Authors Meet Reviewers

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In the most recent Critique Clinic I was approached with a very controversial topic. The question focused on whether or not it was appropriate to ask for reviews from giveaway winners. My advice was no. I am sure that I received some questioning glances from that post, but my stance was:

[note color=”#f5f3ea”]In asking a book reviewer to review your book, you enter into a type of contract with that reviewer. The reviewer is fully aware that you are offering them the book in exchange for an honest review. When a book is won in a giveaway that same contract isn’t implied. Recipients might be offended by the change in request and it isn’t worth it. [/note]

Instead, I encouraged writers to strategically look at their review copies and treat them like gold, encouraging the author to focus on Return on Investment (ROI) instead of simply throwing books out there and hoping that one sticks or venturing into the abyss of the unknown and/or trying to guess if a review will come out of it. What do I mean by that? It really is simple math. Let’s say that you have 100 review copies (just an arbitrary number that is some really easy math for me) and you have set aside 10 for giveaways. That would mean that you would have 90 dedicated for review copies. Don’t be hyperventilating now. Finding 90 reviewers is very, very doable!

The next step is finding those reviewers. There are so many opportunities to shop for reviewers. I sometimes think that authors feel that they are at the mercy of a lack of reviewers to read their books and therefore need to reach out in a “willy-nilly” or strategically deficient manner to get anyone to anyone willing to read their book. With a bit of elbow grease, it is cheaper and easier than you think it is.

So, you ask how to find reviewers? A couple of the ways include:

1) Utilize sites such as The Book Blogger List or The Indie Book Reviewers List. These are sites of reviewers who have been vetted by professionals in the Indie field as producing quality reviews.

2) Look for groups and/or reviewers on sites, such as Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads or Librarything. Sisterhood of the Traveling Book was developed specifically for the purpose of partnering authors with reviewers. Goodreads has a large number of groups that allow authors to ask for reviews. One VERY BIG point, check group rules about asking for reviews. Private message moderators if necessary. One can make a very bad impression if rules set forth in the groups aren’t followed or the group members feel that they have been spammed.

3) Ask fellow authors who write in the same genre what reviewers they have utilized. This is a really big reason not to throw the proverbial sand in the sandbox. I have yet to find an author who isn’t willing to help out another author. In fact, I have been amazed by the support and partnership I have seen in some Indie authors. That only goes so far though when an Indie isn’t playing nice.

4) Join writers’ groups that can often be found on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. I know many authors who are part of these groups and have frequently met authors whose works I have later reviewed. These groups can also be a great source not only for identifying potential reviewers but also for identifying who not to have review your book and/or review request etiquette.

5) Network with reviewers. Reviewers network with other reviewers. Ask for suggestions. Again, this requires playing nice in the sandbox.

6) When all else fails, do an internet search for book reviewers. I found a ton of sites/lists that showed up in my search.

7) Search who is reviewing books written in the same genre that you write in. Librarything and Goodreads are perfect spots for this, as most members can receive private messages. Do you like the reviews they have written? Are they comprehensive?

In my humble opinion, I think that authors make the process of review requests more nail-biting than what it needs to be. Sit back and take these steps. Is it a bit more work? Yep. On that note, let’s look at the definition of entrepreneur:

Dictionary.com: “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

I have a motto which is:

You can play now and pay later OR you can pay now and play later

James Collins wrote a book I consider to be my business bible. It is called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. The whole premise of this book is get the wrong people and wrong processes out of the way and replace with more effective processes and people and your business will take off. OK, I simplify it for the purpose of this post, but the advice is so simple that it is a no brainer. On that note, the majority of businesses struggle with this concept. Remember, I consider Indie authors to be small businesses…so the comparison sticks! Consider soliciting reviews as a process and develop a plan for accomplishing it. Before you know it, you will be questioning why you had so much trepidation about the whole thing!

Next Author CEO-Developing a Reviewer Database

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