Archives for April 2016

Social Media, the Big Online Party!

Social-Media

Imagine you are invited to a fantastic party. You are entering the room, you say hello to everyone, you small-talk a bit, you participate in a discussion, you listen what others say, you make some compliments or praise someone, you have fun and you show yourself from your best side – or at least that’s what it is supposed to be. However there are some people on social media who do not know or respect the unwritten party rules:
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There are these party guests who seem to be very uncomfortable:  They don’t look at you, speak and look into another direction, you see only their back and their hair, or they wear a huge hat, pulled deep into their face or equally strange, they wear big sunglasses, so that you cannot see their eyes.
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Now imagine some of the party guests are not introducing themselves, they come in, don’t look at anyone, put up their business sign and tell everyone, who stops by: “This is my book, go get it”, pointing at their sign: Nothing else… buy my book, buy my book, buy my book… and never have a conversation with others.
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Then there are these annoying braggers, who are constantly talking about their statistics, how many potential customers they have (followers/un-followers), something no one is interested in or wants to hear.
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Some of the guests are not very polite either, they only talk with one person during the whole party, even when they are surrounded with lots of other people, whom they just ignore.
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And then there are party guests who are totally involved into their parenting role, they are constantly showing total strangers pictures of their young ones and you can bet, at their social media accounts is not an image of them, but of their kids, or at least having their toddlers included in the photo (same with pets).  Others show anyone they meet (even in their avatars), pictures of their boat, car or motor home…  Folks, no one is interested in your motorhome, potential party guests (readers) want to see YOU or learn about you and not about your gadgets!
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Other party guests are literally glued to their partner, like Siamese twins, they adore each other and show the whole world how much they are in love.  They barely have a conversation with someone else, but kiss and touch each other constantly.  Not sure why they came at all, maybe for the free drinks.
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Some party guests are telling a lot about their private life: which diseases they survived, single parenthood they master etc. – not a party theme at all.  Would they tell the same if they are invited for an interview or a meeting with a potential publisher?
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Shine at the Social Media party!  Be social!  And use the same photo at Social Media sites that you use or would use on your book’s cover: a professional one.  You want to introduce yourself as a serious writer.  Don’t show kids, lovers, gadgets or beer bottles in your photos.
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You are at parties to have fun, including the big social media party, so be a good sport, be social with everyone and do represent your book business professionally. It’s a shop window for you and your books, even your business card… which you show there to total strangers, maybe agents, publishers, editors or to influential bloggers.

Which type of party guest / Social Media guests do you like best? Or who do you avoid?

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Save Yourself Time, Money and Frustration!

Writer-Beware

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Reading another warning by Writer Beware  regarding certain publishing contracts by deceptive businesses, I was reminded to blog once more about the dangers of “being published”.
These days not only the classic vanity publishing companies are taking advantage of authors who want to have their book in stores, but also (in the past) respected legacy publishing houses try to get on the bandwagon and persuade independent writers to get “published” with them.
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The expression “publisher” should be legally protected and it should be forbidden by law to call themselves publishers if a company is just trying to deceive writers!  Read more about vanity publishers and un-ethical publishing contracts in: Vanity Publishing aka Subsidy Publishers

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Lots of Predators Out There…
Authors are surprised when so-called publishers want money up front. Publishers are supposed to pay authors, aren’t they?  There is nothing wrong in this.  The trouble comes if the author, having signed a hefty check, is led to expect that his book will be treated in the same way as all the other books coming onto the market.  To pay for publication is no guarantee that a single copy will appear on the shelves of even the local bookshop.  Authors feel they have been conned, persuaded to part with money for services not rendered.

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Century-old Scams…
If you think writers and publishers today are dodgy, get a load of the crooks and scoundrels of 18th-century London Publishing scams that seem to be nothing new.  Read this Salon.com article about the worst publisher of all time. 
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Author BEWARE!
Despite the evidence, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity publishing – often with open eyes. That is why as soon as one vanity publisher goes out of business, another soon fills the gap. Here are a few tips on what to look out for. Read it in a former blog post – and BEWARE!
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CON is Part of the Word “CONtract”.
Here is an excerpt from a contract where the vanity firm extends the right to the universe – in case people make home on Mars or the moon: “The author hereby grants the publisher, during the full term of copyright, the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, print, publish and sell and to otherwise use, as set out further in this agreement, including, but not limited to, acting as agent and/or exercising any or all subsidiary rights, throughout the universe.” (a company in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada)
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Author and e-Book Builder Deena Rae Wrote in one of her Blogs:
“The world of publishing has always been filled with scammers, and top of the list are vanity publishers. To those who have been in the world of publishing a vanity press used to be a bad thing, but with Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and even Harlequin are bringing a sheen of “respectability” to vanity publishing…

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More about this topic:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/03/06/a-contract-from-alibi/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/easy-to-lose-money-a-lot/
http://emilysuess.wordpress.com/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/author-beware-its-a-long-post/
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/how-to-choose-an-ebook-publisher-or-diy/
http://accrispin.blogspot.ca/2014/02/publishamerica-is-now-america-star-books.html

 

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Well-Paying Markets to Write for

Writers-Market

2016 Writer’s Market, “Yellow Pages” for Writers
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Do you like to travel to foreign countries, or other states / provinces?  Enjoy weekend trips to new places?  Where does your novel or nonfiction books take place?  In your hometown or in a foreign city?  I bet you did a lot of research to describe those places.
Leverage this research work for your novel and all your travel experiences to write not only for travel or well-paying airline magazines, but also for newspapers or lifestyle magazines – print and online.  Travel articles are not for travel magazines only!

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Why wait months or years until royalties for your books arrive, when you can easily write articles that pay faster – and a lot more per word count?
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Travel Magazines Are Not the Only Possibility.
Seniors magazines, parenting magazines, business magazines, frugal-living magazines, health magazines, writing magazines, newspapers – from free locals to national and international, and even pet magazines, they all print travel articles and city profiles. Here are a few examples of topics that fit into a variety of magazines / newspapers:

How to save money when ordering a rental car
Traveling with Fido to USA / Canada – pet friendly hotels
How to spend your waiting hours between flights
The Gardens of Venice, Italy
Scenic road trips to …
Amazing weekend destinations in …
Dining and nightlife tips for …
Top Ten Things to Do on a Budget in …
Most interesting museums to go with kids in …
How to save money when taking a road trip
Gear and gadgets that cater to your kids travel joy
Tips for people with disabilities or medical conditions on air travel
Best wine sampling places / wineries in …
Marvellous National Parks of the North West
Historic places to visit in Southern Great Britain
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What Works Best:
The first most important step is to read many issues of the magazine or newspaper to find out if there was anything similar written before you query them.  Travel articles containing more than the 2,000 words including high-resolution images works usually best.
If you don’t have the necessary skills or equipment to offer stunning photos, contact regional or state tourist sites and ask them for photos to accompany your article.  They are almost always free to use.  It might take a couple of days or even weeks to receive their permission, so contact them early, and once your article is printed, send them a copy and a thank you note.  Another possibility is to check out free photo sites, such as Morguefile.com or any other site as described in a former blog: 7 Free Photo Sources.

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Examples of Magazines You Could Write for:
Check out former blog posts where we provided details about magazines, using the search function here on this blog and type in freelance writing or writing for magazines.  Here are more magazines where you can pitch your story – exact addresses can be found in the latest Writer’s Market 2016:

Canadian Living
Chatelaine
The Ride Journal
Southern Living
Travel Smart
Boat Magazine
Midwest Living
Travel & Leisure
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Re-Purpose Your Writing Content.
Just to give you an example how you can re-purpose research and content of your novel, that may take place in medieval Great Britain or a travelogue you wrote about a trip to Europe: You could for example write an article about horse staples in the UK for equestrian magazines, bike riding paths in Denmark to a bike magazine, about one of the fantastic gardens in Great Britain to garden magazines, how to travel on a budget to European cities for a frugal living magazine, a feature about pumpkin seed pressing in Austria for gourmet magazines, an article about a historic flax or wool mill in France for a sewing or craft magazine, a photo feature that you took in a boutique hotel for a fine interior magazine, how to dress for city trips without looking like a tourist for fashion or lifestyle magazines …

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Possibilities to write for magazines other than the traditional travel markets are virtually endless.  Travel articles often cover one or more market boundaries.  Leverage every opportunity to “cross-over” into other non-travel magazines with your travel articles.
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Best of all: writing for magazines or newspapers will allow you to add a two-sentence bio, including a link to your author website or to your book sales page, which will be then seen by a completely new audience.  A great way of book marketing and to expand your platform and portfolio!

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American and British Book Reviewers

English-Language

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A beta reader once commented: “A great book – but some typos are distracting.”  She learned English as a second language in school – British English that is – but the book was written (for a US readership in mind) and edited in American English, using the Chicago Manual of style.  Book Reviewers, authors and editors in New Zealand, South Africa, Australia or Canada for example, have the same issue.
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“England and America are two countries
separated by a common language”
~ George Bernard Shaw.

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Differences in Vocabulary, Grammar and Spelling.
Wikipedia reports: The English language is the third most common native language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish.  Despite noticeable variation among the accents and dialects of English used in different countries and regions – in terms of phonetics and phonology, and sometimes also vocabulary, grammar and spelling – English  is categorised (categorized) generally into two groups: British (BrE) and American (AmE).

English is either the official language or an official language in almost 60 sovereign states.  It is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.  Have a look at the many verbs that are differently written in this comparison at Spellzone:

… our endings change to or, such as humour (British) into humor (American)
… our endings change to er, such as theatre into theater, or centre into center
… ogue endings change to og, such as catalogue into catalog
L endings do not double in US spellings, such as travelled into traveled……. and the list goes on and on.
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How the Language Evolved:
Because North America was settled in the late 17th century, American and Canadian English had time to diverge greatly from other varieties of English during centuries when transoceanic travel was slow.  Australian, New Zealand, and South African English, on the other hand, were settled in the 19th century, shortly before ocean-going steamships became commonplace, so they show close similarities to the English of South East England.  The English spoken in Ireland and Scottish English fall between these two groups.  Among varieties of English, it is especially American English that influences other languages.
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Huge Differences in Spelling.
Many readers and writers are surprised to learn that there are huge differences in spelling between English-speaking countries. A book, written and published in the UK, needs almost to be “translated” into American English and vice versa.
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Major Grammar Differences are:
Present Perfect
Past Simple/Past Participles
Prepositions
Possession
The Verb “get”
Vocabulary
There are also some more subtle differences that might surprise visitors to Great Britain, especially those who have learnt American English.  Linguistics lecturer Dr Lynne Murphy rounds up ten of the subtler US/UK mis-communications. 

Add to this the local usage of words, e.g. trousers or pants? Juggernaut or 18-wheeler? Lift or elevator? Tube, underground or subway? Find more eye-opening differences in British / American vocabulary, for example:

autumn – fall
barrister – attorney
bill (restaurant) – check
bookshop – bookstore
biscuit – cookie
caravan – trailer
chemist’s shop – drugstore, pharmacy
chips – fries, French fries
cinema – movies
flat – apartment
coffin – casket
pavement – sidewalk
petrol – gas, gasoline
postbox – mailbox
rubbish – garbage, trash
sweets – candy
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So, before you upbraid someone. or point out spelling “errors” have a look if it is not a British, Canadian or other English speaking individual or user of keyboards from these countries.

A person, for example, writing for newspapers in several countries has to adjust the writing for every article/country.  And then there are these not native English speakers…

My solution would be to place a note into each book, which English was used in the manuscript and editing. And also to let book reviewers know about it.
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Read more about the differences between US and UK English:

http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/easy/aebe.htm

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/americanbritish.html

http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/six-difference-between-britsh-and-american-english/3063743.html

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Important Tips on How to Write Book Reviews

Book-Reviews

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Reviewing can be a daunting task.  Someone has asked for your opinion but you may not feel qualified to evaluate this book.  Who are you to criticize a book if you have never written a novel or a nonfiction book yourself, much less won a literature prize?  You might have questions, such as:

  • What should the review contain?
  • Can I really voice my opinion?
  • What are the do’s and don’ts of reviews?

Above all, a review makes an argument.  The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a content summary.  It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in not reaching its merit.
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Review Writing Techniques
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While Reading:
Take notes while reading the book, including the page number of interesting content, to make the review writing easier and to remember important points.  Record impressions.
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Opening
Try to capture the reader’s attention with an interesting opening sentence.  The introduction should state your central thesis, and set the tone of the review.  Outline the title of the book, the genre, the author and maybe if it is a newly launched book. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it?
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Content
Describe the content or theme, what goes on in the story, introduce some of the main characters and elements. From what point of view is the work written? What is the author’s style?  Is it formal or informal?  Does it suit the intended audience?  Write it a briefly, general story line, as not to spoil the reader’s experience.  This rule must always be followed: never give away the ending.
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Plot
Here you should write down how good the plot was. Was the plot fast paced or subdued’, was the plot a good length, or was it all over too quick, was easy or difficult to follow. This part of your review is really important, as the plot is what drives a story in a fiction book.
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Characters
How does the author portray his characters? How do they develop? Are the characters in the book interesting or not, did they fit with the plot? Or has the author a very distinct writing style? Use quotations to illustrate important points or peculiarities.
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Non-fiction Books
What sources did the author use – primary or secondary?  How does he make use of them?  What has the book accomplished? Is further work needed?  Compare the book to others by this author or by other writers.
Typically, reviews are brief.  In newspapers and academic journals for example, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries.  In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:

A review gives the reader a short and concise summary of the content.  This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.
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However, more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content.  This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.
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Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience might appreciate it.  It can include a final assessment or simply restate a thesis.  Reviews should be about the book.  If you think a book is a masterpiece, tell people why.  If it had potential but fell short, share your perspective.
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Introduce the book title and its author and why you wanted to read it.  Tell readers what the book is about in two or three sentences.  Name the main characters and basic plot, but don’t give away any secrets or the ending.  Share some of your favorite parts or quotes from the book.  What did you think of the main character?  Did this book remind you of any other books you’ve read?
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Before you Publish Your Book Review:
Edit, spell-check, correct grammar, refine.  Allow some time to elapse before going over your review.  Carefully read through the text, looking for clarity and coherence.
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Reviews Don’ts:
Unfortunately there are these “collectors” of free books on Amazon, who click on every book that doesn’t cost anything on a particular day, no matter if it interests them or not.  Later they might read it – and often slash it in a very unprofessional manner.

Even when it is most difficult, a review is not an emotional response to a book, and should not be used as an opportunity to criticize an author’s personality.  A book review should never be used as a “bully pulpit” for the reviewer to preach to others about his or her own beliefs.

A review is not a synopsis of the books content.  A review should tell readers what the reviewer thought of the book from multiple perspectives, not to repeat the book blurb.

Try to avoid platitudes, such as “I could not put it down”, “a page turner” or “it kept me up all night”

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Reviewers Role
It doesn’t really interest others if you liked the book or not!  Be impartial.  If you are reviewing a book by a favorite author of yours, approach it skeptically.  If you disagree with an author’s philosophy or politics, keep an open mind.  

***Your task is not to champion or chastise the author – it is to evaluate the merits of the work – and if the author accomplished it.***

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Tips from the The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC:  A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples.  The New York Times Sunday Book Review  and The New York Review of Books  can show you how professional writers review books.  Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, yet, careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned opinions.
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Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertion.

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Why Readers (You) Should Write Reviews

Author-Reviews

Bestseller authors have the support of multinational publishing houses with billions in revenue behind them – and who have connections, and often pay for reviews. Writing reviews for independent authors means: helping individuals who have gone it all alone and need all the support they can get.

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In this article well-known Authors who are also book reviewers encourage readers and fellow writers to evaluate the books they are reading.  There are many reasons, here are just some of them:
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Bestselling Author Bil Howard 
The more important reasons for a writer to become a book reviewer has nothing to do with money making, but have an intrinsic value to them that are a long-term investment. Here are just a few of the many benefits for authors to become a book reviewer:

Feeding Your Passions.
As writers, we tend to develop our skills in only one or two genres. Essentially we have and must limit ourselves to our specific genres in order to compete well in the market. However, it is very likely that you love reading books of other genres and often not only desire, but need to remain linked to those books that fed your passion to become a writer in the first place.
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Helps avoid writer’s block.
Every writer has a different method for avoiding, preventing or overcoming writer’s block. The methods suggested are as numerous as there are authors, but two that often show up in nearly every author’s suggestions are inspiration and action. Inspiration can easily come from a well turned phrase or image that is gained from reading another book. The second, the action of writing out a review, often times, will get a writer’s mind flowing in the right direction and get them back on track.
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Making Friends With Other Authors.
I have reviewed several hundred books and have therefore exposed myself to the opportunity of friendship with several hundred other authors. That does not mean that they have all become my friends, but there are a few with whom there is a special connection. Something within their writing or within my review sparks a special relationship.
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Building Up Your Knowledge.
If you are wise, you will review books from which you might also learn new skills. In today’s world writers have also become business owners. By reviewing books that teach you the skills necessary to understand your role as a business owner, publisher, marketer and website manager, you can expand your knowledge and become a better informed business person. You might also review a book that happens to be a part of the research for your next novel; something that you were going to do anyway.
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Improve Your Writing Skills.
Sometimes our dialogue can seem forced and dull or a particular, non-cliché words or phrases elude us. Often times, when I am reading, I come across a well turned phrase or a particular way of describing something that captures my attention.  Just like I learned from the masters when I began reading the classics and studying their style, I often pick up contemporary tips and tricks from the books that I review and add them to my toolbox.
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Increase your library of ideas and characters.
Besides running across well turned phrases which become a part of my tools, I sometimes create an image in my mind that develops into a new book. In the past year alone, I have added at least a dozen novel ideas or character sketches that lend themselves to, at some point in the future, become novels or be incorporated into other novels. The author does not even have to be writing in your genre to foster an idea in your mind that can grow into something bigger.
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Bil Howard an indie publisher and novelist, a native of the small ranching community, Powderhorn, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he was raised on a cattle ranch. In 2013 he exchanged the Rockies for the Andes and took up residence in San Antonio de Prado, Colombia. He has a BA from West Texas A&M University.
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Author Marcia Meara
Leave a Review – It’s How You Thank an Author.  In fact, it’s the best way in the world to thank an author for his or her hard work. Not only does it make authors feel good, but it most definitely has an impact on the book’s ranking on Amazon, and where a plethora of good reviews can make a substantial difference in a book’s ranking and a writer’s pay check.

I’ve heard lots of opinions on exactly how much of a difference it might translate to, and I don’t claim to be an expert on Amazon’s system, but I can tell you from my own personal experience as a reader, I pay attention to reviews when I’m buying books there. I honestly believe that’s true of most readers. Here’s a query for you: When 90 out of 100 reviews rate one book at 4 or 5 stars, and 90 out of 100 reviews rate another book at 2 or 3 stars, which one are you more likely to spend your money on? Assuming that Book #2 is not a relative or personal friend? Yeah, I thought so. Me, too.

So, my word about reviews is that we should ALL remember to leave them, especially if we really enjoy a book. But I just realized that I have another word or two to say about reviews, as well. Specifically about negative reviews. I quit leaving those, period. Why? Several reasons.

No need for me to do so. Apparently many people would much rather leave negative reviews about books than positive ones. For sure, there are plenty of folks willing to do so, ad nauseum, and some actually seem to enjoy it. 

If I think a book is really bad, I don’t finish it. My reading hours are very precious to me, so I prefer to spend them reading books I’m enjoying, and I’m certainly not going to review a book I didn’t even finish.

I can read a book that’s flawed, and still enjoy it overall, if I care about the characters enough. That means, I might not be able to give the book 5 stars, but I can probably find enough positives to rate it at 4, or at the very worst 3/3.5 or so. I can GENTLY point out that there were some problems, but that because of certain other factors, it was easy to overlook them, and I enjoyed the story anyway. And I can emphasize the positive aspects. This approach makes ME feel a lot better, too.

One last thing I want to say about Reviews: LEAVE THEM, please! Oh. Did I say that already? 😉  Well, it bears repeating, because those reviews can make or break a book. Or an author’s heart. Read the whole article why you should leave reviews here.
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Book Reviewer Rosie Amber
In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

The best type of author wanting a review is one that has found my blog, spent a good time checking out the type of books we read, the style of reviews we write and actually getting involved with some of the posts via comments and sharing on social media. I hang out on Twitter a great deal.

Then when they have got a good feel for us I’m happy for them to make contact via the contact forms. There is a good set of instructions about the RIGHT way to go about it.”
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Book Blogger Bridget Whelan
Reviewers have probably never been so important. They have always been the lifeblood of an author’s career, but they are no longer the sole preserve of the ‘professional’, the paid contributor to a newspapers literary pages. A new kind of democracy has grown up with the internet where the amateur (aka the reader) can play an important role whether on Amazon’s pages or on their own blog.

I read reviews if I’m going to buy a new vacuum cleaner or a new book from an author I haven’t read before. I read the best reviews and the worst and very often they help me to make up my mind. But sometimes it will say more about the person who wrote it than it does about the product under focus. I don’t like gush. It’s easy to say a book is awesomely wonderful, and much harder to give a reason why it deserves such positive comments.
Words can also wound and sometimes it seems that the reviewer forgets that there is a real person behind the novel or work of art. 

I also read reviews of my own work. Of course, I do. Every. single. word. I don’t really believe writers or artists or musicians who say they don’t – well, I don’t suppose Mick Jagger bothers much anymore, but most people who create something want to know how others respond to it. It may hurt, but the only review worth having is an honest one.

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DIY Selling of Your Foreign Book Rights

Foreign-Rights
There’s so much more to publishing than just printing a book and putting it into shops – brick-and-mortar or online.  For small publishers and Indies the thought of selling their book rights internationally might be a scary one, especially if they are not familiar with the foreign publishers or haven’t attended any of the large book fairs in Europe (Frankfurt Book Fair, Leipziger Messe, London or Bologna Book Fair) or the ones even further abroad in Dubai or in Asia.
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Some Facts concerning Foreign Rights:

  • Publishers are going global to find growth.
  • Marketing plays an important role in foreign rights sales.
  • Foreign rights revenue is both, a global opportunity and a sales challenge.
  • In Germany for example, translation rights are around 40% (mostly from English)
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So, how can you, as an author or small publisher earn more money from licensing your works in different formats and countries?  Imagine you can set up all the information about your book, including prices for different formats and contract clauses on digital platforms…
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Global Rights Network Platforms:
Selling the rights to your books can be a lucrative business, putting local versions of your works in the hands of readers all around the world.  The predominance of book fairs and back-and-forth negotiations between rights agents and editors left a gap for literary rights-holders.
Now there are online marketplaces for the 365 day 24/7 trading of book and journal rights available.  Publishers of all sizes, including self-publishers can make their book’s rights available for sale from several online profiles, allowing buyers to purchase rights based on their terms, growing income, and in many cases, creating new income streams!

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What are these new Digital Platforms Doing:
Automated rights selling systems, allow you to make titles available for rights transactions – worldwide – with little up-front work!

  • Set up your prices for rights by language, territory, format (paperback, hardcover, ebook or audio) and length of the deal.
  • Swap out the standard contract for your own – if you choose.
  • Reactivate your dormant backlist titles for rights sales and create a whole new income stream without interrupting your current rights-selling attempts through sub-agents and at book fairs!

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Detail Your Book’s Rights.
Decide to use the digital platform’s contract or your own. You even receive helpful hints from the digital platforms if you’re using your own contract. At PubMatch for example you create multipliers for different formats and contract lengths. The multipliers will tell the system to increase the amount you’ll receive for a specific format or length.  For example, if you value hardcover twice as much as paperback, put “1” for paperback and “2” for hardcover.  To negotiate each deal as it comes, put the letter “M” instead of a number.  Putting the letter M means you’ll be contacted with the potential buyer’s information.  After researching the potential buyer, you will be able to assign a price and complete the contract.

Choose the language, exclusivity, territory, formats available (choose one or all), contract lengths available (choose one option or many), and other contract terms like print run and royalty percentage. Detail individual rights available for individual titles or groups of titles that have all the same rights available.
The base price you assign will be your minimum price (or your multiplier of 1) and will go up based on your multipliers and what formats you’ve made available

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How Much Does it Cost?
Once set up, your rights will be available for sale within 48 hours and you can start selling immediately after they’re live!  Several membership levels offer a variety of service options and features, some are starting as low as $30 for a year.  See a video with short explanations about one of foreign rights platforms.
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These are the Main Players:
It’s an online global publishing network where you can find authors, book publishers, agents and book rights professionals from across the globe.

IPR License
A Marketplace for publishers to trade rights globally.  The platform offers the opportunity to monetise or find the best new content in a global marketplace.  It also acts as a copyright hub making it easier to locate copyright holders to clear permission for use of their work.
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What Rights Could a Publisher Buy?
IPR lists the most common rights usually bought by foreign publishers:

  • Print Rights
    Right to publish in print format.
  • Digital Rights
    Right to publish in digital format.
  • First Serialisation
    Rights common to high profile non-fiction. They are usually sold to newspapers/magazines prior to publication.
  • Second Serialisation
    These rights are similar to First Serial – except that they happen later.
  • TV, Film & Dramatisation
    Rights cover companies who want to dramatise your work for television, film or radio play.
  • Digest
    Right to cover publication of condensed or abridged versions of your book.
  • Radio & TV Straight Reading
    A straight reading for Radio and TV is different from a TV or film dramatisation and can be sold separately.
  • Book Club
    Right for Book Clubs to recieve high discounts from publishers in exchange for committing to a certain number of copies.
  • Audio
    Right to record the full, verbatim text of your book for sale on tape, CD or digital download.  Abridged rights can also be sold.
  • Large Print
    Right to print in large print format for those unable to access regular print.

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In case you want rather work with a foreign rights agency, there is the New York-based Trident Media Group, which has the largest dedicated foreign rights department in the literary agency business and a record unmatched by any other literary marketplace – according to their statements.  They accept submissions from authors, agents and publishers who would like to take part in Trident’s foreign rights or audio offerings. Other foreign rights agencies would be: KnightAgency or NelsonAgency.  Choose your foreign rights agent carefully!
Most agents charge 20% (or sometimes even 25%) on foreign sales. This 20% rate is justified because normally two agents are involved (the second one being in the foreign country), and they end up splitting the commission.
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It is always good to speak several languages, which makes it easier to find publishers in other countries.

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Not convinced?  There is always AmazonCrossing
Touted as the new leader in translation publication.  Crossing is one of Amazon Publishing’s 14 trade imprints – not a part of the self-publishing platform.  Their goal is to find work in languages that are traditionally under-represented in translation.  A recent release, Winter Men, is a critically praised novel by the Danish author Jesper Bugge Kold, just released by AmazonCrossing in both German and in English.
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The AmazonCrossing submissions portal is still wide open for proposals. However, AmazonCrossing is the one who makes the money in the end – contrary to the opportunities authors have now with digital selling placing of their rights.

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More on foreign rights here:

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/foreign-book-rights-multiple-sales-of-your-manuscript/  and here:

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-indie-authors-sell-foreign-rights/

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How to Get Reviews for Your Apple iBooks

Apple-iPhone

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Amazon is not the only digital book retailer where reviews are important.  If you are selling your ibooks on Apple, request reviews on this platform as well.  If you fail to get as many reviews on your iBooks products, you may be missing out on an opportunity to sell more copies there.
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How to Post an iBook Review:
Using an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, you can rate and review in the iTunes Store or App Store.  Apple explains on their website:
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Review or rate via iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch:

  • Open the iTunes Store or App Store app.
  • If you’re not signed in, sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Find the item that you want to review, then tap Reviews.
  • Under iTunes Customer Reviews or App Store Customer Reviews, tap Write a Review.
  • If prompted, enter your password.
  • Select a star rating, enter a title, write your review, then tap “Send”.
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Review via iTunes:

  • Open iTunes
  • If you’re not signed in, sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Click iTunes Store.
  • Find the item that you want to review, then click Ratings and Reviews.
  • Under Customer Reviews, click Write a Review.
  • Enter a title, select a star rating, write your review, then click Submit.

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Get Apple’s iBooks Review Codes.
Authors selling directly through iBooks gain 250 promo review codes for each book once they have made a request. According to Apple, these codes can be distributed for reviews, media, and testing.  Once you’ve obtained the codes, you must provide them as quickly as possible because they expire within one month’s time.  By following Apple’s rules for review codes, your books will show up with higher ratings and they will have a much better chance of closing the sale.
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More Than 100 Million Potential Readers.
How many readers in North America alone carrying an iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad with them every day?  Well, I can only tell you the numbers from a year ago, according to CNET.com: An estimated total of 94 million iPhones were in use in the US at the end of March, 2015.  And in 2016 it might be well over 100 million in the USA alone.  Add Canada and the rest of the world… and add the owners of the iPod Touch, or an iPad.  Book lovers on all these gadgets can download the iBooks app and read and review books.  If you are not yet a supplier to iBooks, get detailed info in an article by MacWorld.
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iBook App
The iBooks app has the benefit of having been designed by Apple itself.  So it’s no surprise that iBooks sports a slick interface and features a built-in bookstore (free of Apple’s third-party app restrictions).  Fortunately, iBooks has other strengths, most notably including a scrolling view as an alternative to pagination, an automatic night mode that gets toggled depending on the ambient lighting, and the ability to actually copy excerpts from books for sharing or note-taking.
But unlike Kindle, iBooks has no built-in Web browser for opening links embedded in books and instead goes to Safari for that purpose.
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The team from Author Marketing Institute explains in five detailed steps how to obtain your 250 iBooks review codes:

  • Visit iTunes Connect through your Apple account.  You must have “legal level” access to obtain the codes, so it’s best to do this yourself as opposed to letting someone on your team find the codes for you.
  • Click the “My Books” tab and select the book you would like to get codes for.  Click “Promo Codes” and enter the number of codes you would like to download.  You can download up to 250 promotional codes at a time.
  • Click “Download” and make sure to read the Terms of Service agreement for the codes before you approve it.
  • After you go through the above steps, you will receive an email that contains a plain text document with the number of codes you requested.  The email will also include code redemption instructions that you can provide to each person that you send the codes.
  • You must include certain wording when you submit the codes to your readers, so make sure to read all the documents that come with your codes.
  • Send the individual codes to each of your readers and request a review by a few days before the code expiration date.  This will allow for any late reviewers to post it before the codes expire.

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Getting Reviewers on Board.
When self-publishing authors talk about book reviews, they almost solely mean Amazon.  Your true reader fans won’t mind taking a few extra seconds to post a modified version of their Amazon review on iBooks.  It’s just a matter of asking them.  You may feel as though you are inconveniencing your readers by asking them to do extra work for you, but it’s a necessary evil.

The readers who love your work want you to succeed. Getting more reviews on iBooks will do that.  It is a win-win situation, so it’s definitely in your best interest to go through the above process and get reviews on all your Apple books.

This is a short excerpt from our upcoming book: 111 Tips to Get FREE Book Reviews: Best Strategies for Getting a Boatload of Great Reviews
Pre-orders available soon – or become a beta reader to get it for free
Contact us here: http://SavvyBookWriters.com/blog/contact-us/

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Part 2: How to Get Media Book Reviews

Book-Reviews

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You might have read Part 1: Amazon vs Media Reviewers. Here are more tips and a couple of links to Media Review sites. Our next book “111 Tips on How to Get Book Reviews” (launch in late spring) will contain over 600 direct links to book reviewers.
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Steps Before Sending Your Review Submission.
Your first step is to read book reviews of the publication you want to pitch with your reviewer request.  What type of books do they usually review?  If possible read some of the titles and compare your own insights with those of the reviewers.  What does he or she especially look for in a book of the same genre you are writing?  And most important:  What is the name and title of the reviewer?

Prepare an Excel spreadsheet or any kind of list, where you type in the title, name, address, phone/email of the recipient, the date of submission, and their guidelines.  Write a personalized email to the potential reviewer.  No one likes to get a form letter, or spam.  Use a salutation, and their name.  Never, ever sent it: “to the editor” or “to whom it may concern…”, always address it to the reviewer’s name.  An exception is for example Kirkus Reviews, where each book is assigned to a different reviewer, who could be a freelancer.
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Book review editors are not the only ones who might accept your books for review, try columnists as well, especially if you write non-fiction.  If your book is about an adventurous bike tour in Jamaica, you can send your review submission to both, the travel section editor of a major newspaper or to the sport editor of this publication.

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Always Check Carefully Submission Rules!
Most media review sites want hard copies – Advance Review Copies (ARC’s) of the book at least 4 – 6 months prior to publication.  Other reviewers, especially top book bloggers take review books also after their release and more and more accept e-books.  Even if you have planned to publish an e-book, purchase 30-50 copies printed at a digital printer, at CreateSpace or use any of these Espresso-Publishing machines that you can find in major cities, but who will also deliver via mail or UPS to your place.  Having print copies is not only important for reviewers, but also handy for your book launch or book signings and to sell them to people who prefer print instead of e-books.
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You may start sending out your review submission to your local newspapers and even weekly papers and test the waters first before you head out to the nationals.  A review is serving your purpose as well as a feature article, mentioning your book.  There are a tons of books and lots of writers seeking reviews, however, there is only so much space / time in a reviewer’s calendar.  You may email a reviewer first to see if they have an interest in your book.   To capture interest and establish credibility an effective email pitch should answer these questions:

  • Why is this worth reading at this moment?
  • What’s the news hook? Why should people care?
  • Why am I the best one to write this piece?

Don’t give reviewers a reason to disqualify your book right away:

  • Mail or email your submission to their name.
  • If they want a press release, make sure you send one.
  • Don’t send galleys, if they want finished books.
  • Verify that they review your genre of book before you submit.
  • Follow their publication-date deadlines.

Make sure that you include all your contact info: name, mailing address, website address, phone number, and email address. Use http://about.me to create an appealing info site about yourself and include it in your contact info. Important: Don’t forget all the book information: price, ISBN number, number of pages, and genre.  Carefully pack your book in cushioned envelopes or boxes.  You want them to look professional and brand new when they arrive at the editor’s office.  Add a media kit, including your biography, high-resolution and professional (600 dpi) images, a book trailer link, a blurb and the synopsis of the book and contact information for you.

When Should You Send out Your Review Submission?January & February for spring and July & August for fall, because there will be less competition from major publishers. Don’t send it out to arrive at the office on a Monday, the busiest day.  Best arrival day for your submission is on a Thursday or Friday.

Follow Up:
Thank the editor for responding, even if they said “no.” A “No” can be the beginning of a conversation that can eventually lead to “yes.”  If you don’t hear back for two or three weeks, send a friendly follow-up email to the editor asking if your book is considered for review, mentioning your launch date.

It is not easy to get your book reviewed in these journals: however, it is possible. Librarians read reviews — at least those in Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.  Both are paid review sites, so are a couple other professional book reviewers, which are often used by Trade Publishers, and are open to independent authors as well (for a fee).

Here a couple of useful links to (mostly) reputable reviewers, many more in our upcoming book:

Los Angeles Reviews
Armchair Reviews
MacLeans Canada
ForeWord Reviews
Midwest Book Review
NY Times Reviews
Indie Reader
USA TODAY
South China Morning Post Intl
Dallas News
The National UAE
The Huffington Post
San Francisco Book Review
Library Journal

 

Paid Reviews:
Kirkus
Publishers Weekly

Most important: send a thank-you note / email to anyone who reviews your book.  They took a long time reading and reviewing your work – so you take five minutes and write them a thank-you!  If they reviewed your book, thank them not for showcasing you – but for giving space to the ideas and issues in your work.

If you want to become a beta reader / critic of our upcoming book (digital advanced reader copy – before the final edit) drop us a line via the contact-us form on top of this page. Thanks.

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Amazon vs Media Reviews

Media-Reviews

Part 1 of: How to Get Media Reviews

A newspaper article about the Harvard Business School paper’s conclusion regarding book reviewers reported in the Guardian:

“The Harvard report compared “professional” reviewers (e.g. those working for newspapers and magazines) with their new competition: the folk who leave reviews on Amazon. Though they limited themselves to Amazon reviewers, they could have cast their net much wider; these days the ivory towers of book reviewing are under attack by an army of humans, dispensing their reviews and their ratings across Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the whole glittering panoply of the social web.
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The conclusion of the Harvard academics was broadly this: that professionals are slightly more likely to review and approve of books written by writers who worked for the same titles as they, or books that had won prizes.  On the other hand, Amazon reviewers were rather more eclectic, and also in particular seemed to be more supportive of debut authors.
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It concluded: As the paper’s authors say, what is actually going on here is a secondhand audience bias: writers who write for the Guardian are more likely to write books that people who read the Guardian will like.  Similarly, a book that has won a prize has a badge of assumed quality; someone else has already done the filtering.  But this bias also sparks the immemorial cry of the debut author who doesn’t know anyone on the books desk: how on earth am I to get noticed?”
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Write for Magazines and Newspapers!
You might have noticed that I am a big preacher of writing  articles for magazines and newspapers.  One of the benefits – besides often being well-paid – is to “meet” your colleagues, or at least to be known by name and your writing, which is what the Harvard academics also found in their study.  Why Asking for (media) Book Reviews – when you could get both: book promotion and at the same time (often) being paid?  I know, it is a new concept to many writers, but when you think about it – it makes really sense: why use your time and effort to chase reviewers, when you can use your energy to leverage your books content and your research content – to create articles that you can pitch to both, print and online newspapers and magazines – and become known to the book reviewers?
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Why Books Don’t Get Reviewed by the NY Times.
In a Washington Post interview article some insights into the decisions of book review editors were revealed:

“We have such small space. . . . Every time we skip a book, we have to write up a reason. A couple of sentences saying that ‘you know what, [this is] an incredibly worthy book but I just assigned something very similar,’ or ‘this is rehashing arguments that we’ve seen,’ or some sort of justification.

“There are some authors who are pretty automatically review, because even if we don’t necessarily think, for example, the latest thriller by X Big Name is necessarily his best, we know that our readers are going to want to know that. So, it’s worthy of review not necessarily because of the quality — and I’m not speaking of David McCullough here, I think everything he writes pretty terrific — but we know that it’s going to be of interest. So we’ll assign a review and the review might not be positive, but it’s worthy of attention.
“There’s are a lot of factors that go into figuring out what books are going to be in an issue. The most obvious is pub date — the date of publication, because we’re a newspaper so it should be a relatively new book. But then we think about the mix in terms of fiction vs. nonfiction, all the genres within both of those categories. Within fiction you want to have, let’s say, science fiction, you might want to have a British novel, something in translation, include poetry. And then on nonfiction you want to have a mix of biography, foreign policy, science, hard science, mathematics. We’re kind of balancing in so many different ways.

On self-published books: We get them, and we don’t review them. We review about 1 percent of the books that come out in print from publishers every year. So 99 percent of those (published) books are being discarded. At some point you kind of have to say “okay, we’re just going to look at these books.”
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Well, they did!  According to several news articles, like this one by Forbes for example, proclaiming: “The New York Times, one of the most important source of book reviews, published a long and enthusiastic review of a self-published book, written by Alan Sepinwall, a famous TV critic.”  
Watch the full interview with these NYT book reviewers here.  http://www.c-span.org/video/?326362-1/tour-new-york-times-book-review

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Tips from a Publizist:
If you want mainstream reviews, make “the package” (industry speak for “the book”) as professional looking as possible. One rule of thumb is to use cream colored “stock” (industry speak for “paper”) because bright white stock signals short-run digital printing, in other words: self-published.

Make sure you begin your publicity and review outreach at least four months before your chosen on sale date.  Pamela Paul, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, says that one way she chooses titles for review is by reading the starred reviews in the trades like PW, Kirkus, and Library Journal. Those trades will only consider books for review if they are received some four months in advance of the on sale date.

Manage to hide that your book is a self-pub by creating your own imprint with its own logo and a publisher name that’s not yours. List a couple of your friend’s books on your website, or books that you have written under a pen name.  Some outlets, like PW and Kirkus will try to force self-published authors into their paid review service, so be smart and let an “employee” of your book’s “publisher” make the contact. But never use a vanity company to set up your book!

Do lots of early reader giveaways.  You can run them for free on Goodreads and LibraryThing and lots of bloggers are open to covering your book in exchange for a few free copies to run contests for their readers. Start this at least 4 months prior to your book’s launch.

Read lots of more detailed tips in Part 2 of this series.

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