Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Musings: October 12 2014

ChrisChat Reviews

Hi, Everyone

Next on the list of how do you approach process is reviewers.

As a long-time reviewer, I'll be offering up my own musing from the other I like to be approached.

So let's get musing:

How do you, the author, approach reviewers with requests?


I approach Reviewers very politely, very cordially. One reviewer, I've developed a friendly relationship with, insists on hard copy so I print up the book, do the cover in color and snail mail it to him. I also send a nice letter and sign the cover. He seems to enjoy this a good deal. Always understand that you have to be patient with them as well, chances are they read a good many books and need time to get to yours.

I have advertised on review sites on facebook. Mixed success. Some folk just ask to receive everything in their preferred areas, I think, and then don't read them. Some have read and posted lovely reviews.

I have sent books to blogs and this has resulted in some really nice reviews. I have offered books as prizes and that has provided one or two, including a truly wonderful one on I have approached a variety of magazines.

I sent one as my 'bread and butter' thank you note to a friend. She reviewed it - five stars.

I have virtually begged friends I know have read one of my books to review it. I even offer a Tunnocks' tea-cake. To the ones who have responded, heartfelt thanks. To the others, I am so disappointed.

I have 'shared' that Reviews are like oxygen, or whatever, to writers FB post, on my timeline.

I am fairly conscientious about promoting the work of other writers by blogs, FB and twitter help and reviews. This can have a reciprocal effect.

It's a struggle. Readers we love you and need you. We know that writing a review takes time and that you may not be a 'skilled' wordsmith. That, however, makes your review stand out as that of a genuine reader. Go for it, but if it's one or two stars, then just write it and don't click 'publish'. Ta!

Back to me, ChrisChat

James and Anne have hit the nails on the heads. Each review site and reviewer wants to be approached in the same manner as you would a publisher...polite and having read their guidelines. The other aspect that's needed when approaching us reviewers...patience.

I know. During the entire editing process you've heard the value of pre-release reviews (great idea), reviews at release or shortly after (strike while everything's hot and new), even (and this is forgotten by most) post-release, long post-release reviews. Hey, your book is still out there even after six months or even three years, reviews are still valid as they bring new eyes and reminders to the audience out there just waiting for something to read.

I started reviewing for a couple of review sites. These sites each did a call out for readers/reviewers because they were inundated with requests. Which brings me to the point that reviewers and review sites with a host of reviewers can receive just as many requests in a day as any publisher. Personally, the most I've received in one day has been over twenty. Lately, it's been an average of five a day.

Now that doesn't sound like much. I should be able to read the information provided and answer quickly. Well, the truth is each reply can take me up to an hour at a time. Take an average day and that's five hours mixed in with being wife, mother, editor, publishing admin duties (answering submissions, assessing submissions, email requests, marketing, etc.), my own writing, and generally everyday life. I'm lucky if I can get one answered a day.

Mixed in all this is the reading of each book. Again, think an average of each book at two hundred pages and say my acceptance reaches five a day...yeah, the thought of all that is enough to put me into a guilt whirlwind. Oh and let's not forget the writing and posting of each review.

Sounds daunting, I know. Frustrating? Oh yeah, from your side and from mine.

Then why bother searching out reviewers? Why not just look to those readers who have bought your book and might leave a review?

Because each review site and full-time reviewer out there has their own following. Their own group of people who have come to trust them. Review sites can offer you something a large online bookstore can't...big fish/small pond exposure. And that exposure can reach across all readers. Think for a moment...if you own a Kobo what store do you go to? A Kindle? A Nook? An iPad or iPod?

So, how do you find that reviewer or review site? Footwork. The same footwork and research you used to find your publisher, you use to find reviewers.

Once there at the reviewer's email...follow their guidelines. Don't send erotic to a middle grade only reviewer or vice-versa. Be clear in all the information you have...working links, blurbs and tags, contact information, publishing information, a jpeg of the book's cover. And yes a free copy of your book in the reviewer's choice of delivery.

Okay, I've dragged this on beyond a simple musing. Think you have the picture.

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!

 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at


Jane Riddell said...

It's a tough one, finding reviewers. Some friends have been unwilling to read and review in case they don't like my novel. Fair enough. I've had a degree of success contacting Amazon top customer reviewers. Worth a try, although it takes ages trailing through the names.

anne stenhouse said...

Hi Jane, nice of you to drop by here. I think you're right about friends reluctance and its reasons. Anne Stenhouse

ChrisChat said...

Thanks, Jane, and original reply didn't take, tried via my iPod.

Our family and friends make great supporters, but when it comes to our book, well, that can make for awkward situations. Probably why doctors can't operate on their own family members.

Yes, the search for reviewers can be as daunting as the search for a publisher. And the fit isn't always there...some reviewer are talkers and some are dissectors.

And who said this writing business was easy? LOL


J.Q. Rose said...

I have not tried to contact "pro-reviewers". I just hope when I send a free book to someone, they will write a few lines about it on some site and preferable those few lines would be favorable to the story. Thanks for this post.