Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Wrote a Book? Great! Now What?

by Darke Conteur

I recently spent a couple weeks doing book review requests with book bloggers. If there's one thing that brings all writers together, it's the fear of self-promotion. Nothing feels more uncomfortable then knocking on someone's door and asking them to read your book. Yet whether you're SP, Indie, or TP, eventually we all have to suck it up and go forth, but before you wade out into these waters, I want to pass on some knowledge I've acquired. Might save you some embarrassment in the long run.

  • Be prepared for the "no-replies." I thought I was done with that when I stopped querying agents. Apparently not. Out of the thirty or so book blogger sites I sent emails to, only eight have replied so far. Mind you, out of that eight only one turned me down. So not that bad of odds.
  • Like querying agents, know who you're dealing with first. If you write urban fantasy and they say they review fantasy, check out the books they've read. Fantasy has a very wide range of sub-genres and some reviewers might not care for urban fantasy.
  • If you've been through the query process, you already know how confusing sending out multiple emails can be. Who did you send requests to? Who replied? Who didn't? Who's not taking any more subs until later? Mind boggling. Keep yourself organized. I have three folders: one for all the requests sent, one for those who reply, and a folder for the ones who are temporarily shut down. Yes, keep an eye on the ones that are currently closed. I'll discuss more about that below.
  • Read over their Review Policy ON THEIR WEBPAGE. While I was looking over the list of sites, some stated they accepted self-published novels, but their Review Policy page stated otherwise. Remember, this is like querying. There are rules and you must follow them. You are not the exception to the rule. Not following their instructions will get your email request deleted.

I did come across one site which required you to sign up to their mailing list in order for your book to be reviewed. I didn't submit to that one.

Now, what to do in case they aren't doing reviews?

As I stated above, I kept a list of those who weren't taking book requests at this time. Doesn't mean they won't be doing so in the future, they're just bogged down and need to catch up. Go back and visit these sites once a month, or even twice a month, but DON'T send them emails asking if they're open to submission. If they are, they'll put it on their website.

Many bloggers offer to let you do a guest blog in place of a review. Sure they're not talking about your book, but it's exposure and in the end, that's what you're looking for. The guest blogs I've done have posted my cover art and links to my books, so no matter what, doing a guest post is a win/win situation.

Most importantly, have fun. Yes, promoting your work is a serious business, but try to have some fun too. The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to promote yourself.

Good luck!

Darke Conteur is the author of stories from the darker side of life. Blogs here, Tweets here & plays Facebook games here.


Jarmara Falconer said...

I think we need to remember it is all down to having enough time, which lacking for us all, as you say ‘be prepared’ for no-replies, like agents/publisher etc it’s all to do with work load.

I have a pile of books beside my bed and on my kindle to read and this is for pleasure, not work, though I do have a few friends’ books waiting for me to review their books for Amazon, but again it’s time.

If I’m reading, I’m not writing. It’s one or the other, though I do try to make a little time to read in the morning and just before I go to sleep. If the book hooks me then it’s hard to put down it’ll take me a week to read it, but if I’m struggling with it, it might take me longer or I’ll give up on it and then I can’t review it.

I’d want to give it a fair review and if I haven’t finished it I wouldn’t be able to review.

I wish you lots of luck with your writing projects.

JennaQuentin said...

Great info! Thanks for sharing.

Darke Conteur said...

@ Jarmara - Agreed. There were many sites that stated they were taking requests, but were really backed up. I didn't submit to them. I didn't want to add to their workload.

@ Jenna - Not a problem! I haven't read too many blog posts on it, so I thought it would be a good topic.

Terri-Lynne said...

Usually when I try to comment in here, it never works! Let's try again, eh?

Great advice here. Really great advice. I have found far more writers squichy about self-promoting than those who enjoy it; these guidelines can very well make the process a lot less daunting.

Jean Oram said...

That's some pretty sound advice, Darke. I'll have to make sure I tuck that away for the day I may need to do some promotion.

I was reading somewhere yesterday that you should follow up 3 times when asking to be on someone's blog. To me that felt like too much. Like hounding, you know. How do you feel about follow-ups? Has anyone done any on no replies?

marlenedotterer said...

Good advice! I'm cringing, because I never thought of keeping track of this stuff. But it makes very good sense to do it. Who has said they will review my book? Who have I provided a free copy to? Which bloggers have interviewed me, or participated in a blog tour?

There's a lot of detail to this marketing stuff. I can see why it would make sense to hire someone to do it, rather than doing it myself. Which, of course, I can't afford to do.

*Sigh* Time to go create another spreadsheet.

Darke Conteur said...

@ Jean - 3 times? Really? I would think after the second no response, the answer is no. I'm with you on that one.

Hmm...follow-ups. I've never done one. The way I look at it, if they want me, they'll reply. I'm not going to worry over ones that don't.

@ Marlene - For me, it's a matter of making lists. I love list. I make them for everything. Even when I play games, I make lists. I'm obsessed!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice Darke - hope I'm in the position to use it some day! :)

M Pax said...

Great tips, Darke. You're welcome to come do a guest post on my blog any time. :)

Charmaine Clancy said...

This was an eye-opener. This is an area I am slick in, I've run a competition on my blog to encourage reviews but never had the guts to approach anyone directly.

Good luck with those reviews!

Wagging Tales

Theresa Milstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theresa Milstein said...

Good tips from Darke Conteur. Querying is a lonely and frustrating enterprise. Until the yes.

Darke Conteur said...

My apologies for not replying until now.

@ Jemi -I know you will be, and you can guest post on my blog when you're there. :)

@M Pax - Done! I'll email you. :)

@Charmaine - People think it's different, but as I sent out the request, if felt just like the queries. If you can do one, you can do the other. :)

@Theresa - That's why I joined writing forums. To be around others who understand. :)