’ve read my review policy
Doing that lets me know that you respect my blog and my time enough to do your homework.
That’s a tall order, I know. And it’s not a requirement. I won’t delete a request if you don’t make me laugh. But I will take a closer look if you do. I’ve taken several books for review that I would have skipped without the clever request.
Have all your ducks in a row
This one makes me happy. Include a short introduction that lets me know who you are. Let me know you’ve read my review policy. You have a synopsis, a cover, and links to your GoodReads or Amazon page so I can look at reviews. Out of all the requests I’ve received, two authors stand out: Liz Long, author of Gifted, and Nikki Jefford, author of Entangle and Duplicity. Liz was clever, unique and included all the info pertaining to her book. Nikki had all of her ducks in a row. She had all the relevant information about her book, and she had everything lined up and ready to go for a blog tour. I couldn’t say no to either of these ladies, not that I wanted to.
I hope these tips help authors out there. I know I feel better getting it off my chest.
Laura also asked me to talk about why bloggers are important to authors, particularly indies. I don’t know that I have personally impacted an indie author. I’d like to think I have. I do know that I love to see them succeed. I love to help spread the word about their books, to introduce them to a new reader. All I can do, basically, is be a supporter, a cheerleader. And I am so happy to do that. Just this morning, I was looking at two indie books, What a Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn and Inhale by Kendall Grey. When I opened Inhale it was the first time I had opened the finished copy, and my words about that gorgeous story were on the first page! To know that what I had to say meant that much to the author blew me away. I teared up like a big sissy. Then, when I opened What a Boy Needs, the author had thanked me and a few friends for our encouragement. Again, tears.
So, yeah, I guess I do know that I have some impact on indie authors. But to be honest, they’ve had just as much impact on me. Those words that they included in their books mean everything to me.