Thursday, February 23, 2012

Internet: meet my novel

It is so easy to get your novel into the hungry hands of blog reviewers. They are always so receptive to the rabid requests of the random indie / self-published / e-book-only authors that want their next 'masterpiece' reviewed.

The review request process works more like an interview or marketing or even an application to a publisher. These blog sites are professional, much to my dismay. I am also competing against 'legitimate' novels for the reviewers' time, which makes the problem of getting my novel into their hands a little harder. Although, I think if I ran a book review blog I would do the same. If I could read the next JK Rowling or the next Joe Blow, I know which one I would choose.

It seems obvious now.

Anyway, one of these professional sites decided to redirect me to a post with a lot of useful tips that I will now summarise.

These are the first questions you should ask yourself:
  1. Does your novel/publishing/genre etc follow their review policy?
  2. If they don't have a review policy, are the reviews on the blog of a similar genre to yours?
  3. Have you read their reviews?
  4. Do you like their review style?
If you don't answer yes to all these questions, don't waste everyone's time. Once over that hurdle, then comes the all-important pitch.

No, not that kind of pitch; a sales pitch. As any good salesman knows, "It's not what you can do for me, it's what I can do for you."

So here's the synopsis of the things your email/pitch should contain:
  • Book Title - you would think this would be a given, but no - some applicants forget
  • Publisher - if you're one of 'those' kinds of people :)
  • Release date - apparently you should give out pre-release copies to drum up interest before it is launched (oops)
  • Personalised message (very important) - something that says, 'Hi  <blog owner's name>. I like your blog and your writing style. It would be an honour for you to read it as I think this is up your alley because ...'
  • Book cover - embed an image of your cover in your email because you know what they say about pictures and thousands of words ...
  • Book blurb/summary - something that grabs the readers' attention so that they cannot pass up the opportunity to review your novel
  • About you (yes you) - so they understand the person behind the book
  • Links - links to your amazon novel link/your blog/your goodreads etc
When writing the blurb, write along the lines of the 'twitter summary' i.e. 140 characters or less. If you can't summarise your book in 140 characters, you're not trying hard enough. The same goes for the length of the overall email. If the blog reviewer has to scroll, you're writing too much.

Also, when it comes to sending out your ebook, you should probably gift a kindle copy as they are the only ones that protect ebooks against piracy. It is also bad form to send a copy / gift copy out with the first email. It can be misinterpreted as being forceful.

I think if all these criteria are satisfied your request would be hard-pressed to be ignored.

That is all. Class dismissed!