Tips for Self Promotion, Sales, and Advertising discussion

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If you're thinking of sending off review copies...

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message 1: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) You might want to think twice about sending them to: http://www.reviewyourbook.com

The site seemed okay to me when I sent my copy off. The reviews are free, and the details on the review page say:

Each review will have a brief description of the book, but it will not be detailed enough to spoil the story for the other readers. The review will explain who will be interested in the book and why. Typically quotes are used from the book. If this is not the type of review you would like, contact ReviewYourBook.com to request a special review. We only post reviews of books that have a rating of 3, 4, or 5. All negative reviews will be sent directly to the publisher or author. We do not give bad publicity.

Now, I don't expect reviewers to love my book, but I do expect them to be honest and stick to their own terms. This is the review my book just received:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1PI2DRC...

The woman who runs this site, Debra Gaynor, did not send the review to me. She didn't contact me at all and we haven't spoken since she told me that she'd love to review the book a few weeks back. She simply posted the review and, believe it or not, blocked my email address!

It's never nice when you get a bad review, but the thing that really vexes me is the dishonesty.

Anyway, you can read the blurb on the site, and the review she posted, and make up your own mind. Personally, it's made me dubious about trusting the blurb on any review site.








message 2: by Jaimey (last edited Jun 06, 2009 08:29PM) (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Oh, Gina. I'm so sorry! I read the reviewer's site and her review. You are totally right. The site clearly states that they contact the author/publisher with the neggo review instead of posting it. What possessed her to post the one for Old Man Grumpy?

Did she even read the book? I'm not saying that had she read it she would have loved it--like you said, not everyone will love it. But what she said she could have gotten from the blurb and then decided it would annoy her.

Thanx for the warning. There are so many out there who prey on authors. Sick. Did you tweet her dishonesty far and wide?


message 3: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Jaimey wrote: "...Thanx for the warning. There are so many out there who prey on authors. Sick. Did you tweet her dishonesty far and wide?"

I have tweeted, and I will post about it elsewhere because I hate to think of the number of people who might send off their books thinking that the site is reputable. I'm astounded by the blatant dishonesty.

I did wonder if she'd just read the back cover... she hadn't had the book that long. Perhaps the idea of killing off old grumps offends her ;o)




message 4: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Gina wrote: "Perhaps the idea of killing off old grumps offends her ;o)"

Maybe she is one. LOL


message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane Giurco | 22 comments Gina, I am a little shocked by this. Can you remove the review? The dishonesty is really quite disturbing.
If you want to send her an email, try using a different email address.


message 6: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments The review is gone, Gina. Did you do something or did the woman think twice about leaving it up?


message 7: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (mccallum) | 241 comments Hey Gina,

Jaimey is right the review of sorts is no longer there! I didn't get to read it, and I am pleased....I have read and reviewed: The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy which I absolutely loved. Perhaps the woman is a 'Guppy'!!!


message 8: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments Gina... I removed myself from that sites subscriber list. Glad I've been too wrapped up in other things to have sent off my novel. Thank you for the "heads up" on this.


message 9: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) I did what Diane suggested and used an alternative email address. I simply copied her policy into an email, pointed out that it was misleading, and told her that I would let other writers know... which is, of course, exactly what I did.

I got two emails from her today. The first said that she had to post the review because the book was sent by 'Vine' (that's the Amazon thing, right?) - she claimed she had no choice as her records indicated that 'Vine' was the sender. Then she offered to upgrade to a three star review or delete the review entirely. This seemed odd, as she had just insisted that she had no choice but to post the original review on account of the whole 'Vine' thing... did Vine suddenly not matter? Also, considering the fact that she would have had to track down my original email to her in order to block the address, it's obvious that she knew exactly who sent the book to her!

I didn't have a chance to respond to that email. Five seconds later, I got another email to say that the review had been deleted and that she stands by her policies.

It was bad enough that she posted such a badly put together review, and didn't honour her own terms... but to lie on top of that. Well, this is going to make me so much more careful before I send out future books. I'm going to want to know their blood type and shoe size before trusting them!





message 10: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments Gina, again I thank you for this update. Does one have to have any credentials to call themself a "reviewer"? Can anyone place a shingle on their door and go into the reviewing business? I didn't get to read the review as it was removed when I "clicked".


message 11: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Kathy, I copied the review... so here's a copy of it:

'What happens when you live in an apartment next to the world's most annoying man? Kill him? No, really. You have no idea how annoying this man and his wife are. That is the entire point of the book. That is it. That kind of makes the entire book annoying.
Let me say that the cover is really cool. Is it relevant? No. It is cool, though. That is really the only nice thing I can say about this book.'


I got another email only shortly after I posted the last message, saying that she knows I'm upset, and so on, but she runs an honest review site, etc. I haven't actually written back to her at all since last night.



message 12: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments Why does she claim she got the book from the "Vine" program? I thought you sent it to her yourself. Is your book even in the "Vine" program?


message 13: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) My book's not in the Vine program, and she wrote to confirm that I was sending the book two or three times when I first contacted her. She had to have looked up my original email to have blocked the address, so she obviously knew I'd sent the book. I think she was looking for a convenient 'out'. But we write fiction... we're good at spotting it!


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben Gibbins | 2 comments thanks for the heads up. Now that we have established reviewyourbook.com is at least questionable and at most a fradulent site, I am curious if there are some sites (or businesses) that you could recommend sending your book to be reviewed? I would really like to get some reviews for my book.

Thanks


message 15: by G.R. (new)

G.R. (grcollia) Tamela wrote: "How hard is it to say, you know what, it wasn't my cup of tea and may please another reader that prefers than genre instead of getting poison pen happy?"

I wonder the same thing when I am reading reviews. It's so distasteful to read a negative review that sounds as though the reviewer was licking his lips when he tore the writer and/or book apart.

I sent my book off to this site a while back:

http://bcfreviews.wordpress.com/

They put the book details forward to their reviewers to begin with, and a book is only reviewed if someone specifically wants to review it after reading those details. You only send a book when someone's chosen it, and you send it directly to the specific reviewer. The Guppy book got a review, my earlier book about Japanese art didn't... so that demonstrated to me that they do indeed only review books that they are interested in reading to begin with. The reviews are free and the review appeared within about a month.




message 16: by Ben (new)

Ben Gibbins | 2 comments Gina wrote: "Tamela wrote: "How hard is it to say, you know what, it wasn't my cup of tea and may please another reader that prefers than genre instead of getting poison pen happy?"

I wonder the same thing whe..."


Thanks, I just sent them my info hopefully something will come of it.


message 17: by Lewis (new)

Lewis Weinstein (lewweinstein) Ben wrote: "Gina wrote: "Tamela wrote: "How hard is it to say, you know what, it wasn't my cup of tea and may please another reader that prefers than genre instead of getting poison pen happy?"

I wonder the..."


Most reviewers couldn't even write a bad book.





message 18: by Jaimey (new)

Jaimey (jaimeygrant) | 232 comments I just found this review site: New Great Books. I don't know anything other than what their page says.

From their site: "ABOUT THE BOOK REVIEWS

Each book received gets an honest, complete read through and review. The reviews are not paid for - nor do we accept money for our service. The goal of this site - and each review - is to expose readers to books that they may not have been aware of but that deserve another look.

We only review books that we like. If a book is of poor quality, or lacks merit, we simply do not review it. We hope that readers explore our reviews and give these wonderful books a chance. They deserve it."


Anyone familiar with this review site?


message 19: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Lowry (vlowry) | 110 comments Thanks, Gina! I'll try that BCF site!

Does anyone else know some good sites that review books?



message 20: by Bradley (new)

Bradley | 19 comments I know nothing of websites.. but I review books. =)


message 21: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Curled Up with a Good Book

http://www.curledup.com/

I haven't submitted my book yet, but I plan to send it to their children's books page:

http://www.curledupkids.com/



message 22: by G.R. (last edited Jun 10, 2009 05:34AM) (new)

G.R. (grcollia) At the top of the page of the 'Curled up With a Good Book' site it says:

'Curled Up With a Good Book featured in John Kremer's
Book Marketing Update newsletter ("Web News," March 2002)!'

I clicked on the link and looked up the March 2002 page:

http://www.bookmarket.com/101bm.htm

And it says:

'Warning: At least one author had a really bad experience with this website, getting what she thought was a cold review. When she asked them to not post it to their website, they refused.'





message 23: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Ooohhh....thanks for that tip, Gina!


message 24: by Dee (last edited Jun 11, 2009 03:46AM) (new)

Dee Marie (dee_marie) | 460 comments Sorry about your experience Gina.

I think the whole point of the story is not so much what was posted to the review (after all, as Gina stated, not everyone is going to love what we write), but more so the integrity of the reviewer.

If a site states that they do not post any reviews that are under 3 stars, then they are obligated to stick to their policy.

I just tried to view the web site in question and a huge “this site cannot open in Internet Explorer” popup window appeared. I could only open the home page after clicking the refresh button several times. That alone tells me that there is something fishy about the site.

Oh, and I personally “loved” Gina’s “grumpy old man book.” It was a well-written and a wonderfully fun read.

Hey Gina, at least she gave your cover 5 stars ;]


message 25: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 334 comments Mod
Review sites that I have always found reputable:
Fallen Angel Reviews
Coffeetime Romance
LASReviews
Romance Junkies
TheRomanceStudio
Fresh Fiction
Night Owl Romance
Kelley Hartsell's C2 Quips... I can never remember the site name... but I cannot omit Kelley from any list of honest reviewers.
Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews
Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Any reviewer from the RIO website

They are all Romance sites (often with Erotica sister sites)

Sorry for the hasty, and url-free posting, but Google can find them for you.





message 26: by K.G. (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments thank you Rowena. because of the title many think my first novel is a war story. in actuality it is a "love story". your list is very helpful to me.
kathy


message 27: by Dee (new)

Dee Marie (dee_marie) | 460 comments If you have a children's book or a YA book, I highly recommend contacting the "Teens Read Too" web site.

http://www.teensreadtoo.com/Opening.html

They get a ton of hits and the owner of the site (who has a stable of reviewers) is very professional.


message 28: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments I'm just catching up with this thread. Gina, I am so sorry you had this experience. I appreciate everyone submitting review sites/names they feel are honest. I like the idea of a review site that posts basic info and lets reviewers request the book if they are interested. My book is non-fiction, and it is a tough subject. When hospitals and agencies request a
"review" copy to see if they want to purchase it, I ask politely if they are willing to either post a review or send me comments I can use on my marketing flyer.


message 29: by D.B. (new)

D.B. Pacini (DBPacini) Gina,

I am a reviewer. I carefully read every book I agree to accept. I’ve never, and will never, post a bad/negative review. If I don’t like the book and cannot give it an excellent review, I will decline writing a review. I will send the author a private email explaining why I do not feel the book is well written.

I spend more time with poorly written books than with well written books. An email to an author explaining why I don’t like their book takes much more attention and kindness than a five star review ever takes. Plus, even though I'm giving more of my time, my attention, and my kindness--- many authors doesn’t appreciate it. He/she often only wanted a good review, not a constructive critique or revision suggestions.

But, that’s how I do reviews and authors know this before they mail me their books. They accept the deal. They get a good review that does not spoil their book for people that have not read their book, or they get a thoughtful and constructive critique with revision suggestions.

I’m one person. I don’t know everything. I don’t claim to know everything. It’s my opinion that my advice can be valuable to an author. Each author decides for his/her own self, taking the advice I offer if it works for them, and rejecting it if it doesn’t.

I personally do not like reviews that are clearly meant to tear down and damage an author, a review that seems to be a personal attack. As I have told some of you, venom is venom; readers will see when a reviewer is clearly a poisonous/negative person. The ugly reflection will glare upon him/her, not upon the author.

I’m appalled by people that write reviews for books they’ve not really read. It is despicable. Unfortunately, there are unprofessional amateurs in every field. People will eventually see through unconstructive critical bull and will see frauds. Such things can come back upon you with a vengeance.

I'm not against people writing unfavorable reviews if they truly believe a book is not well written. But, there is a way to write an unfavorable review without attacking a book or attacking the author.

Gina, I am so sorry this happened to you. Don’t worry about this woman. Her word is worthless because she is either incompetent or she is a liar. Those are the only two options. She said she would not do something that she did do. It is because she is not competent enough to do what she says she will do, or it is because she lied.

I know some folks don’t agree with me, and I am not trying to get a big debate going here---but I must say this in closing. Reviews are extremely important. Our books need them. I personally believe that authors should NEVER pay for a review and that they should NEVER allow negative reviews to crush them. Keep striving to obtain positive reviews from reputable people. Those people are out there. If your books are well written they will secure good reviews if you continue to diligently seek them out.

DB


message 30: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Gina wrote: "At the top of the page of the 'Curled up With a Good Book' site it says:

'Curled Up With a Good Book featured in John Kremer's
Book Marketing Update newsletter ("Web News," March 2002)!'

I clicke..."


I heard from another author who has been waiting a year for his review! And the site editor admitted books could be reviewed 5 - 6 years after submission!! This site definitely sounds like a no-go.



message 31: by K.G. (last edited Jun 13, 2009 12:23AM) (new)

K.G. Cummings (kgcummings) | 143 comments 5-6 YEARS? Bernadette, thank you for passing that info along! ...saves me postage and a book I could sell.


message 32: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Barko (steffercat) | 2 comments Curled Up is perfectly reputable if you work their
system in reverse, i.e. contact a reviewer who uploads to Curled Up and have the reviewer submit their remarks to the Editor.

I find it is the Editor and not the reviewers
who seems backlogged. I use Curled Up because their reviewers are good writers.

Stephanie Barko
Literary Publicist
Austin
"Authors indigenous to the American West"
www.authorsassistant.com/Barko.htm
www.theauthorsassistant.blogspot.com





message 33: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette (bernadettesimpson) Stephanie wrote: "Curled Up is perfectly reputable if you work their
system in reverse, i.e. contact a reviewer who uploads to Curled Up and have the reviewer submit their remarks to the Editor.

I find it is the..."


Thanks for the tip, Stephanie!



message 34: by Nina (new)

Nina | 89 comments D.B., I appreciate your thoughtful and insightful post.


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