Review Requests: results and tips

Happy Halloween!

It's been almost a full two weeks since I started sending out review requests and while I still have a few trickling in, I don't think the numbers are going to change dramatically. So, here's a breakdown of how it turned out.

Total reviews requested: 148
Total reviews accepted: 51
Positive response rate: 34%

Books have been sent to all 51 reviewers, which is exciting and also makes me want to hurl. I'm sure it will surprise no one that I have all the bloggers listed in a color coded spreadsheet that has become my blog tour talisman. If anything happened to it, I'd be in serious trouble. I have everyone I emailed, all their responses (color coded by the type of post they will put up for the tour along with the dates of our interactions), a calendar listing who is posting on each day (with corresponding color coding), and a sheet for all the tour bloggers who are also taking part in the cover reveal.

Yes, it is a giant, monstrous, beautiful beast and probably serious overkill. It's also what I know I need to keep my sanity in what is about to be the most stressful month of my life so far. Some authors would be fine with a word doc that lists all the bloggers and their dates, or even just an email record of everything. And if that's you, that's great.

Honestly, I wish that was enough for me. But my brain is just not wired that way. I don't know how your brain is wired. So I can tell you how I do things and remind you that I'm slightly OCD when it comes to logistics. You should find a system that works for you and then use it, whatever it is. Cool beans? Cool beans.

Now about those numbers. I knew I would need to send out way more requests than I would need/want. From my experience, authors should expect around a 10% acceptance rate. Needless to say, I was blown away with my results. I think I got such a high response rate due to the extra work I put into my list.

No bloggers were contacted that were closed to requests, not accepting my genre, not taking on self-pub, didn't review YA, wouldn't accept eBooks, etc. I also made it a point to connect with each blogger. The payoff on that extra work was made evident by the really lovely response emails I got. So many reviewers responded with thanks for the extra touch. And one response was so joyfully sweet it made me tear up. Seriously, I made my husband read it.

So was it a lot of work, yes, but totally worth it.

Here are a few tips for connecting with reviewers in your request.

1. Use a real name. This seems obvious, but is often skipped. Some reviewers don't have an about me page or make it obvious what their name is. That said, out of all the reviewers I checked out (over 300 of them), there were only two where I absolutely couldn't find a name and both of them purposefully go by an alias. If the name isn't in the bio, check out post signatures, comment replies, and links to other social media sites such as Goodreads.

2. Read the bio. Yes, the bio that talks about the reviewer, their love of books and how/why they started the blog. Not only is this just courteous, but you never know what you'll find out. Maybe you share a favorite book, or had similar childhood aspirations. Find some common ground there and then mention it in your request.

3. Recent reviews. Afterall, how will you know if you will be a good match for their taste and style if you don't read their reviews. This gives you another place to find commonality. Did you love or hate the same book? Are you anxiously awaiting the same hot release? Do you share a book boyfriend? These are all little tidbits that show you care and deepen your reasoning that this review will enjoy your book.

4. Take a minute to appreciate their blog. Let me tell you that there are some reviewers out there with absolutely gorgeous blogs. Seriously some of these would put a lot of author websites to shame. Feel free to show a blogger some love when it comes to their site. Do they have an amazing theme? A stellar header? A catchy title? Like anyone else in this world, reviewers would love a compliment, but only if it's sincere.

5. Personal connection. The writing world may seem huge when you first dip a toe into the waters, but it's actually pretty small. I was surprised when I sat down to make my list of bloggers how many I had a connection to in one way or another. Look for commonalities such as belonging to the same groups, or see if you participated in any of the same blog tours. I got to cheat as an agent and draw commonalities with reviewers who had reviewed my clients' work. Find those connections, because now is the time to use them.

With that I'm signing off for the weekend, but I will be back on Monday with the cover reveal, yeah! Rest assured I will be working like a fiend on more marketing efforts, so stay tuned. And for those of you participating in NaNoWrimo this year, may the words be ever on your paper! :)