Sighhh. I so hate to see an author or publisher send out bare-bones review copies to a reviewer who has committed to reviewing a book.
Here are a few ideas from my newest book from my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically, to dress that copy up a bit.
The idea is to help your reviewer without violating ethics standards.
• Affix a review label to the inside front cover of the review copy you are sending. It should have all your book’s key data: contact information including name, phone, fax, email, and Web site. This can be done on a 3.5 x 5 inch label. Print enough for your projected needs.
• Enclose a media kit or a help sheet (sometimes called a sell sheet) about your title. It should include your media release. It might explain the benefits of your book or why someone would be interested in reading it and a bio of the author. Include the same information on this as the review label mention above. By doing this, you assure that your reviewer has the information he or she needs and that your name is spelled right. Further, if you include a nice synopsis, you may even be able to influence the reviewer to highlight what you find most valuable about your book.
• Enclose a cover letter stating that this review copy is being sent in direct response to their request and how to reach you if they need any additional information. This information can also go on the outside of the envelope you are using to send your ARC. Do not say that anywhere, though, unless it is the truth.
• Send the reviewer a brief e-mail and remind him/her of the request and that the copy is on its way. Double-check the address you have at that time.
• Some reviewers, bloggers, and other media outlets use the information you send verbatim. In The Frugal Book Promoter, I advise that your media kit include a review with permission for them to cut and paste exactly as it is. Be sure to give them guidelines for its use from both you and the original reviewer (Midwest Book Review, as an example, always extends permission for unlimited use as long as they are credited.)
• Let your contact know—as part of the letter and the release and even the review slip—that cover art, interior art, and/or author photos are available electronically or as black and white glossies. Make the cover of your book and an author photo available on your Web site so they can be downloaded in either color or black and white, in either high or low resolution.
• Don’t try to talk the reviewer into an e-copy if he or she request real paper.
Thanks to Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) for these suggested resources:
• Protect Yourself: https://www.ibpa-online.org/article/protect-yourself-from-bogus-reviewers/#.USgDIY5KHe5
• The Two Kits: https://www.z2systems.com/np/publicaccess/neonPage.do?pageId=2397&orgId=ibpa&
• Anatomy of a Review: https://www.z2systems.com/np/publicaccess/neonPage.do?pageId=3038&orgId=ibpa
More articles of interest on these topics can be found at the IBPA website in the articles section of IBPA’s Independent magazine online.
About Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program.
All her books for writers are multi award winners including first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor including awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.
The newest in the series, How to Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically, was launched as part of a promotional program to more than 20,000 new readers.
All are available in print or as e-book. Learn more at http://howtodoitfrugally.com.