Optimizing buzz from book reviews can be an key part of your book’s overall marketing campaign, so it’s important to make time for it, even if you’re like me and writing isn’t your primary day-job.
Allow me to share a few tips that helped me get SIXTY-THREE book reviews and interviews for my new book, Radical Well-being, while suffering only a short-term, reversible case of utter exhaustion. Yay!!
(1) Establish your platform and develop relationships on the Internet long before you ask people to review your book.
When you pitch to book reviewers, it helps if you already have an established presence on the Internet and elsewhere. That’s why you need as many of these as possible (I included links so you can see what mine look like): an author website, Facebook fan/author & book pages, an Amazon.com author page, at least ten positive reviews on your book’s Amazon.com page, a Pinterest page, a Linked-In profile, a video book trailer on Youtube (see my latest book trailer, for example), a Twitter account, a blog (I actually created an interactive forum for discussion about my diet book–with a blog embedded in it), an Internet talk radio show, a newsletter or e-zine, magazine articles, and as many TV and radio appearances as possible. Don’t necessarily shoot for perfection on your Internet pages before you publish them. Just get your pages up and running. You can improve them gradually, over time, if need be.
(2) Pitch to every reviewer you can, and do it early.
I started collecting names and contact information for book reviewers, columnists, newsletter producers, and bloggers in my specific niche about six to nine months before the official launch date for Radical Well-being. As soon as the reviewers responded with interest, I asked if they would accept an electronic version of the book when it became available. If the answer was “No,” I put them on a separate list to receive a bound galley copy (a rough version of the book).
(3) Ask your publisher for an electronic version of your book to send to reviewers early. Also, get the cover art to include with the book file.
Almost half of the sixty-three people who agreed to review my book were willing to accept an electronic copy. The copy was watermarked by the publisher to deter widespread bootlegging. Attach the book’s cover art, a short author bio, and a book synopsis to the book file when you email it to reviewers, and send sample interview questions if the blogger wants to run an interview about you, as well. Bloggers love it when you suggest questions they might want to ask you.
(4) Try to coordinate reviewers to publish on the day of your book’s actual launch date.
Start well in advance. Otherwise, you won’t allow your reviewers enough time to read your book and write their reviews before your launch date! I had to scramble in this regard, as my publisher unexpectedly moved up my book’s release date by two months! Yikes! To help my publicist get the galley copies out in time, I actually printed out cover letters and mailing labels and snail mailed them to her. That way, all she had to do was put the galleys in the envelopes, insert my signed cover letter, affix the mailing label, and send them off. It wasn’t necessary for me to do that, but it freed her up to get me more media hits than I could get on my own, so it was worth the effort on my part.
(5) Solicit radio interviews well in advance of your book’s launch date, if possible.
You don’t have to be a major author to get radio spots. Try for Internet radio! Some hosts with smaller audiences may be eager to have you on. The nice thing about radio is you can PRE-record shows, thus freeing yourself up for other buzz-building activities on your launch date. Plus, you don’t have to get all dressed up or travel far from home like you do with TV. As a side note…. when you pitch to radio producers, keep in mind they get hundreds of pitches a day. Odds are high they won’t make it past your email’s subject line if it’s boring, so write one that’s enticing! My subject line read, “Christian IvyLeague MedDoc/radio guest/author w/ unlimited FREE Kindle diet book downloads for ALL ur listeners, Jan8-12.” Yes, you read that right. I offered my first book, The Eden Diet, entirely FREE, in exchange for a chance to talk about my second book, Radical Well-being. (By the way, you can have my diet book for FREE, too, if you want it. It’s FREE on Kindle through January 12, 2013. Just follow the link above, which I shamelessly worked into this point. Do you see what I did there? Use every opportunity!)
(6) Make marketing opportunities for your book anywhere possible.
The launch date for my new book, Radical Well-being—A Biblical Guide to Overcoming Pain, Illness, and Addictions, was YESTERDAY!!!! Thus, I wrote this blog entry ahead of time and strategically set it aside for publication today. As you can see, preparing promotional material in advance is critical if you want to achieve optimal buzz around the time of your book’s launch.
(7) Send reminders to your reviewers and radio hosts.
Don’t expect everyone who promised you a review or an interview to necessarily remember your release date. In fact, just assume they already forgot. Send them a “thanks again for agreeing to publish my review on [insert launch date]. May I provide any further information to facilitate your writing the review?” Many reviewers responded with a “I’m so glad you reminded me…” or “Would you mind reminding me again in two weeks? I have a lot going on right now.”
(8) Thank your reviewers with back-links to their reviews.
It’s only courteous! And it’s good for relationship-building. Keep in mind that you might write another book someday and might therefore solicit reviews again from these bloggers! As for me, I intend to publish “thank you’s” and back-links in the February 2013 edition of Dr. Rita’s Christian Health Newsletter, which goes out to over 3400 subscribers. I also posted thank you’s to my reviewers on Facebook and elsewhere.
As you can see, it isn’t easy to create buzz for your new books, but starting early, working hard, and establishing good cyber-relationships certainly helps. A little bit of OCD doesn’t hurt, either.
Do YOU have info to add, here? If so, I’m all ears! What additional advice do YOU have regarding how to solicit and coordinate book reviews and interviews to optimize book buzz? Any and all comments are appreciated!
Blessings from Dr. Rita!
6 Replies to “Generating Buzz Through Book Reviews”
Thank you for step by step information.
Always good to follow the footsteps of one who is doing things successfully!
Good advice! thanks so much! Denise George
Thanks for putting this together in an easy-to-use list, Rita! It goes in my file for future reference.
Very very helpful. Thank you Rita.
Speaking as a book blogger, three months in advance is ideal. There’s a trade off between getting a book so far in advance that the proofreading, editing and cover isn’t as polished as you want to present, and being too stale. One thing reviewers are aware of is how much publishers value launch date buzz. There’s a short window of time around which everyone else is discussing a book, and if we miss this the conversation has moved on. There’s also less value in being the 50th person to review a given book: when that’s the case we had better be writing something unique and special, or else what are we adding?
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