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.
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.”)
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.
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!