I ran across a cute post yesterday, How to Get More Facebook Likes, and it reminded me of a post I was going to write. Go ahead and head over to the Oatmeal blog and check it out.
A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d do a review of a book. Legitimate request. I’ve done book reviews before. But I barely knew the guy, and I hadn’t heard of his book. I was in the middle of finishing a website for a client, still had taxes to file, bills to pay, hungry hoards to feed.
I said I couldn’t right now, and I’d have to ask a few questions first. His answer was take your time, but if you run over to Amazon and buy my book, you’ll know all about me and my book. Here the link. It’ll help your readers.
- I barely knew the author
- My time was very limited
- I’m not promoting a book I don’t know and like. Without seeing the book that is hard to determine.
- I’m not purchasing a book from a stranger so I can give him what amounts to a free advertisement.
If he visited my site, he’d realize that this blog isn’t that active, while I’m working on my WordPress Tutorial site. I don’t think it’d make him rich in book sales, although I do have some very loyal readers. It would not be fair to them to promote a book which could be great, horrible or somewhere in between. I value my visitors’ time, only fair I do some presorting.
It bugged me, I went to a Facebook group where many of my author friends hang out. I went to a business forum of which I’m a member. It seems I’m not the only one with this issue. Remember the Facebook Like article at the beginning, don’t be greedy, all about you. I’m also annoyed by “friends” who want something from me, favors, but never offer or give something in return. Even if you ask.
“Totally tacky!!! He obviously doesn’t have a publicist or have any type of real marketing and promotions plan for his book. Now, on the other hand, he could really appreciate your contributions on Twitter and see you a valuable resource. Nonetheless, it’s still not the way to go about it. You never ask someone you don’t know because how do you know they are who they claim to be.” Beverly Mahone
“Completely!” He needs some guidance.” Pat Montgomery
“I’m with Bev – very tacky!! When I was approached by a New York Times best seller (Andrew Blechman, Leisureville) for my New Urban Mom blog he most certainly didn’t ask me to buy the book! The book was sent to me within a couple days of his call to me and on top of that he allowed me to interview him for my podcast. After that I did a very thorough review that included our podcast chat. I think that’s the way it normally done.” Sharon McMillian
“As a frequent receiver of books via WE Magazine for women, it would never occur to me to purchase a book from a total stranger (someone I don’t know, have not met, or even heard of). If someone wants a book review from ANYONE and they are soliciting the review, the least he or she can do is send a copy! Obviously that guy does not have a publicist or anyone who could guide him If he did, that would never have happened. Heidi you might want to write about what it takes to get a book review on your site and then when anyone does solicit you, send them to the link. I did that and it became a huge time-saver. I simply send them the link which outlines our “rules” and then if someone wants to send a book to me, they know what to expect.” Heidi Richards Mooney
And I’m happy to say, the author I was venting about sent me a link to a free downloadable ebook a few days later. I’m thinking it is as Debra says:
“l can see him asking you to review his book if he knows your reputation and respects what you do, but ask you to buy it was pure wrong! I have asked people to review “Cedar Woman” because I know that I’ll get a true opinion, but I ALWAYS supply the book!. . .But sometimes, you know, we loose our heads. LOL” Debra Welsh
OK, enough bashing. In the excitement to get out and share your book, authors need to step back and see the blogger’s side. Time is very precious, it takes time to read a book and write up a review. What if the blogger hates your book, and you annoyed them with your request, nothing prevents them from writing a negative review. And how would a blogger handle a couple dozen free books sent to them for a review from various authors. Bloggers have spent time developing a relationship with their readers, and to be good to their audience, they will not review your book or product in a positive way unless it is to those readers benefit.
5 Top Tips for Requesting Book Review’s
- Visit their blog, subscribe, get to know the community to see if your book or product is a good fit.
- Look for their review policy, if they have one, follow their guidelines.
- Ask politely, offer a free book, possibly throw in a couple books to be given to their readers, show specific reasons why your book/product would interest their audience, offer a favor in return.
- Respect their time, have images ready with often asked questions and answers, offer to do an interview or answer any additional questions. Make your review an easy one to write.
- Say thank you, follow the comments on your review post. Interact and reply.
Two Great Review Examples
When I did a book review for Donna Cutting, it was handled by Teresa Morrow, a classy friend of mine. I was asked if I wanted to participate, sent a copy of the book, emailed a choice of images to use, several questions and answers and that I could write my own questions for Donna to answer. I did both. Easy post to write, I enjoyed her book. I took a picture of me and her book and created a thank you card and mailed it to her.
Donna runs a first class business. She sent me a gift card, asked permission and posted the image from the greeting card on her blog (send her a copy so she didn’t have to scan) and encouraged others to check out my greeting card system, ran a contest where other readers could send her pictures and and reviews of her site.
I was happy to get a note from one of my twitter friends, asking if he could send me some of the homemade soap his wife makes. Very cool. I was so surprised when a few days later I opened my mailbox and it smelled so good. I have a wonderful package with not just one, but one of each of the different varieties of soap, they add essential oils. I was in a hurry to run errands, not wanting to leave the package behind, I placed it in the car.
Weather was beautiful, I left my windows down, and enjoyed the smell of my handmade soaps. Couldn’t wait to try them out, brightened my day. He get a homemade soap review even though he didn’t ask for it. And when I run out, I’ll buy more from them.
Now to follow Heidi Richard Mooney’s Advice and write my review policy page.