Showing posts with label How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Show all posts

How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts in Your Media Kit

 

 October 5, 2022, #4 in Series

 

How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts 
In Your Media Kit

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson



A continuation of Carolyn’s series of posts on the magic of reviews 
beginning on July 5, 2022, with excerpts from her 
How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: 
The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing caree
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“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ

 

This is the fourth of my guest posts in my series on getting and using reviews, on making them into forever reviews to launch a book or to jumpstart a book the sales of a book that has been around for a while. It is always my pleasure to share excerpts from my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers when I can reach (and help!) more authors with that information. Here is more on a few of the ways you can use your reviews and the endorsements you excerpt from How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career Do go back to July 5, 2022 to read or reread the earlier part of the series or read the entire book to get a more complete story on the magic of reviews and blurbs—all 300 pages of it. You won’t be sorry. Reviews can be forever. Reviews can be career builders.

Using reviews in your media kit is essential. Your kit will be used by all kinds of gatekeepers. Feature editors use reviews as guidelines for their staff writers and sometimes—when given permission—reprint them (credited, of course!). Busy radio hosts may use them instead of requesting a copy of your book to read. Media in general use them to judge the quality of your book and the suitability for their audience. As soon as you have a positive review, add it to your media kit using these guidelines:

* You know this rule: You need permission to reprint a full review.

* Mention that permission has been granted in the header of the review page in your kit where the review lives. Include a request that editors print the review using the reviewer’s byline and tagline.

* State where the review originally appeared.

*  Key in the reviewer’s byline so anyone who uses it doesn’t forget.

* When you have many reviews to choose from, select the one written by the most prestigious reviewer or the one that appeared in the most esteemed review journal. Very high praise for your book is good, but reviewer credibility is better. (You may use the very high praise part elsewhere as an excerpt or blurb. Learn to do that in an earlier post of this series or from the original source, https://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews.)

* If the original review does not include a headline, provide one that is true to the reviewer’s intent and highlights what you consider the most important aspect of the review.

If you have a review that isn’t as good as you’d like, resist the temptation to edit out the critical part. Media people know a review that is critical of one aspect of your book is more credible than one that praises a book excessively. Editors suspect that a pie-in-the-sky review was probably written by your mother. And, yes. It’s also about ethics.

If you have both a short review and a longer one that includes a synopsis of your book, increase your chances of getting some free ink by using them both in your kit. An editor may find one suits her style or space requirements better than the other. Label them “Sample Short Review” and “Sample Longer Review” on their separate pages in the kit.

Tip: If you don’t yet have a review, substitute a mini (about fifty to 100 words!) synopsis you wrote yourself until you have the real thing. Use active verbs and third person. Don’t give away the ending. It should entice even a jaded reviewer or editor to want to know more about your book. Don’t attribute it to anyone. Honesty is especially important in a business that abounds with scams.

Hint: If you want to extract little phrases that rave about your book from a review, they go on your media kit’s Praise Page where gleaning the best of the best from reviews and elsewhere is acceptable.

This is a lot to consider after you have mastered the considerable learning curve required to get reviews. It is my hope that the multitude of possibilities for using reviews will encourage you to go after them with a vengeance. After you once have a review, decide how many ways you can repurpose it. (Find a list of those ways in an earlier post in this series.) Eventually you will build a juggernaut footprint on search engines. That brings you new readers and nurtures your writing career.

This is the last in a four-part series for Karen Cioffi’s #WritersontheMove blog. Feel free to go back on the fifth of each month on July, August, and Sept where you can catch up on earlier posts on the topic of making reviews into marketing magic that pretty much lasts forever!

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More on Guest Blogger and Regular WritersontheMove Contributor 



Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter, now in its third edition from Modern History Press, and her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. The third full book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.


Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The author loves to travel. She has visited ninety one countries before her travels were so rudely interrupted by Covid and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


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Help for Second Edition Blues


I sometimes run Q and A a la Ann Landers columns in my SharingwithWriters newsletter using questions that my clients ask me or that subscribers send to me. This is one of my favorites because involves two subjects that seem to interest authors most--Amazon sales and getting reviews.

QUESTION:

Do you lose your Amazon reviews when you publish a second edition of your book?

ANSWER:

You can get Amazon to post reviews from the first edition to the second through Author Connect. And you can get Amazon to put a referral widget from the first edition to the second. They tend to move this widget around, but it's always been near the top of the first edition buy page (though not as prominent as I'd like to see it!).

Please note: Amazon will not remove the first edition from their site.

But please don't buy the first edition! The second edition is expanded by at least 100 pages, updated, and, if I do say so, lots prettier! (-:

Do know that when Amazon does this they transfer all of the reviews from old edition to New; you can't pick and choose. So if something in the first edition has been criticized and you fixed it in the second edition, they won’t discard that earlier review. A recourse is to use the comment feature that is found at the end of each review to dispute the claim—maybe with a thank you to the reviewer for helping you correct that in the second edition. There are some other ways to help fix Review problems in the newest of the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

Just an extra here: If you just update your old edition rather than publish a new one, you may be losing more marketing opportunities than you ever dreamed of. Of course, a second edition should have something new about the cover like the words second edition or a whole new cover and at least 10% new content.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free
publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews free. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . And, be sure to sign up for SharingwithWriters newsletter.

How to Handle Book Bigotry



An excerpt from Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

I thought I would share an excerpt from the newest book in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books titled How to Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically with Writers-on-the-Move readers. It was launched in a special BookBaby.com promotion and it is estimated that it was read by at least 20,000 authors, which makes me practically ecstatic that I can help that many in the its first months as an e-book. It is now available as a paperback, too.

I believe—know—that attitudes toward self- and indie-publishers have become more accepted over the decades. When my first novel was published, any book published by anything other than university presses and New York’s Big Five were derisively called “vanity publishers.” Still, book bigotry or its near cousins hasn’t disappeared entirely.

That sounds discouraging, but it’s a reality. Some—including reviewers—find it convenient to let the name of a press help vet their final choices among hundreds of thousands of books available to them these days. Using the name of a respected press is an easy—though misguided—way to do that.
Brooke Warner, the author of Green Light Your Books and board member of IBPA (Independent Book Publishers of America) says, “I advise authors with [print-on-demand books] never to specify how their books were printed [when they are] talking to book buyers, event hosts, booksellers, conference organizers or librarians . . . .”

Notice that Warner is not suggesting you fib about how the book is published. It seems she is suggesting we just omit that piece of information. But in some cases you can bravely face down book bigotry. That means owning up to however your book is published. My coauthor of the Celebration Series of Chapbooks Magdalena Ball and I list our poetry chapbooks (booklets) in the series as “proudly self-published in the time-honored tradition of poets since before Gutenberg invented the press.”

Honesty is essential. Reviewers and other contacts are not naïve. They know a digitally printed book, micro press, indie publisher or any number of entities now in the publishing business when they see it. But, as writers, we know that words and the way we use them are powerful and we should be willing to use the power to the best of our ability within the boundaries required by ethics.

It is your job—no matter who printed your books—to convince reviewers (and, yes, readers!) that your book is the one they want to spend time with. That your book has value that particular reader or reviewer can use, wants, or desperately needs. We do that:

  •     By publishing or having someone else publish a professional, well edited book. Read more on how to do that in my multi award-winning The Frugal Editor and find more books that will help you with the journey in the Index of that book.Know that the better editor you are, the better partner you make for any editor assigned to you or hired by you.          
  •     By building—and continuing to build—a platform that is respected by others in the publishing industry. (Read more on that in The Frugal Book Promoter).
  •         By approaching reviewers (and other gatekeepers) with whom you have built a relationship and/or those you have researched so you are confident that they will have an interest in your genre. That requires lots of reading and research so you won’t waste sending a book to someone with no clout or who isn’t actually a reviewer. You’ll want to read How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to learn more on getting and managing those reviews successfully.


Note: By being familiar with the reviewer or other contact and the media she writes for, you limit the chances your book or the content within will be misused. For more on that see the chapter on “Why Book Reviews Aren’t What You Think They Are” in How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

You, the author of your book, are the one who is so passionate about it you will not be daunted by the review-garnering task. Persistence is the key. But here’s The Secret to getting around this to-tell-or-not-to-tell conundrum:

Pretend you are a florist and must put the best blooms in your book bouquet forward. You discard the wilted ones, or at least place them behind the more exquisite blossoms in your inventory.
·       So, you shout it out when it’s your advantage to tell and you do it with pride.
·       When you think your bloom will appear slightly wilted to your contact, you disguise it with the name of a professional publishing company you set up for your own books.
·       And when all else fails, you tactfully omit that information. You won’t fool anyone who finds this information super important, but there is no rule that you must flaunt it, either.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to
the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor which won awards from USA Book News. Other awards include Readers’ Views Literary Award, the top marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. And now, ta da! The third:  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.


She will appear at Bookbaby.com's  first-ever #IndieAuthorsCon writers’ conference in Philadelphia Nov. 3-5, 2107 and urges you to use her “Carolyn” code for an additional discount from the already low price for the conference. If you come, please make a point of introducing yourself. 

The Fine art of Asking for Reviews

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Excerpted from the newest in Carolyn's multi award-winning 
HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

To find even more reviewers, you can put your reporter’s hat on and ask—tactfully—for what you need. Make the point that a review is a gift to you, a gift that authors treasure above all others—whether it comes from a reviewer or a reader. Try some of these possibilities:
  • Ask fellow attendees at writers’ conferences.
  • Ask directors of writers’ conferences if they offer a review exchange or have other suggestions for you.
  • Ask writing instructors if they have a list of reviewers or know where you can find one.
  • When you’re on the Web, look at the resource pages of the Web sites owned by how-to authors of books for writers and of online book review sites.
  • Think about classes you have taken. The instructors may have a policy against reviewing students’ work, but your fellow students may review yours. (I hope you would try to do the same for them!)
  • Ask members of your critique group.
  • Ask members of the organizations you belong to. Writing organizations come to mind, but members of other organizations may be even more open to your suggestion. It may be something they’ve never done, may never have thought about doing, and they may find it is lots of fun.
  • When you read, make a note of reviews and the names of those who wrote them that you find in some issues of magazines like Time and newspapers around the world.
  • Learn to write great query letters that won't tick off agents (or reviewers!) from my The Frugal Editor (http://bit.ly/FrugalEditor).  I interviews dozens of agents to learn about their pet peeves and most of them didn't mention typos! You'll want to know what they did mention! 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This little how-to article was extracted from my giant (415 pages) of How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (http://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews) third in the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It was released a few months ago. There is just so much to know about putting reviews to work for your book!  I am still celebrating its release because authors are still benefitting from it. Learn more about my books for writers and visit my free Writers’ Resources pages at http://howtodoitfrugally.com. It’s also easy to use my review blog. Just follow the submission guidelines in the left column at http://TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com

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