This week's tip comes from our reviewer Lynette Latzko.
Authors and readers alike are well aware of the old adage that one should never judge a book by its cover. However, in this competitive, fast paced world, there are times when it is critically important for an author to pay particular attention to the presentation of his/her new book. Parents of a newborn would never think of dressing their precious tot in a potato sack when they are out in public, and so authors should take that much care and pride in their new work when sending review copies to reviewers. Here are some important tips for authors to consider when they are mailing their works to reviewers. Remember, you want to make a great, if not unique, first impression.
1. If you request a review, or a reviewer inquires about your book, send out the book promptly. Many reviewers receive loads of books - the quicker you get it to them the sooner they will be able to review it.
2. Pay particular attention to the type of book you are sending, and how it will survive in transit. For example, if you have a thin paperback children's book, send it with a hard piece of cardboard so it does not get bent. Also, if the book is on the larger side, don't squeeze it in a small package which may end up getting torn before the package arrives. Of course there are always "postal accidents" that are out of your control, but try to lessen the likelihood that your book will end up crushed, or in poor condition before the reviewer even has a chance to read it.
3. Be careful when sending a letter or note of introduction along with the book. Don't forget to use spell check. It's best to slip the actual paper inside the book instead of merely in the package. This will make it easier for the reviewer to locate promptly. Wrapping the book/submission form in a plastic wrapper is another added precaution - it keeps the book/papers together and protects them against the occasional wet postal package.
4. Some reviewers may have different preferences, but I personally appreciate books that are signed by the author, as it gives the book a personal touch.
5. Add something unique to the mailing that sets your book apart from others is always a plus. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Consider including a business card, a personal thank-you, a bookmark, etc. It won't change the reviewer's opinion of the book, but it certainly can help leave a good impression or intrigue the reviewer enough to want to read your book first. Also, if the reviewer enjoys the book, they may be willing to spread the word about it, and what better way to do so than by having something small to hand out to others.
6. Finally, don't forget to keep the reviewer's information handy to send out a thank-you note for the review. It's always good to leave a good final impression, by showing your appreciation, especially if you plan on writing more and need reviews again.