We’ve spent a few blog posts talking about newsletters, book reviewers, and street teams. Today, we’d like to talk about a combination of both of them–your reviewer mailing list. For self-publishers looking to make a bigger splash on release day, having one is key.
Why Build a List?
Your reviewer mailing list is simply a group on your regular author newsletter profile dedicated solely to handing out review copies of your books. You can set aside a different brand for this list, or keep it the same as the rest of your newsletter. (We recommend the former) Every time you get a book ready for review, you’ll send it out to your list. We’ll talk technical how-to a little further down.
Why should you maintain your own list of reviewers? First of all, if you find a reviewer who likes what you put out, why not keep that resource nearby? Given enough releases, and enough reviewers, you could have a robust list of hundreds of loyal followers. Also, as any author will tell you, reviews are very hard to come by. Asking people to jot down a few thoughts can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. Growing a big list is part of that numbers game–the more folks who have review copies, the more reviews you’ll get.
There are always readers who like getting free books for nothing in return. Therefore, keep good records of your book reviewers, including who’s leaving reviews on big box sites. If you find you’ve sent a book to someone and they haven’t ever posted a review, yank ’em off your list.
Keep in mind, however, that not all reviewers like the same books. Especially if you write in different genres, a young adult fantasy might be better received than an adult space opera. Segmenting your reviewer mailing list into which genres they like can also help cut down on sending books to the wrong folks–and give you better metrics on how well your list is performing.
How to Deliver a Review Copy
There are several different options for you. The first, and easiest, is to use a third party solution like Instafreebie, BookFunnel, or BookSprout. There, you’ll be able to upload your ARC and make it available to just your reviewers list (or even to others, if you so choose). There’s a fee associated with some of the programs, but you won’t have to deal with uploading and managing ARCs.
If you’re a little more technically savvy, you may want to consider adding your ARCs to your website and using a plug-in. We prefer to use Delightful Downloads here at SGR-Pub, combined with a MailerLite automation. Users sign up for our reviewer mailing list, they receive a welcome email with a link to review plus a password. We add links to all three formats (Kindle, ePub, PDF) to keep our reviewers happy.