So, this week is going to be totally crazy. First of all, my cover reveal is this Friday, and you can still sign up with IFB Tours here if you want to help out. Second of all, I’m doing a blog hop today over on my NA site where I talk about my motivations for writing SHAMELESS and, y’know, how it’s different from 3,845 other NA romances (it is! No, really.)
It’s hard to believe it launches in a little more than a month! I’m so freaking excited you have no idea.
But I’m here to talk about the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes stuff. Books, especially indie books, don’t just magically get “discovered.” (Well, sometimes they do, but these are the exception, not the rule! You can release your book-baby into the vast ocean of cr*p that is the Internet and cross your fingers, but you’re better off buying a lottery ticket.)
So… let’s talk promo.
The easiest promo tool is reviews. Obviously. The tricky part is getting people to review you.
You have these options:
1. Email the blogs you wish to review you, by yourself.
First, find the blogs! Go to the GR page of a book you like in your genre/category and look at the top reviews. These are probably the people you want to reach out to. Research first! It can be as volatile as querying or submitting something to a publisher. They all have different guidelines, and sometimes they’re freakishly specific. Some mention their tastes outright, but others you have to research more in depth. See what books they rated highly and what books got one star and GIFs of celebrities gagging. If a blogger seems to loathe books with even a hint of cheating and your novel is about an affair, you might want to consider someone else.
|Probably not the reaction you want.|
I never tire of telling you it’s best to do this as much in advance as you can. (Next time I’ll know. Sigh.) As you might suspect, they’re swamped with submissions. You can always include a (short!) sample of the book and hope it dazzles them!
Still… some might not get back to you at all. Some might request the book and not review it. THAT IS OKAY. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: THAT IS OKAY. Nagging reviewers (or worse yet, being catty over a bad review) is the ultimate in bad form. All it’ll accomplish is get you blacklisted and land your book on one of those author-is-an-asshat lists on GR.
|Also not the reaction you want.|
2. Sign up for a “matchmaking” service.
It works like this: you pay a well-known blog that offers such a service and they post your book blurb and cover on their blog. Those who wish to review it can sign up—the blogger will send you their contact info and you send them your ARC. Simple! The blogs that do this usually get thousands of hits a day. Which (if you’re like me and your blog gets about three hits from bots in China) is a vast improvement.
3. Reach out to potential readers through a read-to-review giveaway.
It works the same as above, but it’s free. There are several GR groups that do this. They list your book, people sign up, you send them ARCs. You can screen who you send the ARCs to, which is useful to make sure your limited number of copies end up in the right hands.
Sadly, this one has to be done WAY in advance. Right now they’re booking about December. So either think ahead or shell out the cash.
4. Do an old-fashioned GR giveaway! That way, you don’t really control who gets the copies, but it’s a good way to reach out to readers and not just bloggers. Bloggers are invaluable, but it’s the readers who will be buying your book, so it’s a good way to get them on your side.
4.5 Another thing you can do is reach out to authors and ask for a blurb or a review. It’s best if you know the authors personally or have interacted with them extensively before—please don’t fire off a Goodreads PM to Jamie McGuire asking her to blurb you. This is where a platform really helps.
Sometimes, however, you will be turned down. By authors, bloggers, etc. Sometimes you won’t hear back at all. Sometimes, people you know and almost consider friends will just ignore you. That’ll sting. But resist the urge to be bitchy. Some of them are just too busy to read your entire book on short notice, some are swamped with requests, and some are just horrible people who have an ego so huge it barely fits through the door. That’s possible too—hey, you never really know and it’s pointless to simmer over it.
This is where you have to overcome your natural shyness/misanthropy/general disinclination to interact with fellow human beings. I struggle with this more than ever now that it’s time to get SHAMELESS “out there”. It’s too easy to imagine the other person laughing uproariously at your elaborately worded email before hitting delete forever. And, hell, maybe they are. Everyone says a writer has to grow a thick skin—if nothing else, this is a good way to practice.
Write on, and see you in two weeks!