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October 7, 2013 / minusbar

How to get your book reviewed!

How to pitch your book to reviewers! 

The age old (or internet old) question of how to get reviews for your book has been one that authors have been asking since the dawn of time! Well, not really that long…  but it’s something that I think just about every author should know, or would like to know. As a reviewer, I see these attempts to garner reviews on a daily basis. I see good attempts. I see very, VERY bad attempts. This post is all about how to make your book appealing to reviewers. The purpose is not to hurt feelings or put anyone down, but instead to give them the tools to offer the best book pitches possible. These are just my opinions, and often there is more than one right way of doing things, so bare with me if you disagree with any points.

In order to show what to do, it’s important to show what NOT TO DO. I’ve included the text from a terrible review request that I received and omitted the authors name to avoid adding insult to injury.

Hello,

I’m a new author that just launched my fantasy eBook ‘non-genre specific title’.
I already have a few reviews, but I’m always on the look out to try
and get more as I know that’s an important step to get started on the
way to success.  To that end, I found your blog and wanted to email you to see if you’d be
interested in reading and reviewing my book.

Just drop me a line, and I can get the book to you.

Thanks,
Bad Book Pitcher

Wow! So intriguing! I now know this person has an ebook and he wants a review. Lets now take a look at what I don’t know:

  • What genre is the book? – I absolutely want to know this before I commit to reviewing.
  • How many pages is the book? – Not required, but it’s nice to know what I’m getting into.
  • What credentials does the writer have? – Before you jump on this one, I would like to know if I’m reading a 16 y/o’s first attempt at writing or a university English professors first attempt at fiction. There’s a big difference!

The list of relevant information excluded in this is insurmountable. This type of email will almost certainly end up in my trash bin without warranting a second glance. But, this email gets even worse when analyzed further! The key to engaging readers is to connect with them. How do you do that? It’s hard, but I’ll talk a bit about how to get started.

  • Include the reviewers name in the email you send to them! If you’re taken the time to find me, at least take a moment to insert my name and blog name in your copy/paste email. I understand that I get the same message as 95% of the other reviewers you contacted, and I’m fine with that. But two seconds to highlight and paste my name (that is clearly visible on my review guidelines) is not a difficult thing to do.
  • Follow the review guidelines. This person found my contact information from my site, so they obviously had access to my review policy. It’s a shame they where too busy rushing to find my email and neglected every other bit of my review policy. If he had, he would see that I state “I only read print editions.” That would have saved both of us the trouble.

I could go on for a very long time and show a hundred different examples of terrible review requests, but instead I’ll end with an example of a highly effective review request. Why? Because I want to be amazed by these requests! I want a well thought out and personal email that will inspire me to read your book (and if we’re both lucky, I’ll love reading it too!).

Words in bold are my own. The author did not pretend to be me, although mimicry is the purest form of flattery. 

Dear Roger, Hey, that’s my name!My name is Good Book Pitcher.

In November, I will be releasing my first science fiction novel, Book Title Here, on Link here.

I am currently looking for reviewers, and I came across your blog, A Daily Dose of R&R (That’s my blog!), while looking up reviews of Title Here. He took the time to at least look at one of my posts. Nice touch.  

I know you’re probably flooded with review requests, but if you could take a few minutes to read the first chapter of my novel and let me know if you’d like to see more I’d be extremely grateful.
Here is a brief synopsis: OMG, I can know a bit about what I’m getting into?! O: It’s 2065. The earth is descending into environmental and economic chaos.

Michael Khan, a geneticist struggling to modify the human immune system to save his wife from a deadly virus, is recruited by a secret organization to engineer the next stage in the evolution of Homo sapiens by making them more cooperative and resistant to disease.

When the military learns of his project, they force him to help create a bio-weapon to be used against rebel groups who are threatening civil war.

Now, Michael must not only find a cure for his wife but for the millions of civilians about to be wiped out by their own government.

The cover art for the novel is attached.

I have included a PDF version of the novel here: Ooh! Look, I’m a link!You can find the Goodreads page for the novel here: Goodreads too? Oh, this author is an over achiever! 

And this is my website: Yep, I’ll definitely consider this book for review. 

The novel is in the final line-editing stage, so if you would be interested in reading it in full please let me know and I’ll send you a digital or print edition upon request. Offering print and Ebook? Well played, sir! 

Hope to hear from you soon.

Warm regards, These regards really do feel toasty! 

Author Name Here

So in conclusion, you get what you put into these requests. The more information you give, the better I can judge if I want to read the title. Plus, the more likely that author will be to get the right people reading their book. I read Science Fiction and Fantasy, with an occasional horror title. If a writer asks for a review of a spy thriller from me, while it’s unlikely I’d waste my time, I somehow doubt I’d have positive things to say about it. Reviewers read what they like, it’s the only reason we do it. We provide review guidelines to give authors the tools they need to get what they want. Authors should provide information to do the same.

Authors, reviewers and readers alike are welcome to share their opinions on this matter. So long as the language is civil, I am always open to honest discussion. I’d love to hear what works and doesn’t work for other people.

Thanks,

A Daily Dose of R&R

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One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Mercedes M. Yardley / Oct 7 2013 4:12 pm

    Very helpful information. Soliciting reviews can be difficult and this was explained nicely.

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