Archive for the 'Business' Category

Tips for Authors and Publishers, Part 1

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

I love to get review requests! I really do. I love the idea that someone found my website, liked the looks of things and decided that they wanted me to review their book; it’s very flattering. Some of the requests I get are great, but some…not so great. And even when the requests are good, sometimes the follow-up is not. I attended a conference recently where we talked about some dos and don’ts for writers, publishers and publicists.  Here are some of the items on the top of my list.

1. Spell my name right

I have signed several things here at Alive on the Shelves with my first name, Lisa. My email address, also here on the site, begins with Lisalynne. My column, linked to in several places here, is Lisa Reads. Can you guess what my first name is? Not all the authors and publicists who write to me can. I get email addressed to Lesa, Leesa, Liza and even stranger spellings. Getting the name wrong is downright rude – how would you feel if I spelled your name wrong in the review? If you’re not sure, “Dear Reviewer” is preferable to “Dear Leeza.”

2. Write me a note

I get a lot of books – a lot of books. I do my best to keep track of what comes in and when and who sent it and when I want to review it. When I get reviews posted, I do my best to go back to the author or publicist and let them know (even if it wasn’t a great review), so they know I held up my end of the deal. All of that is so much easier if you include some contact information. A letter, a notecard, a business card – something. Then it’s easy for me to know who to contact, who to follow up with, who to thank.

3. Put away the crayons and day-glo markers

When you send out a resume, you want to put your best foot forward. You want everything to be perfect – spelled correctly, looking professional, really representing your image. The same is true when you send me your book. I got a book in the mail this week that had my name and address (as well as the return address), scrawled across the envelope in green magic marker. It’s a good thing there was a letter inside (see #2), because there is no way I could have puzzled out the sender. I’m still going to read the book, and the book is really the thing I’m reviewing…but it does effect my impression of the author or publisher that sent it out.

I’ve got a few more tips to share, but I’ll save those for another day. In the meantime, I would love to hear from other reviewers – as well as from the folks who send out the books – and find out what you think.

FTC Updates

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

There have been some excellent posts recently about the FTC’s new guidelines on endorsements. You can find more information at DearAuthor and Huffington Post.

One thing that was reassuring is that the FTC cannot actually levy fines. According to Jane at DearAuthor, it works like this:


The FTC has no ability to levy fines. A charge must be made and taken to an administrative law judge and a cease and desist is requested and provided if the FTC fulfills its burden. If the C&D is ignored, then a civil penalty can be requested for up to $11,000.00.


That’s good to know. The idea that the FTC would be going after small bloggers is silly enough; the idea that the same blogger would ignore an official cease & desist notice is ridiculous. But as a commenter pointed out, what the FTC does respond to is complaints. We have already seen instances of disgruntled authors harassing bloggers over bad reviews. I would hate to think those authors had even more ammunition.

Still, it all boils down to a simple disclaimer: My copy of this book was an Advance Reader Copy. That should cover the bases for most bloggers. I know that’s logical, but it still makes me nervous.

So the FTC doesn’t hunt me down…

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


The Federal Trade Commossion has issued new guidelines about book bloggers. Apparently, if I review a book and don’t tell you that I received it for free, I could be fined up to $11,000!

$11,000. For a book review.

Now, I do understand the motivation behind this. There are some powerful blogs (the examples I’ve read about are mostly mommy-blogs) that endorse consumer products and there have been some concerns that they do not reveal that they are paid by the manufacturer or given free products. I can see why that would be a concern.

You will notice that at the bottom of my reviews, I always tell you if the book was an Advanced Reader Copy (those are the ones the publishers send out for free) and give you a link to buy it online. That should keep me in the clear. But just to be sure, I guess I will have to BE VERY CLEAR when I review a book. Because no free book is worth an $11,000 fine.

You can read of my comments at When Falls the Coliseum.

A little R&R

Thursday, May 21st, 2009


I am heading out today for about a week of much-needed vacation! Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and I’ll be back to posting next week!