Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ask Angela


CAROL GORDON EKSTER asks: I wondered what your opinion is on how many books to send out yourself (as opposed to your publisher) to reviewers or people who might spread the word about your book. Each book costs the author plus the mailing, and I'm confused about how much promotion to do. Any insight you can give would be appreciated.

Thanks, Carol Gordon Ekster
Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?-A Story of Divorce
a children's book released by Boulden Publishing, fall, 2008

Angela says: Great question, Carol! First, try to find out from your publisher or publicist where ARCs are sent. Some will have standard outlets that always receive ARCs. As for your personal stack, you should only send to publications that you know want the book and will likely do a review. Don't expect every one to follow through. It simply is not feasible. Don't spend a ton of money send ARCs via FedEx, USPS overnight delivery, UPS or DHL. Send it media mail - unless specifically requested by the publication.

There is no guarantee faster delivery will get you a quick review turnaround. To save time and money, ask reviewers if they will accept a PDF ARC via email. Some will, some won't. Personally, I get a better reading experience from a hardcopy, but I do make exceptions - particularly for self-published/POD authors. You may consider using password protection for the PDF, and sending that information in a separate email. If you don't have the full Adobe program to covert Word to PDF, visit Adobe's Web site, where you can do that for a nominal fee.


JESSICA JAMES asks: I am getting ready to plan a blog tour and have a couple of bloggers I would like to contact. What is the proper etiquette for contacting them, and what should I offer them in return for their time and energy in hosting me?

Jessica James
Author of the award-winning Civil War novel,
Shades of Gray

Angela says : Jessica -Congratulations for your entry into the virtual realm! You will find most bloggers don't stand on ceremony - but that doesn't mean you should send less-than-stellar email queries.

At Pop Syndicate, I immediately delete all queries with rampant misspellings, poor punctuation and incoherent thoughts. I don't expect someone to be formal; just professional. If they don't care enough to send a well-written, but brief, MySpace message, chances are they won't follow through on their tours.

Keep your queries short and to the point. Use the host's name, if available. Tell them why your novel is a good fit for their blog and ask them to consider hosting you. Include your email, address, phone and Web site in the signature line. Do not send attachments of your book cover or excerpts until they are requested.

In return, tell the bloggers you will promote their site and your tour date to your fans on social networks, in newsletters, forums, listservs, groups and any other online venue you belong to. Some may ask you to do a permanent link to share on their site - I'll post your site if you post mine.

Consider these requests, but do not feel obligated. If you do several tours, your list will become too long and difficult to navigate, and will clutter your page.

Read more about planning virtual tours here.

Angela Wilson is an author, freelance author publicist and professional blogger and podcaster. She requests ARCs and manages the book blog for Pop Syndicate, where she hosts authors on virtual book tours. If you have a question about promotions, visit, or email her directly at
Your question may be used on that site and/or here.

Find Angela Wilson at :


  1. Good Evening,
    Great questions,Jessica and Carol. Enjoyed the answers too Angela.Very informative.
    Margaret Tanner

  2. Anonymous7:03 AM

    Thanks for answering my question, Angela! I never thought about telling hosts that I would promote their site (but of course I would).

  3. I agree hosting should be a two way street. When I host someone,I expect that person to tell people to come on over. Otherwise, I'll think twice about hosting that person again.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Excellent column Angela! I hope no one minds if I add a couple of comments.

    Carol, it's also a good idea to keep a list of contact information for where you send your ARCs. Good reviewers stay very busy, so it's possible it could be a month or more before your book is reviewed. Unless they've given you an estimated date of completion, you or your publicist might want to follow up if you haven't seen the review a month or so after the book has been mailed.

    And Jessica, Angela has given you some excellent advice. As a virtual book tour coordinator I am constantly reaching out to bloggers for these types of requests. It's also a smart idea to place the name of the blog somewhere in the email. I find that if I don't do that I forget which blogger goes with each blog and sometimes they don't include links in their replies. I usually try to put it in the introduction.

    "Dear (Blogger's name):

    I was just out at your site, The Book Connection..."

    Best of luck with your books ladies. Angela, I look forward to your next column.



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