Respect The Reviewer 2: How to Find, Contact and Stay on the Good Side of Reviewers

I’m new to publishing and didn’t realize there was a whole strategy and network to obtaining book reviews. This blogpost, written by a reviewer, outlines the how to’s and how-not to’s for authors, helping them find, submit and communicate with this key audience.


Here’s the second Respect the Reviewer article I’ve written (the first can be read here).  This is for all authors out there.  While some tips might be obvious others you may not have thought of, either way I hope some of these tips will help you find a reviewer and go about contacting them the right way.  🙂

respect cat

All authors know the importance of getting book reviews. Not only can a good book review encourage others to buy your book but if you get enough of them your book will be listed higher on amazon (or so the rumour goes). But how can authors go about contacting reviewers? And what’s the right or wrong thing to say and do when asking and waiting for a review?

I’ve been reviewing books for some time now and take this ‘job’ very seriously. I recognise the need to give an informative and honest…

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meditation image

A zen tip to better writing

meditation imageListen to the sounds outside of your head.

I was overly stressed this summer, but the book gods took care of me and sent me a boon. There, on the giveaway book table at work, was “Everyday Zen.”

I’m open for anything, so I scooped it up and stole away for a few minutes at lunchtime to see what I could learn. It didn’t take me long to figure out zen required too much time and effort to change my life. But it did suggest one particular exercise that I found very beneficial, not only for my nerves, but for my writing.

Stress, anger, and even pleasure are all just manifestations of your brain. They are not real. They don’t exist. If you clear your head and let the thoughts dissipate, you can become…enlightened, free, a lamp unto yourself (that’s where they lost me.)

BUT to do that, they suggest turning off the noise in your head and become one with the universe. You do that by listening outside of yourself. Sit still and listen…to traffic, the birds, the rest of life that is happening around you.

It’s a fascinating exercise. I had no idea the cicadas were so loud this summer. They buzz like an alien lifeforce day and night.

No matter where I sat, air conditioning units hummed in and around every building. Clocks tick, the cat snores and on a good day, I could hear the marching band practicing two miles away.

I never gave much thought to sounds before, but all of this can be remarkable fodder for books. Sitting in a grocery store, I now know the cash registers ping with every sale. The loudspeaker crackes like a potato chip bag and the lottery machine plays a tune. How much richer and more vivid my scenes will be with that sort of detail?

I’d like offer a hearty shout out to the Buddha dude, for providing some great inspiration.  😉

Dog says You're Awesome

You are good enough

Dog says You're AwesomeFocus on your own talent

I was perusing my bookcase this week and stumbled across an old motivational booklet, Attitude, Your Internal Compass. It’s one of those hokey “how to realize your potential” books from the ’90s. But one of the essays really struck a chord with me.
Borrowing heavily from Dorothy’s lament in The Wizard of Oz, it chastised people for spending too much time coveting the talent and success of others, without realizing how good they have it right in their own backyard. By feeling as though we aren’t as skilled as someone in a certain area, we get discouraged. Depressed.

What we don’t realize is, we each have our own particular skill set.

You may not be as creative a writer as EL James (Fifty Shades of Grey), but maybe you have a better command of grammar and punctuation. You may be jealous of how prolific Nora Roberts is, but Harper Lee only published one book (To Kill a Mockingbird) and managed to have a fairly successful career.

220px-Steve_Buscemi_2009_portraitCan you even imagine what was going through Steve Buscemi’s head when he decided to become a movie star? I mean, seriously, folks. Look at that face. But he had talent and enthusiasm, and he found his niche.

So, when you’re shooting for your dreams, don’t worry if someone is better than you. Find what you enjoy, work at it, polish it, and become the best you can be.

Don’t try to fit into someone else’s box. Find success that matches your skills and experiences.

Why different is better

I had a boss who hated me. I was too outspoken, too concerned about putting a positive spin on things, and not focused on the nuts and bolts of the organization. She wanted me to be just like her–quiet, restrained and precise.

But I was the marketing manager. And she was an engineer. She didn’t enjoy talking to people and couldn’t care less about making reader-friendly documents. Whereas I loved that stuff. And for our business to succeed, she needed me to do that…to be the yin to her yang. She needed a team of people with different skill sets than hers’. Not better or worse, just different.

This is important for authors to remember. There are so many pieces in the publishing puzzle, no one can go it alone. Plot development, snappy dialogue, accurate grammar (my downfall, as I’m sure you can tell), pitching, synopsis writing, marketing, web design, contract negotiations, accounting, the list is endless.

My advice? Focus on what you’re best at, gain a basic knowledge on the subjects where you’re shaky and then build a team who can fill in your holes. Get a good critique partner, editor, agent, accountant, web designer, etc. Just remember to look for people who are not like you…but who are trying to be the best they can be.