Etiquette for authors?

March 22, 2015

You’ve published the work that has taken you decades to write, you’ve let your book-baby loose on the world, and now you sit back and watch the reviews flood in.


Only, they don’t.


Unless you’re lucky enough to be signed by a really big publisher, the odds are you will be doing the promotional stuff yourself. And if you’ve taken the indie publishing route then you most certainly will be marketing your pride and joy on your own.


Just a few observations you may like to consider: 

  • Don’t leave a review for your own book. Seriously. Don’t.

  • When requesting a review, check out a reviewer’s preferences if you can. If they only read sci-fi,   don’t waste your time and theirs by sending them a contemporary romance.

  • And don’t send an e-copy of your book without being invited to. It’s rude. Wait for the reviewer to agree to read it first.

  • Make sure you tailor your request to the reviewer. I hate receiving generic emails from authors – and it’s even worse when it’s addressed to ‘Hi Fred’ because the author has done a copy and paste job – at least get my name right!

  • When you are lucky enough to have a reader agree to review your novel, don’t hassle them if it’s not read quickly enough for your liking. Readers have lives, too. And sometimes they might like the blurb, but for some reason end up not reading your work. Leave them alone, if they want to read it, they will.

  • If you’ve asked someone to read your book, the least you can do is thank them when they do exactly that– WHATEVER the review. If a reader has taken the time and effort to read and review, then they should be thanked, even if they hated your work-of-a-lifetime and said so. After all, you asked them. If you’re not prepared to receive an honest review, then you shouldn’t have contacted them in the first place.

  • NEVER, EVER respond to a negative review. The reader is entitled to an opinion and the only thing you’ll achieve by tackling a reviewer head on is a reputation you don’t want. You’ll come across as psychotic, and word that you are a ‘difficult’ author can quickly spread. Maintain a gracious silence, however unjustified you feel the review to be.

  • If the only good reviews are from friends and family, and the rest of them are consistently poor, take it as a kick up the bum. Not everyone can be wrong, and of course your bezzie mate and your mum like your work. They feel obliged to! Take a good look at those bad reviews and see if you can amend the issues highlighted, even if you have to withdraw your book for a while.

  • Don’t pay for good reviews. It’s just not right.

  • If you agree to a review swap don’t automatically assume your partner in crime will give you a good review. And don’t ask for one. This is why I don’t agree to review swaps.

Good luck with your writing!


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