Monday, January 11, 2010

Tips for Authors - Submission Packets

Authors often ask us what we, as reviewers, want to see along with their book, when they send it along for review.  Different sites/reviewers may ask for different things, and indeed, we've received the full gamut of "stuff" from nothing at all (that's right, nothing, no contact name, email, nothing) to a packet that would take several hours to read.  There's a happy medium somewhere in-between the two.  Here's what we like/don't like:
  • Submission Form: Many sites have one.  Even if the form is an on-line submission form, if at all possible, print out a copy and include it with the book.  We have a submission form but I'm always amazed at how many authors fail to fill it out/include it with the book.  
  • About The Author: Yes, we want to know a little about the author.  If the book is non-fiction, what makes him/her an expert?  If fiction, a little about the author's background is nice.  No more than a page please.  We don't want a life story.  Sometimes our reviewers will insert a line or two about the author into the review.  Readers want to know!
  • About The Book: Absolutely!  Actually, this is probably more important than information about the author.  Again, no more than a page.  Give us a synopsis of the book.
  • Other Reviews: Other sites may argue the point, but I don't want to see them and will pull them from a review packet before sending the book along to a reviewer.  I want my reviewers to read/review the book without any chance of their opinions being based, even remotely, on other reviews.
  • Distribution, etc.: Where the book is being sold, through which distributors, wholesalers, etc. will be required by some of the larger pre-pub reviewers such as Publishers Weekly, but it is irrelevant to us.  Don't clutter up your submission packet with this information unless it is required.
  • Pretty Packaging: Nice but won't have any bearing on the review.
If not sure what to send, ask the site what they require.  A good site manager will be happy to assist.