You’ve Got To Second Base, Now What? by Jim Mcleod

jim mcleod ginger nuts of horror logo
Right, I take it you read my article from the other day “A REVIEWERS GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR HORROR BOOK REVIEWED” In that article I gave you the Rookie some solid advice on how to get your book onto the review piles of horror author review websites.  I bet you thought that was it, you had done your bit.  I bet you thought you could now kick back, put on your slippers and break out your clichéd writer pipe, and blow smoke rings into the ether.  You thought wrong.

I’m sorry folks there is more to this game than first appeared.  You see reviewers are swamped with books; just getting the reviewer to take on your book is just the first step. Yes second base might seem like fun, but if you really want to succeed, you need to get to third base, and if you are lucky and the reviewer likes you, that teenage dream of a home run will soon be in your grasp.

Right you’ve got to second base, the reviewer likes you, but is still a bit unsure about.  He probably has hundreds of other writers all trying to get their hands on third base.  How do you beat of all of these other potential suitors?

Simple it’s the same basic principle as mentioned in the previous article.


Reviewers like to feel special, we don’t like to be used and dumped, when a more attractive offer comes along.  So talk to us, if you are on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or any other social networking site, interact with us.  We like to be talked to. Reviewing can be a lonely game.  Just don’t talk about your book!  I know what you’re thinking,

 “If I don’t talk about my book how will anyone know that it is fantastic?”

Trust me there is more spam flying about on social networking sites than at a Monty Python musical.  If you don’t believe me just look at almost any Facebook group about writing, it is full of thousands of people just like you, jostling for attention.  Spend any amount of time there and your eyes will defocus, you’ll stop paying attention, and all you see is an ever changing sea of static, stay long enough and you’ll soon drown in that sea.

So how do I get people to notice me?  I hear you ask.  Simple talk about anything and everything except your book.  Most Facebook groups are rubbish, there are some great ones that have Spam limiting regulations and actually have groups of writers talking and discussing about the writing game.  However, what you will find is that most people will form groups without ever realising it.  Look at your friend list, I bet you don’t actively interact with more than 15% of them.   They know who you are and what you do.  Are there any reviewers in your core group?  No.  Here’s how you get noticed.

You know who we are, or you should do if you followed the steps in the previous article.  Now find us on Facebook, look at what we talk about and with whom we do it with, and interact with us.  We don’t bite.  If we think you are a decent guy, with interesting things to say, we are more likely to dig your book out of that pile.  And this is where it gets interesting, you see my friends may not know your friends, so my friends will also start to find you interesting, they may even let you into their circle of friends, and that circle of friends may not know your circle of friends and they might also let you in and so on and so on.

Just be careful don’t be a douche.  The Horror Writer community in the UK is a small one.  And when one horror writer acts like a douche, it doesn’t take long for that name to spread like a zombie plague through the community.

“So all I have to do to get to third base is be normal?” Yes it’s that simple, you’re there chances are you’ve now had your book reviewed.  WAIT!!! This still isn’t the end; you want to get to that elusive home run don’t you?

In case you are wondering, a Home Run is where a reviewer actively supports you, they go out of their way to promote your work, they’ll offer you comprehensive interviews, will post news articles about your latest release, ask you to write a guest post.

Again this is a simple thing to achieve, just be nice, don’t be a douche, and above all be interesting.

One of the easiest things to do is link back to the review that the site has posted.  If you have a blog, write a quick entry with a link back to the review.  If you have such a thing as a blogroll or a link page, add a permanent link to the review sites main page.

Secondly share the link to the review site around, retweet the sites tweets, like and share on Facebook.  The reviewer will soon see you doing this, and this will make the reviewer happy.   Even if the review isn’t particularly great.  Remember there is no space for prima donnas anywhere on the internet.  The last thing the world needs is another horror writer getting all upset and having a horror author meltdown.

He might ask you to do an interview.  Chances are he will ask you to do a quick standard interview initially.  These interviews act as a filter, the last thing a reviewer wants to do is waste time researching you, coming up with questions specific to you and your writing, only to find out that you have answered the interview with one word and one sentence answers.  This really, really pisses us off.

To put it in perspective I spend on average FIVE HOURS just researching an author, then a few more writing the review, and God only knows how long formatting and sharing the interview around.  Which leads us to the second important point.  If the interview as a style format, please, please stick to it.   For example, in my interviews the questions are in plain font, (I am experimenting with putting them in italics) NO underlining and NO bold.  The authors answers are in Bold, book titles should be in italics, NOT CAPS.   And please please don’t use silly indents; see how the paragraphs are not indented that’s how I like it.

I’ll be honest here I have a load of completed 5 Minutes With interviews to format, and there are a few that have been stagnating in my inbox for months, simply because the answer are basic at best and the formatting in them hurts my eyes.

If you are interesting and engage the website’s audience, and more importantly the author of the website you might get lucky and get offered a full on in depth interview.  Congratulations, you’re almost there the crowd is roaring, the ball is halfway down field, the sun is in the catchers eye,  a home run is just a few steps away.

Right, you’ve got your interview, you’ve shared it, linked back to the website, now what?  Simple

don’t love ’em and leave them 

Keep in contact with the website, you don’t have to share and interact with everything, just every now and again share a link on Facebook, retweet a tweet.   Add the site or even just your review or interview to sites such as Stumbleupon, Reddit Digg etc. , The more you and other writers do this the bigger the website audience becomes, and guess what that means, Yep, the audience for the next review of your work will also be bigger.

There are other things you can do, give the reviewer a shout out in the acknowledgements of your next book, hell if you really like them give use a line from their review as a cover quote.

Make us feel special and we’ll do our best to make you special.   If we are both lucky a true friendship may form, there are a handful of horror writers out there that I class as true friends.  They know who they are and for that I am grateful for their support and friendship.


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