Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear Teachers & Librarians. . .

Dear Teachers and Librarians and amazing supporters of my first book THE PULL OF GRAVITY and my next book THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO (Free five chapter Kindle preview available starting February 1),

I love connecting with you and your students, and as many of you know, I am always willing to Skype in for free if you've used my book as a read-aloud in your classroom (usually middle schools) or carry a reasonable number of copies of the book(s) in your classroom.

Not because I don't need the money (sadly, I do), but because there's nothing more I love to do  than connect with readers, and give them a period off from their usual class work -- which is, my own kids assure me, the main selling point of any such Skype visit I may pay, at least as far as your students are concerned. ;)

The other reason I do this for free is that I know the schools don't often have a lot of slush in their budgets, at least that they're willing to part with for "reading stuff."

Having said that, I've got some new RULES.

Okay, fine, maybe not rules exactly, because I'm weak and I love you, but I'm asking you, begging you: if I Skype in -- if I have recently Skyped in -- that you require your students to put up a brief review of my book on Amazon if they have access to an account. It should be an honest review. It can be a one-line review. But a review. (If they hated the book, then, fine, don't really push them to...)

I hate to beg, but fresh reviews, and reviews in general, actually help some algorithm that keeps the book in the forefront of amazon searches, etc. and, frankly, my book needs all the help it can get. It's got lots of critical acclaim (Bank Street Best of 2012, Nerdy Award for YA 2011, great Kirkus and other reviews...) but not a ton of readers. And I'd love more readers. I need more readers. And more importantly, I'll cry if it goes out of print.

So, I'm asking you to please have your students take five minutes to put up a rating or review. Assign it as extra credit. Give them a point or two if they bring in a copy of the review. Want to make them work harder for extra credit? Let them put up a review for the books of other Teachers Write! posters who have donated their time to Teachers Write! or other such endeavors.

Amazon, Goodreads, Tumblr, etc. wherever teens are had, would love them to post a review.

For example only, I have under 60 reviews on Amazon, but I have Skyped in to at least -- at least -- thirty different library book clubs or classrooms for free. At the end of every such visit, I always ask them to put up reviews. This means at least 600 - 1200 students that have read my book, or been read my book and I have Skyped with, but I have 59 reviews on Amazon as of this morning, mostly from adults. A little sad, isn't it?

I'd really love more from students. I need people to know the book is getting read.

With thanks and gratitude,



  1. I have a student who must finished TPoG. I'll beg, bribe, cajole her to post it to Amazon if we ever make it back to school from cold and snow. You would think IN could deal with snow a little better than this year. I'm used to NC where they've cancelled school tomorrow before any snowflakes fall!

    1. Thank you, Kay. So appreciated. We're about to get blasted with COLD again too. Too cold to bear. Hope the students in your amazing class will love the new one too. <3

  2. I must confess, I only read half of TPoG. I loaded it on the Nooks at the school I left a few years ago. I left before I was able to finish reading. This Friday is pay day (which is good because we are eating PB&J this week. A lot.) I have allowed myself 1 book purchase a month. I will purchase from said site and review asap. Because Mr. Hankins says you're cool and after our brief meeting at NCTE, I concur. I'm not in a classroom right now, but I'll promote to any teachers around here who will listen to me :-)

    1. Teresa, send me an email at

  3. Thanks for the reminder. I haven't been great about supporting my author buddies by way of review when I love their books. Now that I'm in need of reviews myself, I have a greater appreciation. ^_^

  4. I'm not huge on reviewing either - ever since I became a published writer I feel totally unqualified to review others' work. Certainly unqualified to give a quantitative review meaning, assigning stars. The ONLY time I give a star rating these days is if a book SO resonates with me, I can't help but give it five stars wishing there were more, because I desperately want others to read it. Short of that, I don't rank anymore or review really because, just because a book didn't resonate with me doesnt mean it isn't wonderful. I find it a hard position to be in as an author because of course I'm not going to LOVE every book I read anymore than everyone is going to LOVE mine.

  5. (I used to review all the time before I became an author... funny, huh?)