Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting Reviews

If you have a book coming out soon (yay!) and you want to make sure it gets reviewed, how do you make sure the reviewers get it? Do you buy a copy and send it? Do you send a PDF of it to them? How do they get them? Pretty much, how, what, when, where, who help!!!!

First, let me congratulate you on the upcoming publication of your book.

The first thing you do when it comes to publicity is talk to your publisher about where they intend to send your book for reviews. Typically, at least with newspapers and magazines, a review copy of your book should be sent six months prior to publication. Blogs and web sites obviously have much, much shorter lead times, and waiting until you have final books will work just as well.

I would also work with your publisher to come up with a list. If you have places you’d like to see review your book, places your publisher might not consider, you should definitely let them know. There’s a good chance they’ll send the books for you. I think some of the best reviews are not those that are necessarily geared toward books. A lot of our cozy mystery authors, for example, have had great success with their books because they got the word out to those crafters who might be interested in what they’re writing about outside of the mystery.

Sending out copies for review is similar to querying agents. You send them whatever they want. Some might be happy with PDF files, while others will probably prefer hard copies. Either way, in addition to the galley, you’ll also want to send along a cover flat or copy of your cover as well as information on you and any marketing the publisher is putting behind the book.



Mira said...

This is helpful. It's cool that you write blog posts for all levels of writers. I often think to myself that I'll go back and scope out your posts once I hit various stages.

It's interesting to think about now, as well.

Although, honestly, I would have thought the publisher routinely sends their new books out to reviewers. It's all up to the author?

Cath said...

I hope I'll have this problem someday! Thanks for (all your) informative posts.

-Connie @ Constance-Reader.com

Vivi Anna said...

Mira, it depends on your publisher.

Some publishers will have a list that they send to, other publishers don't.

I know with my current publisher they send out to 1 or 2 places, and I will send out to maybe another 10.

Reviews are basically free promo, so it's a good idea to have a list and send review copies to them.

Kate Douglas said...

Mira, a lot of the promotion publishers used to do is now left to authors--though publishers do send out review copies to the major sites. Still, it's a difficult job to make your books stand out in this economic climate and with so many more books hitting the shelves from independent publishers, and often authors are asked to show a marketing plan to their publishers.

I've tried something different with my latest mass market and have sent copies of the book to a number of smaller blogs--word of mouth can be an effective way to get a title in front of the public, and there's no "town crier" quite like a blogger with a Facebook page!

I won't know how effective it is until I see actual sales numbers, but I do know that DemonFire is showing up all over the place. I'm definitely curious to see if my plan works!

Mira said...

Vivi and Kate - thanks for your answers.

I don't know - this whole system baffles me.

Kate - That seems like a good approach. I think you're right - viral marketing can be really effective - I hope it works well for you.

Good luck with your books!

Heidi Willis said...

This is a great question, and a realistic answer. I think it's easy for authors to assume that publishers will do it all, but they don't always.

I echo Vivi Anna. My publisher has a list of places they've sent my book to, but as I find reviewers, book clubs, bloggers, etc. that agree to review, I send them the names and addresses and they send the book out to them too.

It's worked out great for both of us. We can each find places to promote the book the other can't.

Anonymous said...

As a blogging book reviewer, I say don't leave it up to your publisher or your publicist, even if you pay her.

I've known things about authors and their books their publicists whom they paid a lot of money to didn't, simply because I'm a good listener and I actually read and loved the books. *You can't buy enthusiasm.*

You've got to be johnny-on-the-spot. If your publisher doesn't give you a considerable amount of author's copies, for example, BUY THEM. Seriously. Never be without a good stash to give away at book signings and to send to reviewers. Hang out and play nice in the blogosphere. Find the blogs which review your kind of story. Ask them to review your book. Don't be shy. We love ARCs! If they say no, respond politely and sweetly. They may just love your next one, but they won't review it if you were mean to them the first time 'round. Like Jessica said, send them whatever kind of ARC they want.

Readers find the blogging book reviewers who consistantly deliver reviews on books they like. They tend to be the kind of readers who rely heavily on word-of-mouth, and so do their friends. Never appear ungrateful or resentful of reviews or subsequent discussions. These bloggers review for love of story alone, and their readers know it.
We communicate with each other and we will find you out.

And always remember and never forget, especially when you get a negative review,

a reader cannot buy your book if she doesn't know it exists.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you addressed this. I've always hated soliciting reviews. I know everyone does it, but I like unsolicited reviews the most...good or bad.

Chris Stovell said...

Thank you! This is a very timely post for me as my debut novel 'Turning the Tide' comes out at the end of June so I've been wondering how it all works!