Tips for Authors and Publishers, Part 1

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.

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