Today we’re unveiling the newest category on the blog — Book Review!

Every so often we’re going to share some of the reading material that we find particularly effective as advice to devs (or particularly ineffective) or bootstrappers who are going it the old fashioned way – alone and without a promo budget.   We’re also on the lookout for success stories, how-to’s, pretty much anything that makes sense to pass along.

Drum Roll (and the crowd goes wild!!!)…

…the first review is a book from early this year (no one ever said we were the fastest reviewers!) and we like it for several reasons.

Pitch Perfect: Practical Advice from Professional Bloggers – Steven Sande and Erica Sadun –

Pitch Perfect is written by Steven Sande and Erica Sadun from The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and is an easy to read, humorous and enjoyable series of anecdotes and essays about what to do (or not to do) when promoting your app to bloggers.

The authors are editors for the mega blog,, which focuses on most things Apple and most definitely the creative and exciting new things Apple; the two have some very good advice for developers – this book should go on the must-read list for anyone who is serious about handling their own PR and promotions, especially those on a tight budget that doesn’t include agencies or PR firms.

Detailed sections such as “How Blogs Work”, “Avoiding Common Mistakes” and “Creating Relationships” are part of their collaborative effort to raise the consciousness of developers and shoestring-budget marketers, citing examples of how badly things can be botched (submitting Android apps to an Apple-centric blog for review) to silly mistakes (forgetting to include the URL or appstore page link to your app) that nearly everyone makes at least once.

“We’ll share tips on how to help your pitch avoid inbox deletion, describe ways to keep tech bloggers in the loop about what you’re working on, and point you in the right direction on maintaining good relations with the public and the press.”

Some of the more salient points that caught our collective eye included advice on being succinct when contacting bloggers for app reviews, getting potential users to help with your testing, and making sure your support site is ready to go BEFORE you contact bloggers to beg them for reviews.   Thoughts on writing good press releases and what puts a reviewer to sleep about the time they hit the delete button when reading your pitch are also notable.

They deal with handling rejection – when a reviewer either disses your app or (hopefully) sends you something back detailing the problems without the bad review, and what sort of changes to the product, collateral, etc they would want to see before committing to reviewing your product publicly (and again, hopefully, in a positive light).

Another notable inclusion in the book is the section on social media and ways to more easily integrate social marketing, especially via automation, as part of the PR/promo process.  There are some simple ideas that can be leveraged easily by anyone with five minutes daily and a good WordPress/Drupal/Joomla setup for product pages and product support.

Doing a little homework and crafting a more effective pitch to reviewers at high traffic sites is a key element today to get your app noticed.  Learning to entice reviewers into spending a few minutes to peruse your marketing collateral (product pages, appstore pages) in the hopes of convincing them to install and review your app is a critical function, given the sheer number of apps in the marketplaces and the difficulty in gauging ROI on most advertising methods other than CPI campaigns.  The long tail effect of search results on review sites and search engines is another powerful motivator to edit those emails to get the right message across prior to sending.

The book is a fun read, on topic and relevant, with some humorous anecdotes sprinkled through to keep it lively.   We each bought the Kindle edition, since Hazel was raving about it and I didn’t want to wait to read it.