Interview with YA BOOK MADNESS on 5 Ways to Get More Book Reviews - Self-Publishing Tips Part #3



Today, it is my honor to have Jordan, a book blogger and reviewer from YA Book Madness, on the blog to share her awesome advice on how best to approach book promotion and successfully get book reviews. 

How would you describe your blog? 
A review blog for YANA books, promos, giveaways, etc., both Indie and non. 
Reading preferences? 
Anything really but I enjoy YA of all kinds.

What inspired you to start reviewing books?

I’ve always loved to read and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I started a review blog as a hobby and way to interact and find others who also enjoy books to chat with. I also started my blog for experience in dealing with publishers, PR, marketing etc. I plan on putting my own book out there some day and wanted to get into the industry in an unconventional way. I’ve met many authors, beta read, done all sorts of social media marketing and even though it’s a hobby, it can go on my resume.

Have long have you been reviewing books?
A few years, I believe.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
Amazon or at any bookstore.

What factors do you consider when choosing a book to review?

Exposure for Indie authors, the genre, honestly, I’ll review almost anything if someone asks me to. I’m not picky, I don’t read the backs of books, and I actually really don’t even read the blurbs. I like to be surprised by what I’m reading and not knowing what it’s about going into the book helps with that.

What’s your advice for authors about promoting their book?
•    Have a combination attack for marketing
•    If you’re going to post info about your book cross-post on multiple social media sites
•    Use hashtags, not too many
•    Don’t compare your book to something hugely popular, everyone will flip or be disappointed because of too much comparing. If a reviewer comes back and says hey this reminded me of (fill in the blank) awesome
•    Give some copies out to reviewers, there’s no need to be excessive, you just want as much exposure as possible
•    If any chance to try and get on NetGalley or Edelweiss
•    Try and get a street team. (Beta readers are always a plus.)
•    TEASERS. They’re a good way to attract people and give them a taste of writing styles.
•    Giveaways or swag is nice but not necessary.
•    Make sure to get reviewers to put up their reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
•    Do a Goodreads giveaway.
•    Work with prominent bloggers that have big followings and some MEDIUMer ones whose style you like.
•    Work with people you trust! If you’re going to give out ARCS, then make them protected and put that background copyright in or put the reviewers name on it so that there’s less danger of piracy. 

How many requests do you get on average monthly?
Between 20-50

Do you review Indie or self-pubbed authors? (Why or why not?)

Yes, I’m not selective when it comes to Indie or self-pubbed authors, I’ll read anything, but I try to do more promos for Indie authors just so they can get the marketing exposure that isn’t as easy to access without a big publisher. Self-publishing is not always a fallback, it can be a personal choice. Just because someone is Indie or self-pubbed doesn’t make them substandard or anyway lesser than those who are with a traditional publishing company. 

When an author requests a review, what information do you need?
A review by date. I can pretty much figure everything else out if the book is on Goodreads. If an author wants me to include banners or teasers special posts that would be additional info.

Do you prefer to read an excerpt before accepting a book for review?

What do you include in your reviews?

It depends. If the review is in a blog tour, it can include the review, excerpts, teasers, guest posts, giveaways, etc. If the review is specifically designed by me, I usually do the cover image, the rating, the series name (if there is one), pros and cons, books similar, quotes if any I like, and the purchase links as well as Goodreads link.

Where do you post reviews besides your own site?
My Facebook (personal and blog FB page), Twitter, Booktropolous Social

Do you get authors emailing you about genres that you don’t read?

Yes, so if I get a request and I’m not sure of the genre, then I typically ask if the book is NA or YA. If it’s an adult novel, I normally decline because my blog was designed based on YA, I recently added in some NA.

What do you do if you’re not enjoying a book or don’t want to finish reading it? 

I email the author and tell them it’s not for me and then I’ll put it in my DNF pile. Sometimes I go back to that pile and try those books again later.

Do you host book tours, blog hops, or guest posts? (Why or why not?)

Yes, all the time. I like tours; it’s a way to expose myself and other readers to new books. I get to learn more about the author and there are often giveaways that bring my blog and the author exposure, plus the blog tour company.

Give us an example of the “wrong” way to request a review:
Hi, would you like to review my book. Here’s the purchase link. Please review by (date).
I’m not saying that paying for a book is bad or anything like that because I would certainly purchase a book if I were asked to review something. Sometimes if I read the blurb and was really interested, I always add the book to my TBR, but expecting a blogger to just go out and buy your book immediately and not even asking nicely is rude.

Provide us with an example of the “right” way to request a review:
Hello, I’m (insert name here); I’m releasing a book in a month (etc.) and would love for you to review my work. The book releases on (date), and I would really appreciate a review between (dates). This is what the book is about (maybe a Goodreads link or blurb). If any of those dates work, please respond back and I’ll send you a copy. Etc. 

Something along those lines. 

Any rants?

Please be nice to your reviewers! If the reviewer writes something and you disagree, don’t bully them or harass them, or leave passive aggressive comments on the blog post. If the reviewer wants to give your book 2 stars and has constructive criticism, please take it to heart, and don’t lash out. Books are subjective. Reviews even more so. Some books have over a hundred 5-star reviews and others only twenty 1-star reviews, there’s a broad range of likes and dislikes. 

Once, I had an author message me almost immediately after I rated her book 2 stars on Goodreads, I backed out of the blog tour because I didn’t want to put out negative reviews at such a critical time and she was pissed. She demanded to know why I deigned to give her book so few stars when hundreds of people had given it 5 stars. So I calmly explained to her the many reasons why, and then she said, “Well that’s your opinion, whatever,” and stopped responding to me. 

Do not pressure or harass your blogger or reviewer. It’s not appreciated and it’s rude. You’re asking for a favor and while the reviewer does get perks, usually in form of books, it’s like a job. 

People often underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes into these book reviews and to attack a reviewer who didn’t adore your book is ridiculous. It’s important to look at constructive opinions and examine them, even take some as constructive to make your work better, but don’t ever attack! This is why so many authors are being blacklisted by blogs and vice versa. 

Additional advice?

If you take a quote from a review, please let the blogger or book reviewer know. It’s really cool to find that out and if the book is in print, you better bet the blogger will buy it especially if they’re quoted and tell several people they know about your novel.

Also, my handbook "THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO INDIE BOOK PROMOTION" has TONS of suggestions on great ways to market your novel!

Hope this info helps. Best of luck!


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