In the book world, reviews and endorsements are extremely important…
Both official reviews and unofficial consumer reviews are vital to a book’s launch into the market. Readers are becoming more and more dependent on reviews of all kinds when choosing which books to buy, and bookstore buyers tend to look at a book without reviews as less professional—but, of course, it depends on how the reviews are handled. Below is a list of the five principles for review/endorsement submissions!
1. Don’t solely target traditional book reviewers and book bloggers, such as Kirkus Book Reviews, Publishers Weekly, or Bookslut.com.
These sources receive tons of submissions every week, and while a review from one of these places will speak highly for your book, it actually might not be the most ideal and visible place for your targeted audience. In addition to traditional reviewers, target specific publications and bloggers with special interest in your topic. For example, let’s say you’ve written a fiction book about a family from a dog’s perspective (a la the popular The Art of Racing in the Rain from a few years back). Targeting popular pet publications and blogs, such as Dog Fancy or dogspired.com would be a good place to connect with your audience, and will introduce a bit of variety.
2. Don’t ask your relatives for a review!
No one will say nicer things about me than my mom. Seriously—she loves me A LOT. She also thinks things I do are pretty darn cool, and doesn’t mind telling people. Is her endorsement of WiseInkBlog.com shown on our website? NO. You wouldn’t take it seriously, right? The same goes for books. I don’t care if your brother is an expert in dogs and is a staff writer at Dog Fancy—have him pass your dog book to one of his colleagues for an unbiased endorsement. Your book won’t be taken seriously in the market without solid, professional, unbiased reviews.
3. Give your reviewers time to complete the review.
If you want reviewers to review—and to provide a good one—they’re going to need time to read your book and think about what they want to say. Plan to submit your book for endorsements 2 – 4 months before your book’s actual publication date. The bonus? This actually gives you more time to do pre-launch promotion, build on social media sites for your book, and make connections for selling your book later.
4. When sending your request for review, be specific and brief.
Your endorsers don’t want to take a lot of time trying to figure out what your book is about OR what you are requesting from them. In fact, they WON’T take a lot of time to do these things; if your book description and your request are unclear, they will simply move on. Get to the point, be clear and specific, and identify your book’s audience. On the plus side, this is a great opportunity to keep honing your elevator pitch before the book comes out. Find tips on how to craft that elevator pitch here.
5. Wait for confirmation before sending your manuscript.
Attaching your manuscript to your initial inquiry looks pushy and assuming, and it also might cause your email to land face-first into the “junk” box. Similarly,copy/pasting your manuscript into the email body produces an email ten miles long—one that surely won’t be read. Always wait for a response before sending your full manuscript. If you’d like to submit some sort of teaser other than the book description/elevator speech, put an excerpt from your manuscript on a blog and link to it in the email body. This way, you’re not filling up their inbox or being too pushy, but they can dig further if they wish. Also, consider whether you’d like to send a galley or not. It’s not always necessary, but can sometimes be the difference between a terrific review and no review.