Posts Tagged ‘book pr’

Should I get an early review?

July 2, 2010

Whenever I speak with authors, I always encourage them to not to wait until their books are published to begin getting the word out.

Here to address this issue is Abby Plesser, fiction editor at Bookpage. I started out by asking what a book review is and why it’s important.

Here’s Abby:

Book reviews vary widely—both in scope and content—so I’ll speak to the reviews we run at BookPage. We aim to be a selection guide for readers, so we read and review books that have received our stamp of approval. That means we only run positive reviews—something that sets us apart from other review publications. Of course not every review is a rave, but if we cover a book in BookPage, we feel it deserves our readers’ attention.

In the simplest sense, book reviews are necessary because there are millions of books out there, and readers need guidance in deciding what they want to read. Advertising, recommendations from friends and word-of-mouth buzz can all inform readers about what they might like to try, but a good review—or an informative negative review—can really help a reader make his or her decision on whether to pick up a book.

How critical are early reviews? Why does Bookpage only do early reviews?

It varies from book to book. Personally, I find early reviews helpful because they get the dialogue going. Before a book goes on sale, you really don’t know whether it’s going to be something that might interest you. Maybe it’s a first time author, so you have no idea what to expect, but the topic sounds interesting. Or it’s a new book from an author you love, but you aren’t sure if you’re going to love the new book as much as the last book. Having a review come out before the book does—or very close to publication—can be very helpful as you make your book-buying decisions. Of course there are always books that either don’t get a ton of early review coverage—or get mixed early reviews—and go on to be big hits. And vice versa.

BookPage is a monthly publication, so we aim to review the best books in each genre each month. From a production standpoint, we work two to three months ahead of publication dates, but when our issues hit the stands, books that are included are either on sale or going on sale very shortly.

Do some reviews carry more weight than others?

At a basic level, reviews are all about exposure. And in the sense of exposure—getting the word out about a certain book to the largest number of people—reviews in the national publications carry a lot of weight. So obviously authors (and their publishers) are hoping to get positive reviews in the big national papers—the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, USA Today—and magazines—Time, People, The New Yorker, Newsweek, etc. But it also depends on the individual reader. When you read a review, you are trusting the reviewer—and the newspaper or magazine—and their opinion. So it’s a personal thing. I have certain papers and magazines that I like more than others, so I would probably buy a book based on their recommendation more than I would a recommendation from a source I don’t read or love. The same thing goes with book reviews online—as an author, you want to be reviewed positively on a site that gets a lot of traffic, but you probably also want to be reviewed on a site that you read and respect—or hope your target audience reads and respects.



Managing Expectations, Part I: Getting on the Oprah Winfrey Show

November 15, 2009

One of the unwritten aspects of my job as a book publicist is to manage my client’s expectations. And one of the expectations most authors have is of being on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Every author knows that the Oprah stamp of approval on their book will catapult it into the stratosphere. (Only one author has ever said, let’s focus on my local market first before we think of Oprah.) Oprah sells.

So what do I do when my author asks, Can you get my book on Oprah? Well, first, I take a deep breath. To most creative people, their book (or painting or whatever) is their baby. Just as I wouldn’t fool with a mother and her child, I don’t fool with my author and her book and, by extension, her dream.

After I exhale, I explain as clearly as I can how and where her dream hits the Oprah reality. The reality? Oprah picks winners and makes them into stars. Very few authors make it to the Oprah Show or get mentioned in her magazine.

They know this. I know they know this but I also want them to understand that as good as I am, I can’t wave a magic wand and get Oprah gushing about their book. I explain that with the limited amount of time I get to spend with an author, it is best spent getting other, more accessible media, local, radio, blogs, etc., interested in talking to them than concentrating on Oprah. (But I don’t ignore her either. After all, I’d love to see my author get on Oprah!) I also show her that we can use that media interest to build a platform for her book and perhaps get it a chance to get noticed by Oprah. It’s not as exciting or sexy as being on Oprah, but it’s critical. (more…)

Welcome to the blog of Marcia Mayne

October 21, 2009
Marcia Mayne Book Publicity

Marcia Mayne Book Publicity