Reviews

Book reviews are gold for authors. I’m tempted to stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign that says ‘Bought my book? Please write a review’.  It’s free advertising after all. But did you know that there are whole websites devoted to reviewing books? Well, with the internet, of course there is. Writers can submit their books for online reviews, which obviously can increase, or crash, sales. I just finished reading a blog post by Molly Greene (www.molly-greene.com) about book reviewers. As always, with Ms. Greene’s blog posts, I found it interesting and informative. There was a list of things not to do when approaching a book reviewer.

Things like no mass mailing, researching their website first to make sure it’s a fit, being professional, etc.

And you know what this is? The modern-day version of sending out query letters to traditional agents and publishers. I remember those days not-so-fondly. The Writer’s Market annual guide to agents and publishers, a huge heavy book with all the listings. Going through it with a highlighter marking all the ones that accepted mysteries by unpublished authors. Then researching them to find out if my mystery fit their wish list and making sure they were legitimate. Then agonizing over the perfect query letter, mailing it out, and waiting weeks for the rejection letter.

Interestingly, one thing I learned from that process was that there are degrees of rejection. In the beginning I got form letters. Once I even got my self-addressed, stamped envelope returned, with nothing inside, and simply the words ‘no thanks’ scrawled across the back of the envelope. But hey, it was hand written! Then I improved to where I got personalized rejections with things like, ‘this may not be for us, but send us your next one’. Talk about excitement when that one arrived.

But I digress.

What is obvious is that the work stays the same, no matter what the medium. Whether I’m sending out stamped envelopes or hitting the ‘send’ button, some things never change. Research. Professionalism. Being polite. Knowing your market. Knowing your product, etc. Which, in many ways, is true within all walks of live. Respect for all things.

It’s kind of reassuring, in these days of computer programs I flounder with, that there’s something I recognize from the ‘old days’. I don’t need my teenager to explain this to me. I just need to do some research. Been there, done that, can do it again.

4 thoughts on “Reviews

    • And those are the ones to not let go of or to not let too much time pass before you send them something else. With the polite reminder, since you so kindly asked to me to send you….

  1. I hope to worry about this one day.
    A good blogging friend has asked me to review her upcoming book and I feel a weight of responsibility. Putting words on a page about another person’s writing for the express purpose of publicity is something I’ve never done before. I’m cringing a bit, wondering why she’d ask me to do this when clearly, I suck at this marketing stuff, or I’d have someplace bigger than my blog to post the review I’m writing for her book.
    But still, talking things we like up is so important. I should do more of this, on a daily basis, like a mantra or gratitude: give more appreciation, spread the word, however we can.

    • I’ve had a couple reviews that were written very professionally and some that were more casual, and the more casual ones I enjoyed. Instead of reviewing ‘craft’ they reviewed how much they liked a character, or a twist, or the setting. I think the easiest way to review some one’s work is to talk about the first impressions/reactions/feelings you had when you read the work. Though I find that I’d rather write one as reading one someone has written on my work makes me very nervous!

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