Written by A Guest Author

How to Get Review Quotes for Your Book

 By Ben Graff

When I had finished writing my first book, a more experienced author told me the hard work started now. She highlighted that all writers face a crowded marketplace. That no matter how beautiful the language or however moving the story, very few novels sell themselves. We all want our work to connect with as many readers as possible. Yet we don’t always know how to go about this, beyond vaguely hoping for the best.

As my second book nears completion, I have realized how useful it is if your writing can function as its own report card. There is something reassuring about picking a book up and seeing positive testimonials on the cover and an inside page. Moreover, having publicity material to share with influencers after publication increases your chances of building further interest in your work.

Yet how do we get quotes for these purposes in the first place? Some of the big publishing houses will do this for you, creating fully bound review copies and sending them out to their mailing lists. However, for the rest of us, with a little effort we can do just as well.

At some point before you go to print, you will have a PDF of your book. That is the time to be brave. I say this as someone who is naturally quite shy and hates asking anyone for anything. Yet there are ways of identifying and approaching people which have a good chance of working, wherever you happen to be in your journey as a writer. Moreover, it is possible to ask without it feeling excruciating.

Here are three tips to consider:

  1. Think about people you know who might be able to give a quote

They might be writers, experts in the field, or others who have expressed an interest in your work in the past. You might say that you do not know anybody of relevance but wrack your brain and you will most likely find that you do. Generally, we are all better connected than it seems. Perhaps you met someone at a writer’s workshop who has since published a book. Possibly somebody you interacted with while doing your research has a following amongst the sort of readers who might buy your book. Maybe you have a friend who has a great contact they might be willing to share. Is there somebody you swap messages with from time to time on social media, who is influential on the forums your readers might follow?

  1. People you don’t know can also help, if you think through your approach

There are many bloggers, book reviewers and writers out there, beyond our current circles. Do some research. Properly consider the reason why your work might be relevant to whoever you are considering contacting. Get in touch and see what they say – but thoughtfully – and with a personalized message that shows you have taken the time to understand their work. It is not always a given that everyone will reply. But what have you lost really?

Most writers have an ego (even if they pretend otherwise). There are worse things in life than being asked to provide a quote. For many, seeing their name in print on someone else’s book is always a positive. Equally, lots of artists remember what starting out was like. Plenty are happy to lend a hand even when there is nothing in it for them, if approached in the right way. There is no harm in asking respectfully, and you should never be scared to do so.

  1. Ask in a way that makes the interaction a positive one, whatever the outcome

This is easier than I used to think. I find words like the following often work well. “I know how busy you are and there are lots of reasons why someone might not want to give a quote, so if you can’t fit this in don’t worry at all. I value our relationship much more than whether you can do this.”

Clearly only use the last line if you do know the person. Then mean what you say by not pestering. Always give someone time to respond – it’s not helpful to send someone a PDF and to say you are planning to go to print at the end of the week. If you never hear back, let it drop. The stars aren’t always going to align, but they are likely to often enough, if you put the work in.

Conclusion

Starting out as a writer takes a lot of courage. You pour your soul onto the page and show a part of yourself to the world that most never do. Yet still this bravery is not necessarily enough to gain you readers. There is no escaping the need to market. Review quotes can be very helpful, and we can all get them, no matter how we are choosing to publish our work. You are a writer now. This is just another part of the job. When you get a line back that shows that someone has really “got,” your book it never ceases to feel amazing – and you are that bit closer to reaching your wider readership.


Bio: Ben Graff’s new novel, The Greenbecker Gambit, will be published in April. Ben is also the author of Find Another Place. He writes regularly for Chess and a number of other publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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