Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Does The Author/Reviewer Matchmaking Process Work?

These discussion posts have been getting yet more buzz! Who knew a few questions could please this many people? :)

Lenore asks:

One thing I'd like to know is how authors go about finding bloggers to review their books and deciding which ones to contact and how bloggers go about finding upcoming books that they'd like to request review copies of and what means they use to get in touch with someone who can put that book in their hands.

Here's this in question format, so you may have an easier time answering:

Authors
-How do you go about finding bloggers to review your books?
-How do you decide which you want to send your book to?
Added questions:
-What qualities do you like the blogs you send your book to, to have?
-Are you selective in who you choose to send your book to, or do you send to as many bloggers as possible? (If the latter, please specify your selection criteria, as solicited in the above question. ;D)

Reviewers
-How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?
-What means do you use to get that book in your hands?
Added question:
-Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

25 comments:

Steph said...

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

I browse a lot of blogs, author sites, and Amazon, so I pretty much stay on top of what's coming out and when. If something interests me, I add it to a list and then when I have time to think (as in, not up to my ears in homework and the likes), I decide whether I want to ask the author/publicist for a copy.


What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

Usually I just ask a house publicist. If I don't have a contact with a certain publisher, I then proceed to buying the book - if it's not too expensive. If it is and I *really* want it, then I ask the author if they'd mind sending me a copy or putting me through to their publicity person.

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

Oh no. I used to, but not anymore. Each book I accept is a new commitment I'm making - reading it will take hours, as will writing a review. (I'm notoriously slow at writing my reviews. Ask anyone who has to put up with me while I IM them random portions of the review and ask if it's too much, too confusing, too wordy, too (whatever).

If it interests me, I accept it. Can be from any publisher, large, small or self-owned, so long as the concept's intriguing, I take it onboard.

- Steph

Book Chic said...

-How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

When I first started the blog, I kept a book calendar and what I did was look at an author's myspace to see what books they had coming out, or I would check on Amazon for the specific author and find any upcoming books Amazon had put up for them and then add it to the list.

However, I've become VERY lazy since then and so while my book calendar is still pretty full, I haven't added much to it lately. By now though, I'm so immersed in the YA lit world that it doesn't really matter that much whether or not I keep up to date with my book calendar document.

Plus, I'm fans of tons of authors already so I just sorta know when their next book is coming out and such. When I become a fan of your work, I pretty much then become interested in all of your future work, lol.

-What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

Through asking authors or publicists that I know. Usually, I go to the author first rather than the publicists.

Or if it's been just released, I might either buy it or check it out of the library.


Added question:
-Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

I accept probably 95% of the books offered to me. The 5% is the occasional book that's been self-published. I pretty much only go for established publishing houses rather than self-publishing or PublishAmerica.

But usually, the ones offered to me, which are few and far between so I mainly do the asking, are from established publishers so I accept it. Most books intrigue me, so I'm always willing to take one on if an author wants me to. But I have been known to say no, usually just because I have a huge backlog and not necessarily because I didn't want it.

ambeen said...

-How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

I don't really search a lot. If I've read an author before and liked their book, I usually keep them on my radar. Otherwise I take suggestions from other blogger's reviews and friends.

Occasionally I browse Barnes and Noble's YA section and used bookstores Children/YA sections.

-What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

If it's a book I really want and am excited about I'll contact the author or publicist (if I have a publicist contact). Otherwise, I buy the books myself or put them on my wish list for future purchase (this is usually the case with hardcovers that I can't afford so I'll wait for paperback if the author or publicist can't send it).

Added question:
-Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

Not anymore. I did at first and was overwhelmed because of it. I've recently posted review copy guidelines on my blog but still will consider every book whether or not it meets my guidelines. I am very selective though. I usually stick to the guidelines (so far anyway).

JM said...

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

I work for Pump Up Your Book Promotions so I pretty much have a good pick of books every month. I've never actually gone out to find books to review. Otherwise, I've had people contact me through my review site.

What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

I just ask, really, and make sure to point out that it would be overseas (I'm in Australia) shipping for most books.

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

I try to if someone asks nicely, but I can usually cut down the numbers by specifying that I don't review ebooks (my eyes are bad enough with all the work on the computer that I do) and that I'm overseas, which cuts out some people who can't afford the shipping.


As someone who promotes books, I use whatever search methods I can to find people who will review books. :)

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering ... How did you originally get your contacts with publicists? Did you get to know them through authors or did you just contact the media section of publishers? Or did publicist make contact with you?

Tigerlily said...

I agree with anonymous. How do you guys set up contacts with publishers?

Amy said...

If you know the publisher of a certain book, look for their review copy policy on their website.

This will generally put you in touch in some way with a publicist. Maybe offer up some stats on your blog in your request. This has worked for me.

C. Leigh Purtill said...

Another excellent post, Steph! Great questions, Lenore!

Okay...

-How do you go about finding bloggers to review your books?

I'm still in the process of discovering bloggers - there are so many great voices out there. However, if I am on an author's website and I see a particularly cogent review from a blogger, I will seek that person out and check out the rest of their reviews. I also follow hot links from comments sections on blogs I do enjoy (like this one!).

-How do you decide which you want to send your book to?

Because I have limited resources (i.e. not a lot of galleys), I will check out the reviewer's reviews. I respect honesty and intelligence and if I happen to agree with their reviews of books I have read myself, then I know we are at least starting on the same page. If a reviewer only digs mysteries, I won't contact her about my books. I will also check to see what sort of influence the reviewer has: what is their site's Alexa rating, how many people comment on their blog posts, are they noted on author sites.

Added questions:
-What qualities do you like the blogs you send your book to, to have?

As I mentioned above, I respect honesty and intelligence. Fawning reviews are nice but don't ring true most of the time. Also, I appreciate seeing reviewers dig a little deeper into the story instead of simply pronouncing it awesome. That sort of introspection is what separates a good reviewer from a lazy one.

-Are you selective in who you choose to send your book to, or do you send to as many bloggers as possible?

I would LOVE to send a book to every blogger I could! As I also said above, I don't get lots of galleys so I do have to be selective. I can't afford to send my books to someone who isn't enthusiastic about reading me! And as much as I claim to care about a blogger's influence from a strictly professional point of view, I have sent books out to people simply because I like them. :) Someone telling me they like my site or my first book or whatever goes a long way toward making me want to send them a copy of my book with my own money.

Book Chic said...

For publicist contacts, it's usually either a) an author refers me to them when the author doesn't have a copy of their book to give to me or b) the publicist seeks me out. A happens more often than B, though I am excited when B happens cuz it shows that my site's getting more recognition.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

How I find upcoming books I want to read?

-Honestly, I just use the internet to my advantage...book blogs, amazon, reviewing sites, myspace. etc. etc.

How do I get the book in my hands?

-I mainly have authors ask me...because I don't mind asking at times, but sometimes it's a bit odd. But when I do ask, I just go to the author or their publicist...and sometimes I get sent from the author to the publicist.

Do I accpet every book offered?

-Pretty much. If I have a lot, I might turn someone down, but most of the time I take it with the promise that I will review...it just might take awhile. Unlike other reviewers, I'm not the fastest reader out there (I wish I was!) and i sometimes review books for other places and those have an actual deadline at times...or I hate to keep them waiting. I hate keeping anyone waiting, but I do love being asked to review a book and will always try too as soon as I can!



I do love these questions. I read the other ones...i didn't comment, but you know...I am now!
and i actually have a question for authors/reviewers on my blog..nothing quite like this (since IT IS steph's thing)...it's more like an idea i had and i wanted thoughts.

-Lauren
New Stuff.
Weekly Roundup (page 2)
Comment and chat!

Lenore said...

Guess I'll answer my own question.

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

Book blogs and publisher's catalogues mostly.


What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

If it is a book that hasn't come out yet and I simply can't wait to read it, I try to find a publicity or author contact and then send an e-mail with a link to my blog asking if they'd like to promote the book on my blog. The response has always been either positive or non-existant (as in, they didn't reply).

If it is already out and I haven't spent all my book money that month, I buy it. Even in hardcover.

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

So far, I have accepted every book offered to me (there haven't been that many though). I wouldn't accept a book that I don't think would interest me just to get a "free book" because I know I will have to spend hours reading and reviewing it. And I want to be fair to the author - if the subject matter or genre is just not my thing, he or she should be able to offer the review copy to someone who is more likely to like it.

Lenore said...

Oh and I'd love to see more authors answer this!

The Book Muncher said...

I mostly find out about upcoming books I want through some other reviewers. I used to look though lists on Amazon, but that took a heck of a long time and I’ve gotten lazy. So, if I see a book reviewed which isn’t out yet and sounds good, I look into it.

I wouldn’t say I’m too aggressive to get books. Sometimes I chat with the author and they offer me a book (not usually though), but I feel awkward if I ask an author for a book. I’m also part of several reviewing programs, so I get books there. Not to mention the bookstore or the library…

I don’t accept all books offered to me. Cuz if I did, I’d have way too many books (I mean, many more books than I have now). Firstly, if it’s a children’s book, I immediately decline it. If it’s an adult book, I’ll read the synopsis, and if it sounds good, I’ll accept it. I accept most of the YA books I’m offered, mostly because I love everything YA, although there are a couple I think I’ve declined.

Chelsie said...

-How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

If it's an author I'm a fan of, I'll know what's coming out. But if it's just a random book, usually I'll hear about it through other blogs.

-What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

I have asked authors for review copies, but I will usually only do that if it's a book I really want or if it's a book I have no other means of getting. Other than that, I'll usually buy it or check it out from the library.

Added question:
-Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

So far, the ones offered have all been good ones. But no, I won't accept every book offered. It has to be something that I would be at least semi-interested in if I were choosing books for myself. If it's something I never would have considered reading, I wouldn't want to write a review. Otherwise, it'd be a pretty biased review.

Carol said...

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

I browse author's websites/blogs, other reviewer's blogs, Amazon, and the publishing house websites. I also keep some authors in my radar to see when they're coming out with another book.

-What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

I contact the publicist (if I have a contact in that pub house) or sometimes the author. Or I request it at my local library or buy it (if I have money)

Added question:
-Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

Well yes. I'm afraid that if I turn someone down I might be missing the opportunity to read an amazing book. So far all the books I've accepted have been great! :) I have a lot of book in my TBR pile so I might have to be picky in the future. I don't know yet, well see.

The Compulsive Reader said...

Hm, all of my publicity contacts have approached me, so sorry I can't help on that topic.

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

Fan reccomendations, random browsing, Amazon.com, publicists who are trying sell books. Just being around.

What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

To be completely honest, most books I want I get sent to me. Those that don't get sent to me, I ask for through publicists and occaisonally authors. If all else fails, I just buy the books.

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

Yes and no. Unless it's YA or holds YA appeal, no. Yes to pretty much any YA, although I may have a 2 week lag and if you are a small publisher/self published and your book doesn't intrigue me, no. In the future I may implement a sort of submission policy and then choose what books I read, but for now every book sent to me is read.

Anonymous said...

great disscussion! can you also answer my other question about the contest?

better then your i'm a party girl but i still read discussion. i know maannny people who read and party..hard too. and are super smart! so it's not unlikely for me to think that being i'm one of those ppl. *shrugs* no biggie it happens. the world is weird eh?

keep it up fellow party girl/ book geek

lxddu

Melissa Walker said...

I love these chats we have!
Authors
-How do you go about finding bloggers to review your books?
I started reading some book blogs before the first VIOLET book came out, just to kind of get a sense of who was out there. I'd comment sometimes, and that usually would lead them to me, and I figured they'd ask if they wanted a review copy.

When VIP was coming out, I felt like I had enough reviewers reading my blog that I could just post and say to get in touch if you wanted an ARC.

-How do you decide which you want to send your book to?
I sent the list to my publicist and she sent out as many as she could. I really don't pick and choose personally, because that seems unfair.

Added questions:
-What qualities do you like the blogs you send your book to, to have?
Although it totally scares me, I like the ones that seem really honest in their reviews and are thorough. The insights--even harsh ones--really do help me think about how I can keep doing better.

-Are you selective in who you choose to send your book to, or do you send to as many bloggers as possible?
As many as possible! Every mention helps get the word out.

Lenore said...

An author who recently contacted me about reviewing her book (she found me through a comment I made on another blog) had this to say:

The quality I most appreciate in reviewers is the ability to judge a book without being influenced by what others have already said about it. A different version of the book exists for each individual person who reads it. The book will work for some and not for others.

paperxxflowers said...

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

Well, if it's an author that I like, I'll be looking for upcoming releases. I do have a bunch of author blogs that I check out, so usually it gets posted somewhere on there, too. Otherwise, Amazon gets a lot of visits with me. I see reviews of upcoming books on some of my favorite blogs. And of course, I always love recommendations from my readers and/or fellow book reviewers... Or anyone, really.

What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

I'd like to say that I have the confidence to email an author/publisher and ask for a copy, but I honestly don't. Most of the books I get are from an author/publisher contacting me, or I buy them. (Library over here sucks!)

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

I don't accept all of the books offered to me. The truth is, I know what I can and can't write a fair review of. And if you're asking me to review, let's say... children's books (with a few exceptions), then I'll most likely decline. Or an e-book. I spend way too much time at the computer as it is.

Lisa said...

Very interesting! I wish there were more author responses.

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?

I'm very active at LibraryThing and have been lucky enough to be part of their Early Reviewer program, which is always a good heads-up. I get a newsletter called Shelf Awareness, lots of good info there, and I read a lot of book-related news.

What means do you use to get that book in your hands?

Again, LibraryThing and Shelf Awareness have been a big help. I have started getting some requests directly from authors or through publicists, which is really flattering. And I have simply emailed an author or publicist and asked for a copy - the response has usually been positive

Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't?

Definitely not. As it is, I find that I accept/request a few too many. I try only to request something I think I'll really want to read. I have pretty wide-ranging interests, so that doesn't rule out much other than romance, self-help and YA stuff. I do try to accept/request a variety of things - I don't want my blog to be all mysteries or all historical fiction. I want people to always be pleasantly surprised by what they find in my reviews.

LisaLynne
Minds Alive on the Shelves

Ali said...

How do you go about finding upcoming books you want?
From LibraryThing and Shelf Awareness, reviews in my local paper, reviews my parents send me, friend recommendations and other blogs.
What means do you use to get that book in your hands?
If I don't get an advance review copy I'll wait and get it from my local library--which may mean I don't get to it until the initial buzz has died down--but I think there's value in late reviews, too, to keep a book moving.
Do you accept every book offered to you? If not, what criteria do you use to select the ones you want from the ones you don't? On Worducopia I focus on literary fiction and quality YA and children's lit, but I'll review lots of other things. I steer away from most genre-type books. I do my homework before requesting a book--I look up the author's other books, find their website, try to get a feel for what their style is. If it's a first time author, I'll read it.

Anonymous said...

About the contactin publicists. In the review copy policy on their website they ask you to FAX a request with your company letterhead. Do you guys actually do that?

Is there another way you can contact the publicist/publisher without having to type of a letter and faxing it to them?

And if you do resort to doing that then what do you write on the letter!

PLEASE,PLEASE, PLEASE respond! Everyone here is soo helpful. can't wait to hear back from you guys.

- cindy

Steph said...

Cindy - usually imprints have their own email address. Try that. Or the publicity email address. Introduce yourself, provide a link to your blog, and it should be all right. :)

Steph

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