I’ve got blogs. LOTS of blogs. And I’m a reader, and review books I like. (Please notice the “like” part, because it’s important.) My reading’s primarily for pleasure, although I read for work, too.
I’m not stingy, I buy the books I want to read. I buy LOTS of books. I’ve downloaded some 1500 ebooks to my Kindle, 99% per cent of which I’ve purchased. Reading’s my primary pastime, and I know what I want to read. Since I read so much, I’m always looking for new authors. I spend hours prowling Amazon and other online bookstores.
So, what with all the blogs, and people knowing I read and write the occasional review, I get lots of review requests. Most are very annoying.
A typical request starts with a snippet like “I read your blog” or “congratulations on your impressive blog”… I delete those at once. Which blog, for crying out loud? Even the simplest online search will turn up the fact that I have endless blogs, and each blog has its own audience… an audience the author wants to attract.
I also get Twitter messages, and these are a problem all on their own, as this post, 5 Tops Tips For Approaching Book Reviewers by Amazon Hall of Famer Janet Boyer, points out:
“Two: Don’t pitch via a blanket Tweet that says ‘Hello, I’m looking for someone to review my book. You can read about it on my website at ______. Thanks!’ Yes, this is an actual Tweet I received recently. When I checked the writer’s feed, he had just pitched a dozen or so others…all within minutes. Do. Not. Do. This. Not only is it unprofessional (and I can’t believe I even have to mention it), but it will NOT garner a reputable reviewer’s notice. Be a professional. Pitch via email just like you’d pitch an agent or editor. Don’t be lazy.”
(Read Janet’s article, she gives great advice on pitching your books.)
How to pitch your book
Pitching your book is a marketing exercise. On my “write a book” blog, I give you advice on writing your books, and on marketing them. If you’re going to write books, marketing is essential, whether you’re self-published, or are published traditionally. Marketing is NEVER optional. For the past 30 years, it never has been.
Here’s how to pitch, in a nutshell:
* Know your book. Write a short blurb — a description. Keep it under 100 words, preferably under 50 words;
* Make a list of reviewers, who review your kind of book;
* Approach each reviewer individually. Ask for a review, after telling the reviewer why you think he/ she might be interested. Viz: “I read the post _______ (post title and URL). You gave some great time management tips. I’ve written a book _____ (title of book), which helps business people to save time on social media. Could I send you an ARC in PDF format? I’m available for an interview if you’d like to chat about social media or time management in general.” (ARC = Advcanced Reading Copy.)
* Follow up on each message you’ve sent, without being obnoxious. In other words, if you don’t hear from the reviewer in a week, send a second message, referencing the first one. You can follow up again, a week later, again referencing the first message. Email messages and Twitter DMs are missed, or go astray;
* IMPORTANT: Be genuine. This goes a long way. If you seem to be a nice person, a reviewer, even if he doesn’t have time to review your book, might suggest someone else who can help. Or he might even skim through your ARC, and tweet about it. Reviewers love books and reading. They also love people who write books, so if you’re genuine, you’ll get help.
Pitching your book to potential reviewers isn’t rocket science. Reviewers are people. You’re a person too. Think about how you’d behave if you met the reviewer offline. How would you introduce yourself? How would you talk about your book? You’re sending a message to a real person, who’s reading his email messages, or Twitter account. Be real. Be genuine. You’ll get reviews.