Ten and twenty years ago, book marketing meant authors participated in live book tours. They gave speeches and signed books in bookstores. They traveled many miles to reach many possible readers. Their books were reviewed in books and magazines. Some authors also were interviewed for radio and television.
Reviewers in those print media would receive complimentary review copies, often in pre-publication form as Advance Reading Copies (ARCs).
Today publishers do not send authors on book tours as readily as before. Travel has become more expensive and publishers are getting squeezed on profit margins. Additionally, many authors have turned to self-publishing, which can be very profitable if they are willing to take on the marketing challenge.
Online book reviews have taken on a more important role in this new book publishing climate. Authors now query reviewers directly to obtain reviews on Amazon and other online venues.
Here are some common questions authors ask:
Q. Should I try to get reviews from experienced reviewers rather than my friends and family?
A. If you have a good book, you will get more mileage by targeting experienced reviewers. Make sure your reviewer has a history of reading and reviewing books in your genre. Get a sense of what kinds of books appeal to a particular reviewer.
However, be aware that experienced reviewers tend to be fussier. Top reviewers get several books a month to review so the promise of a free book won’t be a motivator.
Q. Do I need to invest in review copies to get reviews?
Yes. Reviewers will want to see a complete book – a hard copy though not necessarily a hard cover. A paperback or even galleys will usually be accepted. However, many reviewers will not accept pdf files. Even fewer reviewers will accept requests to itnerview based on just a chapter or two.
Q. Will reviewers return a book?
Rarely. Most reviewers are too busy to wrap up a book and you can’t expect them to pay postage. If you’re concerned about losing your investment in the review copy, choose your reviewers with extra care.
Q. Can you ask for a positive review?
A. Some reviewers will say, “If I really hate the book, I won’t write a review,” especially if you are from
Q. What if you can’t get anyone to review your book?
A. You may be approaching the wrong reviewers. Your book may not fit a clear genre. Or your query may be discouraging reviewers; for instance, some authors write about their own frustrations (“This is my first book”) rather than “sell” the reviewer on the value of reading his or her book.