Friday, February 15, 2013

Template for Book Review that Touts Reviewers Own Book

I wanted you--my visitors and subscribers--to see this review because it is an example of how reviews can be used by authors to help promote their own books. Of course, as I mention in The Frugal Book Promoter (, it's also great for networking with editors, other authors, publishers of journals, etc.  Just a caveat, though. This technique of mixing information about your own book only works well with reviews you use on your Web site or blog. Don't try it with a review you post on an online bookstore or you may get banned for life!

Here is the example, one of my favorites!

Book Review: The Frugal Book Promoter
By Karen Fisher-Alaniz

Hi there. I’m going to veer way off track with this post. I don’t usually do book reviews, but as I’ve spoken to many, many readers who are also writers, I often field their questions about the publishing industry, marketing, and publicity. There are a few books that I have found so valuable that I want to share them with you.

I read the first edition of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s, The Frugal Book Promoter, long before my book came out. It was a great way to educate myself. Then I reread it when my book was about to be released. Well, she now has a new edition. I didn’t think there was much to improve upon, but she’s done it again
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book, The Frugal Book Promoter is a must-read. It is so full of useful and practical information that I could easily read it in one sitting. But I didn’t. Why? Because this is not a book to be read passively; it’s a book of action. Written in way that motivated me to immediately apply my new knowledge, the book quickly rose to the top of my pile of author self-help books. Many, many times I not only took notes, or put a sticky note in the margin, but I also opened my laptop and immediately applied the new knowledge to my own book. And I’ve seen results.

Here are a few things I implemented:

Unique Uses of Book Reviews: Reviews by the big reviewers like Kirkus are great. But the average reader has no idea interest in those. My memoir, Breaking the Code: a Father’s Secret, a Daughter’s Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything, had been out for about six months when I started reading Carolyn’s book. I’d had some really nice reviews; some from NY Times Bestselling authors, and others by ordinary people who read my book or heard me speak. Using Carolyn’s book as a guide, I gathered up the reviews to put them in one place. Always asking permission first, I took reviews from blogs, websites, newspapers, professional review sites, and even personal letters I received from readers. Then I not only created a Reviews page, but also interspersed them on many of the pages on my website, depending on what the review was about. The result is a website that is vibrant and full of what other people have to say. I love it!

Contacting Authors in Related Genre: Again using Carolyn’s advice, I contacted an author in a similar genre and offered to send her a book. She read it and loved it, so I asked her for a review. Not only did she post it on her social media sites, but I then advocated for that review to be a blurb on the back cover of my book, when it went into a second printing. Perfect!

Increase Your Books Visual Recognition: Because my memoir is about my father, a WWII veteran, it was important to hyphenate my name. So, my author name became Karen Fisher-Alaniz. That’s a lot to remember and I fretted over whether people would be able to remember it. But as Carolyn so aptly points out, the cover of the book is just as important; it’s so much more visual. The Frugal Book Promoter is all about taking your book promotion into your own hands.

Practicing what I preach – cover of my book!

One thing I quickly realized was that when I spoke at conferences, the pre-prepared placards and name tags focused on my name, not my book. 1) So, I began carrying one of those inexpensive plate holders, to every author event I participated in. When I was speaking or on a panel discussion, I set my book in the holder next to the placard, so the audience could see it as I spoke. Other authors, believing they’d been overlooked by the organizers, wanted to know where I got my book holder. 2) I also adapted the nametag that hung around my neck by gluing a small book image under my name. Funny thing is that again, other authors wanted to know how I got my custom nametag. When I told them I’d done it myself, I always heard an enthusiastic, “That’s a good idea!” And that’s just what Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book is all about. Good ideas!

Conclusion: I’ve read through The Frugal Book Promoter a couple of times. What I find is that each time, I get something different out of it. Some new idea will resonate with me, and I’ll give it a try. I still have a lot to learn. But the most important outcome of reading The Frugal Book Promoter is that I know that there is a lot I can control about how far my book goes. The life of my book is not determined by statistics, or by what someone else does or doesn’t do. I know that there are steps I can take to ensure that my book stays fresh and continues to reach its audience. And that, my friends, is gold to an author!

~The blogger and reviewer is Karen Fisher-Alaniz. She is author of Breaking the Code: a Father's Secret, a Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks). Learn more about her at .

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

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