Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hi Everyone! Natalie here today. Today, I’ve got a fantastic tip by debut author Aviva Orr. She shares with us her advice on getting early reviews for our books, not an easy task. Her YA novel, THE MIST ON BRONTE MOOR, was released on January 8, 2013. I’ve included a blurb of her book and details on the contest at the end of her tip.

So here’s Aviva.

Getting early reviews for your novel

When my debut novel, THE MIST ON THE BRONTE MOOR, was accepted for publication, I didn’t even have a website, let alone connections online with bloggers and reviewers. So finding early reviews for my book was a daunting task.

At first, it seemed simple enough. I Googled young-adult book reviewers, targeted the most established blogs, and requested reviews from those who were accepting books. But after a few weeks, I had zero replies. Book reviewers, I learned, are very busy. Even the ones with newer blogs get hundreds of requests, and most only accept a limited number of Indie books. Aside from one or two critique partners, I had no one to review my book.

Enter Goodreads. A few weeks after my book went up on Goodreads, people slowly started adding it to their reading pile, and some of these people had blogs. I decided to focus on bloggers who had already shown an interest in reading my book. It didn’t matter if the blog was new or well-established, or in which country the reviewer was located. I investigated the website of every blogger who added my book to Goodreads. This took a lot of time and effort. I had to familiarize myself with each blogger’s policy and reviewing style before requesting a review. For those bloggers who weren’t accepting books for review, I requested help with promotion. The effort turned out to be worthwhile. Ninety percent of the bloggers responded positively. After a while, things got a little easier and a few bloggers contacted me requesting reviews.

What I’ve learned since is that bloggers sometimes take a long time to write a review (understandable), so it is best to request a review several months in advance. Book tours take priority because specific dates are set for the review (next time I’ll plan a book tour well in advance of my release date). If you didn’t agree to a specific date with the reviewer, you might end up waiting months. Nonetheless, it’s not a good idea rush the reviewer or send an email asking when the review will be posted (assuming you ever want them to review another one of your books). Once the review is posted, I always send an email thanking the blogger for the review, and I follow their blog so as to maintain contact.

On the whole, I have found book bloggers to be very helpful to authors, and I am extremely grateful to those who helped me get the word out about my novel.

You can find Aviva at

And here’s a blurb of THE MIST ON THE BRONTE MOOR from Goodreads:

When Heather Jane Bell is diagnosed with alopecia and her hair starts falling out in clumps, she wants nothing more than to escape her home in London and disappear off the face of the earth.

Heather gets her wish when her concerned parents send her to stay with a great-aunt in West Yorkshire. But shortly after she arrives, Heather becomes lost on the moors and is swept through the mist back to the year 1833. There she encounters fifteen-year-old Emily Brontë and is given refuge in the Brontë Parsonage.

Unaware of her host family’s genius and future fame, Heather struggles to cope with alopecia amongst strangers in a world foreign to her. While Heather finds comfort and strength in her growing friendship with Emily and in the embrace of the close-knit Brontë family, her emotions are stretched to the limit when she falls for Emily’s brilliant but troubled brother, Branwell.

Will Heather return to the comforts and conveniences of the twenty-first century? Or will she choose love and remain in the harsh world of nineteenth-century Haworth?

Aviva has generously offered an e-book of THE MIST ON BRONTE MOOR for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on March 30th. I’ll announce the winner on April 1st.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Hope to see you tomorrow when I share THE RUNAWAY KING by Jennifer Nielsen. It's one of my favorite books this year and I'll be doing a giveaway.


Anonymous said...

Great tips. I have found the Goodreads community to be very kind. Thanks for sharing.

Liesel K. Hill said...

Great advice to any newbie author! Sounds like a fascinating book! :D

Pat Kahn's Childsplay said...

Good advice! I've tweeted about the giveaway (to share the giveaway as well as the good advice0. Thanks for offering this.

S.P. Bowers said...

Great advice about book bloggers. I've been wondering how that all works. Thanks, and congrats on the book!

MeganC said...

I'm totally biased because Aviva is my critique partner, but I have to say the book IS fabulous, and I wish Aviva all the success in the world on her book. Thanks for the great advice, and thanks to Natalie for the post. :-)

Kiki Hamilton said...

It's hard to know how much marketing the author is responsible for until your book is slated for publication - then you learn the hard truth! These are great suggestions, Aviva. Good luck with your book - sounds like a great read!

Thanks for another interesting post, Natalie!! :-)

Steve MC said...

Great tip, and excellent idea for a novel.

About her choice of whether to stay back then or not, I just hope she doesn't mess up my copy of Wuthering Heights. :-)

middle grade ninja said...

Please don't enter me in the contest as I just won a book here and it's someone else's turn to win. I just wanted to chime in and agree that even book review bloggers who make no monies are very busy and don't appreciate angry emails from self-published writers when we politely decline to review your book:)

We do appreciate tweets and Facebook likes:)

Jessie Humphries said...

I hadn't thought of this subject at all yet. I suppose I should start sooner than later! Thanks.

Cherie Reich said...

Ooo, that is a good tip about gaining early reviews! I hadn't thought about seeking them out from Goodreads in that way. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sounds like a great book, and that's a good tip about gaining early reviews!

Unknown said...

I would not have thought about early reviews. This is great and detailed advice. Thank you for sharing the insight, Avivia.

Thanks as always for the great post Natalie :)

Candace said...

I hosted Aviva on the blog back before her book was out and it was a real pleasure! I actually really want to read the book, but like she said we are busy people!
It does sound like she has it down though. As a book tour organizer I know that it gets to where it doesn't particularly matter how well known the blogger is (though getting on large blogs is obviously better) but ANY reviews you can get are good. And as long as they post on goodreads and amazon it's totally worth it! Building reviews on amazon is pretty much one of the most important things for new authors because that's where most people buy the book.
I also agree that you'll want to approach people early. It's hard when you self publish or publish with a small press because early copies are not always available and so it takes a bit longer for those reviews to get out in the world.
Absolutely fantastic post!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Candace for helping to promote my book before its release. And thanks, Natalie for having me as a guest on your blog.

I wanted to add that many reviewers give helpful advice on their websites, and I learned a lot from reading what they had to offer. For example, it was from Tammy February’s website (The Book Fairy’s Haven) that I learned not to email a reviewer inquiring when a review will be posted. She requests that authors not do this as part of her review policy. Before reading that, it hadn't occurred to me how annoying an email of that nature could be (imagine receiving 50 or more emails asking when reviews will be posted!). There's a lot for a new author to learn, so it’s probably never too early to start checking out book blogging sites.

Valette M. said...

Thanks for the giveaway!
pomegranatesunrise (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Alyssa said...

AWwww, this is so nice! I need to read this one! :D

GFC - Alyssa Susanna
Shared: https://twitter.com/Alyssa_Susanna/status/314836017762955264

Thank you!

Ashfa said...

The book looks awesome.
GFC-Ashfa Anwer
Tweeted: https://twitter.com/TopsyTurvy_Ash/status/315374820529422337


Unknown said...

This sounds good!
GFC: Jessica Noreault
Email : Shinyxoxmuffins at yahoo dot com

Holly Bryan said...

Such a great giveaway - I have been wanting to read this one!! The Bronte sisters are definitely in my very top tier of favorite authors; I have read everything they wrote, I believe. I follow via GFC: Holly; tweeted the advice/giveaway: https://twitter.com/hmbryan/status/316976089887031296.

I just wanted to echo Aviva's tip - I'm not an author, nor am I even a blogger - I'm just a reader who follows a ton of book blogs and reads a ton of books! I'm not so great with writing reviews, even for books I ADORE (still haven't written one for THE RAVEN BOYS or THIS IS NOT A TEST, two of my favorite books from last year), BUT if an author emails me via Goodreads and asks me if I would be willing to read and review their book, I will absolutely do it. They ensure that I will write a review by contacting me personally (and giving me a copy of the book, in the case of those who have contacted me so far), because if an author contacts me personally I will make sure to write a review for them. So, Aviva's excellent advice is also applicable to readers who aren't bloggers but are active on GR! Of course, that doesn't net you anywhere near the reach that the lovely bloggers do, but it is a thought :)

Thanks so much! I continue to love your blog!!

Holly Bryan said...

Shucks, forgot to include my email. Sorry about that.
bryanholly34 (at) gmail.com

Holly Letson said...

The book looks beautiful. I bet it's a great story, too.
I have found that most people on GR are pretty nice. Feel free to note me on there as well.

bookaholicholly at gmail dot com
GFC: Holly Letson

Shared @ https://www.facebook.com/KinomiyaMichiru/posts/495730407141358