I connected with paranormal/steampunk writer, Ichabod Temperance, earlier this year during a cross-blog critique event where he bravely submitted his excellent work for constructive criticism. Ichabod has written five novels: ‘A Matter of Temperance‘, ‘A World of Temperance‘, ‘For the Love of Temperance‘, ‘A Study in Temperance‘ and ‘In a Latitude of Temperance‘, all available on Amazon.
In this guest post, the man himself, will give us insight into his steep review-seeking learning curve. And steep it was!
In Review with Temperance
Hello my friends! My name is Ichabod Temperance. I am very new to writing and self-publishing, but would like to share a few thoughts on the battle to gain reviews.
Our story begins with a boy writing a book. The silly chap thinks that writing the book is all that he has to do and believes that publication, sales, fame and fortune will just trot themselves into formation to carry him into the sunset. Much to the elderly youngling’s surprise, no-one wants to read his goofy book. He writes another. No sales! The fledgling writer realises that huge amounts of shameless self-promotion are called for. The electronic dunce is introduced to social media. The dangerous knowledge of how to paste a link is passed into his hands. With complete innocence, a spammer is born. Suspension from facebook and twitter quickly follow his novice zeal. Undaunted, the delusional writer then begins a review request campaign.
This is carried out in a sloppy manner, with numerous embarrassing mistakes:
Subject line: Review Request. That is all that is required. No need to get cutesy here.
A nice Greeting: It is hard to not be clumsy here! Don’t be generic, as in: “Hi Blogger. I hope you are having a nice day.” This person is being asked to devote time and attention where their time might be better spent reading someone else’s book. Then they are asked to write a book report on it! Geez! The least our prospective author can do is spend a moment on the blogger/reviewer, reading their bio, a review or two, and just generally getting a feel for their blog.
The kid’s greetings slowly improved. He might now open his letter with: “Hello Maria. I am thrilled to be in contact with someone in Greece! This is a first for me and is very exciting! You and your family appear to live in an idyllic world. BTW- Is that a shark in the water on your blog photo?”
Too wordy with his Genre description:
*Steampunk, Paranormal, Happily Ever After, Action/Romance, told in a Humorous fashion.
+I think this is slightly better for him:
These are humorously told adventures with a touch of innocent romance.
Asking for reviews before the book is ready!
Our hypothetical writer sends out a gazillion requests. A few requests were answered and out go the books. He gets some bad reviews. They were not mean, but a couple said that the books needed a lot more work. I suspect that many early reviewers that he did not hear back from ‘Did Not Finish’ the books, and just never bothered to contact this author. One reviewer published a ‘DNF’ review on the second book, but it was accompanied by constructive criticism, not mean-hearted snarkiness. Again, the opinion was that the author was on the right track, but needed to go back and work on the book some more. Review requests are suspended until these first two books are cleaned up. Without an editor or Beta readers, other than his significant other, it behoves our friend to exercise more caution with what he presents to be judged.
Read and follow the Review Requests Policies!
If a reviewer does not accept independent writers, you must respect that position. It took a moment for our favourite dingbat to catch on to the fact that many people despise indies.
Writing and promotional advice is then eagerly sought by the desperate fellow.
One day, he comes upon an article, ‘Five Ways New Writers Can Chase Away Potential Readers‘. Here is some good advice! Much of the information is very easy to implement, as it is simply an application of common sense. This wonderful woman generously shares a clever tip with our thick headed pal: Take advantage of Twitter. She tells of how an author showed her a kindness by sending out a tweet to put her over, that is, make her books appealing. Our storybook hero began doing this. People appreciate and enjoy his saying something nice about them or their work and his recognition has spread because of it. Reviewers are now approached through twitter to develop a relationship before then asking permission to submit the books for review. This has helped our protagonist to gain reviews and consideration from bloggers that normally may not consider his genre. He, that is, I, am now enjoying the spotlight of a noted romance book blog, that may not have noticed me if I had not made a good impression through twitter first. (The book blog mentioned is Tome Tender, and here’s Icky’s author spotlight.)
Thank you, Maria!
Cheers, my friends! *klink*
Aww! I’m a sucker for stories with a happy ending, and this one certainly has one to show! Thank you, Icky, for your insight and also for the kind mention. The thought that a post I published help you get onto the right track, baffles me! I’m not even published (a fact that will change on November 21! 🙂 ).
And if you have review-seeking stories to share, please do in the comments’ section. Thanks for reading!