So a Reviewer Said Yes. Now what?!

So a Reviewer Said Yes. Now what?! 1024 576 Reader Views

by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for authors

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 to dress up a review copy. They will do big things for your submission. They make it easier for your reviewer to get the information she needs for her review, including metadata. That speeds up the process and, because it is a courtesy, makes her more disposed to write a positive review. More importantly, it allows you (or your publisher) to include material that may influence her review to include the points you feel most salient to your reader. This information and much more is covered in my book How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically from my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. 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: That includes title; subtitle; name of series if any; author’s name; genre; number of pages; where your book can be purchased including convenient links; a phone number for the reviewer to reach you, your publicist, or your publisher with questions; a fax; email; and your website. Add a notification like this at the bottom (again with links): “Available in hard cover, paper, e-book, and audio.” This can be done on a 3.5 x 5 inch Avery-type 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 (press) 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 and a few blurbs 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 say it is “requested material”, 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 reviewer’s postal and/or email address you have at that time.

•   Some reviewers, bloggers, and other media outlets use the information you send verbatim. In the third edition of the The Frugal Book Promoter now published by Modern History Press, 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 sell sheet—that interior art, cover 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 website 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 reviewing from an e-copy if he or she requests real paper.

Oh, yes. Don’t forget to send a thank you for the review. Even if you weren’t that charmed with it. It’s a reviewer’s right to say what they want, although I always tactfully advise reviewers to tactfully send a book back if they feel it is a book they can’t recommend. And don’t forget to maintain a list of reviewers in your contact file or a dedicated Excel file. (Learn more about how to do that in the flagship book of my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books.) You don’t plan to be a one-book-only author, do you?

More About the Author

Learn more about how to make your book into a classic with forever reviews in the, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career. It’s fat, but it has a great index so you can find specific aspects of the review process from managing Amazon reviews to writing reviews of books you love.

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 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

“Careers that are not fed die as readily as any living organism given no sustenance“


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Twitter: @FrugalBookPromo

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