Showing posts with label review copies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review copies. Show all posts

Saturday, April 29, 2017

So You Just Received Your First Review Copy... | Book Blogging Tips (#55)


... and you probably think that you've made it. People are sending you free stuff! That's amazing! You've made it this far already but there are quite a couple of things I'd like to tell you. 

While you can be very proud of this accomplishment, you have to realize that by deciding to start accepting review copies, you're also accepting responsibility. 

Here are some things I wish someone had told me when I accepted my first copy.


1. Don't go overboard
I know it's super exciting to realize that you've been blogging long enough to be considered to receive review copies, but please please don't see this as a sign to start requesting everything. 

2. Don't request backlist titles
That's a thing many newbie bloggers don't know about - backlist titles are books that have been out for a while. Typically publishers have a set amount of review copies that are sent out at a certain time before or shortly after a book's release. Backlist titles are usually not available for review, so only request review copies of books that aren't out yet to avoid wasting someone's time.

3. Don't accept any and every review copy sent to you
It won't take long until lots of people will reach out to you. Usually it will be indie authors and small publishers first who will ask you to review their books. Don't say yes to every single book just because it's free. Keep in mind what kind of blog you run. Is this book something that you'd even pick up in a bookstore? If it's not, don't accept the copy. Just because it's free, you shouldn't say yes to everything because -

4. People expect you to actually read the book
Sure, this is the old drama, some people think review copies don't have to be read, it's only an agreement to consider - yada yada, let's not have this argument right now, this isn't the point of this post. You're getting the copy because something is expected in return, whatever that may be. Don't request a billion books with no intention of reading them, that's just not a nice thing to do. 

5. Don't be afraid to publish a negative review
Just because you got something for free it doesn't mean that you can't dislike it. Don't be afraid to publish a negative review for a review copy! Nobody will be mad at you for that. You're asked for your honest opinion in 99.5% of the cases, and that also covers the possibility that you might dislike it. 

6. - but don't be a jerk about disliking the book
Especially with ARC for indie and small-published books you have to realize that your review might be the first review that people see when they go look for the book. 

Sure, disliking and publishing really negative reviews is absolutely 100% fine, but pay attention to the tone. Reviewing is a skill, it's an art in itself to be able to express your negative opinion without being a complete douchebag about it. Meaning no insults.

7. Consider that you might receive backlash
If you read an early copy and are one of the first people to review a book, of course more people will see the review. Be prepared to have people disagree. Consider this while writing the review. Again, don't be a jerk. If you're going to be a jerk regardless, know that you might receive backlash.

8. Don't send negative reviews to the author or publisher!
You may have seen on twitter for example that many reviewer tag authors in reviews. This is a great way to get your review out there, but please, please, please only do this if you rated the book 4 stars and abover and/or hardly said anything negative about it. 

Many authors are very vocal about not wanting to be tagged in negative reviews unsoliticedly. Publishers won't reshare your negative reviews either and it's basically just wasting everyone's time / ruining somebody's day. So please don't do that. 

What are some things you wish someone had told you after you received your first review copy?

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unsolicited Review Copies: Reviewing Them, Ignoring Them, What To Do With Them | Book Blogging Tips (#51)




If you're receiving unsolicited review copies, you're probably already an established blogger and at least know somewhat what you're doing.

While it's a fantastic thing to receive the newest releases in the mail, it can get pretty overwhelming very easily.






Do you have to review them?

There are bloggers who get unsolicited copies sent to them every month, from many different publishers. If you're one of those people, it's virtually impossible to read all these books, even if you don't have a day job.

Personally, I think every single review copy you receive, whether unsolicited or not, is a privilege.

You have to consider that these copies cost more money to print than regular copies and are sent out to publishing professionals. If you've made it to that circle of people, you better act like a professional!

Meaning
  1. no selling
  2. no hoarding
  3. no requesting more ARCs when you're already drowning in them. 
Disagree if you want, but also know that misbehavior does not go unnoticed. Again, these books are a privilege that not every blogger has.

I don't believe that unsolicited copies all have to be reviewed. If you didn't request it, you don't have to review it in my opinion, though giving even just a little back in terms of maybe posting a picture of it or talking about it on social media is simply common courtesy.

If you don't want to read a review copy for what reason ever or don't have the time to read it-

Here are some alternatives:

  • Give the book to another blogger. Some review copies that I have received actually say on them that they are meant to be given to other bloggers. That way the publisher still gets "something" in return, even if it's only the exposure from being featured on another blog.
  • Contact the publicist. If you're receiving an overwhelming amount of books that's absolutely impossible to review, the smartest way to go about this is to contact the publicist responsible and just tell them you appreciate it, but don't have the time to review these books.
  • Host giveaways. While review copies are NEVER under no circumstances allowed to be sold (you can actually get sued for this), giveaways are a-okay. Check back with the publisher if you're unsure, some publishers don't want any ARCs circulating before the release date. 
  • Post pictures. If you're not able to post a review, just featuring the review copies you've received in a meme, (In My Mailbox, Stacking the Shelves etc.), or posting pictures on instagram or tumblr does the job. You'd still aim for managing to read them, since that's the reason why you got them in the first place.

What do you do with your unsolicited review copies?


More on review copies in my Book Blogging Tips Series



Continue Reading...

Friday, March 3, 2017

How to Improve Your Feedback Ratio Quickly: #NetGalley Advice | Book Blogging Tips (#50)


It's recommended that you keep up a ratio of 80%, meaning that you have provided reviews for 80% of the titles you've been approved for. 


At first this may sound high and very unattainable but I have developed a fool-proof way to improve it.

When you just signed up for NetGalley it's super hard to even get approved for books. How do you get experience reviewing books when in order to get a track record you have to show a track record?

Easy: Read Now

Read Now is a section that I personally consider a gift from God. There are many books that are instantly accessible to anyone and everyone. You'd think that these are all terrible books that are poorly written, but no.These are all books that people want reviews for desperately and you'll even encounter the occasional well-known already published book there. CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell was in that section a while ago.

If you shy away from the vast amount of indie books that are offered there - my personal advice is to head over to the graphic novels and comic section.

But why???? I don't even like graphic novels, I'm an adult sci-fi blog, what even

Here's the thing. You can read a graphic novel or comic within an hour tops, write up a review, and you're done. You can get your approval numbers up super quickly with those read now comics and nobody cares whether you usually review a different genre.

Another pro tip would be to start reviewing picture books. They're typically 250 words maximum, you go figure how quickly you can read and review these.

See, you're not really in the position yet to be picky. You just started. You gotta take what you can get.

Ughh, how long will it take until I can start requesting books I actually want to read? Do I have to read picture books for the rest of my life?

Fear not, gentle reader. I started requesting books from major publishers at about 25 approvals. You may start earlier but I guarantee you, the big five won't even touch you if you haven't reviewed and read more than 20 books.

MORE TIPS:
  • Books are "archived" after a certain time, meaning you can't download them anymore then. Typically you're expected to at least send over the feedback/review before the archive date. It's no harm if you do so after it's been archived, but people won't cheer on you if you do this either.
  • You can DNF a book. If you just don't like it, send over a note via the feedback option explaining why you don't want to read the book. Don't do this too often though and have valid reasons.
  • For the love of all that is holy, don't request more than 20 books at once. What if you get approved for all of them and they end up being due next week? Yikes!


If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!!

Continue Reading...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Not Reviewing Review Copies? How to Make All Bloggers Look Bad




A discussion I witnessed recently made me think about this. As bloggers we have the privilege of being able to read books for free - as long as we provide a review in return.

Something a fellow blogger said irked me instantly, I'm just going to paraphrase. 

They said that it's okay to request books and not read them (specifically ARCs), because it's usually just a case of getting overwhelmed. 

I'm very, very, very iffy about stuff like this. I take blogging super seriously and really try to keep deadlines in check almost obsessively (which I don't recommend, it's really stressful).

...

I do get that especially when you just start to get review copies, you get super excited and accidentally request more than you can read. Of course that's not a deadly sin, it's okay and I'm sure it happened to a lot of people out there. 

I'm not upset about people who didn't expect to actually get review copies and requested too many and got approved for too many either. 

Who REALLY upsets me are the people who keep on requesting ridiculous amounts of review copies and just collect them. Simply for display or whatever and don't review them. 

Here's why this upsets me:
  • It's rude. 
  • It's a virtual contract. (Most publishers won't work with you anymore if you have a history of doing this btw)
  • It's harmful to the industry. You might think that the big publishers won't be hurt by a couple of people not reviewing - but most big publishers only send out ARCs, which are specifically printed for reviewing purposes and cost a lot more to print, AND are only printed in limited quantities.
  • (The purpose of giving out an ARC and not a finished copy is to get the review before the book is published. If you end up posting the review late or not at all, the resources were wasted on you)
  • There are bloggers out there who would have given their left leg for reading the ARC/review copy you just ignore.
  • It's even worse if you do this to indie authors and small publishers, because the money for printing them is literally going out of their own pockets. 
  • Did I say it's rude?
I don't understand how anyone could justify having 30+ ARCs dating back a couple of months and not having reviewed them. I don't understand how anyone could have a huge pile of review copies dating back YEARS and not have reviewed them. I just don't get it and I think there should be consequences for people who do this. It's so rude and disrespectful. It makes all bloggers look bad, especially because a lot of times it's the big bloggers with a huge reach who think their fame makes it okay for them to do this. 

Of course, not everyone who does this is aware of how much damage they're doing, but after all we're basically offering a marketing service. Even if you're just blogging as a hobby, you're working with people who actually get paid to do their job and I sincerely doubt that you would do this in a professional environment. 

Why is it so widely accepted (apparently) to keep on requesting stuff you won't read in the first place? I don't know. I just think that we should all be collectively very thankful for having the opportunity to read books for free and not exploit it out of greed. 


Continue Reading...

Monday, May 2, 2016

What to write in your #NetGalley profile | How to Be Badass on #NetGalley






So, I've been on NetGalley for a while and I decided that I know what I'm doing well enough to give advice.

So here's what you do when you start out:



It's so important that you fill in your profile.
This is first thing people see of you when you request a book.
Make sure you:
  • add a profile picture
  • add a bio
  • add a description
  • tell everyone how awesome you are and don't be shy!! (this doesn't mean exaggerating, no lies here, people will actually check everything and if you lie, you're not going to get approved for anything ever)

But what the heck am I supposed to put into the bio? 

I got you.

It's a simple formula:

1. Thanking the publisher for considering you because you're polite and professional.

2. Introducing your blog in one or two sentences. 
Example: "My blog X is a YA books only blog. I post discussions and review books. I like this and that genre the best."

3. Introducing your schedule so the publisher knows when to expect a review. 
Example: "I review 10 books a week and read about 6 books a week."

4. Adding a fancy sentence if you have cool other platforms. 
Example: "I am an Amazon Top 100 reviewer / I have a billion friends on Goodreads / I have an instagram with a million followers."

5. Adding the link to your blog and your email address.

6. Copying your blog statistics.

Example:

STATS
- X reviews published since X
- Daily views: 
- Monthly views:
- Unique Visitors per month: 
- Total views: 

FOLLOWERS
- via Google Friend Connect: 
- via Bloglovin: 
- via Twitter:  (@username)
- via tumblr: (username)
- via Google +: 
- via Goodreads: X friends + Y following reviews
- via (other platform that I do not use): 

Total reach: ~ X


MORE  TIPS:

It's super important to add as much detail as possible but not to ramble. 500 words is the absolute maximum, nobody will read your life story here. Stick to the basics, stick to the stuff that's relevant for the publisher. If you won blog awards (not those tag award things!), add them. Add everything that proves that you're a successful blogger!

Make sure to regularly update your statistics - at least a month. Even if they go down, always be honest!

If you have any more questions feel free to ask!


Continue Reading...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Got Declined to Review A Book on #NetGalley and How to Fix This | Emergency Help






So I finally started using NetGalley a couple of months ago, and I am absolutely addicted to this site. 

I love the convenience of ordering review copies without having to write up pesky emails and talking to actual people *yuck*


But sometimes NetGalley decides to break all our hearts by declining us for review copies. And I say US because I am fairly certain this doesn't only happen to me but to a lot of people, even bloggers that have been blogging for longer than I have and have biiiiiiiiig blogs with lots of followers. Shocking but true

I don't know about you guys, but my heart breaks a little every time I apply to review a book I want to read very badly and THEN, a couple of days later, I get declined. I did some research (lots of research) and tried to find out why publishers and authors sometimes decline us poor reviewers who are just trying their best and just want to read books. 

Here are the most common reasons to get declined (according to the internet people)

#1: Wrong Continent/ Region

Next to some books there are little icons of countries or continents. Some publishers only have a license to give out review copies in a special region. They politely say "users from X preferred" instead of "Don't even think about requesting this book if you're not from X"

PRO TIP: Do gamble on this. Sometimes it really does mean preferred and not exclusively for X region people. Request that book!

#2: Catastrophic Feedback Rate 

When you click on your profile it says how many books you have been approved for and how many books you've sent feedback for (meaning reviews or a note why you didn't review it). Publishers see this. A feedback rate of 80% is recommended and yeah... stick to that. Try to keep it at 80% or more at all times.

PRO TIP: Don't request any more books if your rate is below 80%. Publishers do also see how many books you have been declined for and will be like "hmmm, if they got declined 60 times out of 70 there's probably a reason, let's decline them."

#3: You Mainly Review a Different Genre

If you run a book blog dedicated to crime books, why did you just request a young adult romance? Publishers do check out your blog and your preferences. You have to keep in mind what audience your blog caters to.

PRO TIP: If you really want the book, gamble on this. Request it, especially with small publishers you might have luck.


#4: Your Bio is Horrible

You have to have statistics in your bio and you have to have a profile picture, and you have to say a little about yourself. If you didn't bother filling it in, there's the reason why you get declined.

PRO TIP: Check the publishers preferences to get an idea about what people want to see.


#5: You're too late

Believe it or not, there is a limited amount of ecopies available.

PRO TIP: Request books as quickly as you know you want to read them and have the time to read them!!!

#6: Too few followers

Even though everyone says that followings don't matter, on NetGalley they absolutely do. Many big publishers state clearly that there is no chance you even get a shot at reviewing their books if you don't have more than 1,000 followers and long-windedly explain how they know it's a lot and not fair to everyone, but they're in the business of selling books. We get it.

A way to find out whether you're just wasting your time requesting a book from a publisher is to just click on their name next to the book title and click on their approval preferences.

PRO TIP: Don't gamble on this. If you have fewer than 1,000 followers and the preference states clearly that you have no chance, don't even try.


One last PRO TIP:

Don't get discouraged if you got declined for a book. It happens to the best of us. Just request another to numb the pain!


Have you gotten declined before? How do you deal with the pain?

Continue Reading...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review Copies ARE NOT Free Books, DON'T start a blog if you just want books free of charge! | Book Blogging Tips #40





I have no clue how this is even a thing people think. I know bloggers who started just to get review copies. Not necessarily because they wanted to read books in advance, but because
they thought:


"Yay, all I need is a blog and everyone will start sending me books... FOR FREE $$$$$$$$$!!!!"*

*an altered version of what I witnessed on twitter yesterday

A review copy is not a free book.  It's payment for a service!!

  • Reading the book
  • Collecting thoughts on the book and forming an opinion on it
  • Compressing all those jumbled up thoughts into a single blog post
  • Promoting said blog post

It's not just "I read the book and I write down something and I'm done". Book reviews aren't written quickly. It takes hours, sometimes even days to get my thoughts in order and then there's also the formatting. Reviews aren't easy to write, which is why there are hardly any book reviewers who earn their money doing so. 

Sometimes you won't like the book you read. Sometimes you'll realize halfway through that you made a terrible choice and it's not a book you'd ever pick up in your free time and it's actually torture to finish it. Sometimes you have to force yourself to read the book, because you've basically signed a virtual contract that you'd at least try. "Just reading" isn't easy.

You just don't "get review copies"

There is a reason why there are dozens of posts circulating on the internet on how to get review copies. They don't fall out of the sky the second you order business cards that say you're a book blogger. They don't come with the registration confirmation email from Wordpress/Blogger. You have to reach out, you have to have a solid platform and you're basically at the mercy of the publicists. 

If you're starting out, there is no way you're getting an advance reading copy "just like that". You have to have a platform and establishing that is HARD. Especially if you're American, the big five publishers won't even consider your blog before you have more than 500 followers. Let alone the views. Your statistics are super important and without a blog that gets frequent visitors, you're not "getting" anything.

Advance copies aren't printed for free, generally review copies cost money and it is your job to make that money worth the effort. 


Blogging is not a joke. Blogging is not easy and it's not a quick way to never have to pay for books again. 



Continue Reading...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do You Actually Review Unsolicited ARCs? | Book Blogging Tips (#38)


When I first started out, being sent ARCs by publishers seemed to be the holy grail of blogging. I mean, if you look at all those pictures on the instagram pages of the big name book bloggers and booktubers, you can't help but think like this.

What always struck me as weird is the fact that some bloggers get sent DOZENS of books every month. 

As a fairly quick reader, I read about 8 books per month (that's a good month for me!). I can hardly imagine how anyone could possibly read more than 20 books a month EVERY month. If you do, I salute you.


Let's be honest: Who even reads all those ARCs?!

One of my favorite booktubers, Abookutopia publishes book hauls every month, showing about 10+ ARCs by publishers that have been sent to her unsolicitedly. 

I get that it's a business and they're already profiting from the fact that a big name blogger like her only mentions these books briefly in her videos or shows the covers quickly. I hardly believe she read even half of these books. It's just a business transaction, nothing more and I don't blame her for doing this. It's basically impossible to read all those books, especially because she states all the time that 90% of them are unsolicited. I would have a panic attack, because I'd feel like I actually had to read all of those to be honest.

Most people who get the same amount of ARCs hardly are able to read those unless they have some kind of super power. To me, it just defeats the purpose of ARCs to just hoard them and show them off. For the publishers this might be still a good way to advertise, to just have their books appear on instagrammers' pages and in booktuber's videos. Of course the exposure on a big name's page is much bigger than the exposure they'd get from my blog for example.

Technically, you're under no obligation to review them

You didn't agree to reviewing ARCs that were sent to you unsolicitedly, it's only a matter of politeness if you do. In Germany things works a little differently and you hardly ever get sent anything that you didn't request, so I didn't have to deal with that problem personally, but it seems very stressful.

Personally, I would never let a single book that is sent to me go without a review, but if you're getting sent dozens of books every month, it's pretty understandable that you can't review them all. Let alone read them all.


Do you get unsolicited ARCs? Do you write reviews for them/ have the time to read them?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

When To Post ARC Reviews: Pros and Cons of Posting On Release Day or Months Before | Book Blogging Tips (#36)





What I do is usually very simple. The second I get the ARC, I read it and then queue the review to be published exactly on the release day, or if I can't, I schedule it for the day before.

However, recent discussions about this with other bloggers made me contemplate whether there's a better method.

Usually it's expected of you to have the review ready and online by the time the book is released. That's why you're getting the ARC, to deliver instant reviews even when the book has only been out for half a second.

When you get an ARC, you usually have three(ish) options when to post the review

1) The second you finish (~3-6 months before release)

+ Even if that's months ahead, you already got it out of the way
+ There's no chance you'll forget about the book
- Literally nobody cares about a book that'll be published in a couple of months time
- Honestly, not even if it's Rick Riordan or Richelle Mead, one week after the announcement people stop caring = ZERO publicity profit
if somebody sees the review and wants the book, they can't get it yet. 

2) Close to the due date (~a week before release)

+ everybody knows the book is coming, everybody's searching for early reviews
+ traffic!!!
+ simultaneously early enough to create buzz around the book (publicists likey), but also late enough to make the release seem very close and get people excited (readers likey)
- if somebody sees the review and wants the book, they can't get it yet. 
- you'll have to plan this one ahead, either read the book right away and queue the post, or pray to God you'll make it in time

3) Last minute (on release day)

+ everybody knows the book is out, hello traffic
+ if you got somebody interested in the book, they can get it right away
- again, either queue or pray
- you won't be able to get people interested in the book before its release

4) #yolo

Of course you still have the "screw it" option, where you just post the review whenever. But in order to do that you really have to have your life/TBR together enough to manage to keep track of all your review copies. Because nothing's worse than requesting an ARC and not delivering a review at all. Don't do that. 

When in doubt:

Ask the publicist that you've been in contact with and don't listen to people online who are probably working with different publishers and publicists that also have different expectations of you.



Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mistakes All Newbie Bloggers Make | Book Blogging Tips (#23)


When I started my blog, I thought I knew everything. I thought my content was fine, my layout appealing and I wouldn't need any advice on anything. 

Two weeks later I overhauled my entire site and thought everything was a mess.

Seems familiar? Here are some mistakes that you probably also made. Don't sweat it, it's all normal.


8. Arrogance

You've just started a blog, but you know exactly what the people want, right? You have studied other blogs for quite some time (or you didn't) and you know what works and what doesn't. Yup, that Comic Sans font and the 32783728 release widgets are the bomb.

Solution: Don't ever think you're the blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you have a nice blog, but you shouldn't elevate yourself above others. Observe and always learn.

7. Not Replying

To anything. Comments, emails - eh. You have better things to do.

Solution: Goddamnit, you're not an unreachable A-List celebrity, just reply for Christ's Sake.

6. Being Super Casual
"Lmao :D i totally liked this book omfg the protagonist is such a hottie I can't even!!!!!11111" 
If you don't like a book, you state that in your reviews the exact same way as you would in a conversation with your best friend. Emojis are your best friend

Solution: Whether it's in reviews or in business related emails, be professional! Of course you can let your opinion shine through, but please write like an intelligent human being. Emojis and gifs can be alright if it suits your style, but don't overdo it. And please, if you don't like something, give constructive criticism instead of just hating on things.

5. Going Crazy on ARCs and Review Copies

People want to give you books for free now, which is nice. So obviously, you're going to take every opportunity you get to snag those free copies.

Solution: Review copies ARE NOT free books. They aren't gifts, you're supposed to give something back in return. A timely and professional review is the least you can do to return the favor. Unless you're able to read ten books a week and keep up with all those copies, don't take every opportunity you get. It'll only lead to delayed reviews on frustration on both sides.

4. No Networking

Crossposting is exhausting. I mean, if people want to read your blog, they're going to find it, right? No need to spam everywhere.

Solution: Well, to a certain degree this is almost half right. Unless you have already established your platform you'll need to crosspost. People won't find you. People won't even try to get to know you if you don't reach out to them first. Sign up to all social media platforms you can find.

3. Becoming a Human Billboard

From one extreme to the next. You know that you're going nowhere if you don't network, so this time you're doing it right! Not a single post you wrote on the internet is written without the links to all your social media accounts. Yeah, might as well slap a few links to your individual posts in there.

Solution: Please don't. One link is fine, but don't just spam your stuff everywhere, people won't go on your blog on principle. Everything in moderation. Also, do you want to get flagged for spamming? Only add your link to comments that make sense and actually contribute to the conversation.

2. Meme City, Residents: 1

Memes are great, everybody loves them, right? There are so many out there that you just can't decide, so let's do ALL OF THEM.

Solution: While this may work for 10% of the blogger community, this isn't the way to establish a great and interesting blog. Unless you're able to put a twist to it all and make your meme posts super original, leave it. A meme for every day of the week is probably a very bad idea. People don't want to see the same content on every blog.

1. Not Improving Anything

Your posts are perfect. You got it all right the first time. Now that you've got the interesting content down and are networking perfectly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you're good to go.

Solution: Over time, your blog style WILL change. I guarantee it. Go back to your old posts and revise them one at a time. You don't need to do it all at once, but please try to improve your content as your blog grows. Your readers will thank you.


  • Always keep in mind: 

Even the big names in the blogger community all have been there. If you're doing one of these, or even all of these, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure to be aware that there's a better way to handle things.

Have you caught yourself making one of those mistakes?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How to Decline an Inquiry by an Author or Publisher Politely | Book Blogging Tips (#14)

As your blog grows, you'll suddenly notice that people will get interested in collaborating with you.

You've got your fair share of readers, you've got a decent review policy, you've actually got time to read, but still you're not feeling like reading the book that a polite indie publisher pitched you in their email to you.

So how do you say no without hurting their feelings or being rude? Me to the rescue.

We all know that there's a lot of work involved in the process of writing a book. Writing is hard, exhausting and most hard-working authors never get the recognition they deserve, despite being excellent writers.

As bloggers, we are one of the easiest ways for authors and publishers to get the word out about their novels. Especially indie publishers and self-published authors will very quickly reach out to you and ask you for a collaboration.


Before Replying:

Do You Have A Review Policy?
This is essential.
You can't run a book blog without a review policy. Click here for an entire post about how to write a review policy.

Has the inquirer read your policy?

There's an easy way to find out. As long as you stated the basics in your policy, you should in theory only get inquiries for books that are at least in the right genre. 



TIPS:
  • always be honest
  • ALWAYS reply
  • Not replying doesn't equal declining. It equals ignorance and impoliteness. Nobody likes impolite people.


1. CASE A.1: Wrong genre + They haven't read your policy
  1. You get an inquiry for a novel that's not even remotely in your field of interest. 
  2. You stated in your review policy that you do not accept books of that genre.
  3. You don't want to read the novel.
SOLUTION:  
"Dear [Name],

thank you for the proposal of your novel "[novel title]". 

As stated in my review policy I currently do not accept novels of this genre.   

Sincerely,
[Your Name and Blog URL]"

2. CASE A.2: Wrong genre + You don't have a policy/ Genre isn't listed 
  1. You get an inquiry for a novel that's not even remotely in your field of interest.
  2. You don't have a review policy or you didn't state in your policy that you aren't interested in that genre.
  3. You don't want to read the novel.
SOLUTION:
"Dear [Name],

thank you for the proposal of your novel "[novel title]".

I'm sorry to inform you that I'm currently not interested in reading novels of that genre. 

Sincerely,
[Your Name and Blog URL]"
3. CASE B.1: Right Genre + Not interested
  1. You get an inquiry for a novel that can be listed under the genres that you like to read.
  2. The synopsis doesn't get you hooked, actually, nothing about the novel gets you hooked
  3. You simply aren't interested.
SOLUTION:
"Dear [Name],

thank you for the proposal of your novel "[novel title]".

I'm afraid that your novel doesn't match my interests.

Sincerely, 
[Your Name and Blog URL]"
4. CASE B.2: Right Genre + Interested + Don't Have Time
  1. You get inquiry for a novel that you're absolutely interested in. 
  2. You don't have the time to read the novel right now.
  3. (B.2a You're interested in reading the novel in the future.)
SOLUTION:
"Dear [Name],

thank you for the proposal of your novel "[novel title]". 

I'm very intrigued by [the pitch / the synopsis / the cover / the premise]. I'm afraid that I'm currently unable to accept any more review copies. 

[if B.2a: I'd still be interested in reading your novel in the future. I will make sure to contact you as soon as I am able to accept review copies again.]

Sincerely,
[Your Name and Blog URL]"


You may use my solutions in your future replies, but be careful not to copy them 1:1

It won't be flattering if the person who sent you an email stumbles upon this blog post. ;)



Did I miss any cases? Was this helpful to you?




Come back next thursday for a new edition of Book Blogging Tips!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me As A Newbie Blogger | Book Blogging Tips (#11)



For some people these ten tips might seem basic, but I admit freely that for me, they weren't. Everyone starts out small, some rise quickly, some don't at all. (Is that a Dr. Suess poem?) 



10. Do You Know What Copyright Is?

Yeah, I'm guilty of using other people's images without crediting the source in the past. I fixed that though. Don't do that.

9. You Need to Interact

I'm not talking about responding to comments (some bloggers don't even do that though), but being social in general. You want other people to read your content? Try reading theirs and learning from them.

8. You Won't Make A Living From Blogging Anytime Soon

Blogging takes time. If you're here to build a business and not because of your passion, you won't last very long.

7. Review Copies Are Not Free Books

Don't overestimate yourself. You will have to read them all, they are not free. There are deadlines that you have to keep in mind. You're going to have to have read all those books by a certain date, else you're going to have a problem.

6. You Have to Constantly Rework

Whether it's:
  •  your old posts
  • your theme
  • your blogging concept
  • your social media habits
  • your social media accounts
Take a look at what others are doing and improve all the time.

5. Your First Theme Won't Be Your Last

Seriously, who isn't cringing at their first theme? (See #6)

4. Try for Original Content

You'll only get readers if people are interested in what you have to say. Show them that you have a voice. Say relevant things that contribute to the community.

3. Listen to Other People

Yeah, I know you've got it all figured out and you think you're good to go, yadayadayada. Just listen to what more experienced people tell you, even if you strongly disagree. On the long run you'll thank me and see.

2. You Want Success? Be Different.

More content doesn't equal more readers. Think about things you haven't seen on other people's pages before. Do exactly this. Check your own habits, what do you want to read? Think of a niche.

1. There's a Difference Between Promoting and Spamming

This should go without saying.


What Do You Wish Somebody Had Told You As A Newbie?


More Tips:
...
Book Blogging Tips (#7): How to Not Advertise For Your Blog
Book Blogging Tips (#8): 6 Things Your Blog Design HAS TO Have
Book Blogging Tips (#9): 6 Commenting Systems and What Sucks About Them
Book Blogging Tips (#10): How to Simply Your Blogging Experience in 6 Steps

See All
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Should tumblr Book Blogs Receive Free Review Copies, Too? | YA Talk





If you're not active on tumblr, you probably have no idea about what's going on in the bookish world there. Tumblr is a micro-blogging site, based on resharing content. There are tons of small communities in tumblr and one of them is centered around bookblogging as well.

What's Going On??

In the last couple of days a few users have stated complaints about not getting review copies and not being recognized as proper "bloggers" in comparison to WordPress/Blogger/Self-hosted users.

The big argument was mainly that tumblr blogging can reach a bigger audience just as easily as regular blogging. Especially users with huge followings said that they know of a lot of people who have bought a certain book solely because they posted about it.

As a micro-blogging site, tumblr works completely different to other blogging sites. You don't need to lift a finger to fill your blog with thousands of posts, all you have to do is reshare content through the "reblogging" option. Some users argued that they do post some original content and get most of their traffic through that. However, I don't think you can say it's the same thing, can you?

Two Sides of the Same Coin?

As a user of both I understand both sides. I get that people who have used tumblr for years want their recognition for having gained a solid following. It's still a fact that tumblr isn't necessarily the right medium if you're looking to reach a big audience and build a following.

Followers on tumblr mostly don't care about the person behind the blog or their content. For instance, I follow around 500 blogs on tumblr and about 80 via Bloglovin'. I actually go through the post of all the regular blogs I follow, while my tumblr dashboard is just a cluttered mess.


As a blogger user I have mixed feelings about this sudden mini uprising. I gained a couple thousand followers by barely doing anything other than reblogging posts on tumblr. I gained around 500 total followers on my Blogger blog with a lot of hard work, hours of refining posts and trying to get my name out there. 

Blogging is hard. Tumblr-ing? Not so much.


From the Publishing Point of View

I perfectly understand why tumblr isn't treated equally to external blogging platforms. First off - it's not blogging at all. It's resharing! It's getting recognition for the content that other people created. I don't even think tumblr users should be allowed to host ads on their sites.

Publishers are always looking for exposure. Review copies are sent out to increase the buzz around a book. Tumblr has a  major impact on teenage culture, but is it really the right platform for literary critique? I scroll past reviews 99% of the time. Tumblr is not the platform I go to when I look for opinions.
Blogging is about stating your opinion. Opinions on tumblr are never a good thing. You get attacked for almost everything on tumblr.

Why would this be different if we all started to post book reviews there?

It's easy to yell injustice, but to me, there is no injustice. Tumblr and third-party-blogging sites aren't the same thing. Why would publishers send out review copies for users of a platform that isn't about reviewing at all?

- Against
  • tumblr users rarely have experience in writing. Remember our first reviews? They were a mess. Everything needs practice. Sending out copies blindly to people just because of their following is a little naive.
  • The effort involved in gaining tumblr fame is dramatically different than effort involved in gaining blogging fame
  • tumblr followings don't even remotely equal to the amount of regular readers
  • Why give out review copies if no one on tumblr reads reviews? There has to be some form of compensation for the authors/publishers
  • Controversy isn't welcome on tumblr, neither are (negative) opinions. How could you judge a book honestly on tumblr without causing a shitstorm?
+ In Favor
  • Gaining a huge tumblr following takes time, too
  • Many people decide to buy books because of tumblr edits
  • Instagram and other websites are recognized as business platforms, too, why not tumblr?
  • Many young adults are more active on tumblr than reading regular blogs


Do you think tumblr bloggers should be treated equal to regular bloggers? Do you think they should get review copies, too?


Link Up: Discussion Challenge @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction



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Friday, April 10, 2015

Requesting Review Copies from Publishers | Book Blogging Tips (#1)


When I first found out that book bloggers can get books for free, it absolutely took me by surprise. Of course, even though I wouldn't have admitted it at the time - I wanted desperately to be one of those bloggers. 

I guess each of us knows that being an avid reader can have you have to dig deep into your pockets sometimes.


1. So How Do I Get Review Copies?
  • Have a book blog
  • Choose which upcoming releases interest you
  • Email the publisher 
  • Receive and review the book
  • Repeat
In theory this sounds extremely easy. You'd be surprised - in practice it's exactly as easy as that. In order to be approved for reviews you have to meet certain criteria that are different from publisher to publisher and from country to country. I'm German, so I can only tell you about my experience and the things publishers have told me. Of course, if you're from a bigger country, like the US or Canada, where there are many more book bloggers than in my country, your competition is bigger and you might not get every book you want.

2. When Does My Blog Qualify?
  • You've been blogging for at least 6 months
  • You have a decent amount of page views per month (500+ at least)
  • You publish comprehensive, detailed reviews that include your impressions on the characters, the plot and the writing
  • You have a decent and readable blog layout
  • You publish posts regularly (it doesn't matter whether it's 5 posts per month or 50 - just be consistent)
  • You're able to read and review the book within the given time frame (2-8 weeks usually)
  • VERY IMPORTANT: You crosspost on at least two other platforms (Amazon, Goodreads, LovelyBooks, LibraryThing, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
Of course the criteria differ for every publisher. When I first started out, I thought that the most important thing to consider is the amount of followers.
For publishers the main goal is obviously to get their book out there and have people talk about it.

As a small blog you have to crosspost and advertise way more than a bigger blog. There are some publishers that won't even consider you unless you've got an impressive amount of followers, but you won't know until you try. 
When in doubt, just ask. I promise you, the people in the publishing industry don't bite and will respond to your emails very kindly.

3. How Do I Ask / Who Do I Ask?

There is no success formula, everyone does it differently. Here's what I do:
  • Introduce yourself and your blog briefly
  • Include page views, follower count, unique visitors statistics and all other blog statistics that you can get your hands on
  • Mention where you crosspost
  • Mention the focus of your blog (genres that you mainly review)
  • Tell them what book you want to review and why they should choose your blog 
  • The most important thing is to be polite and still thank them for their time and consideration even when you don't get the book
I know writing emails to publishers can seem scary and make you nervous, but I promise you, you'll only meet kind souls.
You're going to want to start out with small publishers first. Every publishing company has either a request form on their website or an email contact listed.  

Do your research on the company and the upcoming releases before you request. Don't get discouraged if you don't get approved for review copies. Build your blog, improve your content and try again later.

If you're just starting out and don't have that many page views/followers yet and don't want to take the plunge to ask the publishers directly, there are alternatives to get review copies:

  4. How Many Books Should I Request?

You should only request books that you want to read and will read! 
Don't go and request a thousand books, just because you may get them for free! I can not emphasize this enough. ARCs/Review Copies are like a contract with the publisher. 

You're obligated to at least try to read them. Printing those copies costs a lot of money. If you're just here to snag the free copies, publishers won't send you anything anymore and believe me, they will notice if you don't send them the links to your reviews in a timely manner.

If you don't like a book or don't want to continue reading, you may always contact the publicist and tell them. But only, only, only request books you intend to read.

5. What Do I Do Once I Received the Review Copy?

Read and review it, while keeping the time frame in mind.
Most publishers expect you to send them an email with all the links to where you published the review. 
It's even nicer if you thank them politely and let them know in the email when you really loved the book. 
Now repeat. :)


Do You Have Any Tips on Getting Review Copies? 

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