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10 Tips from a Reviewer

May 2, 2011

by Julie Brazeal

I’m often asked questions on how to approach a reviewer and not shoot yourself in the foot. As a reviewer, here are some tips I want to share from the reviewer’s perspective to help you get that foot in the door and your review request accepted.

• KNOW THY REVIEWER! RESEARCH reviewers who 1) Fit your genre 2) Review indie/self-published work 3) Don’t have snarky and rude reviews on their site. If they do, they may bash you too. Negative reviews don’t need to be rude. See how they interact on twitter and facebook as well.

• Social Media! Begin a relationship with social media and reviewers BEFORE your book is even released or request sent if possible. The Indie Book Collective has great resources on how to use social media successfully and great programs to promote your book. I highly recommend you soak up all they have to offer. It takes more than self-promotion to be successful and you can alienate yourself if not careful.

• Review Policy! Follow posted review policy. If stated  they don’t review novellas and your work is a novella, don’t request a review. If they state they do not review Indie/Self-pub,  do not request. If they only review print copies and your book is electronic, do not request.

• Professional! Politely request a review. Start the greeting by using correct reviewer’s name or correct blog name, introduce yourself, your book, a short synopsis, ‘Thank you for your consideration,’, links to your website, twitter, facebook, and/or book trailer. Reviewers often check out the author to see how serious and professional you are.

• Personal! Include something personal about their blog/review site when introducing yourself. For example: I’ve been following your blog and really enjoyed your post/review on… This lets us know you have invested time in us, too.

• No Attachments! Do not include the book attachment in your initial review request. Offer to send the reviewer any format they prefer (Kindle, epub, pdf, etc) and if you have print copies available, offer that as well, should they accept your review.

• Accepted! If a review request is accepted, follow up with the requested format and a ‘Thank you for accepting to review my book. Please let me know if you have any questions,” as soon as possible.

• Personable! Be personable in all communications. I have made great friends with authors through review requests and we will go all out for you if we like you and your work.

• Negative Reviews! NEVER comment or respond negatively to a negative review no matter how tempting. It only brings attention to YOU in a negative light.  Just move on. It happens to everyone.

• Thank You! Be sure to send a thank you email to the reviewer for taking time to read your book. We remember the nice and polite authors and more than likely will continue to promote your work and accept your future requests. I do not recommend commenting on your actual review whether it is on the blog or commercial sites.

• Posting Reviews! If a reviewer only posts their reviews on their blog, it is OK in your thank you email to politely ask if they would mind also posting the review on Amazon.com. Most reviewers will post their review on various commercial sites and will list where on the review policy. But just in case they don’t, the thank you email is a great place to ask for Amazon postings.

I hope these tips are helpful to get you started down the review request path. I know it can be scary and nerve racking asking people to review your work, but remember, reviewers do this for the love of books. We want to read great work and are thrilled to get new prospects in our email to view. Not everyone will accept your request. That’s OK. It takes different types of reviewers to reach different types of readers. Don’t take it personally. The right reviewers for your work are out there.

Julie Brazeal is a book reviewer with A Tale of Many Reviews, where you’ll find a series of posts dedicated to learning more about the Indie and Self-Publishing industry.

Julie Brezeal
Blog: A Tale of Many Reviews
Twitter: @Tale_of_Reviews
Facebook: A Tale of Many Reviews, Julie B Reviews

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2011 8:44 am

    Thank you for the advice. I got a negative one over the weekend and this came just in time. It felt good to write my response anyway.

  2. May 2, 2011 9:54 am

    These are good tips and as a reviewer it hit on a lot of things that happen to me all the time that could have been rectified just by reading my review policy. I think that is the main one. Read the reviewers review policy before requesting a review. If they don’t have one ask them.

    My thoughts are that you want a reviewer that enjoys your genre – so research those blogs there are tons out there. If you have someone that reviews your book and they are not a fan of the genre they are most likely going to give you a more negative review. This doesn’t happen often, but some reviewers will accept books thinking that this one might be different, etc. But, basically if you don’t like a particular type of writing, no matter how good the writing is, you probably won’t enjoy the book – why I don’t accept Westerns 😉

    I think some of tips might be a bit strict – but it is always nice to be personable. I don’t mind being sent the PDF in the initial. I worry about authors doing this though because of piracy. If you don’t know this reviewer well, that might not be a good idea. I also don’t mind a comment on my negative reviews, as long as it is not an “attack back” comment.

  3. May 2, 2011 10:16 am

    I love this ‘insider’ view, ladies. Thanks Julie & Para. As a new author with one book out (and non-fiction, humor at that), it’s very helpful for me to know who’s open to reading my work. This is definitely an avenue that I think many new authors, especially prior to publishing, can be quite skittish about simply due to lack of knowledge about how it all works. This is a wonderful primer on the whole process.

  4. Michael Girard permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:34 am

    Really liked the suggestion to create a social media relationship with reviewers before your book released.

    Creating an online community of reviewers AND readers is an excellent way to help promote yourself, but it is important not to aggressively oversell yourself. Successful social media strategies take this central maxim to heart: the more you share, the more you get back.

    This doesn’t mean mindlessly retweeting other people’s work. Instead, let people in to your workspace, share your industry insights, discuss your successess and more importantly your failures. The easiest way to do this is by creating and maintianing a blog and sharing the content you post via Twitter and Facebook. When people take the time to post messages or tweet to you make sure you respond.

    In addition to working in the social media world I’m also an avid reader. I’ve found some really great authors and publishing companies that I follow on Twitter. Writers are communicators and ideally suited to the world of social media and seem to pick up on it intuitively. For a great example see Neil Gaiman’s twitter handle.

    Michael Girard
    Community Engagement, Radian6

  5. Aravan permalink
    May 2, 2011 11:43 am

    As a writer, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to help us do the little things we may not know much about. Frankly, I had no earthly idea what the proper etiquette would be for approaching a reviewer. Now I do. That rocks.

  6. Laurence permalink
    May 4, 2011 11:16 am

    Thank you so much for this post. It answered all of my questions and more.

  7. May 10, 2011 11:52 am

    Thank you! I’m not having terrific success getting reviewed and I’m going to attempt to keep up with social media. Even putting my blog out there takes time. As for facebook, I’m beginning to be willing to attempt once more, now that I notice the privacy settings actually seem to be in working order now. I’m joining the collective! It looks very friendly, effective and just what we Indie’s need. Good going!

  8. May 10, 2011 3:27 pm

    Thanks for the post. Very helpful!

    Jeremy Soldevilla
    Christopher Matthews Publishing

  9. Jessica Tran permalink
    May 27, 2011 6:11 pm

    Well I am very thankful for everything with this page hoping to get some reading done and have a little bit of a life again.

  10. July 7, 2011 1:06 pm

    Very useful! Thanks a ton!

  11. July 12, 2011 7:07 am

    This is very useful. Thank you. There are authors, especially new in the industry, that are unsuccessful in getting their books reviews possibly due to unstructured process of gaining reviewer’s contacts and approval. This steps are indeed very much sensible.

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