Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing 101: Following Up

If you follow the blog, you already know how to comb through book blogs to get reviews. You know how to approach reviewers in order to get them to read your work. You know how to deal with review exchanges, and how to handle the inevitable criticism. But if you're not also following up, you're doing yourself a disservice. The follow up is one of the best tools you can use for getting reviews. 

Are you using it?

Remember Me? 

If you're committed to being an indie, you're probably going to self-publish more than one book (or maybe you already have). Whether you're writing a series or several stand-alone books, you can't neglect all your follow ups. So if you're asking, what's that, you already have been. It's okay, you can still catch up. 
  • Keep track of your reviews. If you're going to properly follow up on the reviews you get, you've got to keep track of your reviews. I'm a big advocate of organization, so my first suggestion is to keep a spreadsheet containing links to the review, the date of the review, the name of the reviewer and the book they reviewed. Not everyone is that anal-retentive (read: obsessive). You can just as easily keep a Notepad file of a link to the review, or even save emails from your reviewers in a separate mail folder. Do this, and it'll be incredibly easy to follow through with your follow ups.
  • Wait. Once a few weeks have passed, write to those reviewers about your next book. Maybe it's the next in the series they've started, maybe it's just your newest release, it doesn't matter. You're following up. Tell them thanks for their original review, and if they're interested you've got another book. Would they like a free copy? Book reviewers are book readers first and foremost, and when you wave a free book at them you're bound to get a response...just make sure you ask the question the right way. 
  • Asking. Naturally, you're going to want to keep track of all the reviewers who gave you good reviews. But don't balk at keeping reminders for the ones who gave you not-so-good reviews, too. A follow up gives you a second chance to win them over, and it shouldn't be missed. With a reviewer who might be more hesitant to read your next project, you've got to approach them a little differently. Reference the problems they might have had with your last book (poor editing, perhaps, or flowery language) and tell them why you think they'll like this book. 
Follow ups should always be personalized. They take a little more time to write, but they have a much bigger return value. You're much more likely to get a review from a reviewer who has given you their time in the past. Following up will continue and deepen the relationship, and it can never hurt to have a good relationship with a friendly book blogger. 

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  1. Great advice, Jade. I'm impressed at your organizational skills! Even if a book blogger doesn't choose to review your next book, following up is a great step to building a relationship.

  2. Good point, May, and thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.