Thursday, October 29, 2009

Those Elusive Reviews

By Beth Terrell

Awhile back, Jean mentioned a famous author who sent out 50 review books. He attributed much of his book's success to this. Then Chester, one of my heroes, told me he'd done the same. Thus armed with advice from Those Who Are In the Know, I obtained 50 review copies and proceeded to search for 50 places to send them.

It's not as easy as it sounds. I got off to a quick start, because Chester kindly gave me a few names and addresses, and as always, I shamelessly dropped his name. Then I added to my list by Googling "mystery reviews" and "mystery reviewers" and also by offering ARCs (Advance Review Copies) to the first five people on the DorothyL list who emailed me asking for one. One, Theresa de Valence, wrote a lovely review and posted it to the listserve. Our own Pat Browning was kind enough to read a copy and give a review. My list grew, then shrunk as I went to review sites only discover that some were defunct, some only reviewed books by the BIG SIX, some only reviewed books published by Lulu or Createspace, some had long lists of reviews but no discernible way of submitting books, and so on. I searched for more, and my list grew again. I sent emails to some Amazon reviewers and one to a reviewer I found on Books'n'Bytes. All of them bounced, sending me scrambling for more recent email addresses. Many of the sites and reviewers I queried simply never replied. Maybe they have a backlog and will get to me eventually.

On the other hand, I checked back on the Thrilling Detective site and found my protagonist, Jared McKean, listed under "Detectives M-Z." That was a serious thrill, especially when I clicked on the link and read, a very nice review that began, "This Nashville cat just may be worth watching." Sending a thank-you note to the reviewer immediately went on my to-do list.

By the way, Chester's Greg and Jill McKenzie are there too, but Sid Chance isn't on the list yet.

Within a few weeks, I'm sure I'll have sent out 50 or more review copies. Will it make a difference? Well, it certainly couldn't hurt. With each online review, my search engine stock goes up. It's even better if I link to the reviews, and better still if I can find some kindly folks to link back to me. My husband thinks I'll be lucky if I ever reach a point where I make as much from my books as I spend trying to promote them. He may be right. Personally, I'd love to move comfortably into the black. But the only way to get there will be to build a readership one Tweet, one Facebook post, one review, one precious reader at a time.

4 comments:

Pat Browning said...

Beth,

I saw your name on the attendees' list at PPWebCon but not on the participating authors' list. Maybe next year you can put your book(s) in the goody bag and reach several hundred people.

Jean's 2 books are there, and the first 3 chapters of my book. Maybe we'll pick up some readers.

I scrambled to get in at the last minute and it never occurred to me I could put the entire book there.

The word is that there will be another PPWebCon next year, so we have a little time to plan for it.

Sending out 50 books sounds like doing it the hard way! (-:

Pat Browning

Theresa de Valence said...

Beth,

Google alerts (which searches for any web posting with my name on it) notified me about your blog post. Might I suggest that *anytime* you mention RACING THE DEVIL you also post a link to someone's review, like Pat's or mine.

So Theresa de Valence wrote a lovely review at
http://www.reviewsbytdev.com/content/Racing-Devil-E-Michael-Terrell or http://tinyurl.com/qfbuv6

I saw Pat Browning's review on DL, so I don't know if she has one posted elsewhere, but you see what I mean, don't you? If EVERYTIME you mention where a review can be read, then you make it easier for other people to read.

In case you're curious, my review of RACING THE DEVIL has received nearly 100 hits, so *someone* is watching!

Best wishes,
Theresa

Beth Terrell said...

Pat, I signed up, then ended up not being able to go because I had two book signing events that day! Fortunately, the sessions area archived. I meant to put some chapters in the goody bag and missed the deadline. Next year, for sure.

Theresa, thanks for the reminder. I'll edit the post and add links, probably on Sunday (Mike and I are having a romantic getaway this weekend. (I know we're checking email right now, but we're waiting for our IN-CABIN pool to cool down a little. It was 103 degrees when we got here.) Theresa, if it's okay with you, I'll link to the interview page and then put a hyperlink on your name to your homepage.

Pat, I think I can figure out how to link to yours on Amazon too.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Beth, I love the cover of your new book. Best of luck with sending out 50 review books. I think we all need to compare notes on "good reviewers." Fifty books is a big investment!