[Originally posted on FF V1 on Feb. 23, 2013.]
by Jack L. Pyke
I’ve had contact with some outstanding reviewing sites and blogs lately. Whether they’ve given a huge thumbs up or a 2-star review, all have been very gracious and professional with their approach when it came to handling a very nervous debut author.
Those authors here who have multiple works already know this, but if you’re a new author, self-promotion always raises that one niggling question: Do I really need to?
The simple answer is yes. It’s your work: self-promotion will not only assist whatever plan FFP is working with, but learning to come to terms with first-time nerves over approaching people about your work will only help you in the long run. This doesn’t mean talking to every person you come across about your book, but it does mean sending out a polite request to reviewing sites /blogs who review your genre. You can also request author interviews etc.
Reviewing sites will have access to a pool of readers in your genre. Those readers will have Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads accounts etc, and passionate readers love to talk about books. Offering your work to the right sites will give you that independent review of your work, and one that wil hopefully open up discussion and debate.
Where to Start.
Compiling a list of reviewing sites is good for two reasons: it allows you to keep potential sites for future reference, but it also allows you to track those you’ve sent work to (those who are interested, those who aren’t etc). And you can find reviewing sites one of two ways. The easiest is just to do a search of “Erotic romance Reviewing sites”. This will bring up the most well known. Another way is to make use the likes of Goodreads. Track authors in your genre and look at their reviews for the ones that come from reviewing sites.
Go to the links the reviewing site gives for that review (most will have them), spend time looking at the books they review, check out their review policy, and read a few of their reviews. Like sending to a publisher, you need to make sure the reviewing site is right for your work. You also need to check that you like the style of certain reviewers. They do differ widely.
Requesting a Review
Don’t be afraid to ask – they’re reviewing sites: it’s what they do. They may turn you down your request or take months to reply, but they do like authors to make a professional request for a review.
Most reviewing sites will let you know the procedure: it will be on their main page. Take time note what they need (blurb, publishing details etc). Keep it professional. Once the review is sent, don’t make the mistake of getting in touch to keep asking if/when the review is going to be ready. Reviewing lists can be very long and it’s just courtesy to allow a reviewer time and space to get to yours. Some reviewing sites won’t reply for months, some won’t reply at all.
Receiving the Reviews
Most reviewing sites won’t contact you to let you know the review has been posted. This is not done out of spite. Reviews are there for readers, with the author merely providing the material to reviewing sites to be reviewed for their readers.
Whether the review is glowing or otherwise, send a polite thank you, nothing else. Don’t get into a debate over a review: not publicly, not privately. It’s the reviewers opinion of your work and they are more entitled to it (and you did ask). Just keep in mind it’s a review of one book, not the author — not you. When it comes to reviewers and authors, it’s the relationship that’s important, not how they rate the review. Reviewers sometimes get burned badly by authors who feel the review hasn’t gone their way. Don’t be one of those authors, please. Don’t ruin future chances for a review on another work from the same reviewer. Just offer a thank you for their time and respect their opinion on your work.
How Many Reviewing Sites?
This is your choice. How many do you think you need? For Don’t, I approached six. One was a “no thank you”, a few others are only starting to reply now due to heavy review lists, and the rest slotted me in around and around existing schedules.
I chose these reviewers because they touched different aspects of my novel (either pure erotic romance, BDSM, Thriller, etc). All had slightly different readerships. I just made sure that a link was provided to FFP and the content lists to show everything that my novel covered. This ensured that reviewers are given everything they need to make a fair judgment on whether or not to review my work.
A final note on “That’s author Life, I’m afraid”
You won’t satisfy every reviewing site with your work: don’t every try. You know yourself as a reader that there are books that you like that other readers will bring out the garlic and crosses to. Reading is purely subjective, and reviewing sites have human reviewers who will vary in their reader taste too. In all cases, it really is just best to let reviewers review and the readers read without making them feel as though someone is looking over their shoulder, always at the ready with a harsh word when they offer constructive criticism. Many good people have said this long before me and it keeps me in check, but the best way to react to a review (good or otherwise) is simply to write another book.
List of recommended reviewing sites:
There are other excellent review sites; these are just a few.
[NOTE: We also highly recommend you read the ForbiddenFiction policy page: How to (and how not to) get your book reviewed!]