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Reviews

July 11, 2011

by Barb Drozdowich

What are book reviewers?

Are they a member of an alien life form?

Sometimes, don’t they feel like that?

Here you are, an author, with your baby, your brand new book.  Now someone who doesn’t necessarily love you, needs to read it.  You have slaved over this book for a lifetime it seems; where do you go to get a non-family member to read it?

Reaching out to people and developing friendships using social media is a process that should start while you are writing your first book.  One of my friends refers to this as “softening the ground”.  This is where your social media comes in.

“I am absolutely NOT having a Twitter account.”  That was me less than a year ago.

I now talk to my twitter friends more frequently than I do friends from my community.  Do you?  The IBC can help you with Twitter.  Have you taken Rachel’s course?  I did.  I learned an amazing amount of information about how to build a twitter presence.  I took Sugarbeat’s Books’ twitter following from a couple of hundred followers to over a thousand in 5 weeks. You can do it too!

Do you read any book blogs? Book bloggers are book lovers just like you.  They love to share their love of books with others.  Visit some of these blogs and read what they have to say.  Share your love of reading with them.  As you write your book, take a few minutes on a regular basis and drop by to see what some bloggers are talking about and say hi; start to develop a relationship.

Book bloggers are asked to review books every day.  Some of us, multiple times each day.   Let’s face it, reviewing a book is alot of work.  There are only so many hours in the day!

Why would I review your book over another one?  Do I know you?  Have I talked to you on Twitter?  Do we have some sort of relationship?  Most book bloggers have TBR piles that number in the hundreds.  The last I counted, I had 158 books on my TBR pile and that was over a month ago.  That number isn’t counting what I have on my Nook…….

Let’s get back to the “softening the ground” comment.  Did you know that I have the lowest number of hits on the days that I post reviews on my blog?  If the review is combined with a feature the hits go up significantly.  Most readers – including myself – are interesting in learning about your book as well as learning about you as a writer.  Where do you get your inspiration?  How do you write?  Is everything plotted out in advance or do you allow your characters to take you for a ride?  What music do you listen to when you write?  What’s your favorite ice cream?  I know that my readers love this stuff.  Not long ago I had a paranormal author guest post on my blog and she talked about ghosts.  She interacted with readers leaving comments.  There were a record number of comments that day.  I had a record number of hits that day.  She sold a couple of dozen books through my Amazon link that day.  Isn’t that what it is about?  People were leaving comments on that post for days!  Just think of the promotion!

Instead of approaching someone and asking them to review your book, why not ask if you can appear on their site.  A blogger is much more likely to send you some interview questions or have you send them a guest post than read and review your book.  You can develop a relationship with the blogger.  Help them help you.  I know that I have a handful of authors that have appeared on my site several times with interviews and guest posts and I would now drop what I was reading to review their book.  Would I have done that months ago? Probably not.

I hope that I have given you some things to think about.  I hope that you have, or will get busy “softening the ground”!

Remember, you can always add your book to one of the IBC’s Blog Tours.  These are hugely popular events that draw alot of traffic.  My job as the IBC review coordinator is to get bloggers to review your books.  At the end of the Blog Tour you might have a handful of reviews and some new friends, not to mention some recognition for your book!

More about Barb:

Barb Drozdowich is a work from home mom.  She left a job running the technical training department of a large company to spend time with the short members of the family.  She runs an online bookstore known as The Beat’s Book Nook and she runs a romance book blog called Sugarbeat’s Books. She contributes to many other projects including the IBC where she is the Review Coordinator and she can be found on twitter as @sugarbeatbc.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2011 1:54 pm

    This is SUCH a helpful article, Barb! (It must be. I’m using exclamation marks.) Seriously though, I think this is great, practical advice from the trenches that many authors can use and learn from. Even if they’re not published yet, they can start developing those relationships by following reviewers, RTing them, entering contests, etc. so when their own book drops, they won’t be starting from scratch.

    Great article.

  2. July 19, 2011 8:17 am

    Great post. Question, though: where *are* all these reviewers? (Or to put it another way: *who* are all these reviewers?)

  3. August 4, 2011 6:06 am

    Excellent post and I particularly like the “softening ground” idea. At this point, any writer can already gain possible readers while the book is still on its way. It is somehow tedious and disappointing to have a ready-made book when you still need to gather opportunities for yourself.

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