Thursday Tips are geared toward the newly published/newly contracted writer.
As release date draws closer, you might have people contacting you about reviews, especially if you’re already have a fairly visible presence online.
I’ll be honest—I don’t do handle review requests anymore. There are too many review sites and I can’t keep up with them. My standard line is posted to my website, in the FAQ section:
I’m a reviewer and would like to review your books. Can I contact you?
Aside from occasional contests for ARCs on my blog, I no longer handle sending out books for reviews. You would need to contact my publishers to inquire about receiving copies.
With new review sites going up every month or so (at least it seems that way), it’s just too hard to keep up with it any more. Publishers have people who handle these sort of requests and who vet the sites. So I let them handle it. If a reviewer is serious about wanting to review the book, then they’ll understand and respect that.
Authors, of course, have to develop their own system and what works for them. But as often as I have books coming out, it was just getting to be too big a hassle keeping up with the releases and the review sites and eventually, it just go to the point to where it was easier to let the publisher handle it.
Exceptions to my rule:
I’ve always got exceptions, always, always, always.
Certain review sites have a well-established reputation and I won’t feel the need to go and check them out. Yes, it does boil down to that. No offense intended here, but as often as review sites go up, then down, and considering how many reviewers there are, a writer wouldn’t be very savvy if they didn’t cover their bases by at least checking the site out.
But sites like Writerspace, All Romance Reviews, Dear Author, Smart Bitches, Mrs. Giggles…eh, not that they do contact me, but if they were to contact me from their domains? Yes, I’d probably send them a copy.
Note, I wouldn’t be as likely to send to a Sally Jo from Hotmail who says she reviews for the All Romance Reviews, unless it came from Sally Jo’s All Romance Reviews email addy.
Another exception…author friends. Friends. Or…authors I’ve seen online and I like their presence. Why? Well, one of the best promo tools we have is word of mouth and one thing we authors do love to do is talk books.
So if a friend asks to read one of my books, yes, I’ll let her.
Please note, though, I’m not doing this as a “You scratch my back” exchange and I don’t expect anything from her/him. If a friend reads my book and decides to mention it? Awesome. If she lets me read hers, and I love it, chances are I’m going to mention it, because that’s just what I do—I love to talk about books I loved, and if I’ve read them early, that makes it even more fun for me.
If an author I’m not exactly friends with but am familiar with—say I’ve seen them online and I like their presence, how they act, etc, contacts me and expresses an interest, chances are I’d offer to let them read it. Again, not as any sort of an exchange—frankly, those sort of ‘exchanges’ irritate me when one comes my way. I don’t like feeling like I’m made to ‘owe’ somebody anything. I’ll talk about a book if I like it and beyond that…nope.
Now, is this going to happen with you?
Yes. More than likely.
How should you handle?
What are you comfortable with? You need to think about it now, and understand one crucial thing… It’s perfectly okay to say NO. It’s your book. If somebody asks to read it early and you’re not comfortable with it, that’s fine. If nothing else, just say, ‘I haven’t talked it over with my editor/publisher/agent yet, so I’m afraid I can’t. I hope you understand.’ If they get pushy? Well, when they get pushy, that’s always an easy reason for me to just start ignoring them anyway.