Let's Swap Book Reviews
With tens of thousands of different book-promotion plans and opportunities on the market (just search the Internet for "book promotion" or "book marketing" to be overwhelmed), someone asked me recently which method of marketing is most effective. Many marketing plan "teasers" lead you to purchase various full or advance plans or services promising to get your book noticed. Whether or not they work or are worth the investment is open to conjecture. Some of the best free or inexpensive suggestions are located at Elektra Press under the category, "marketing and promotion" Here, Here, and Here. Worth checking out.
After publishing ninety books with numerous conventional publishers, I like the idea of unsolicited book reviews. If you have a lot of personal e-mail addresses in your contact list, you could notify each of them of your book's publication date and offer to send them a free ARC (Advance Reader Copy) eBook with a request that they provide an honest, objective book review IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO. It's important that you don't solicit book reviews with the understanding that there are "strings" attached or that the ARC recipient is required to write a review. If you do, sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble will delete them.
If you don't have a large personal contact list to draw upon, you can join a writing group such as the Authors Guild (www.authorsguild.org), PEN America (www.pen.org), or the American Society of Journalists and Authors (www.asja.org) and mention the fact that you're seeking reviewers for your book (again, do a Google search for a comprehensive list of writing groups). You may also be interested in exchanging reviews with other authors—in which you'll read their books with the understanding that you may review them if you so choose. In return, you'll send out your book's ARCs with the same understanding. All reviews must be unbiased and unsolicited—the choice of reviewing rests solely with the reader/reviewer.
If you're an author, agent, or publisher interested in exchanging unbiased and unsolicited book reviews with me, just drop me a line via the form below, telling the name of your book, its publisher and publication date, and whatever other information you'd like to share. Then upload or drag-and-drop a one-page synopsis of your book plus the entire manuscript for review consideration--in MS Word format ONLY, please--where indicated at the bottom of the form below.
Why go the book-review route when so many other marketing opportunities are available to you? Mostly, because Amazon is the single largest selling book outlet in the world, and many people who check out books read their existing reviews on the site before deciding whether or not to buy. But Amazon has specific rules against soliciting reviews, paying for reviews with money or any other commodity of real or perceived value, and providing false or biased reviews, either pro or con. They do allow authors to send out ARCs in order to encourage book reviews, but the reviews must be unbiased and the review requests unsolicited—totally at the reviewer's discretion without undue influence, pay, or any other consideration from the author. Just a word to the wise!
Remember: All reviews are understood to be unpaid, unbiased, and unsolicited, and no mutual exchange of reviews is required or expected.