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 Going through it with a highlighter marking all the ones that accepted mysteries by unpublished authors.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.