Thursday, April 4, 2013

Writing 101: Strings Attached

What are you willing to do to get exposure for your book? There are people out there who hope you'll do just about anything. Give them a chance, and they'll use you for their own ends.

But maybe that's only fair...because aren't you using them?

Quid Pro Quo

I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine. This is a well-known expression, so common in fact it's hardly even considered. But let's consider it, shall we?

By definition, a favor is given freely without promise of recompense. Yet many indie authors are asked to give something in return for receiving book reviews. This takes many forms -- some more overt than others.

Tying to get book reviews? Be careful. Sometimes there are strings attached.

  • Exchange
The review exchange is a common thing between indies. Review my book and I'll review yours. Some authors openly solicit this arrangement, while others use book blogs.

It's no secret that I dislike exchange agreements. There is a certain obligation to give a good review, and fear of repercussion if you do not. But mostly I hate them because they trap you. You may unknowingly agree to read a book that's offensive or poorly written. You can't back out...not if you want a review.

  • Pay Up
You are always expected to provide your books for free to get reviews. But sometimes the reviewer asks for more. Namely, money.

It's happened to me and it'll happen to you, too. You may be asked to pay for reviews. I caution you not to do this. The review may not be fairly written, and even if it is it will always be suspect to readers. Plus, you don't need to spend your money on reviews. Save it for promotion. 

  • Promote
There's always a sort of unwritten rule that when a blogger writes you a review, you promote it on all your sites. That means social media, too. It isn't usually part of the agreement, bit it is a standard courtesy. It's also just good marketing...when the review is good,anyway. 

There are always strings attached, though sometimes they're a bit more visible. Use them to create strong ties to the bloggers you like and admire, and develop a relationship. You'll need them again and again.

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