Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Query Book Review Blogs

Last week, a young writer contacted Diane Holmes of Pitch University. She was looking for a guide concerning how to query book review blogs. Diane, in her infinite wisdom, referred the young lady to me and Jennifer Bray-Weber of Musetracks.

Our young writer can't be the only one with that question, so my answer may help someone else struggling with the issue.

Here's a better edited version of what I told her:

When contacting a reviewer, do your homework just like you would if you were querying an agent or editor. Is this someone who reviews your book's genre? Is this reviewer currently taking submissions?

Most reviewers have submission instructions. I'm going to use Big Al's Books and Pals as an example.

Big Al wants a Kindle compatible format e-mailed to him. Period. That's all there is to it.

But remember diffferent reviewers want different formats, like EPUB or PDF, e-mailed to them. Others have a specific upload page on their site. Again, check their requirements. If the reviewer doesn't have submission instructions, then e-mail him/her and ask.

Some reviewers will accept a e-book that's gifted to them through a retailer such as Amazon. Some reviewers won't. Again, check their poicy.

Several review sites have more than one reviewer. Most book bloggers want you to e-mail the e-book in order for the coordinator to forward it to the next available reviewer for your genre.

For me, it's much easier (and cheaper) to convert a file through Calibre (e-book conversion freeware though please make a donation if you use it) and keep the files in a handy folder, than to gift the books from a retailer

But there are two things to keep in mind:

1) I strongly discourage paying for reviews. There's been a backlash among readers who feel they've been misled.

2) If the reviewer isn't sophicated enough to post his/her guidelines, you might want to consider passing on that reviewer.

To my readers, please note:
Most of what I'm referring to involves indie writers seeking reviews. If you're traditionally published, you'll need to talk to your publisher about their process for setting up book reviews for e-books. Many of these publishers encrypt their books files so only the buyer can read them (in other words, digital rights management or DRM for short).

Monday, I'll post the answer to the other half of our young writer's question--What about blog tours?

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