Publishing/Marketing News and Views
Bringing you the information and resources you need to succeed.
November 2014, Volume 2, Issue 8
Editor: Patricia Fry
Why This Newsletter?
This newsletter has been a long time coming. With over forty years embedded in the world of writing, publishing, and book promotion and a good twenty years working with other authors, I’ve finally accepted the requests of many to launch a newsletter. As you can see, this is the eighth issue. See all issues here: http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog/?page_id=3081
What are my qualifications? I’ve listed them below. My first priority is to bring you the information and resources you need/want in order to become a more successful author. I realize that you are all at different stages and levels of writing, publishing, and marketing one or more books. Some of you are only interested in reading what others write. My goal is to address your concerns, interests, and questions related to writing and publishing books and to present you with a few surprises along the way.
Included in this issue:
- What is a Book Review and Why Should I Care?
- 7 Surefire ways to Get Your Book Reviewed
- Book Review Resources for Authors
- Your Book Review; For Better or Worse
- Recommended Reading—Fiction (The Celebrity Cat Caper)
- Resources of the Month—Recommended Books for Authors
- Patricia Fry’s Bio Roundup
(If you do not wish to receive information from Patricia Fry and Matilija Press, please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the page.)
What is a Book Review and Why Should I Care?
If you’re an author, you’ve heard the term Book Review. A book review is a written evaluation or opinion of your book. Some of you consider a book review to be an honor bestowed only on the famous and fortunate or a privilege you must pay dearly for. Wrong!
There are thousands of free book review opportunities for authors at all levels and books of every type. In fact, if you’re in the process of writing a book, this is a great time to start planning for book reviews.
First, you must know who your audience is and where they are. Determine the best places for reviews of your book to appear online as well as in print media. When the time comes, choose credible reviewers whose reviews reach your potential readers.
Who Reviews Books?
Let’s identify the book reviewer.
- Random readers may choose to post a review of your book at Amazon.com and, perhaps, their websites, GoodReads, Barnes & Noble and other places.
- You may solicit book reviews from peers, experts in the field or theme of your book, professionals, and others.
- There are also hundreds and hundreds of people who review books for the fun of it. Most of them review books they like to read—this might include thrillers, mysteries, and crime stories or young adult books or romance, for example. Many of these reviewers have review websites. They post reviews at their own sites and various other sites.
- There are people with websites dedicated to horses, cats, a particular breed of dog, writing, sailing, parenting multiples (twins, triplets, etc.), antique-collecting, quilting…you name it. These site owners often review or feature books related to the theme of their site.
- Many newspapers still run book review columns. See links to newspaper directories below.
- Some magazines publish book reviews. Typically, the book must fit in with the theme or genre of the magazine.
- Don’t discount the newsletter. There are newsletters on every topic imaginable. Locate those related to the theme/genre of your book and contact their editors about reviewing your book.
In most cases, you will seek out the reviewer, rather than the other way around. So it is important that you understand what a review is, who reviews books, where to find appropriate reviewers, and how to approach them.
7 Surefire Ways to Get Your Book Reviewed
1: Write a book that reviewers want to review. Now this sounds like a big fat no-brainer, doesn’t it? But think about it. What more could you do to make your book in progress more appealing to reviewers—more appropriate for a larger number of reviewers?
I advise authors to build promotion into their books—in other words, add wider dimensions to attract a larger audience. This practice will also attract a greater array of reviewers.
2: Seek out magazine book reviewers. Not every magazine runs book reviews, but many of them, do. Editors of some literary magazines review books. Some genre-fiction magazine editors publish book reviews—this might include science fiction, romance, horror, young adult, and children’s.
Likewise there are hundreds of consumer and association/trade magazines that run book reviews on appropriate books. My book on presenting a Hawaiian luau on the mainland was reviewed in dozens and dozens of cooking and foods magazines. My writing/publishing-related books have been reviewed in numerous writing and publishing magazines and newsletters. There are magazines in every category imaginable—business, child-rearing, pets and animals, public speaking, fitness and health, education, sports, hobby and craft, and on and on and on.
Again, the more aspects you have skillfully worked into your novel or nonfiction book, the more potential you have for getting your book reviewed.
Here’s an example: Write a book about a run-of-the-mill factory worker and his life after divorce and your book will likely appeal to a relatively narrow audience of reviewers. Add the fact that he (or another character) is dealing with an affliction such as deafness or ALS, for example, and they have a therapy dog that saved someone’s life, and you’ve expanded your options. Now you may get reviews in fiction and relationship magazines as well as those related to handicaps, ALS/deafness, therapy dogs, and animal heroes.
3: Make the most of what you have. Okay, your book is a done deal. How can you maximize your book review options? Get personal with your book. Dissect it and jot down what you find. For example, what city is the story set in? Pursue reviews in regional magazines in that area. Do you have a section in your budgeting book for teaching children money-awareness? Parenting magazines might be a good secondary review option for this book. Is your book clean and honorable? Consider reviews in religious magazines. Maybe your novel has a séance scene. This may provide an opportunity for a review in a metaphysical or New Age publication.
4: Locate appropriate publications and websites. You probably have magazines in your genre or topic on your own book shelves. Start there. Scan magazines at your local library and bookstores. Study Writer’s Market and other magazine directories to find additional magazines related to your book’s theme. Do a Google search to locate even more magazines and newsletters
5: Contact appropriate online reviewers. There are hundreds and hundreds of book review sites. Use the directories listed below under “Resources” to locate appropriate reviewers for books in your genre. Visit their websites, read their submission guidelines and comply. Most want to receive a description of your book. Give them what they want—no more and no less. Some reviewers are desperately overwhelmed with review requests and may ask you to hold off submitting your request for several months. Some reviewers accept only traditionally published books. Remember, when it comes to book reviewers, there are no standards, so it’s important to study each reviewer’s guidelines. (Submission guidelines are generally posted at the reviewer’s website.)
6: Locate specialty sites. Some site owners review only books related to the theme of their site—cozy mysteries, romance novels, chic lit, young adult, or nonfiction books for authors, horse enthusiasts, gardeners, etc. If your book fits into a specific genre or covers a certain topic, research related websites. Contact those site owners who review or feature books. This activity may be the most effective one that you pursue. The greater the site popularity, the more exposure your book will receive among your potential readers.
7: Keep accurate records. Log every review request and book that goes out and note any response. In this publishing climate, it is appropriate in many cases to send a PDF of your book or you can gift the reviewer with an ebook. Some reviewers, however, still accept only print books.
Unless your book is seriously obscure, you should be able to land book reviews in dozens of publications and websites. And the book doesn’t have to be hot off the presses. Maybe you neglected to solicit book reviews when your book was fresh. Don’t let that stop you from trying to get it reviewed now. Go ahead and contact appropriate book reviewers on and off line. If it is a worthwhile book, most of them will say, yes.
Book Review Resources for Author
5 Great Book Review Directories
Your Book Reviews; for Better or Worse
If you have a published book, you may already know something about book reviews. You’ve received a few or many—depending on how aggressively you’ve researched and approached reviewers. If so, you know that not every reviewer thinks alike. If not, this is your wake-up call. Here are some of the review variations you might encounter:
- The reviewer only describes your book or the plot and doesn’t give his or her opinion of the book. (It’s not the end of the world. It’s still publicity and your book is still getting exposure.)
- The reviewer has a strict evaluation system and sticks firmly to it. (This may or may not benefit your particular book.)
- The reviewer—generally a casual reader—gushes about the story and the characters and encourages sequels. (You gotta love this reviewer!)
- The reviewer hates the story and says so. (It happens. Remember, it’s only an opinion.)
- The reviewer nitpicks one aspect of the story—too many uses of “gosh,” too much (or not enough) romance, too much (or not enough) suspense, one character is unlikable (unbelievable, shallow, etc.). (Again, it’s only an opinion.)
- The reviewer obviously doesn’t like this genre or an aspect of the type of story (animals, teens, Westerns, comedies, historical settings, etc.) (Avoid reviewers who don’t typically appreciate books like yours.)
- The reviewer was negatively influenced by his/her own issues. He tried to read the book when he was tired, in a bad mood, distracted, upset…Had he picked it up at another time, he may have thoroughly enjoyed it. (Just hope he picks the book up again when he’s in a better mood.)
- The reviewer has a very different sense of humor and could not relate to your attempt at comedy or light-reading.
Seasoned authors can add to this list. The thing we need to remember is that a review is simply someone else’s opinion.
Of course I will mention my latest novel here. You might consider it “tooting my own horn,” “singing my own praises” or “blatant promotion,” but, honey, that’s what it takes to get your book noticed. Listen and learn.
I’ve just introduced the 6th cozy mystery in my Klepto Cat Mystery series. Celebrity Cat Caper is formatted for your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? You can download the software to most any device from practically any page at http://www.amazon.com
In this story, Rags, the kleptomaniac cat, opens up a whole new bag of tricks, when he becomes a therapy cat in a children’s reading program. A documentary film crew arrives to capture the cat in action and they get more than they bargained for. Find out how Rags handles his sudden celebrity status.
Savannah and Michael Ivey invite strangers into their home during a torrential rainstorm and learn that one of them has a sinister past. Someone is murdered, Savannah is stalked, Michael’s life is threatened, and Rags helps to uncover an old mystery that, until now, has everyone baffled.
The Iveys’ baby Lily is three-and-a-half-months old and, along with nine-year-old Adam, provides some sweet and warm moments throughout this fast-moving story with many twists and turns. Order your Kindle copy of Celebrity Cat Caper here: http://www.amazon.com/Celebrity-Caper-Klepto-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B00NSBHB2S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414075806&sr=8-1&keywords=celebrity+cat+caper
There’s more news in the Klepto Cat Mystery factory. For those of you who have not adapted to the electronic way of reading books, we now have four of the series in print form. You can order Catnapped, Cat-Eye Witness, Sleight of Paw, and Undercover Cat in paperback. http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2
Recommended Books for Authors
Here’s a list of books that every author should read sooner rather than later:
Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author
Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low-Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author
Talk Up Your Book, How to Sell Your Book Through Public Speaking, Interviews, Signing, Festivals, Conferences and More
By Patricia Fry.
Available at amazon.com in print, Kindle and audio.
You’ll also find these books at most other online and downtown bookstores.
Order your print copies here: http://www.matilijapress.com
New Blog Series
Today—November 4, 2014, I’ve started a new blog series you might want to follow. The first post is “Increase Your Chances of Landing Major Publisher.” This is to be followed by:
“Self-Publishing is NOT the Only Other Option”
“Keys to Choosing the Right Publishing Option”
“Submission Guidelines; How Important Are They?”
“What is the Author’s Most Important Selling Point?”
“I’m a Published Author; Now What?”
“How Much Should I Pay for a Promotions Package?”
“Book Promotion 101”
Patricia Fry’s Bio Roundup
I’ve been writing for publication for 40 years and I’m the author of 46 published books—most of them on publishing and book promotion. I maintain a publishing blog. The blog boasts over 2,000 posts to date http://www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog
My articles have appeared in over 300 publications, including Writers Digest, Publishing Basics, Book Marketing Matters, Writer’s Journal, Cat Fancy, Your Health, Horse of Course, Western Horse, The Artist’s Magazine, Woman’s World, The World and I and many others.
I work with authors on their projects from an editorial standpoint,
While I’ve been writing nonfiction for all of my 40 years, I recently dipped my toe into the world of fiction and have launched the Klepto Cat Mystery series. There are currently 6 in the series published for your Kindle. Four of them are in print. http://amzn.to/1kAI8I2
Mission Statement: The primary purpose of this enewsletter is to bring information, resources and encouragement to fellow authors both beginners and experienced. It’s an education for authors who want to become more successful in a highly competitive publishing industry.