How to Get Me Interested in Your Book
Lately, I have been receiving a lot of requests for book reviews. Somewhere between this blog and our podcast, it seems that a lot of self-published and small-press-published authors have decided that a review from me or Beth would be beneficial to their publicity. Which is totally fine. If you are in that category, and your book is good, I’d love to read it.
So far, though, I’ve only responded favorably to one such request. (And I feel awful because I haven’t gotten to it yet! Sorry, Sofia!) Here are some reasons why:
You didn’t do your homework with your request. This is the most basic reason I turn these requests down. Most of these letters are clearly form letters. They don’t show that the author has listened to even one of the 100 podcasts Beth and I have done, or that the person has even read the “About Me” page on my blog. Maybe the person has taken the time to put my name into the salutation, but that’s about it.
Corollary: I have no interest in your subject matter. Okay, I understand that I read a very eclectic mix of things. But especially if you listen to the podcast, you can tell that there are certain threads that run through the things we like: YA, fantasy and science fiction, self-help, parenting, etc. Sorry, but unless you can give me a good reason why I will like a book, I don’t want to read it.
Sad but true: your writing has to be good. I know from experience that there are many excellent self-published works out there. But if I cannot get through your first page, or even your request letter, due to a glut of grammar errors, there’s no way I’m going to review your book, unless you want a one-star review.
Now, if you want me to buy the book for the library, the criteria are a little different. I don’t necessarily have to be interested in reading your book for me to purchase it – but you still have to give me a good reason why it should be added to the collection. Are you a local author? Does the book have a connection to my library? If not, what niche can your book fill in my collection? Which readers would be interested, and why?
Also, you should know that if you have an e-book, it may not be possible for me to add your book to my collection. I’m limited by the restrictions imposed by Amazon, as well as what I can do through our distributor. If your book is available for Nook, I can add it to one of our circulating Nooks – but again, you’ve got to do your homework before I will do that.
Librarians and readers – got anything to add? Self-published or not – how can an author get you to read his or her book?