The Almighty Book Review: How to Get Reviews and Where to Get Them

If you are sending your book—a galley or ARC (Advance Reader Copy), if you’ve planned well—off to be reviewed, you are saying to yourself and the world of book critics that you’re ready for attention. You package up your book, your press release, a list of endorsements, and a cover letter, and you hope for the best. But how can you get reviews when you’re a self or indie publisher and you’re competing against authors with a whole PR team behind them?

First, plan ahead. Get your book in top form and create strongly written and designed materials to accompany it (for a reviewer’s checklist, see the sidebar). Second, target your reviewer market. Look for publications or websites that focus on your subject matter, whether it’s paranormal YA romance or the history of a third world country. You’ll be much more successful if you don’t waste time or money trying to get reviews from people who won’t be interested.  Continue reading

Revise Right: Five Steps to Revising Your Novel

As many authors know, writing a novel is only the beginning…the beginning of months and months of revisions! Whether you’re self-publishing, working with a publishing house, or preparing yourself to submit to a literary agent, you want your novel to be as clean as possible before it reaches its readers. Here are five tips for going from first draft to polished work.

  1. Take a breather and start fresh.

After you finish the last page of your novel, take a break. Your first instinct might be to scroll back up to page one, but allow yourself time to reflect on your characters and your story. Give yourself a few days, a few weeks, or even a year off before you start editing. You want to return to your work with fresh eyes and a bit of distance. (And when you do sit down again, save a new version of your document so you have your first draft tucked away for that inevitable moment when you accidentally delete a key plotline.)  Continue reading

How to Find a Literary Agent: The Manuscript, the Query, and More

Securing a literary agent is one of the hardest parts of being an author. It’s harder even than getting your book published—dozens of small presses will publish unrepresented work, and of course we are living in the heyday of self-publishing. But for those who dream of seeing a Random House or HarperCollins logo on the spine of their book, it’s nearly impossible to get attention for your book without a literary agent.

Why is that? Well, agents are the gatekeepers of publishing. Editors at big houses know that if a respected agent has put his or her stamp of approval on a manuscript, it is worth a look. So if you’re someone who wants a shot in the big leagues, start by looking for representation. I’ve put together the five basic steps for finding and querying an agent below. Good luck.  Continue reading