Chasing People About Reviews

Toby Frost

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A few months ago, I contacted quite a few book bloggers about my novel Up To The Throne, and ended up sending out a fair number of copies for review. Some of the copies have been out for a while. Does anyone have any experience of chasing/reminding people about reviews? Is it done at all and, if so, how long is a reasonable time to wait? Thanks!
 

Overread

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I think you have to be a bit pushy at times and often one of the key skills in marketing IS getting what you want and being forceful about it. Not rude, just firm and respectful. In the end you need them more than they need you (they need authors as a general population, but as an individual you're not as important to them as they, potentially, are to you).

If they've had preview issues you might want to remind them of the launch date and that its fast approaching. If its for a book that's already out there you might say that you're running a promotion in X period of time which could interest their readers. Be careful with offering things though - its very tempting, but at the same time NEVER appear to word of phrase it that you're asking for a good review. You should always and only ask for an honest review.


Above all keep a log. Put on their name/website and when you contacted them and what you told them and gave. Ideally log the messages so that you have all the info you've given them and exactly when it was given. This lets you keep track of specific resources. If you've given a few books to a blog over time and they've never reviewed it then its a good way to filter out sending them anything more. At the other end if they are clearly publishing articles and you're providing them with regular content then its a building relationship with a resource.

Depending on the sales data you get it would be worth blending that with the known dates of any publications on those blogs. If you see noticeable jumps in sales after articles go online from a specific site then you know that they are more likely to be valuable to you and thus one to keep sending material too even if they might publish less than some others. It's likely harder to spot the opposite (sites that generate no return).
 

tinkerdan

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I think that an author can dispense as many ARC's that he wants--however it gets sticky when trying to get those recipients to give a review.

Personally ARC's are obvious devices and don't need a reminder.

Prompting someone who seems to have no desire to leave a review--may lead to less effective results--unless you don't mind negative reviews; in which case, I'd say go for it--nothing to lose.
 

thaddeus6th

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Been a while since I did this, but it depends a bit. If they never replied or said a polite "No, thanks" then obviously that's that.

If they confirmed they'd read and review, I'd send along a polite 'nudge' e-mail (very sorry to bother you, etc etc, thanks ever so much and so on).
 

Stephen Palmer

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It's very difficult. Book review bloggers know they have the upper hand.
I only send out ebooks as review copies. If at all possible, I try to create a relationship before the dreaded "will you review..." question.
Not at all an easy task. And I have heard recent talk that books simply not being reviews is now A Thing. Why? Dunno.
 

Overread

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It's likely because there are way more books being published today, esp though self publishing. Which in itself is a minefield because many will just write and publish without an editor or proper review process. So the blogs likely get swamped with free books to review. So it can be very hard to get noticed in the sea.

I think remaining polite and professional in all communications goes a long way though. Write your emails like letters (well you can leave the address off) and conduct yourself well. It might be enough just to stand above the tide of "hey here's my book review it!" comments. Also spend a moment, check out their blog.

Perhaps even say "Hey I read the blog on "Bob's latest book" Great read, looking forward to seeing what you thought of my book. Ps hope its soon as the publishing date is in "x period of days/weeks"" etc... Of course worded far better than that. Basically show that you're interested in them and their work beyond just what it can do for your book. Show that you're aware of them and show an interest. Again this can be enough just to get your head up above the tide and if you're lucky get a business relationship going.
 

tinkerdan

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If I were selling hundreds of books and getting no reviews, I think I'd be happy and could live with it.
Conversely:
If I were getting hundreds of reviews with the number of books I've sold--I'd be giddily confused probably not really happy.
 

dannymcg

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Further to this, if you're giving books away I'm always up for putting a short review in Goodreads, any physical copies should of course be mailed in a large box and securely packed around with bars of chocolate
 
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Serendipity

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One of the reasons I do reviews through a well-known website is that I get to pick the novels I like the sound of and so am more likely to read them and give them a favourable review (genre-wise I have a narrow bandwidth of taste which might frustrate many authors / publishers), and I don't get asked, nudged or reminded that there is still their book in my to be read pile.

Reviewers like many other people only have so many hours in the day... and like agents and publishers can easily get swamped with too many books if they are more careful. Pick your reviewers carefully to save on sending out unnecessary books e.g. is it the type of book they have reviewed in the past?
 

Toby Frost

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Well, to answer a few points:

I've only sent out ebooks, and only to people who are specifically interested in the kind of book I'm writing. I have a pretty standard letter which is similar to a query letter to a publisher, at least in politeness and tone. I do keep records of who's been sent what and when. I think Boneman's idea of using the second book to prompt the first might work. It's very difficult to gain any sort of interest at all, especially with having a day job and more books to write.
 

Finch

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I can't answer you question in relation to books . However , I have tried promoting some products by offering samples to web sites that might review them. Chat to people at trade fairs and exhibitions,in the hope they can help promote my products . In the end I found out there is a simple calculation. If there is noting in it for them , why bother. I sure someone will tell me why I'm wrong . I believe your best approach is to offer you first book at an almost giveaway price , and bring out sequels as fast as you can ,you might be able to build your own following.
 

Toby Frost

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That's good advice, I think. My plan is eventually to put out a trilogy and offer the first book at a much lower price. The trouble about book blogging is that you are offering something free which is the sort of thing that the book blog clearly states that it wants. I think even once you've jumped through the requisite hoops, getting much traction is still very hard.
 

Overread

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When buying books an automatic warning for me is a first book at steep discount when the author has almost nothing else published. To me if I see someone underselling/undercutting the market drastically then I have to wonder if their product quality is good enough.

Now if you've a series of collection of books published and you've got 3 or 4 or more and you put the first on discount and you've got good reviews in that and in the latter books then I'm happier and consider it a simple marketing move to get people enticed in.

However if you've only 10 or less reviews (easily a friends and family number) then I'm, again, back to being cautious and more at risk of moving on.


So cheaper "can" work but it can also work against you.
 
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