What up, my lovely introverts!
So, there seems to be this weird dynamic between brand-new and even seasoned authors and the reviewing community regarding certain topics.
I’m not sure what the disconnect is. Maybe there are some really snobby reviewers out there that have burned a few bridges, or maybe a handful of authors have been spurned one too many times when attempting to garner some reviews for their books.
Regardless of how you found yourself here, I want to talk about a few things that we as a community can do a better job of to the benefit of all involved.
Everyone: Being a Welcoming Community
This should go without saying. I try to keep an open mind about any and every person who decides to jump into writing, publishing, reviewing, blogging, booktubing, TikToking, sending smoke signals, etc. While I don’t indulge in a few of these (personal preference), I am all about boosting others – I.E. why FFA has over 30 of the most amazing humans beings I have ever come in contact with.
There is something about always giving someone a chance. Encouraging. Critiquing. Lending a helping hand. Maybe it is just me being Southern. Who knows. But I think we could all be a little nicer considering how toxic social media tends to be.
I’m not saying you have to go out and follow back every single person who has ever liked a tweet you sent out, but maybe make some new connections with folks who have followed you for a while. There is clearly a reason they haven’t changed their mind.
Authors: When It Comes to Engaging “Influencers” *vomits a little* for Reviews
We’ve all heard about Jim Bob sending a DM to Molly Sue which backfired and got him cancelled quicker than Kanye, so maybe we learn a lesson or two before we start going in, guns blazing.
First things first: before approaching Reviewer A, find out a little more about them. Check out their social media or their website (if they have one). Find out what they like, the genre(s) they read, what type of content they post. If they seem like someone who would genuinely like what you write, maybe give them a follow? A nudge? See if they have an email address where you can address them BY NAME. YES, BY NAME – NOT BY BLOG NAME. Tell them you have a book that might be of interest and tell them a little bit about yourself. No harm in that, right?
What you DO NOT NEED TO DO IS DM ANYONE YOU DO NOT HAVE AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT OF A SENSE OF WHO THEY ARE (roll back to my first paragraph on this subject). This day and age of social media, DM’ing someone new is just… uncomfortable for all involved. Just avoid it like the plague.
Second: it is probably a good idea not to send physical copies to everyone you reach out to, because I can with 100% certainty tell you that you will not get your monies worth. I know it is 2023, but there are folks out there that just love the smell of a new paperback hot off the press and then toss them onto the TBR, never to be smelled again. Really take a think on who you spend money on. I’ve seen one too many authors complaining about this topic OVER AND OVER on socials and you’d think it would stop at some point. Digital review copies work fine – look at NetGalley and Edelweiss. Seem to be doing pretty well, yeah?
Third: sorta branches off the second… feel free to follow up with those you have sent ARCs to. Most will read and/or review, others will never open the file, some will have life changes that interrupt the flow of time. Look, life happens. You can’t expect everyone, all the time, to stop everything they are doing because they said they would give your book a shot. If that were the case, I’d stop typing right now. But I can’t. Be open, don’t be rude, accept that you will not get 100% feedback.
Fourth: branching off of the second and third… if you do receive positive reviews from those you reached out to, BOOST THE SHIZZLE OUT OF THEM AND KEEP USING THOSE FOLKS. If you received negative feedback, thank them for their time – find out what you can improve – and maybe see if they would like to try another work in the future. Just DON’T BURN BRIDGES. DON’T DO IT.
Authors: COVER REVEALS ARE A MUST!
But seriously… why aren’t there cover reveals like every day? It is the EASIEST MARKETING TOOL IN YOUR TOOLBOX. It costs nothing (except the artwork, obvs). You only have to provide files and/or links, and you let the blogger/reviewer/etc do all the work. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to have your book cover revealed, seen by the masses, and have some pre-orders stocked up before you release your book?
People eat artwork up – especially good artwork. I know I do.
But Dave, I don’t want to annoy folks for cover reveals….
LISTEN TO ME NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN DOING IT BEFORE.
Cover reveals, IMO, are one of the EASIEST posts for a website. The artwork speaks for itself and everything else is just fodder.
People just like gawking at book covers. HOW LONG UNTIL IT CAN GRACE MY BOOKSHELF?
But Dave… I have to come out of my shell to talk to people and what if they don’t like me?
Whelp, you are talking to the wrong folks. There are BATCHES of sites/individuals out there that would love the opportunity to reveal your book cover. I’m constantly on the search to help out folks. This doesn’t need to be a scary thing for authors AT ALL.
Btw, all of the above also goes for Book Excerpts. While not quite as engaging as artwork, it is a way to get some early reads of your work before publication and might win over some readers. You won’t know unless you try.
Reviewers/Influencers *vomits a little more* – Your turn
While authors behaving badly is obvs a thing, reviewers behaving badly happens more often – it just doesn’t really get talked about as much because, well, we aren’t *as* important to the publishing world.
We think we are with our opinions, blurbs, IG posts, etc. but in the grand scheme, we don’t REALLY make the massive difference to the general public that we think we do. We mainly influence those who follow us – WHICH IS FINE – but we also need to learn to STFU sometimes.
- Stop tagging authors and publishers in negative reviews. DON’T DO IT.
- Audiobooks are books. Disagree? Bugger off
- Authors owe you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Martin, Rothfuss, Lynch, the list goes on. You want their new book but complain every moment they make a tweet that isn’t about said book? Seriously, get out and touch some grass. Better yet, go read some reviews on other books in the genre and maybe you’ll forget about your grievances for a bit and actually enjoy something for once?
- Publishers owe you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You read the book before anyone else and posted a review? Good for you. Your name may or may not end up on a marketing sheet. Get over yourself and get back to enjoying reading. You want a physical copy but they will only give you a digital copy? Well, you need to gain more influence. It takes work to get what you want.
- Support indies. Seriously. I know there is a steady stream of folks that believe indies will NEVER match or topple trad publishing BUT IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING. Get with the program, try out some exciting new self-published novels, and get off your high horse 🙂
As always, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter @LordTBR_FFA.