There is a lot to love about being an author, but there are a number of frustrations that have nothing to do with actually writing. It’s the marketing and promotion that get to me. Currently, on the top of my list is the challenge of finding reviewers or book bloggers from whom I can request a review.
Navigating book reviewer/blogger sites
I’ve spent hours going through website after website of reviewers from Amazon’s Top Reviewers using Amazon’s website as well as this site, which makes it a little easier to find and check the reviewer out. Or you can go to Twitter and do a search for “book reviewers” or “book bloggers,” adding your genre as part of the search terms. No matter where you go to find potential reviewers, you will follow the same procedure once you’ve found a website link for them. It’s a pretty straightforward process:
Should be nothing to it, right? It simply takes a little time to do a careful job, and it might pay off in a review. Except when the reviewer/blogger does not post a review policy. You might not get past identifying the genres they prefer, and you might only learn that by scanning recent reviews. There were sites where I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to navigate only to come up empty. Although, sometimes I was so taken with a site that I happily spent time navigating it and scanning reviews.
I was shocked at how many reviewers provide NO guidance at all for authors or publishers, only providing an online “Contact me” form. Absent a file upload link, I assumed that if the reviewer agreed, she would reply and invite me to send a file. I even encountered one site that had no page navigation, just a very jumbled home page. She had quite a few book covers representing reviews, so I can’t imagine how she acquired the books, unless it’s strictly through NetGalley or a similar aggregator.
I was impressed with Keira, of Pirate Lady Pages, who had her review policy on her site along with an online contact form. She answered my request and invited me to send the file to her the day after I submitted her form. Her website is well-designed, and her reviews are thoughtful.
Questions every book reviewer/blogger should answer on their websites
Here are questions book reviewers/bloggers can answer on their website to make it easier for authors to decide whether to request a review:
- Are you accepting indie authors, self-published works, small publisher books, Advance Reader Copies? And what files will you accept? ePub, mobi, pdf, print books? Do you only review books acquired through NetGalley or similar? (And if that’s what you do, have the courtesy to tell us up front.)
- What exactly is your review policy? (Please put it in your navigation menu.) What genres do you read? What genres will you not read? How do you define one, two, three, four, or five stars? Do you post every review, even the bad ones? What constitutes a really bad book? Where will you post? Amazon? Goodreads? Barnes & Noble? Smashwords?
- How should authors request a review? If by email, should they attach the file? If by online form, should the author expect a reply?
- Based on your TBR list, how long might it be before you can get to reviewing a submitted book?
- Finally, are you not accepting review requests at this time? If not, when do you anticipate resuming your reviews?
There are a lot more than five questions here, but five looks better in the title than twenty-one. Admittedly, I organized this list based on the best of the reviewer/blogger websites that I explored. If this information is available on the website, the reviewer will benefit as well. I suspect it will cut down the number of requests that simply don’t fit the reviewer’s requirements.
I’m looking forward to hearing back from those reviewers who agree to read an ARC for my forthcoming book, The Clay Sustains: Book 3 in The Clay Series.
The Clay Sustains
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Cultural Heritage
It is a time of struggle for Ha-wani and her people. Her village, once an extensive, thriving, open community has evolved into a closed community within a cobble-walled compound huddled fearfully beneath the rugged Stone Towers of Great-Grandfather Mountain.
The village shaman encourages the People to believe the gods have abandoned them and that only he can guide them back to plenty. He is determined, not just to control the village, but to capture Ha-wani’s spirit for himself, a spirit he knows is blessed with special gifts.
But has he underestimated the strength and spiritual power this simple woman brings to their conflict?
Pre-sales on Amazon begin on September 1 with a launch date of September 29 at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word in Silver City, New Mexico.