The right way to ask for reviews

It’s weird to think that I’ve written more than 600 reviews since I started my website back in 2016. Of course, as I cross-post these reviews to various sites like IMDb, Goodreads, and Amazon, I started receiving requests for reviews relatively soon after I started gaining some traction from my posts (my reviewer ranking is above 23,000). I’ll ignore the requests clearly from Chinese sellers trying to manipulate their Amazon rankings, but I do have a soft spot for authors. Unfortunately, most authors don’t know how to interact with reviewers—especially when sending a request via e-mail. They all understand the value of reviews, but they don’t take the time to ensure they’re making the best first impression. After all, reviewers are people and sending a review request is much like pitching an agent: you want to show you’ve done your homework. As a result, most reviewers will ignore these requests or send them to their spam folder, which wastes the author’s...
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The ABC+ of Beta Reading

A few months ago, I discussed how there are four essential edits that every author should perform on their manuscript. While the author can do half of these edits by themselves, two edits need the input of other people: editors and beta readers. Authors shouldn’t expect editors to ask what to look for during their review, but most beta readers might not know the types of useful feedback the author is seeking with their review. It doesn’t hurt to provide beta readers with a little guidance on what to be looking for when they read the author’s manuscript. The benefits of beta readers are due to the fact that they aren’t necessarily professionals reading your work. They won’t have the background to tell you if you’re using too many dangling participles (like your editor should). Instead, they have the “layman” view of someone who would pick up your book and read it for entertainment purposes. Consequently, the beta readers should be able...
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