Marsha Friedman: Marsha is a prominent business woman, publicity expert, author, radio personality and public speaker. Her company, EMSI Public Relations is a national public relations firm that has specialized in promoting non-fiction and fiction authors for more than 20 years. Among her prominent clients are best selling author of the “Vitamin Bible”, Dr. Earl Mindell, Teamster’s President Jimmy Hoffa Jr., Sergeant's Pet Care Products, Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and the famous Motown Group, the Temptations. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis about how to harness the power of publicity.
I've long advocated writing a book as an extremely effective way to market your personal brand, and I'm happy to report that more and more professionals - doctors, lawyers, financial professionals, CEOs and others - have come to recognize the value of this.
After all, why slip a potential client a business card when you can dazzle them by handing them a copy of the book you wrote?!
But even when your book is mainly for marketing purposes and you don't harbor dreams of bestseller status, you wouldn't mind if a few people actually took the time to read it. After all, you've put a lot of time, energy and perhaps a piece of your soul into it. So you'd like for it to get at least a smidgen of attention in the world beyond your closest friends and relatives.
And that's where book reviews come in!
Wait! Before we go further, one important factor to be aware of is that the number of books published each year is tremendous. Sources can vary on exactly how tremendous, but the range is somewhere between 600,000 to 1 million!
That means you've got a ton of competition for grabbing the attention of those book reviewers and, ultimately, readers. (And in case you were wondering, the average book sells fewer than 250 copies.)
All those deflating numbers aside, a glowing book review could be the validation you've been seeking for all your hard work! Of course, some reviews glow in a friendly sort of way while others are downright radioactive, so realize you're taking a chance when you start soliciting reviews. Still, I recommend you take that chance!
That said, you can't just sit back and hope some random reviewer stumbles across your book, becomes instantly enchanted and goes to work penning a witty and insightful analysis of the literary gem you lay at the world's doorstep.
It's up to you to make
sure your book lands in the reviewers' hands.
How do you go about that? Let me share a few tips:
online. You'll want to find out who potentially might be willing to
review your book, and a Google search is a good starting place. You
should be able to find lists of the top reviewers on Amazon and on
Goodreads, and you might find other reviewers as well. Don't just
grab every name off a list, though. You'll want to make sure a
reviewer is interested in your type of book. For example, if someone
reviews only science fiction, it would be pointless to send them
your non-fiction book on how to live well in retirement.
Unfortunately, tracking down the right reviewers for your book isn't
always easy because some reviewers have contact information on their
blogs and others don't. Your persistence will be tested!
Gauge interest. Once
you've found reviewers who are a good fit, don't make the mistake of
mailing your book to them unannounced. That's a good way to rack up
a lot of expenses for both printing books and shipping costs with no
guarantee that the reviewer will even take the time to read the
table of contents. Instead, you'll want to craft a book pitch that
you can email to reviewers to find out whether they would be
interested in writing a review. Then if they are you can ship off a
Keep the pitch short
and simple. You'll want to make it easy for reviewers to grasp
exactly what the book is about so they'll know whether it's
something they'll be interested in taking a look at. Make your pitch
engaging, but there's no need to weave in a lot of puffy language
that declares your novel the most astounding literary work since
Charles Dickens walked the Earth, or that insists your philosophy
book will change the course of humankind. Just provide a brief
summary of key points readers will take away from the book and a
short "about the author" to let them know your background
and credentials. You'll also want to include such information as
number of pages, genre, price and publisher.
Follow-up. Reviewers often have a stack of books they need to get to, so yours can easily find its way to the bottom of that stack. For that reason, it's important to stay in touch with the reviewer who has requested your book, but without making yourself a nuisance. You may have to wait a little while for results. But with any luck, your patience will pay off.
When it does (and let's
assume the reviewer had mostly good things to say) don't waste the
opportunity. Share the review on social media.
Put a link to it on your blog. Forward it to clients, customers, family, friends and anyone else in your email contact list.
After all that pitching and waiting, you'll want to get all the mileage you can out of it!