Guest- Book Reviewer Lisa J. Jackson

Jessie: Soaking up the sun on the coast of Maine

Lisa Hasleton is one of those people who seems to turn her hand to any number of tasks others find overwhelming. I am always amazed by her ability to get to the bottom of problems, both grammatical and technical. I am delighted she is able to join us here on the Wickeds today to share some wisdom about working with reviewers!

Authors: Advice for How to Request Book Reviews or InterviewsI get a lot of satisfaction in interviewing authors about their work and reading their books and writing reviews. I’ve been interviewing authors for years through my Reviews and Interviews blog [http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com] and was a live-chat author moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom http://www.writerschatroom.com for over a decade. 

It’s a lot of fun being able to peek behind the curtain a bit and learn about an author and their work. I’ve been introduced to numerous authors in just about every genre, and I love it.

I receive numerous email requests for reviews and/or interviews and it’s about 30/70 now whether I reply to requests any more. That sounds harsh, only replying to 30% of requests, but it’s always due to lack of respect and/or information in the request.

Simple common courtesy and etiquette will get you far with anyone (not just a reviewer or interviewer). 

Most book reviewers/author interviewers are not charging for their time, except by way of a copy of your book (if doing a review). I prefer paper copies of books since I’m online all day editing and writing and reading paper is relaxing. So a copy of the book (even e-books) is an author expense, for sure.

First and foremost: You want to research bloggers to make sure they are open to your genre, that they are accepting new books, etc.

Tips when asking for a review or interview:

  • Be polite and courteous – I don’t know you, so you need to give me a reason to spend time on your email
  • Use my name in the opening (i.e., Hi Lisa)
  • Briefly introduce yourself (your name, how you found me) – Book Bloggers List, from seeing an interview of an author you like on my blog, from hearing about me through FB, SinC, wherever
  • Let me know what you are seeking from me – interview or book review
  • Tell me, briefly, a little bit about your novel(s) – do notpaste in paragraphs of past reviews, writeups, blurbs, or sections of your book
  • Make sure to tell me the name of the book and the genre
  • Thank me for my time and consideration
  • Put your name at the end of the email
  • Include your website and/or FB page in your signature

Here are examples of types of emails most of us (anyone anywhere) delete:

  • Those that obviously have BCC addressees, or worse, have a plethora of email addresses visible 
  • Those that start with “Hi LisaHaseltonsReviewsAndInterviews” (the blog name stripped out of the URL)
  • Those that are literally a book blurb and link to a website where the recipient can learn more.
  • Those with no introduction, no thank you, no genre, etc., such as, “I’ve published my first/second/third book. You can read about it here [ ]. You can learn about me here [ ].”Or worse: “I am self-publishing my first book next month and need promotion. Reply for more information.
  • Those all about you, such as: “I’m trying to generate a little exposure for my book, NOVEL TITLE. I’m setting up a blog tour and was hoping to add you to my list. I have a couple interviews set up but am willing to do a few a more. I’ll, of course, send a free e-book to the bloggers that will be reviewing my book. Here is a link to my book to give you an idea on what it’s about. www.LINKTOBOOK.comContact me today to join the tour.”  
  • Those that don’t include your name anywhere, not even in the email address.

You get the gist. 

As authors we want to spend time writing our books and talking with our characters. Promotion is not enjoyable a lot of the time – and it can certainly be a time suck. But honey instead of vinegar, and all that. You’re asking a favor of someone you (probably) don’t know. Give them a reason to like you and want to do that favor. You want to build a relationship with the book reviewer or author interviewer, so give it an honest start.

I’ve worked with various virtual book tour companies over the years, and if that’s of interest to you when you launch (or re-launch) a book, I highly recommend Goddess Fish Promotions. Judy and Marianne are fabulous to work with. [http://www.goddessfish.com/] Or perhaps you do book reviews – they would love more bloggers to help as tour hosts – it’s a great way to meet new-to-you authors, and sometimes win some swag, as well as get your blog noticed. Mention my name!

I’m excited to be working on a way to combine my experience as an author chat moderator and author interviewer/reviewer through video interviews with authors – to launch in 2020. Watch my blog and Facebook page for details! 

I’m currently backlogged with promised book reviews, so am not accepting more at the moment. However, if you’d like an interview as a way to help promote your book, the best email is ReviewsAndInterviews@gmail.com.

Bio:Lisa Haselton is the pseudonym for Lisa as a fiction writer, author interviewer, book reviewer, and member and Programs director for Sisters in Crime – New England. You can learn more through her blog [http://www. lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com], Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/lisahaselton], and Twitter [http://www.twitter.com/LisaHaselton1].

In her everyday world, Lisa J. Jackson is a professional editor and writer for businesses and authors. You can connect with her on:

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisajjackson

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WriteYourWay

Alignable https://www.alignable.com/hudson-nh/write-your-way

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/Lisa_J_Jackson

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/lisajjackson

19 Thoughts

  1. Most important- I look at who recommends a book and I have found consistent agreements among certain folks ( Carolyn Hart, Washington Post , etc) if a book is not the type of book you write please state that – I picked up a book because of a man Author I like and it was bad . We fans and future writers ( about life as a wandering Deefie senior lady ( hard of hearing)

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    1. Thanks, Liz. Common courtesy really goes far.

      I received an email just this morning…BCC’ed to multiple people, “Hi, …free review copy of MY NOVEL available at xyz.com…I’m relaunching the novel, because it was originally published at the end of November 2018, but it’s much more of a beach/holiday read, so hopefully, something that appeals to you at this time. Many thanks and best wishes”

      Saving for a future blog where I’ll post real-world examples of emails that get deleted immediately. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the tips and for all that you do for writers, Lisa. When my kids were growing up I told them that good marks were important, but good manners were what would get them ahead in life. That certainly applies to writers.

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  3. Yes, yes, yes! A million times yes!!!

    I started reviewing at Amazon almost 20 years ago, so I’ve been on spam lists for review requests for years, and I can’t tell you how many requests I get that start with “Dear Sir/Madam.” If you cant even take the time to figure out if Mark is a guy’s name or a lady’s name, why should I give you any more time.

    Then there are the requests for erotica or horror I get. What if what I have reviewed lead me to believe I would be interested in either of those genres?

    And let’s not get me started on the requests for reviews of things when I quite obviously don’t review them on Amazon.

    Fortunately, the requests I get through my blog’s email address (I use different ones for the two locations) are usually much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, yes… Sir/Madam, sometimes even “Hey You!”, lol. I was paid for reviews for a while, and when Amazon switched up its guidelines for reviews (they probably are still switching things up), I was banned because someone reported a review as having been paid for (I didn’t hide that fact, thought being up front was the way to go. and I never give favorable reviews if I don’t like a book, paid or not). Amazon jail for life; no recourse.

      I use different emails too, so when a request comes to the non-review one, that raises a flag.

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  4. Excellent advice, Lisa. My guidelines are well-placed on my website, so if the author takes the time to read them, they will know which genres I do (and don’t) review. BUT, I still get requests to review horror and erotica. If they can’t take the time to read the guidelines, why should I take the time to read their book and then write a review?

    I always respond to polite requests, even if I have to pass on the review because of time constraints. Not so much to ‘hey sir or madam.’ Being nice really does work for most respected reviewers. That awareness of manners will keep you on my radar for future projects.

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