How to Pitch a Book Blogger

I often judge a book before I even lay eyes on its cover.

During the last four years of reading review requests at Novel Escapes, particularly after accepting self-published novels (as well as those who tried to sneak in before we nudged that door open) I noticed a few things, particularly…

Time and effort in a book review pitch almost always translates into a well written and polished novel.

Here are some suggestions on how to create a fabulous review pitch based on what has flown into the Novel Escapes inbox over the years.

Do:

  1. Put your title, name, and ‘review request’ or similar in the subject line.
  2. Write all the pertinent information within your email, including your name, a blurb about you, your book title and synopsis, and anything else you think is appropriate.
  3. Keep it short and sweet.
  4. Be professional, yet personal.
  5. Portray your novel’s tone and style within the email.
  6. Personalize the email like you would a job cover letter. Tailor it to each blogger you pitch.
  7. Include a salutation: A blanket “hello” with no names, earns you 1 point. No salutation, 0 points and using our names? Priceless. Using my name, or one of our bloggers or even “Novel Escapes ladies” tells me you’ve researched our site. You know we’re a team of reviewers. Would you go to an interview without researching the company? You would? Okay, then. Off you go. Good luck.
  8. Include a link to your novel on Amazon. This saves me time, which I will heart you for. And don’t think I won’t search your book on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you don’t add the link. I seriously vet every self-published novel that finds its way to our inbox, reading the first chapter of each one to ensure high quality.
  9. Be patient if you do not receive an immediate response. For many of us, book blogging is done in our spare time around jobs and family commitments.
  10. Even if you receive a negative review, an email saying thank you for your time and the thoughtful review or some such comment is nice, but not mandatory. Or comment on the review itself. We love this.

Don’t:

  1. Number one book blogger pet peeve: Pitching your book on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. This is a serious faux pas. Take the time and pitch properly. For me, personally, if you’re lazy in this regard I might wonder what else you’re being lazy about.
  2. Refrain from emailing your entire novel without acceptance. It gunks up my inbox and makes me grouchy.
  3. Ditto with photos. A PR sheet is fine (and should include your cover anyway.)
  4. Avoid faulty links.
  5. Refrain from asking to review more than one novel in an email. This taunts my organizational skills (this may just be me.)
  6. Don’t sound like Bridget Jones when your novel is serious, and vice versa.
  7. Do not expect an immediate reply – or any reply if we are declining your pitch here at Novel Escapes. Do your research and read the review policy. Check it frequently if you are delaying your review request. They do change from time to time.
  8. Control your irritation if we won’t review your novel. Don’t reply and argue why we should. (Novel Escapes True Story)
  9. Stomp down and crush any thoughts of responding negatively to a negative review. Google Emily Griffin and negative review as an example. Better yet, just don’t even think about it.
  10. Avoid requesting us to review a genre we have no interest in or explicitly state we will not review. This happens more frequently than you would think.
  11. Shove the desire to send multiple emails if you don’t hear back from us within a few days off a cliff.
  12. Do *NOT* state I can just use “this” review if we “don’t have time.” (Novel Escapes True Story)
  13. Don’t expect a review to happen immediately. We are typically booked at least a couple of months in advance.
  14. Avoid mass emails with one sentence and a link to Amazon.
  15. Avoid mass emails. Period.

I don’t often decline novels solely based on a pitch – although I have, particularly those falling in the last two don’ts mentioned. Put some effort into it. First impressions run deep, and you want to grab attention and start off on the right foot. Don’t you?

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What’s a Girl to do When She’s Published?

Redesigning Rose is finished. It’s in various stages of production, including available for sale at Amazon and Kobo, is in the process of uploading to Kobo, and the paperback is awaiting a cover tweak before final processing.

So, what’s a girl to do one’s she’s shoved her baby into the world to sink or swim?

1. Watch Amazon sales go from zero to one (the one being the copy I purchased this afternoon so I would have one. Okay, it was also to make sure the sales reporting system worked and maybe a smidgen to check how quickly the sales figure updated.)

2. Refresh my Kobo Writing Life page enough times to warrant a system meltdown.

3. Debate how many times is reasonable to post about my book on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

4. Have another celebratory cocktail.

5. Call my mom and moan that I have no sales.

6. Write a blog post about the writing/publishing process. Sneak in the words “Redesigning Rose.”

7. Alienate a few more friends when I link the blog post to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest.

8. Hope the rest of my friends will stick with me for the rest of this week. I have no self-control.

9. Can I pay someone to buy the book?

10. Check Kobo again.

11. Re-read lovely reviews and kind words early readers have written.

12. Realize not everyone will love it.

13. Nibble my thumbnail and worry about inevitable negative reviews.

14. Down cocktail and pour another.

15. Maybe I can gift a few copies?

16. Walk away from the laptop. Walk away!

17. Pick up smart phone.

18. Consider moving to the middle of the forest.

19. Wonder if picking up the next manuscript will help.

20. Is it worth the agony of writing another if no one wants this one?

21. Do I have any sales yet?

One Wedding, One Honeymoon and One Missed Deadline

So, I’ve been MIA lately and here’s why:

This happened:

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And then this happened:

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As my niece and nephew call me Lala, I had to endulge in this, the drink of Roatan, the Monkey Lala. This potent concoction contains Vodka, Irish Cream, Coffee Liquor and Coconut Creme. YUM!

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IMG_2595Yep, it all went down a couple of weeks ago and the time leading up to the wedding left me more harried than a mother of two sets of twin toddlers. The good news is that everything (mostly) went off without a hitch. The not so good news: Redesigning Rose is going to be a tad delayed as I was forced to take a hiatus for a month. But I’ve returned from my honeymoon relaxed and eager for life to return to normal – or as normal as can be expected in a writer’s world.

I’m closing in on finishing yet another round of edits after some fabulous beta reader feedback. On its heels will be copy edits. Once completed, I should be done, right? Not so much in the self publishing world. I need some proofreading and then I will embark on a quest to become a formatting genius for my Amazon upload. And then I’ll move onto the other ebook providers. Only once perfected will Redesigning Rose become available and you will be able to read all about my beloved Rose. I hope you love her as much as I do – and her side kick, whiskey-slinging Becky, too. And have I mentioned Scott and Adam yet? I’m told they’re pretty dreamy.

I’m hesitant to set a new release date until I have a more firm idea of when the editing will be completed as I do not want to disappoint and change it again – I am hopeful for June. I’m immensely grateful for everyone who has reached out and asked about my novel, given me a nudge or words of encouragement. I am truly blessed. Thank you for your support! And your patience!

My Book Baby

The first feedback of Draft 5.5 is in. My mom was really impressed with my changes and stated “Your writing is really good.”

Yes, it was my mom, but for anyone who doesn’t know my mother, this is high praise. She who disuaded me from writing soap operas at thirteen (OK, maybe she was right about that) and whose reading genres of choice are James Patterson serial killer thrillers and Robert Ludlum conspiracy theories, thinks my writing is not only good, but really good! I sunk into my car after her comments and cried, thinking maybe the three years of blood, sweat, hair pulling and poverty might have been worth it. Maybe my manuscript isn’t so bad. Maybe people won’t think my baby is ugly.

Then I rallied and went off to a book cover meeting – something I still can’t believe as I write it almost a week later. And now the lovely lady who is assisting with my cover design is also loving my story as is another reader (both of whom have never read previous drafts, nor anything else I’d written). I’m floating on a cloud now while I wait for further comments, a few more critiques, feedback from my editor and then I can schedule a release date, revise, proofread, and create and implement a marketing plan. Who said writing a book was just writing down a few words? Right, no one said that. Ever.

So, I’m ready! OK, maybe I’m on step 2 out of 6, but progress is being made. I’m even ready for the harsh critics. (Uhm, this could be a fib). And because many have asked, here’s how things are going down with my first novel:

I am going to self-publish.

There, I said the six little words so many in the industry consider dirty.

After hours of research, a few years of waiting while writing to see how the industry would develop and a lengthy internal debate, I have decided to self-publish. Initially, my book baby will be available only as an e-book and then we’ll see how things go.

There were many reasons I decided to do it alone. And when I say ‘alone’, I mean without a publisher because you’re never an author alone with Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google Plus. Here’s a massive Thank You to all my lovely friends, near and far, new and old, for all their support over the last three years! I couldn’t have made it through without you! And I’ll still need copious amounts of hand holding in the next few months – OK?

I digress. My go-it-alone reasoning:

  • I have watched the e-book and self-publishing industry evolve and gain momentum during the last three years.
  • I have read multiple self-published works this year that exceeded some of the releases of the big publishing houses.
  • I am committed to only releasing high quality work and spending money upfront on all the necessary steps including professional editing and cover.
  • Marketing is mostly a DIY adventure for most authors unless you’re a Stephen King, so I have to do it myself anyway.
  • I believe that self-pubbed novels are becoming publisher’s slush piles and more and more self-published authors are inking traditional publishing deals (when they work hard and produce quality work).
  • So I’m left with, Why Not? Besides the upfront costs – really the only detriment – why wouldn’t I give it a shot?

So, I’m hoping the three year journey will culminate in a release date in May 2013. I’m leaning toward the 13th. It’s my lucky number after all.

But we’ll see how things go with further editing, my work on Book 2 and just a little bit of necessary wedding planning between now and April. And I need to work. And sleep. It’s no wonder insomnia has become an issue with the plethora of lists in my head. Speaking of which, I should get back at crossing things off.

Blog Post – Check!