Craft a Professional Email
There’s a lot that goes into what it means to be professional so I won’t linger, but you don’t have to have worked in corporate to understand it. In today’s world, you don’t have to be anyone special to get tons of emails. With Social Media, everyone practically has one as it is needed for most social media platforms. In short, we all get them and we all scan and then delete them. To increase your chance of getting your email noticed, be sure your email is first professional.
- Don’t use a blanket “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Book Blogger” or worse “Hey”
- Don’t talk about how good the book is.
- Don’t abbreviate words. This isn’t a text message. This is a professional business correspondence. (no IKR, THUR, THO, etc.)
- Don’t attach your book(s) to the email. You don’t know if we want to read it yet.
- Don’t post the details of your book as if writing a book review (Title, Author, Publisher, Number of Words.)
- Don’t keep emailing the reviewer to see if they saw your email.
- Do address the reviewer by name.
- Do tell us what the book is about. (Instead of telling us the book is good, tell us what the book is about.)
- Do offer a complimentary copy of the book (offer, don’t attach automatically.)
- If you like, do post a few reviews you already have (this is evidence that the book is a good read and is better than you just saying that it is. I would recommend not to overdo it though. Just a few will suffice.)
- Do sign your name.
- Do include ways that we can contact you (an email signature is nice with your name and social handles at the bottom.)
- Do wait patiently for a response.
Visit that reviewer’s website or blog.
This is how you learn our names and find out more about us.
We talked about the email but not all reviewers accept unsolicited email inquiries (I don’t. I have a submission form authors must use to register their book first.) Reviewers who are also bloggers usually have guidelines for how to contact them. If they have a website or blog, visit them and follow their blog so that you can know if they are a good fit for your book or not. Reviewers also tend to have guidelines for how to send information in for a review on their blogs/websites. Find it and read it. Pay attention to every detail and be obedient to the rules. This is like the big pink box on the reviewer’s virtual desk. We love responding to people who are professional and who follow the rules. You can’t ignore the big pink box.
Look for reviewers in your genre.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is hustling to get reviewed by anyone who would want to review my book. This is OK. I am by no means saying it is wrong as I sure will be interested in submitting to those of you who show interest in reviewing Renaissance, Histfic or not for sure (let’s just go ahead and keep it all the way real). But, I must also admit it’s not the smartest thing in the world either. It is much more difficult to score high ratings or an understanding of the content from readers who are not familiar or are not interested in the kinds of books that we write than those who do. I am not saying it is a guarantee that those of your genre will rate you high or give you a positive review, not at all. However, they will understand your story better. I am not into Horror novels for example. I just never got into them. Although I would read a well-written horror novel, I am less likely to enjoy it as much as a Young Adult novel or Black Literature. There are also elements I may not fully understand.
It’s no secret that some authors are arrogant. I am not sure why, but it is obvious from the start. (Even though being a #1 Amazon Best-Seller for an hour literally means nothing.) Publishing a book does not give any of us the authority to talk down to people. Nothing does. If you are querying a book reviewer, be as polite and considerate of the reviewer’s time as possible. Not just for the sake of your review but for the sake of your integrity as a person period. Just be a good business person and kindhearted regardless.
Be time sensitive.
Book bloggers have tall “to be read” piles. A “to be read” pile is a pile of books you’ve already committed to reading and have not gotten to yet. With Reviews being so important, Indie Publishing being what it is today, and Book Bloggers willing to review Indie Books at a rate much faster than anyone else, book bloggers have a lot on their plate. This means you are on their time. If you give a time limit for the reading, don’t sweat it if the reviewer didn’t finish in time. You don’t know what that person is going through in life or their reading speed. If you are not giving a final copy, be sure to let the reader know this is an uncorrected manuscript.
It’s OK to request the book to be read in a certain amount of time. Those who have the time will do so. However, if they happen to read beyond your time, let it be. Don’t push. It’s a respect thing.
Your writing is never measured by how others respond to it so don’t assume you know what the reviewer is thinking. And no matter how disheartening (I know, I hate it too) don’t take the feedback to be a personal attack on yourself. That’s difficult, I know. One of my fears was that people will make assumptions about who I am or what I do because they don’t understand me. However, I cannot worry about that. Nor can I grow from it. Sometimes you just gotta swallow spit and keep it moving. If not then we get all emotional and the result is an author who curses out the reviewer or disrespects them because they said they found two typos. TWO. The author didn’t wait to read that the reviewers ALSO loved the story. Now the person who was going to rate you 5 stars has decided to lower the rating or not to rate you at all. I don’t change my ratings personally but the moral of the story is to never assume you know what the reviewer is thinking. Wait for the reviewer to reveal to you his or her thoughts on the book. Assuming makes a…well, we’ve all heard the saying. That.
- If you’re wondering, authors can still give free book copies to readers in exchange for honest reviews.
- If you have received a copy of an authors book for review, be sure to mention that you received the book in exchange for an honest review or that you received the book as a gift from the author at the front end of the review so that it is published on amazon. (By front end I mean before you post your review mention you received it as a gift if you did not buy it.)
- Anyone registered with Amazon can write a review as long as they adhere to the guidelines. Doesn’t matter if you’re verified or non-verified.
- If you are a reviewer who reviews books on your blog (or features authors on your blog that requires you link to their books) be sure to use the direct link to the book on amazon and not the entire link. By direct link, I mean everything up to the ASIN number. Anything after that is extra and Amazon uses it to track. This can be why reviews are being removed.
Here’s an example of a direct link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BNYQ7JY < all those letters and symbols that usually come after this is not needed
- Leaving an Amazon review doesn’t mean writing a literary critique. (There are those who do but you don’t have to.) You are just leaving us your thoughts / opinions about the book. For instance: Go to Amazon.com and find a book you have purchased / read. Scroll all the way down to where you see Write a Customer Review. Rate it and write what you liked/disliked about the book. That’s literally it.
ps. We’ll pick up with Black History Fun Fact Friday next week, time permitting. I should also be finished with a book I am reading in time for another review.
pps. I am going away with the Hubby this weekend (whoo hoo!) so I may be late in responding to comments after tonight (Friday 6/2). I will come back and post pictures of our adventures!
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because blogs are technically “social media,” that standard rules of business etiquette do not apply. A query to a blogger—whether you’re asking for a review, interview, spotlight, or guest spot—is a business letter. Would you go to a job interview without bothering to find out if the business is a fashion boutique, a pharmacy, or a XXX porn theater? I didn’t think so. So use your head and put your businessperson hat on it before you hit “send.” – Anne R. Allen, Ann R. Allen’s Blog with Ruth Harris