5 Questions Book Bloggers/Reviewers Should Answer on Their Websites

There is a lot to love about being an author, but there are a number of frustrations that have nothing to do with actually writing. It’s the marketing and promotion that gets to me. Currently, on the top of my list is the challenge of finding reviewers or book bloggers from whom I can request a review.

Navigating book reviewer/blogger sites

I’ve spent hours going through website after website of reviewers from Amazon’s Top Reviewers using Amazon’s website as well as this site, which makes it a little easier to find and check the reviewer out. Or you can go to Twitter and do a search for “book reviewers” or “book bloggers,” adding your genre as part of the search terms. No matter where you go to find potential reviewers, you will follow the same procedure once you’ve found a website link for them.

It’s a pretty straightforward process:

Review Process

Should be nothing to it, right? It simply takes a little time to do a careful job, and it might pay off in a review. Except when the reviewer/blogger does not post a review policy. You might not get past identifying the genres they prefer, and you might only learn that by scanning recent reviews. There were sites where I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to navigate only to come up empty. Although, sometimes I was so taken with a site that I happily spent time navigating it and scanning reviews.

I was shocked at how many reviewers provide NO guidance at all for authors or publishers, only providing an online “Contact me” form. Absent a file upload link, I assumed that if the reviewer agreed, she would reply and invite me to send a file. I even encountered one site that had no page navigation, just a very jumbled home page. She had quite a few book covers representing reviews, so I can’t imagine how she acquired the books, unless it’s strictly through NetGalley or a similar aggregator.

I was impressed with Keira, of Pirate Lady Pages, who had her review policy on her site along with an online contact form. She answered my request and invited me to send the file to her the day after I submitted her form. Her website is well-designed, and her reviews are thoughtful.

Questions every book reviewer/blogger should answer on their websites

Here are questions book reviewers/bloggers can answer on their website to make it easier for authors to decide whether to request a review:

  1. Are you accepting indie authors, self-published works, small publisher books, Advance Reader Copies? And what files will you accept? ePub, mobi, pdf, print books? Do you only review books acquired through NetGalley or similar? (And if that’s what you do, have the courtesy to tell us up front.)
  2. What exactly is your review policy? (Please put it in your navigation menu.) What genres do you read? What genres will you not read? How do you define one, two, three, four, or five stars? Do you post every review, even the bad ones? What constitutes a really bad book? Where will you post? Amazon? Goodreads? Barnes & Noble? Smashwords?
  3. How should authors request a review? If by email, should they attach the file? If by online form, should the author expect a reply?
  4. Based on your TBR list, how long might it be before you can get to reviewing a submitted book?
  5. Finally, are you not accepting review requests at this time? If not, when do you anticipate resuming your reviews?

There are a lot more than five questions here, but five looks better in the title than twenty-one. Admittedly, I organized this list based on the best of the reviewer/blogger websites that I explored. If this information is available on the website, the reviewer will benefit as well. I suspect it will cut down the number of requests that simply don’t fit the reviewer’s requirements.

I’m looking forward to hearing back from those reviewers who agree to read an ARC for my forthcoming book, The Clay Sustains: Book 3 in The Clay Series.

Shameless self-promotion

The Clay Sustains

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Cultural Heritage

It is a time of struggle for Ha-wani and her people. Her village, once an extensive, thriving, open community has evolved into a closed community within a cobble-walled compound huddled fearfully beneath the rugged Stone Towers of Great-Grandfather Mountain.

The village shaman encourages the People to believe the gods have abandoned them and that only he can guide them back to plenty. He is determined, not just to control the village, but to capture Ha-wani’s spirit for himself, a spirit he knows is blessed with special gifts.

But has he underestimated the strength and spiritual power this simple woman brings to their conflict?  

Pre-sales on Amazon begin on September 1 with a launch date of September 29 at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word in Silver City, New Mexico.

“Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction

As I near the end of my current work-in-progress, The Clay Sustains, the third book of The Clay Series, I have arrived at the chapter wherein I will “solve” one of the greatest archaeological mysteries from the Hohokam era in the Tucson Basin.

In 1949, a man by the name of Ray Romo was hunting in an area of what is now Catalina State Park, near Tucson, Arizona. When the ground collapsed beneath his foot, I can only imagine he knelt down to examine the resulting hole and “peered into the past” (Swartz and Doelle, “The Romo Cache and Hohokam Life,” In the Mountain Shadows, 27:1, Archaeology Southwest, 1996 and 2013).

What he found was an ancient Hohokam pot cupped over a larger Hohokam pot containing a most exciting and intriguing treasure. Inside were 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads. That’s right. You read that correctly: 25 copper bells and 100,000 beads! romerocachediscoverysitebackgroundsstif


Continue reading ““Solving” an Archaeological Mystery in Fiction”

*”He Moved”

It was one of those moments when time slows and details become more pronounced, a rather macabre tableaux vivant, burned indelibly in my mind. My father, outside, trying to break the door down; my mother inside with the shotgun; me standing helplessly to the side. Nearly sixty years later, the image presents itself from time to time, triggered, perhaps by something on the news, in a movie, or from an overheard conversation. Time has not diminished the clarity of the image.

When she pulled the trigger, I saw him, through the window on the door, jerk his head backward and disappear from sight. Continue reading “*”He Moved””

What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1

booksSome books are meant to pass time on my shelves before getting swept into the donation box for the local library or the thrift shop. Others have the distinction of permanent residency on what might be dubbed my “shelf of honor.” Those books are the ones that have somehow made a difference in my life. Maybe they were books that left a profound impression on me through their content and the author’s craft. Or they might be personally and professionally important–those that I had the honor of editing and designing for publication (or even writing), for example, or one that marked a life-passage for me. Continue reading “What Makes a Book a Keeper? Part 1”

A Writer’s Relationship with the Reader

Many years ago, a colleague, Rus VanWestervelt, shared with me a graphic that illustrated his idea of the relationship between a writer and his reader. He described this relationship as a continuum wherein the writer never leaves the piece, but the audience doesn’t enter until a piece of writing has been officially established as a “draft,” that is, a piece of writing that has a future for the writer and a future for a reader who happens upon the piece. For this reason, he asserted, as long as the writer keeps the intended audience in mind during the drafting, revising, and editing stages of the manuscript, success is almost certain. Continue reading “A Writer’s Relationship with the Reader”

The Clay Series

One Pot…Three Women…Eight-Hundred Years


The Clay Remembers:  Available at Amazon, B&NKobo, Smashwords, and Antigone Books and Mostly Books, Indie bookstores in Tucson, Arizona.

The Clay Endures: Available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and at Antigone Books and Mostly Books, Indie bookstores in Tucson, Arizona.

The Clay Sustains: Available July 30, 2017.

Two Indispensable Tools for Writers and Editors

As a writer, I know how hard it is to self-edit and proofread my own writing. It’s important to have my manuscript as close to perfect as I can make it before I send it to my editor. (Yes, writers who are also editors hire other editors to edit their work.)

As an editor, I know how easy it is to get caught up in a client’s narrative and miss both small and large problems that must be addressed. That’s one reason I always sub-contract proofreading to someone else. But I also make sure I’ve done my own due diligence before I pass a manuscript–mine or someone else’s–to a proofreader.

Continue reading “Two Indispensable Tools for Writers and Editors”