Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes
Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent, has an interesting post about blurb etiquette here written by a guest blogger.
I just recently did a blurb for a novel called COUNTRYSIDE by Jess Cope that will be released by Village Green Press LLC, a partnership publisher. The editor put out a call for blurbs on Facebook, and I decided to do it not only because the blurb of the book sounded interesting, but just because I thought it’d be cool to see my name either on or in the book. Her book reminded me of Dianna Wynne Jones’s books, so I compared the author to her.
When I received the author package from my contract manager for the first time and discovered one part wanted reviewers, I was completely dumbfounded on how to do that. Not only that, but I felt shy about doing it, even though it was just over the internet. How was I supposed to approach people about reading my book and doing a review and/or quote? I wasn’t sure if I should put out a call publicly because I had no idea if that would look bad or what, so I ended up approaching people personally, gathering about 10 interested people.
Of course, that wasn’t enough, and I was slightly deterred because one reviewer was nervous about giving her e-mail, and someone on Tumblr told me it raised red flags because of the potential for spam. As I searched around the internet, I realized it was common of people to send out calls asking for reviewers in exchange for free ARCs. I then realized there was nothing red flaggy about it, and you have to get the word out somehow. So I swallowed my shyness and put out a call on here, Tumblr, Goodreads, Twitter, and my Facebook page. I received most of my reviewers from Goodreads and here, a few on Twitter and Tumblr, and I think none on my Facebook page.
I wasn’t searching for big names like the author in Gardner’s link because, well, I’m an unknown. But I did get a few known names around the young adult community, one being a literary agent who helps out with YALITCHAT, and a writer who also helps out with YALITCHAT. But I knew these people and had worked with them at one point for YALITCHAT. So I wasn’t fighting for anything. They were eager. And of course Shannon Thompson, but she’s a given.
But I asked your everyday reader, so I didn’t have any difficulties collecting reviewers, and I’m also not too concerned about getting quotes because how many non-writers who read actually care about the quotes? I don’t read them when deciding whether or not to get a book. I find them at the last minute and think they’re cool, but they don’t influence me too much. It’s the cover, the blurb, and the first page that draw me into a book–but mostly the cover and the blurb. So when I put out a call, I was seeking reviewers, potential word-of-mouth people. However, I sought these people out very early. Just because I have 50+ right now doesn’t mean that all are still going to be able to do it. Ideally I hope they are just as eager as they are now, but that’s why I sought out 50+. I thanked every single person who was eager to help and even thanked the ones who weren’t certain they would like the book but offered to help anyway.
For some reason the process was very easy for me. I have seen writers put out calls for reviewers, even put Free ARCs in the topic line, and just couldn’t get any bites, not on Goodreads or anywhere else. But I suppose it’s because not only did I have an interesting summary but I am very personable and don’t shy away from interacting with any of my fan base. So I suppose if you want the process to be easy, make sure you’re personable as well, have a strong summary, are grateful for each and every person who gives you even a modicum of attention, and ask in the right places. AND DO IT BEFORE THE RELEASE OF YOUR BOOK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE SELF-PUBLISHING! That is ridiculously important.