From Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:
There are some authors who are superb at engaging with readers through various forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, or personalized email newsletters. Susan Mallery is one of those authors. Her Facebook page is always active. Like, umpty-thousand comments active. I’ve seen her ask or help naming characters’ children, or future heroes. A few months ago, she invited her readers to send a snapshot of themselves, which Mallery and her crew Photoshopped to add a picture of Mallery’s most recent book, making it look like the person was reading the book and peeking over the top. Readers were invited to use that as their photo on Facebook – which is just some savvy inclusive marketing like whoa.
Recently I noticed that she’d started a Review Crew, a group of dedicated readers who were invited to receive copies of her books in exchange for an honest review of the book itself.
. . . .
How would you like to receive an advanced copy of my books? I have a crazy idea… I want to put together a Review Crew, a group of readers who will get my books early – and for free – if they promise to post a review online. Nothing formal! I’m not talking about a long, drawn out review. I’m talking about a sentence or two. What does a real reader think about this book? What would you say to your best friend about it? (emphasis mine)
The world of publishing is changing. On sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the number of reviews helps “goose” the website doohickey into showing my books more often in search results. (Yeah, doohickey. I’m not very techie. All I know is, the more reviews the better.)
Here’s the deal. I have 200 copies of ALREADY HOME to give away. ALREADY HOME was first released last year in trade paperback. It’s coming out next month in mass market paperback. If you’re picked for the Review Crew, we’ll send a copy of the book to you. Then, if you post a review on Amazon and BN.com, you’ll be invited to sign up for an advanced review copy of THREE SISTERS (Blackberry Island Book 2) if we do this again. And if you post a review of that, we just might do it again with the Fool’s Gold romances.
. . . .
Reviews are a tricky subject for authors and readers, and you’ve addressed the question of reviews directly by asking directly for reviews, explaining why they’re important to the books’ success, and inviting readers to join your Review Crew, wherein they receive a free copy of the book in exchange for leaving a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Do I have that right?
Susan Mallery: Yes, but I’ll clarify. There’s no way I could send a free book to everyone who promised to write a review. We launched the Review Crew with the mass market paperback reissue of Already Home in November. My publisher kindly provided me with 200 copies of the book, so we invited readers to submit their names to be included.
I was extremely nervous that we wouldn’t find 200 readers who were willing to commit to posting reviews on both Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com. . . and I was shocked and gratified when thousands of readers applied. The only fair thing to do was to choose at random, so that’s what we did. Everyone who followed through was invited to join the Review Crew for Three Sisters, leaving us with a limited number of slots to fill.
More than 5,000 readers applied in the second round!
We chose at random and sent the book. This time, reviews must be posted during the first two weeks of release in order for them to receive an invitation to join the Review Crew for Just One Kiss (Fool’s Gold book 10). As long as the program continues, those readers who follow through will be invited to join the next Review Crew.
Link to the rest at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and thanks to Amy for the tip.