Showing posts with label forever reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forever reviews. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2022

How to Jumpstart Book Sales with Reviews and Excerpts

August 5, 2022, #2 in Carolyn's Guestpost Series for #WritersontheMove Blog

How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

This is the second in Carolyn’s guest post series with excerpts from her 
Feel free to retrieve the first entry for this series from this blog’s July 5, 2022 entry, 
and follow the four-part series through to October 5, 2022.

“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ

This is the second in my guest post series on getting and using credible reviews and on making them into forever reviews to launch a book or to jumpstart 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. Do go back to the first in this series of posts published on this blog on July 5, 2022, or read the entire book, 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 get a more complete story on the magic of reviews and blurbs. You’ll benefit from all 300 pages of it, including how to get and use mail order catalogs and why you should.

Using Your Reviews and Excerpts Now and Forever

The beauty of reviews and the praise extracted from them is that you can continue to use them as long as you want, and some can be used for more than just the book that is being reviewed. An example of that is a review or excerpt from a review that praises your writing style as opposed to the specific title. With that in mind, you are ready to go to work making your new reviews (and your old ones) into marketing workhorses for your entire writing career.

§   Post full reviews on your blog. The post works best if you introduce it with a little information about the reviewer, the journal, or your personal response to having received it. You can use excerpts in the sidebar of your blog, too.

To extend the exposure of your review, submit it to my The New Book Review blog (thenewbookreview.blogspot.com). I started it to help authors when I realized it would be a physical impossibility to say yes to review requests from my many readers and students. If you use it, please follow the submission guidelines in the tabs on the home page of the blog exactly. Because I am frugal with time, I try to make this process a copy-and-paste operation.

Use both full reviews and excerpts on your web site.

o   Put your favorite review on your book’s page within your web site. You should have one complete review for every book you publish (and a separate page on your web site for each book you publish).

o   Use short excerpts from reviews on almost every page of your web site: In the footer of each page, in a sidebar, and in a table or cell to help break up copy. You may find other places to install an excerpt/blurb/endorsement as your web site grows.

o   Should you get a review in a prestigious journal, use a phrase like “As seen in Publisher’s Weekly” on your homepage, on other appropriate spots on your site, and in your general marketing campaign.

Announce any new reviews you get on your social networks. When you do this, use a light voice to avoid appearing braggadocio like a Donald-Trump-Running-for-President. He may be able to get away with it, but you probably won’t. Instead, frame it as a thank you to the person who gave you the review, the medium where it appeared, or both. Link to the review (that’s doing the reviewer a favor) and tag her using the little @ sign so she is aware that you cared enough to promote her web site or journal. By doing so, you are paving the way to assure she more easily accepts your next book for review.

Send out media releases (also called—less accurately—press releases) to the local press when you get a review in a prestigious review journal. Use the filter on your contact list to pull out media that might be interested. If you live in a metropolitan area with a major newspaper, they may view this kind of release as clutter, but your local throw-away paper or subsidiary news or feature editor may love it.

Use an excerpt from your review in any one or all of these places where an endorsement will make people more aware of your book:

o   Use quotations excerpted from reviews as part of your signature.

o   Put the crème de la crème excerpts from your reviews on the Praise Page in your media kit. For media kits, use short blurbs rather than long ones. Bullets help each excerpt (blurb) stand out and indicates to gatekeepers who read it that you cared enough to make it easy for them. Get step-by-step instructions for writing and assembling a professional media kit in the third edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII) now published by Modern History Press.

o   Use an excerpt on your preprinted mailing labels as part of your branding.

o   Use them the same way on your checks.

o   Feature them on your return-address labels. Your return labels can be much larger than the ones charity organizations send you. I use Vistaprint.com for these. I try to find room for my book cover image and sometimes an excerpt from a review as well.

o   Use them on the back cover of your book, of course.

o   In How To Get Great Book Reviews I talk about how you can use excerpts on a page of praise just inside the front cover of you next book or future editions of the book you are working on.

o   Send the excerpt from your review to event planners at bookstores in your hometown or cities you’ll be visiting. Encourage them to post it near the display of your book when you read or do a workshop for them.

o   Make a short excerpt praising your book part of your query letter for a book signing or workshop.

o   Use praise in the header or footer of your stationery.

o   When appropriate, use or adapt something someone has said about your book as a motto.

o   Use excerpts from your reviews (credited, of course!) in handouts you distribute when you speak or present at conferences or tradeshows. Use them like this:

Examples you share in the body of your handout.

o   In the header or footer of your handout.

o   Near your contact information.

o   Use excerpts on your business cards or bookmarks.

o   The U.S. postal service now offers specially printed postage stamps. Did you ever dream your picture might someday land on a postage stamp? Now you can do it (for a fee). Include your book’s cover and a brief excerpt from a review. Sometimes you can take a cue from the movie industry and excerpt just one word like this:

“ . . .  Scandalous!” ~ Publishers Weekly

o  Don’t forget to use excerpts (blurbs) as endorsements in your newsletter.

o   A thank-you feature in the #SharingwithWriters Newsletter I am about to reinstate served (and will serve) several purposes. Yes, gratitude. But it also extends the exposure of my reviews or other promotions. It’s about networking. It acts as a resource for my subscribers with links they will find valuable for getting reviews for their own books or to find books for their own reading pleasure. Subscribers who choose to submit their successes also get a little extra publicity.

o   Use excerpts from reviews judiciously in the footers, backmatter, or frontmatter of other books you publish, or new editions of the book that was originally reviewed.


Note: “Books you publish” might include whitepapers, e-books, or booklets you give away as promotions. Read the case study of my most successful cross-promotional booklets of this e-cookbook in The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII). The idea can be adapted to most genres.

Use one of your pithiest excerpts on the signs you take to book fairs, book signings, conferences, and tradeshows.

Tip: Kinko’s/FedEx is a good place to get a poster made and laminated. Floor- and table-standing retractable canvas banners (as seen in photo) are expensive but worth it if you frequently choose these kinds of events because they are sturdy enough to use over and over and easy to roll and fold for travel.



Circle September 5, 2022, on your calendar for the next post in this series of four excerpted from How To Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Earlier posts in this series start on July 5, 2022, and cover topics that help you make your reviews into marketing magic that pretty much lasts forever.


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 winningest book, 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.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Why Getting Great Reviews Is Your Job


 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excerpted from Carolyn’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

You need this article! Here’s why: 

In spite of a contract or even an advance, your publisher may not be a true publisher. True publishing includesthe marketing of a book. Think big names like HarperCollins, Knopf, and Writers’ Digest, the publisher of Nina Amir’s books like Creative Visualization for Writers. They assign a marketing budget to your book and an actual marketing department complete with actual human-type marketers who are trained in the specialized field of not just marketing, but marketing books. Except for those who write only for pleasure, there is no reason to publish a book that doesn’t get read.

Even sadder: Those big publishers need their authors’ help, too. No matter how they are published,  authors can’t count on a free lunch when it comes to the marketing their book. That’s especially true when it comes to the getting of reviews—the kind of reviews that keep a book alive.

Some publishers—even traditional publishers—may not respect tradition, be uncooperative or goof. One of my writing critique partners was published with a fine press. When she learned they had not sent advance review copies of her literary novel to the most prestigious review journals before their strict sixteen-week deadline, she was naturally upset. They explained it was a snafu that could not be fixed. That was no comfort at all. It did help her to know that because thousands of galleys sent to the important review publications lie fallow in slush piles, the chances of having a book reviewed by a major journal—even one published traditionally let alone getting a glowing review—is remote. Because she had me to nag her, she moved on to alternative marketing and review-getting strategies found in the flagship book of my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of book for writer, The Frugal Book Promoter, third edition from Modern History Press, using my backdoor review-getting method. 

Soon after my writing-friend’s experience, I realized that what authors need to know about reviews deserved a full book. I knew early on that reviews are the meat and potatoes of marketing for books. What I didn’t know is that reviews are a magic ingredient from beyond the launch to reviving a book that should by now be a classic but sadly isn’t! That resulted in my How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career, a real tome of more than 300 pages of easy reading. It covers everything an author needs to know about reviews—their easy-to-do and do-it-by-yourself powerhouse for successful writing careers. 

These days most small publishers have no marketing department—or marketing plan. In fact, many admit that when it comes to marketing, you are on your own. No offense, publishers. I know many of you do a terrific job considering the profit margin in publishing these days. Let’s face it, you can use help, and you don’t need to deal with disappointed (irate?) authors. And, authors! We are ultimately responsible for our own careers. Sometimes when we wait to take responsibility, it is too late in the publishing game.

Some publishers charge the author an additional or separate fee for marketing. Many who offer marketing packages do not offer a review-getting package. If they do, the review their authors get is a paid-for review, which is definitely not the route you want to go. More on that later in a complete chapter on getting ethical reviews in , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. You know, the kind of reviews that influencers like librarians and bookstore buyers respect.

Many publishers do not even have lists of people to contact who might help your marketing with endorsements or reviews. Further, many big publishers are relying on bloggers for their review process more and more as print journals and newspaper book sections shrink or disappear and as they begin to understand that grassroots publicity—reviews or otherwise—can produce a very green crop. And bloggers? Well, that’s a resource pool you can easily plumb yourself. 

My first publisher supplied review copies only upon written request from individual reviewers. They did not honor requests generated by their authors’ initiatives. This meant that I could not count on them to supply books to reviewers I had successfully queried for a review. Unless the reviewer accepted e-copies (and many reviewers don’t!), I had to order copies directly from the publisher and then reship them to my reviewers. This method is slow, cumbersome, unnecessarily expensive, unprofessional, and discourages authors from trying to get reviews on their own. 

Publishers should offer review copies to a list of reviewers—even unestablished grassroots bloggers—who have been responsive to their authors in the past. And they certainly should not charge an author for review copies. Publishers have a profit margin and publicity obtained by their authors (including reviews) affects their bottom line, too. They should send their author a thank you (or a red rose!) along with encouragement to keep up the good work

And about the idea that the very definition that “publishing” includes marketing: That means that even if they are too small or underfunded to have a marketing department, they should have a list of reviewers to query for reviews, a list of influential people to provide blurbs for your cover, access to book cover designers (not just great graphic designers) who know what sells books, and a whole lot more. Ask potential publishers about their marketing process before you sign, but—even if you feel assured after having that conversation—it’s best to assume you may be on your own. 

So, the marketing part of your book that includes finding the right reviewers to read and comment on your book will—in most cases—be up to you and well within your skill set after reading this book. And even when you have the luxury of a marketing department behind you, those authors who know how to get reviews on their own can keep a book alive for an infinite amount of time after their publishers relegate their books to a backlist or their contract expires.

Note: If it is too late to apply this information to the process you use in choosing a publisher, tactfully take hold and guide the publisher you have through the review process. There are lots of ways to do that in this book. I love Nike’s advice to “Just do it!” only I add “yourself” to the motto. Many publishers are in your employ. You may be paying them for services. At the very least, when your book sells, it makes money for the publisher. You don’t have to ask for permission (though it never hurts to listen to their reasoning before you make a decision).

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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. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and 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.

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 more than ninety countries 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 website, https://howtodoitfrugally.com, includes a media room. Yours should, too!

Cover Photo by Joy V. Smith


 

 

How to Jumpstart Book Sales with Reviews and Excerpts

August 5, 2022, #2 in Carolyn's Guestpost Series for #WritersontheMove Blog How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts By Carolyn Howard-Johns...