If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to have your new novel reviewed by large publication, the task may seem daunting but it’s far from impossible. The first step is to start small
According to author Shelli Johnson, major publications review 10 percent or less of their submissions, so writers should focus their attention elsewhere. She lists ten great steps to get started, including reaching out to local newspaper editors and columnists who benefit from tying your book to their topics and stories. She also encourages self-publishers to join the Independent Book Publishers Association which will give authors a networking advantage.
Joel Friedlander of Writer’s Digest stresses the importance of being prepared, choosing the right reviewers and following their requirements. The easiest way to have your book ignored is by failing to send a query letter if required or asking for an e-book review, when a particular reviewer does not accept e-book submissions. Research the websites and publications that are in line with your manuscript’s genre can save you time and energy down the road. Writers groups and conferences are also great ways to get insight on the process as many of the attendees have had their books reviewed, and may be reviewers themselves.
Authority Publishing writer, Stephanie Chandler lists Amazon as another way to get more reviews. By reaching out to your social media and reader following for reviews on Amazon, your book is sure to catch the eye of potential buyers, she says. There are also a number of selective review sites that can serve as great stepping stones on your way to getting that New York Times recognition, including Arm Chair Interviews, Book Reporter, and Mostly Fiction. From her experience working with authors, she also notes that podcasts and journals can have a far reaching effect for authors.
Author Giacomo Giammatteo says that a past giveaway on GoodReads was more successful than he initially anticipated and he expects a long term payoff from this process. Authors can use these sites, their own website or any of the other popular social media outlets to reward and communicate with current and prospective readers in exchange for reviews that could catch the attention of some of the big name papers and reviewers.
Once smaller reviews have been obtained, authors can join the National Book Critics Circle which gives its members access to a directory of review editors small and large. Former NBC Vice President Rebecca Skloot echoes Friedlander’s suggestion to becoming an expert in the industry by staying up-to-date on the latest publishing trends and knowing a prospective reviewer’s publication history. She also says authors can earn industry credit by winning or being a finalist for prestigious book awards to get noticed before making contact with major publications.
The most important thing to remember when seeking reviews is to stay consistent, persistent and to never let a rejection keep you from pursuing the many other opportunities available.
This article was written by Ja’Neil Jackson, a Wrightspeak intern.