Triple Threat or How Not To C4 Your Marketing Attempts
by Kelly Klepfer
Many authors have to do the majority of the marketing fortheir books. Actually, let's just say all y'all do, some just have a little help from the pros.
One of those huge areas is securing reviews and influencers.
In case you need a refresher on dealing with reviewers, let me give you some behind the scenes help.
1) Searching for the Landmines
Most respected reviewers are sought after. I get at least thirty-five requests a week to review books. I can read, at best, two books a month. That leaves a lot of requests denied. My advice to those of you who need reviews and get a no from the reviewers you'd love to read your novel is to find newer reviewers who are honest, respectful and like your genre.
How you find these reviewers? Search out titles that are similar to your story and find reviews that meet your checklist. Dig a little deeper and see how long the reviewer has been at it and how often she/he reviews. Authors who want to be published often go the review writing route first so they know a little about publishing and can write. Look for someone who has been reviewing on Amazon for about a year or two and has climbed pretty high on the top reviewer list. That's a good sign because it means people/customers read that reviewers opinions and consider them in their decision to buy or not buy. A really popular reviewer is going to get scads of offers though, so you want to find ones who are heading toward popular but not quite there yet for the quickest turn around.
2) Watch Your Step
Most reviewers have likes and dislikes. I don't really care for heavy political thrillers or sci-fi because I have a tendency to shut down when names, terminology and techy things are thrown at me. I also get a little gaggy when it comes to romance and Amish fiction. I know. I know. Un-American or something along those lines. But it is what it is. I'm very likely not going to love your book if you fall into those categories.
Find someone who loves books like yours. If you write clever dialogue or snarky characters or can make me cry with the depth of your prose, then I'm your gal. Feel free to use this when running your book past me. If you offer a reviewer a book he/she won't like, you won't get a good review and you might be burning a bridge. If you come upon an idea that would be his/her cup of tea in the future but you are under "tricked me with that stupid romance" in his/her memory banks you might regret the charcoaled remains of the bridge.
3) Put on Your Seatbelt and Big Kid Underoos
I don't need a thank you. If I loved a book that is thank you enough. But what I definitely don't need, what is completely inappropriate, and what is not burning bridges but C4'ing them into oblivion is suggesting that I didn't "get" a book, and that you'd like to explain it further to me. If it's written and published you've had your chance. Another dynamite comment would be " if you would make a tweak of your review that would be awesome."
Why is this an issue? Well, by seeking a review you are taking a chance that reviewers won't love or get you. Reviewers are representative of readers. Not everybody is going to get you, like your story, your sense of humor or your favorite outfit. It is what it is and you give up all control once your book is in the hand of the reviewer. Keep the lid on the gasoline can and respectfully and silently agree to disagree.
This might be a new thought for you as authors: my reviews are written for my audience, and yours. Readers. I believe that the majority of reviewers would agree with that statement. Otherwise reviews would be blurbs and wouldn't necessarily be considered in whether or not to part with money for a book. What I would like to know about a book before I buy it is what I like to share with readers. I do my best to do this kindly. I will not write a review on a book I don't like at all. I review books I'd buy or think others would find worth reading. But what I write -- with the exception of mechanical issues like the spelling of the author's name -- is my opinion of the book. If I am asked to reassess or change my review I am very, very unlikely to read any more from that author. Yes, I have been challenged, and yes, it is really annoying and no, I will not change a review and yes, I have put that handful of authors in my "don't go there" file.
Here is an additional marketing bonus tip. . . and you might be surprised at how often this is an issue. When you agree to do something to market your book, follow through. A blog post, an interview, a review of your work are all bridges to relationships with other folks in the industry and ultimately to your readers. Your choices, even the tiny ones, can honestly make a huge difference in your career. Be responsible, reliable, professional and humble. It will take you far.
Bio: Kelly Klepfer finally figured out that she loves to learn. And then share what she's learned with others. She reads and reviews and manages Novel Reviews because there is much to learn about life from fiction. Her own personal journey includes a zany mystery novel in process, co-authored with Michelle Griep, violin lessons, and cooking, baking and making some serious messes. Kelly shares about her life at Scrambled Dregs blog, in a collection of randomocity, recipes and her lessons learned.