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As a book publicist and consultant, I shouldn’t have to edit your book while reading it, and I definitely shouldn’t take your money without informing you of my concerns.

Many authors rush to get their manuscripts out jeopardizing its quality.  If your book sucks, you’ll have a difficult time positioning yourself as an expert, building an audience, getting great reviews or profiting from sales. 

Here’s my advice – don’t neglect the editorial process before sending your manuscript to print.  Below, I’ve briefly outlined the process that’s followed by traditional publishing houses; however, self-published authors should incorporate some of these.

Stage One – Developmental Editing

According to the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), a development editor helps authors develop and organize a manuscript into a readable work. 

If you are a non-fiction author with no publishing experience, I suggest you start here.  Often, I’m able to get past a few chapters of a potential clients’ book, but it slowly starts to tumble down.

By working with a development editor, they can suggest deletion, revisions or additions that could make your manuscript better.

Stage Two – Copy Editing

After you have a well-organized product, it’s now time to hire a copyeditor.

A copyeditor is what I call a meticulous manuscript examiner.  They go word-by-word, line-by-line correcting:

    • Spelling, grammar and punctuation
    • Errors in word usage
    • Passive voice to active voice
    • Vagueness and lapse in logic
    • Subject-verb agreement – and much more

Stage Three – Production Editor

In traditional publishing houses, the next step after copyediting is production editing.  The production editor is responsible for the entire production process and is involved at the beginning of the manuscript until the product is finished.  This editor oversees:

    • Hiring and managing the copywriter, book designers, illustrators, indexers, proofreaders, and other professionals
    • Tracking scheduling deadlines and progress
    • Compiling estimates from printing houses for physical book production
    • Ensuring the books are printed without errors and arrive in a timely manner

As a self-published author, you should consider whether you want to pay someone to manage the production of your book.  If you’ve the budget, you could delegate this task and concentrate your efforts on building your author platform with potential paying customers.

Stage Four – Editorial Proofreading

This step is often overlooked by self-published authors.  It’s the last editorial step that shouldn’t be avoided.  The job of the proofreader is to examine the final pages of your completed manuscript for not only typographical errors, but they’re also on the lookout for things like:

    • Outdated or incorrect cross-references
    • Incorrect word usage or word breaks
    • Inconsistencies with usage of contractions and abbreviations
    • Inaccuracies of tables, charts, graphs and other display elements
    • Improper word, line or page spacing

If you’ve already published your book and it’s laden with errors, think like a publisher and hire an editorial proofreader. Publishers often hire proofreaders when they are reprinting previous published work.  Follow the pros and do the same – get that book proofed now.

Don’t let the lack of editing prevent you from creating a book publicity explosion.


Photo Credit: tofu&ketcup.


5 Reasons You Should Become a Book Reviewer

guy reading bookAre you telling me you aren’t a book reviewer already? Actually you became a reviewer the first time you picked up a book. I’m sure you gave it a read through and then told the nearest person about it.  That’s the moment you became a reviewer.

The question is why haven’t you made it official? If you’re reading this, then it’s possible there’s a hidden reviewer inside of you. And, if you’re still on the fence about it, I’ve outlined five reasons you should become a  book reviewer.

It’s Fun

Reviewing is fun and a real challenge. You can set goals to determine the number of books you’ll read and review in a month and what genre. When you write book reviews for fun, you can interact with your friends and other avid book lovers.

If you’re looking to review books for fun and enjoyment, then check out Goodreads’ website.  Goodreads allows you to interact with friends, document books that you’ve read, and post reviews that you’ve written.  It’s the fun place to review books.

You Want to Influence People

As a book reviewer you’ll influence reader’s buying decisions.  This is a really great experience, but remember “with great power, comes great responsibility” –Uncle Ben, Spiderman.

Being an influencer is not something you should take lightly. Although you’ll make many friends, it’s possible that you’ll face some adversity from authors who’s not pleased with your critique of their book.  Remember, it’s your ethical responsibility to write fair and honest reviews.  You don’t want readers doubting your judgment because you recommend poorly written books.

Free Books  

Once you become a book reviewer in a more official role, there’s a good chance you’ll get some books sent your way. In my opinion, this is one of the best reasons to become a book reviewer – free books. For example, let’s say on average you spend $10 per month on books, and, within a month you read a total of four books.  Well, $40 per month times 12 months is $480. Isn’t that a good deal? Not to mention if you’re a fast reviewer and writer you can easily double or triple these numbers. In addition, you’ll have access to new releases.

To become a reviewer who gets free books, I recommend you open an account on wordpress.com, blogger.com or tumblr.com these are great platforms for hosting and customizing a professional review site.

The Chance to Earn Money

If authors are begging you to review their books and readers are eagerly awaiting your next review, there’s a good chance you can earn money. However, this isn’t easy and could take a little time to establish your authority.  You’ll need to market and promote your work constantly.  It’s a win-win because you’re getting free books, a small income, and hopefully still having fun.

If this is your goal, you should plan from the start to own your website, secure your URL and control your content. I always recommend wordpress.org (not wordpress.com they’re different). Then pay a  programmer to make you a beautiful site for your reviews ($500 or less).

You’re Already Doing It

Are you still on the fence about becoming a book reviewer? Well, if you’re recommending books to family and friends, constantly seeking new releases, or critiquing others’ reviews, then you’re already a reviewer.

The next step is to turn your passion or hobby into a professional career and start earning money.

Credit: Jeeves.


Karl Staib, Twitter Party Master

I’m excited to have Karl Staib of Party Biz Connect as our guest today.  I first met Karl after reading his popular blog post 6 Ways to Supercharge Your Writing at Copyblogger.

That post received 116 comments, 1,141 tweets, 230 shares and 49 google+ — pretty impressive, huh?  Although Karl’s content was engaging and offered great advice for writers struggling to generate compelling content, I was intrigued with this idea of throwing Twitter parties.

Since that time, we’ve had a telephone consultation, I have joined his Tuesday marketing chats, and recently attended my first Twitter party. As a result of this experience, I knew I had to introduce him to you guys.

Despite his busy schedule, Karl took time away to discuss some benefits of throwing a Twitter party, how to measure the success of a party, and a mini case study of a successful author’s event.

Karl many of my readers are new to the concept of Twitter Parties.  Can you explain what a Twitter party is?

A Twitter party is a celebration of the cool stuff you create. Whether you are creating software for small business owners or personal development ebooks you are doing something special. Helping people make their lives better. This should be celebrated!

When you throw a Twitter party you are creating an online micro-event that gathers people to learn, engage and chat about a certain subject.

There are two ways to throw a Twitter party. You can create a tele-seminar and throw a tweet chat around the call or you can just create a tweet chat.

A tweet chat is just creating a hashtag like #mktgchat, so you and everyone else can follow along. I like to follow along using Tweetchat because it auto populates the tweets for you. So as the host and guests talk about the theme on the call, people on Twitter are tweeting about the conversation going.

What are some benefits of throwing a Twitter party?

The object of a Twitter party is to engage with people, earn their trust and let people share you or your business with their friends. It’s a great way to sell something without the hard sell.

That’s why I like to create Twitter parties where people can learn, share, and connect with each other. It really is the perfect party. You can hang out in your underwear, drink a glass of red wine and chat with some online friends.

How did you come up with this concept of Twitter parties and what did you do to market it?

I did not come up with the concept of the Twitter party. I think what I did was figure out how to make it my own. I wanted to focus on interactivity, so I usually like to have a call (audio) with the Twitter chat because it feels more intimate and much more valuable.

At your website, you give some reasons for throwing a Twitter party. Do you have some examples of how this has worked for authors?

I threw a party for Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha. We raised her Amazon ranking from 10,000 to 2,406. She also increased her Twitter followers, created a memorable event and deepened her bound with the people at the party.

Besides giving away a free book, what type of prizes work best for authors?

The prizes need to be focus on what the author is all about. Giving away an iPad usually doesn’t work very well because it’s not targeted to their “ideal” people. Although if the author had a really cool app with all their books loaded on it then we are getting warmer.

The key is to give away prizes that attract your type of fans.

Many authors are incorporating blog tours in their marketing efforts to sell books.  How does a Twitter party differ from a blog tour? 

Twitter party is an event. An event that gets people excited and sharing on social media. A blog tour is good, it just has a different kind of impact. Neither one is better than the other. In fact they work very well together.

What are some requirements (criteria) for throwing a Twitter party? 

Just have fun!

Do these parties work best for nonfiction or fiction authors?  If so, explain why. 

I’ve never done a non-fiction author Twitter party. I’m in talks to possibly do one soon, so I can’t really say which style of author they are better for. The ideas from a non-fiction author are probably a little easier to talk about over the phone, giving a ton of value to the audience and still creating something fun and interesting.

How can you measure the success of a Twitter party?

The success is measured in many ways:

  • Number of tweets
  • Number of social media shares
  • Number of people on the teleconference
  • Products/books sold
  • Quality of tweets and engagement

The whole point of a Twitter party is to share with the audience what you’ve learned. It’s an intimate experience that can really have a deep impact on people. I’ve had people email and say it’s changed their life and to tell me that they got shiver hanging out at the party.

They are just so much fun and I encourage every author to create micro-events for their audience to build engagement and find new readers.

Karl thanks for stopping by we appreciate your time.

Thanks for the great questions! If anyone wants to learn more about how to create their own Twitter party they can contact me and I would be glad to talk with them.

You can also connect with Karl on Twitter where something interesting is always happening.



5 Media Mistakes That Make You Look Dumb

don’t make these media mistakes

Connecting with the media can be somewhat intimidating.  However, if you speak their language and follow instructions, you are half-way there.  This is particularly important when sending out review copies to book editors or book bloggers.

Let’s imagine that your book arrives and lands on Maggie the Book Sorter’s desk.  As customary, Maggie sorts books in three categories – “not a prayer,” “at a glance looks interesting,” and “must read now.”  Trust me you want to be in the third pile.

However, landing in the must read now pile doesn’t guarantee you’ll survive the screening process, which is why it’s imperative that certain media materials accompany your book, giving you an edge over the competition.

Your media materials help the reviewer (or editor) hone in on the relevance of your book, and whether it will resonate with their audience.

One of the biggest problems editors have with authors, and publicists for that matter, is being pitched books or ideas that have nothing to do with their target audience.

Here are five media mistakes to avoid, and prevent your book from ending up in the dump pile.

Mistake #1 Not including your press release

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of this media workhorse, so I won’t go into much detail here.  What’s important to remember is that book editors are busy and you have a small window of time to catch their attention.

So you better have a strong headline and sub-headline, because, if not, you might end up in the “not a prayer” pile.

Mistake #2 Not providing Q&As (questions and answers)

Q&As work best with radio and TV producers, but sending it to book reviewers might give you an edge if the questions are well thought out, and nails important and relevant information.

I’ll give you some advice that my political science professor gave me, and that is you must anticipate the other side’s argument and be prepared to counter.

This is extremely important if you have a very controversial topic.  The media love drama (sort of) and, if you can give them a great segment (or material) they’ll keep coming back for more.

Mistake #3 Not providing a compelling author bio

Bios can be tricky because they are very subjective, in my opinion.  I have seen some very unconventional bios that worked well for some individuals.  Don’t be too clever though because the editor might not get you.

However, if you focus on painting a portrait of yourself through your accomplishments, you should be fine.

Remember, this is your opportunity to tell the media who you are, what you’ve done, and how you accomplished it.

If you hit those three key factors, it shouldn’t matter if your bio is a little unconventional.

Mistake #4 Not including a professional photograph

A professional photo allows the media to see the human side of you, and how you will come across to their audience.

I’m not a professional photographer, but there are two things I can share – take professional quality images and make sure that they are 5” x 7”.

Black and white photos are adequate, and not to mention cost effective when sending out review copies.  And, of course, color images are doable as well, just factor the cost.

Mistake #5 Not including sample chapters or excerpt

You might be surprise to know that many authors think that book reviewers should foot the bill to review their manuscripts.  As an occasional book reviewer myself, I have experience this.

Not only does this make you look dumb, but unprofessional as well.  Some reviewers will accept galleys or pdf versions of your book, because they understand the cost factor.

On the other hand, if you are approaching a book blogger, they usually want a copy of the finished book, because many of them are not being paid, and simply review books out of the sheer love of reading.

So, the next time you approach a book editor, make sure that you include these items in your media package.

Do you need help creating your online media kit?  Leave a message in the comment below.


Interview with Book Blogger, Kim Ukura

Book Blogger, Kim Ukura

I’m excited to have Kim Ukura as our inaugural interviewee here at Wordstroker.  I came across her article Chazen shares role he played at fashion giant and was immediately intrigued with her writing style, and inspired by the story.

When I read her bio and discovered she is a book blogger, I went to her website, and spent hours reading through her material.  I knew I had to connect with her.  I drafted my pitch email, sent it off, and within 24 hours she graciously accepted.

Kim Ukura is a community newspaper editor by day and an avid reader, blogger, and freelance writer by night. Her blog, Sophisticated Dorkiness, was voted the best nonfiction book blog by fellow bloggers in 2010 and 2011. She is a regular contributor to Book Riot, occasionally active on Twitter, and is working on a project to read an essay a day in 2012.

In our discussion, she shares information on how to pitch a blogger, how book bloggers impact the landscape of traditional publishing, and what makes a bestseller.

Janet Thomson:  What is book blogging/blogger?

Kim Ukura: A book blogger is someone who writes a blog about books. I know that sounds simplistic, but I think it’s hard to be more specific than that. Book bloggers are of all ages, and write about all sorts of different kinds of books. Some write formal reviews, some just write more informal thoughts. Some accept books for review from authors/publishers, and some prefer to just read what they want to read. It’s a varied and awesome community.

JT:  How can an author determine if the book blogger (reviewer) is right for their book? 

KU:  The best way is to spend some time reading the blog. Check out what other books the blogger tends to read (either by reading posts or looking to a review archive). See how they write their reviews (If you don’t like the review style — too snarky, too critical, too sarcastic, too nice — don’t pitch your book to that blogger). See if the blogger has a review policy and check whether your book fits that policy.

JT:  Why should book bloggers be taken serious?

KU:  Well, probably for the same reason any reader’s opinion should be taken seriously. For the most part, book bloggers are passionate readers who love to talk about books on- and off-line. They just happen to put those thoughts on the Internet for other people to read and react to.

JT:  How should an author or publicist pitch a book blogger?

KU:  Politely and personally. Take a few minutes to make sure you know the bloggers name before sending them a pitch (I can’t tell you how many e-mails I’ve just deleted because they’re addressed to ‘Ms. Dorkiness’ or ‘Dear Sophisticated’ or something to that effect). Like any pitch, take a minute to share why you think your book would be a good fit for this blogger, and be sure to include a link to more information about the book. And if you’re thinking about including some sort of line like, “I know you say in your review policy that you don’t read X, but…” please, just don’t. For every kind of book that, say, I don’t read, there are many bloggers who do. Find them.

JT:  How should you be pitched?

KU:  Basically the same as above. Tell me about your book and why you think it is a good fit for me. Give me a link so I can go read more about the book before I make a decision.

JT:  What types of books do you prefer reviewing and why?

KU:  I read a lot of nonfiction, usually narrative nonfiction. I also read literary fiction, but not as often. I tend to accept more nonfiction books for review because I feel like I have more interesting things to say about a nonfiction book than I do about fiction.

JT:  How has book blogging change the traditional book review landscape?

KU:  I think more books are being written about and considered than there used to be. Traditional book review sections in newspapers or websites have a particular audience and usually write about a particular kind of book. Blogs are opening up a space for reviews of less-represented genres like romance or science fiction or chick lit that just don’t find much space in more traditional outlets.

JT:  Many authors are self-publishing nowadays, and find it hard to get reviews from traditional avenues such as the New York Times. Why do you think this is the case?

KU:  I couldn’t tell you why the New York Times doesn’t review self-published books. I’d guess it has to do with the amount of space they have for reviews and the amount of time they have to screen books and decide what to review.

JT:  You have adopted a similar model at your blog.  Do you think you would change this policy in the future? If so, what would warrant such a change?

KU:  I could perhaps see this policy changing, but not in the near future. I would need to see evidence that the overall quality of self-published books is improving, that more self-published authors are going through a process of working with an editor and putting out a product that I can be confident will be reasonably good. The self-published book landscape is too uneven right now, and I just don’t have the time to sort through it to find gems. Blogging is my hobby, and I’d rather spend my time reading and writing over sorting through books.

JT:  Have you reviewed any books that have become bestsellers?

KU:  I don’t think you could say that I wrote a review of a book that helped bump it to becoming a bestseller. My blog is too small for that to really be true. I have reviewed books that are bestsellers, and I know that I’ve convinced other readers to pick up a book based on my review/gushing about a particular title. I’m an evangelist for Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and know I’ve convinced people to buy and read it.

JT:  What makes a bestseller?

KU:  That’s a tough question that I don’t feel really qualified to answer. Books that many mainstream sales lists are obviously bestsellers, but I think there’s a way you could call books that saturate a smaller audience bestsellers too.

JT:  Please elaborate what exactly do you mean — you could call books that saturate smaller audiences bestsellers?

KU:  What I meant is that there are some books that just have a smaller target audience — books from university presses that target an academic group or books in a particular genre — that can saturate that audience and be considered a bestseller. Not every book is going to be The Hunger Games, a bestseller that it seems like everyone in the world knows about, but a book that targets a certain audience and gets read by a majority of people in that audience could also be a bestseller.

JT:  What are you currently reading?

KU:  I just started reading Possession by A.S. Byatt and Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

JT:  I’m sure your reviews will be insightful, and thanks for your time.

You can connect with Kim at Twitter and Tumblr


How to Write a Media Release: Quick Tips

market with media releases

Last week I wrote the post 10 Press Release Examples That Build Media Buzz, which sparked great interest particularly from a new visitor Ntathu Allen of Yoga Inspires, whose comment is responsible for this week’s blog post.

When preparing to write a press release, it’s important to keep a journalistic approach especially if you want to get the media’s attention.  Although there is much debate about traditional versus non-traditional methods, I would argue that you can’t get away from the five “Ws” who is the release targeted, what is the release about, when is this information relevant, where can it be found, why is this information important, and the “H” how the information benefit the intended target, this is classic Journalism 101.

Before I begin drafting the release, I need to know its objective.  Since I primarily write press releases for authors, this typically involves me reading their book, their biography, and other background information.

If it’s a new book, then I know that we are focusing on an announcement.  However, if it’s regarding a speaking engagement, then I must focus the release around that event.   The objective of the release allows me to determine the appropriate distribution of local, national or online reach.

The contact information is the first part of the press release.  Depending on which distribution service used, this information is include at the bottom.  If you are posting the release to your website, I recommend that you put this information at the top.


CONTACT:  Janet Doe

P.O. Box 111

City, State, Zip

Phone: (123) 456-7890

email:  name@email.com

website:  http://www.website.com

The headline and sub-headline are the second components of your press release.  It’s important that your headline grabs the journalist or reader’s attention immediately, which is why media hooks are effective.  In addition, the subheadline should make the reader want to continue reading.

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Date line and location is the third part of the press release.  You want to type the date the release was written and where the release originated.  The name of the distribution service should be included as well.  In the example below, I use PRWeb.  Remember, this will change depending on the distribution service you use.

BEDFORD, New Hampshire, (PRWEB) March 11, 2012 –

The fourth part of the release is the body.  It contains the meat of the release and focuses on the five “W’s” and the “H” of journalism.  You also want to include a powerful quote but nothing boring from the CEO of the company.   For an author using a powerful testimonial from a customer would be more interesting and not to mention provide credibility.  I only advise this if it adds value to the media release.

The final component of a release is the company or author information also known as boilerplate.  This should be a standard paragraph about the author or company.  It should be short and factual information.  Once it’s written you can reuse it for every release thereafter.

If you have something relevant and newsworthy, your company or book can benefit from the use of media releases in your marketing.

Need help crafting your next release?  Leave your contact information in the comment section below.


Photo Credit:  john a ward.


10 Press Release Examples That Build Media Buzz

the workhorse of media

A press release is the media workhorse of print media.  Not only does it have the potential to reach journalist and producers, but if distributed online it can help build links to your website, attract bloggers, ultimately serving as your search engine optimized (SEO) secret weapon.

Now that you understand how lethal this workhorse is – why aren’t you using it more in your marketing arsenal?  When consulting with potential clients regarding the use of releases in their book marketing campaigns, the number one question I here is when should a press release be sent?

Here are ten reasons an author should send out a press release, like now.

  • Announcement of a new book
  • Announcement of a book signing
  • Announcement of a good book review
  • Send a release commenting on a current event in the news, and if it relates to your topic, priceless
  • Announcement of a prediction or trend
  • Announcement of an appearance
  • Announcement of a sales goal
  • Announcement of a new book publisher
  • Send a release to announce a contest
  • Send a press release to announce the winner of a contest

Now that you have some examples, there’s no excuse not to use this workhorse media tool in your publicity campaign.

Do you need help writing and distributing your next press release? Leave a comment below or contact me at janet (at) wordstroker (dot) com.


Photo Credit:  K3nna.


7 Platform Building Strategies That Get You Noticed

platform building gets you noticed

One of the biggest challenges for authors is building a loyal following.  If you want to be successful and considered an authority on your topic, then you need to start building your platform now.  This is particularly critical if you are searching for a publisher.

I understand that tooting your own horn can put you in an uncomfortable position.  I’ve experienced it myself as I build my own business.  Recently, in a VIP coaching session, my mentor stated that her female corporate clients have a hard time seeing themselves as experts.

If you want to be taken serious as an author, then you must begin self-promoting efforts.  This process may seem overwhelming as you branch out into the unknown.  However, taking small consistent baby steps can help you transition with ease.

Here are seven platform building actions you can launch now.

1.  Speaking Engagements

Public speaking for most writers is like having an arm chopped off.  Writers are typically wordsmiths and feel more comfortable in front of their computers alone with their thoughts.  Incorporating public speaking into the mix positions you as an authority on your topic.  If you are nervous about standing in front of strangers, joining a local group like Toastmasters is a great way to overcome your fear, while honing your skills in an environment that is somewhat forgiving.

2.  Start Blogging

Creating a blog is a very easy task to incorporate.  It’s a way for you to speak directly to your audience and create other interesting topics about what matters most to them.  This will come primarily from their comments and suggestions at your posts.  You could provide a survey which could also serve as a blog post later.  In addition, you are able to repurpose your content and often create informational products.

3.  Get to Know Thy Competition

I know that you have heard this more times than you care to admit because as an entrepreneur I know I have.  I must admit studying your competition is a necessary evil that you must overcome.  Getting to know your competition allows you to see what’s working or not working and doing it better.  Creating a spreadsheet or other tracking system is ideal.  You can do this in either Excel or Word.  Another way of keeping track of the competition is to create a “Google alert.”  It doesn’t matter what method you use just make sure you do it.

4.  Webinars

If you are not quite ready to throw yourself into public speaking, webinars is a great alternative.  You could write your segments ahead of time and read it without the fear of someone staring back at you.  You could also partner with others which help deflect some of the focus off you.

5.  Guest Blogging

Guest blogging allows you to instantly connect with the guest host’s audience.  If your post is informative, entertaining and/or engaging, you can potentially attract others to your newsletter and/or site.  Guest posting is not rocket science, but I would advise that you write for sites that are complementary to yours or your topic.

6.  Get to Know the Media

You should start building relationships with the media like “yesterday.”  Getting free publicity can be easy if you have the attention of the right media folks.  Social media is the best way to connect with them.  Find out who covers your topic and start commenting on their articles, writing opinion pieces and providing them resources.  In the beginning you want to give, give and give some more.

7.  Become a Book Reviewer

As you continue your platform building efforts, your loyal fans get to know you more intimately.  For example, your audience might be interested in hearing that you enjoy mysteries though you write business books.  People want to know that you can come out of your comfort zone and embrace another type of writing style or topic.  Since you are reading these books you should post reviews about them to review sites like Amazon and Goodreads or even at your blog.  Spread some love to your fellow authors and you will benefit from great karma.

Writing a great book takes time and can’t be accomplished overnight.  The same applies for building a platform.  Although there are countless other ways to build yours, I would suggest that you start with these and gradually expand as your confidence, audience and media exposure increases.  Keep in mind that your loyal fans want to know more about you and having a platform is the vehicle used to cultivate those relationships.

Are you ready to build your platform? Do you need help getting started? Email me at janet (at) wordstroker (dot) com for a free 30 minute consultation.

Photo Credit:  mattjiggins.


4 Book Review Sites You Must Consider

early book reviews helps marketing

Publicity for your book should start at least six months before it hit the bookshelves.

This allows you to get the manuscript into the hands of some influential editors whose endorsements could position your book for success.

Most book review editors take on a limited number of projects per month, which is why it is imperative that you get your finished book or manuscript to them early.

Remember that a favorable review is not guaranteed, but to increase your odds of a good one give them something to work with– a well written book.

Here are a few prepublication sources you should consider checking out.

Midwest Book Review

Midwest is a great source because it gives priority to the underdogs – small publishers and self-published authors.  As stated by Midwest, there is a 14 to 16 week “window of opportunity” for a book to be assigned out for review, which is why I advise getting your book to them at least six months in advance.  When submitting a review to Midwest you must submit a finished book – this means no drafts or unedited works.  They also require a cover letter and media kit.

Kirkus Indie

If you are a self-published author and want an unbiased professional review then this service is your answer.  They have a standard service which guarantees a book review within 7 to 9 weeks and the cost is $425.  There is also an express service of 3 to 4 weeks for $575.  You must submit two copies of either the published book or completed manuscript.

Although this might seem like a lot, it can actually work in your favor because the review is sent directly to you for immediate use in your marketing campaign.  In addition, if you choose, your review can appear on KirkusReviews.com.

This positions you to be discovered by major influencers, agents, publishers and consumers.  There is also additional exposure if you are featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, which is read by book sellers, journalists, and entertainment executives.

Publishers Weekly

For many years, Publishers Weekly’s policy was not to review self-published books.  The realization that self-publishing was quickly gaining momentum in the publishing world, Publishers Weekly introduced PW Select, a quarterly supplement requiring self-published authors to pay for a listing and the possibility of being selected for a review.

PW Select requires that you have a finished book with an ISBN.  In addition, there is a $149 registration fee.  According the PW Select the registration fee entitles you to a listing of your book – title, author, illustrator (where applicable), pagination, price, format, ISBN, and a description of the book’s contents, which will appear in the supplement and online database.

Indie Reader

Unlike Kirkus Indie and PW Select, Indie Reader no longer offers paid book reviews.  Indie Reader’s partnership with an LA based production company and Indie Reader Selects, ensures that the shelves of indie bookstores nationwide are stocked with self-published books.

Another great component of Indie Reader is that they also write ebook reviews.  Your ebook submissions can be submitted in a format readable by Kindle, iPad, Sony, Nook and Kobo.  You could also gift your ebook via Amazon or Barnes and Nobel.

Getting your book reviewed during the prepublicaiton stage positions you for better marketing success.


Photo Credit:  im not here.


Summarize Your Book and Your Thoughts

chapter summaries build the ultimate roadmap

Even though you may still be completing the full manuscript or story that you’re going to tell in your book, your book proposal should include a summary or overview of the entire text.

This can be in the form of chapter summaries or section summaries; it just depends on the type of book you’re writing.

For example, if you’re writing a how-to manual, then it makes sense to summarize each category or section covered.

If you’re telling a story of some sort in a novel, then you know you’ll need to highlight the main story lines and sequence of events from the plot.

This is a good way to create suspense and interest about your finished product, which could make a publisher think twice about your proposal as they’re making decisions.

One sure way to get their attention is to give them enough information that they will want to know how a story ends or what your final conclusions will be. Try to strike a good balance so that you give enough details to make the person reading the summary want to know more.

You’re not obligated in any way to disclose your whole manuscript to anyone, so I definitely don’t recommend that you grant this kind of courtesy to any publisher or agent, especially if you’ve never met them.

And even if you do meet them face-to-face, it’s not a good idea to provide them with a copy of your entire literary masterpiece.

Summarizing your thoughts in writing from the beginning to the end is also a chance for you to see if the text will accomplish what you originally planned. Remember, by putting your thoughts on paper, you’re building the ultimate roadmap for your final product.

Every step of the book proposal process moves you closer to figuring out what you eventually want to say. This is why I strongly recommend that authors do a summary of this sort as a part of the whole proposal, because it forces the writer to understand what they’re trying to communicate to readers, and helps you answer your own questions along the way.

Even if you have not completed the text, you can provide preliminary outlines or summaries of each chapter or the key story lines, and if your mind changes as you progress, you still have the liberty to change any portion of the writing.

One word of advice is to build from your table of contents if you already have it and are in the process of completing the full text.

Your summaries are not set in stone, they are simply intended to guide publishers and give them a sense for the contents and contexts of your eventual book.


Photo Credit: ~Brenda-Starr~.