5 Top Tips For Approaching Book Reviewers by Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer guest @JanetBoyer

One of the reasons I love Twitter is because it’s a great equalizer — I can talk with anyone and they can talk with me. So I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce you to Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer Janet Boyer (she’s also an author). I must get at least five queries per day from folks to either review their book (I’m NOT a reviewer, friends!), or to find out how to get reviewers to read and review their book. 

So here you go! Bookmark this one. Janet is great. 

5 Tips for Approaching Book ReviewersUntitled1

 

I’m an Amazon.com Hall of Fame/Vine reviewer with over 1,100 reviews to my name with over 28,000 helpful votes. Some of my reviews appear in print publications, and I was once on staff at a print magazine as a paid reviewer.

In short, I’ve been doing this a long time…and I’m rather good at it.

So here are some tips for authors and publicists who want to get a book, deck or product reviewed, from someone who actually knows.

First, keep in mind that most reviewers are volunteers. We do it because we enjoy providing a service to fellow consumers…or we’re just passionate about evaluating products. Usually both.

Some of us are also published authors, working on our own writing projects—often on top of being parents, homeschoolers and domestic gods/goddesses.

Meaning: we’re busy. In fact, I get multiple review requests on a daily basis and 80% I politely decline.

Here are some tips that will help you NOT waste our time or tick us off and, if you’re lucky, secure a review from us (especially if we’re a coveted Amazon Top Reviewer).

One: Don’t bait and switch. Recently, a publicist pitched a print book and meditation CD from an author, directing me to the product links on Amazon. The book and CD actually sounded quite good, so I replied with my physical address to send the products. She emailed back that she’d send me a eBook file and a mp3 via email.

Wait: You didn’t say anything about an eBook or a mp3 file. You directed me to a link describing a print book and a CD…not an eBook or audio download.

I told her this, she agreed that it was misrepresented…and snail mailed  me the print book and CD. She’s lucky I didn’t tell her “don’t bother”. Fortunately, the products look quite helpful and nicely produced, so the product “sold” itself to me despite the poor publicity effort.

Takeaway: Don’t try to lure reviewers into “biting” by pitching a print book, CD, physical deck or other “in hand” product…then, when they agree, offer digital versions. Feel free to say that the reviewer has the option of requesting the eBook, viewing the digital deck or downloading the mp3 instead…but don’t bait and switch.

Two: Don’t pitch via a blanket Tweet that says “Hello, I’m looking for someone to review my book. You can read about it on my website at ______. Thanks!” Yes, this is an actual Tweet I received recently. When I checked the writer’s feed, he had just pitched a dozen or so others…all within minutes. Do. Not. Do. This. Not only is it unprofessional (and I can’t believe I even have to mention it), but it will NOT garner a reputable reviewer’s notice. Be a professional. Pitch via email just like you’d pitch an agent or editor. Don’t be lazy.

Three: Don’t address your email “Dear Top Reviewer”. Would you query an agent “Dear Agent”? Use the reviewer’s name…and spell it right.

Four: Research the reviewer’s interests. Don’t pitch occult titles to a Christian reviewer. Don’t pitch erotica to a children’s book reviewer. Don’t pitch a sports book to a cookbook/food reviewer. You get the picture. Investigate the last dozen or two products reviewed on Amazon or the reviewer’s blog to find out preferred genres—or, better yet, read the reviewer’s bio. It will likely tell you exactly the kind of books and products he/she reviews.

Five: Don’t send an attachment of your book in your introductory email. Most reviewers are sensible and won’t open attachments from people they don’t know.

Here’s a hot-off-the-press example of a perfect email pitch from an author to a reviewer (me)…reprinted by permission:

Dear Ms. Boyer, (She addresses me by my name)

I found your name on the list of Amazon Top Reviewers and thought, given your interests in tarot and divination, you might be interested in a novel I’ve written. (She’s done her homework and knows exactly the type of books I review and write)

It is Intaglio: The Snake and the Coins, a romance involving players in both the Modern Art scene and the graffiti subculture with links to past life experiences. 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Z5ULFA (She gives me a succinct and fascinating hook. Bonus points for providing a direct link to her book on Amazon.com)

If you think you might be interested in reading my book and posting an honest review of it on Amazon, either positive or negative, I would be glad to send you a complimentary copy. I’m happy to send you a pdf copy for Kindle, or, if you’d prefer, a paperback if you reply with your postal mailing address. (She gives me a choice as to what format I prefer for my review copy. Bonus: She says she appreciates an honest review–positive or negative. I love it when an author is so confident about her work!)

There is no obligation, of course. (Another bonus. This is code for “I won’t bug the hell out of you after I send you the review copy, begging for you to post your review.”)

Cheers!

Danika Stone

So there you have it, boys and girls. A perfect author pitch to a reviewer. Read and learn.

 

Janet Boyer is not only an Amazon.com Hall of Fame Reviewer (there’s only 124 of ‘em), but is also a traditionally published author of two books (Back in Time Tarot, Hampton Roads; Tarot in Reverse, Schiffer Publishing) and a self-published writer of a dozen eBooks. She has worked as a print magazine columnist (x3), social media maven for a publisher, an editor, a radio host and a Tarot reader. Janet is co-creator of the Snowland Deck, a set of brainstorming and creativity cards designed to heighten intuitive perception; her husband, artist Ron Boyer, is almost done painting this innovative 82-card deck.janet boyer author pic

You can see all the completed images, as well as get your own set, at SnowlandDeck.com. Janet is currently writing Book 1 of the Wonder Seasons Park cozy mystery series, Scry Me a River, with her co-collaborator Gayle Trent under the pseudonym Janet Trent; their blog is WonderSeasons.com. She invites you to visit her main site, JanetBoyer.com, as well as her (mostly) writer-centric blog Fizz of Ideas at FizzOfIdeas.com.

 

Have questions for Janet? Ask them below!

 

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31 5-star reviews in just 4 weeks for my latest release, Broken Pieces. Read a free sample here now!

About Rachel Thompson

Rachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Rachel is the creator and founder of #MondayBlogs and #SexAbuseChat and an advocate for sexual abuse survivors. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

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  42. zowie, I didn’t even know it was okay to request a review. There is still so much I’m learning about the writing world. Thanks for sharing this tip — I will make sure to follow the suggestions when I reach this point in the game! :)

    • quite welcome, sweet. Yea, it’s a whole ‘thing’ most of us don’t know anything about until we get there. And that’s okay — focus on your writing. The rest will come. hugs!

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  56. There is definately a great deal to know about this subject.
    I like all the points you have made.

  57. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort
    to make a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate
    a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  58. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a
    sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit
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    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  59. Hello Rachel. I was so pleased to read your post on Amazon reviewers. I have been considering following this strategy for my new book. I’ve been searching for an email style that isn’t pushy and may appeal to the right reviewers. In my case fantasy authors. It’s my first book, and I want to get some reviews that are sincere, and constructive. I have one great review already, and was looking to email some top reviewers for more. This article has the best email template I’ve seen. It’s fantastic. You a godsend. I hope you don’t mind, but I wii be using this wording in quest. Regards Stephen E. Dew. aka Mealea Mathews.

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