Here is part 2 of my Author Etiquette article.
- Reviewing books is a great way to enhance your skills as an author and build your name within the community. It also helps bring your name to the attention of publishers.
- Some key points to remember when putting up your hand to review:
- Don't commit to review unless you have the time to do so.
- Holding onto a book for months before you do your review is not only rude it also strains the relationship between the hosting site and the publishers.
- Publishers do not pay people to review their books, but they do send them out expecting the book to be reviewed in a timely manner.
- Books that are reviewed 12 months after its release do not assist the author with sales.
- The closer the review is to the release date the better.
- Also, don't treat reviewing as a visit to the library.
You are probably not going to like every book that comes before you, but keep in mind it costs money to post or courier books out. Try and find something about the book you did like; the illustrations, the text – something. If you feel that bad about it, let the reader know why in your review. But remember, what you say can damage not only the sale of the book for the author, but potentially their reputation as well. You can also contact the site you are reviewing for and request not to receive books from that author or theme again.
Take care of books you receive.
If it is requested you return the books after reviewing them, don't return them with broken spines, dog-eared corners or dare I say it, coffee rings on the pages.Yes, this has happened in the past. All it will do is have you removed off the reviewing list.
When submitting your reviews for publication, always read the instructions thoroughly.Ensure your submissions are free from spelling and grammar mistakes.
- You need to think of yourself as a business.You are the product you are selling.
- Articles, stories or submissions that have your name tied to them are a reflection of you and your work.
- If you submit work with errors, you should be ok with the fact it might be published with these errors.
- It always pays to check your work.
- Don't expect that the website/person/publisher you are submitting to will fix any errors.
- Some sites may charge you a small fee to make changes to your submission. This is also relevant for sites that might host your own personal works.
If you are requesting your book to be reviewed always send a query letter or email first. Introduce yourself and tell the reader a little about your book and why you would like them to review it. However, you must remember that offering free copies of your book does not guarantee a review will be returned. It also might not be the kind of review you were hoping for. So be prepared and don't get upset.
- Never resort to a public slanging match, especially through social media.
- A review is one person's opinion. If you don't like it, move on.
- You, don't ever have to send that reviewer copies of your subsequent books.
- Be sure if you've offered something in return for a review, such as a link to the review or website to honour it.
- Regardless of whether you liked the review or not, always remember to say thank you!
- Critique groups are a vital step in a writer's development. If you have the opportunity to join one you should jump at the chance.
- Groups are made up of like-minded people who are at different stages of their creative journey.
- Always read and adhere to the critique guidelines set out by the administrator of the group.
- Provide honest, helpful meaty feedback with encouraging suggestions.
- Do not attack the author or their work.
Asking for help
There will be many times when you need to ask your colleagues for help.More often than not, they will be only too happy to assist you. There may be times when they are rushing towards a deadline or have commitments that don't allow them any spare time, so if your request is denied, don't take it personally. It may just be that the person you are asking is too busy right now. Instead, thank them and perhaps you can do something to help them, which will be remembered next time you need assistance. If they are able to assist you, remember to thank them and don't treat them like an ATM that you can keep taking from whenever you want to.This comes back to you doing for yourself and not expecting others to do the hard work for you.If you are looking for feedback or guidance for something as detailed as a sizeable manuscript, website or blog, it might be best to look at having these things assessed professionally.You don't want to strain any relationships before they have really begun. Questions or requests should be easy to answer and not require a lot of time from the person you are asking. Don't monopolise their time with continual questions or emails.Again remember to thank them for whatever response you receive. How you respond will be remembered.It is extremely frustrating if someone is trying to assist you and takes the time to respond to your query, then receives no acknowledgment from you. It is also unprofessional to ignore repeated attempts to contact you through emails, when it is clear in the content that a response is required.If you email or ask something of someone, you would expect a response. A quick response doesn't take too much time, and remember if you need that person in the future they will remember how you ignored them.
Look for part 3 on Author Etiquette soon.