Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Author's Guide to Writing Review Requests

Authors! When sending out review requests to bloggers, you've told me that you mainly feel nervous and hopeful. You don't want to impose on people, and you don't take book bloggers for granted, either, but at the same time getting reviews of your book is vital.

As a book blogger, I know exactly how you can get our attention, and also how you can make us think 'nope, I'm not reading or reviewing that'.

Here's what we like

~ When you prove that you have read our review policies. If you don't know what a review policy is, it's a page which all book blogs usually have. It includes their preferred genres, what formats they accept, and how to submit a review request as this can vary from blogger to blogger.

~ When you use our names! It's a pet hate of ours when we receive review requests addressed to 'Dear blogger.' Less annoying - but still quite annoying - is when we're addressed by our blog names. If you use our actual names, it shows you've taken the time to read our blogs and gotten to know us.

~ We like it when you offer a book for a giveaway as well as the review copy. I know I'm not alone when I say that I love giving back to my followers, so if it's a good book then I'd love to pass that on. Obviously you don't have to do this - a lot of authors don't - but it's definitely a bonus!

~ When you comment on our blogs. I'm not fussy about this one, but I know a few bloggers like it when requesting authors do this. It shows you've taken an interest and you're not just sending out a bulk email to several thousand others.

Here's what we don't like

~ If we decline your offer of a review copy, please don't be disrespectful in your reply. There are many reasons a blogger might refuse your book - exams, work, not enough time, your book might not be in the blogger's preferred genre...

~ Please don't say something along the lines of 'I know you don't read erotica, but I'm sure you'll make an exception for my new novel...' No. We won't. If you know for a fact that we don't read a certain genre then you have clearly read our review policy, which must say we do not review that genre. You're just wasting other people's time, and your own!

~ Attaching a copy of your book to the review request email is something which irks a lot of bloggers I know. It's presumptuous. If we want your book, we'll ask for it.

~ Don't say we have reviewed for you before when we know we haven't. A lot of bloggers are disorganised but we're not that disorganised - we can look for your name in our inbox and if you're not there, then why have you pretended we're already acquaintances? It reflects badly on you. Sorry!

~ We don't like repeat review requests for the same book, especially when you send so many emails in a short amount of time that it becomes considered spam. If you don't get a reply, the blogger probably doesn't want to review your book. There's a small chance they could just be having email problems, but from my own experiences and from knowing how my blogger friends deal with review requests, it's likely they just don't want to review your book.

~ Please don't ask us to buy your book so we can review it. We're doing you a favour, the least you could do is offer a complimentary copy of your book.
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Hopefully this was helpful for authors who aren't sure what's acceptable and what generally isn't with requesting reviews from book bloggers. This blog post was not written with the intention to offend anyone, so I'm sorry if it has!

If you want to help other authors with the do's and don't's, please consider tweeting this blog post using the buttons at the bottom.

If you're a book blogger, do you have anything else to add? If you're an author, how has your experience been with requesting reviews so far? 


25 comments:

  1. Amber, the former teacher in me can't help but admire your wonderful writing voice at such a young age... kudos to you! The writer in me appreciates this advice in this piece. I do try to maintain good relationships with bloggers, but then every now and then I panic and think I should broaden my network! I'll approach a couple of new bloggers and see how it goes. It's really great meeting bloggers at signings and events because it's easier to get a feel for who might be responsive to your work.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm never very confident in my writing so that's really nice to hear. Good luck with contacting new bloggers! :)

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  2. Generally, I think the more personal the requests are, the better. If they show that they've read our Review Policy, maybe read a few other posts on our blog, then we're going to be on better terms. I know that I personally give the most priority to authors who attempt to make some kind of connection with me through email conversation or just a blog comment. Those are the authors I'll do favors for.

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    1. Yep, I agree. Personal requests are so much better than emails that don't even acknowledge the blogger being contacted in any way. I'm the same, authors who make an email personal always get priority as they've clearly put more effort in!

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  3. Oh my gosh I can totally agree. I once got this author who asked me to review there book and she was really polite about it. But at the time I was on a hiatus and I was busy with school obligation so I said that I couldn't. Then she kept sending emails whether I had started reading it when I clearly said no...It makes me feel guilty when I know I shouldn't because sometimes you just don't have time.

    This post is such a good idea and I hope many authors read it.

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    1. Ugh, that's rude. You definitely shouldn't feel guilty about it, and I'm sure she got lots of reviews from other bloggers in the end! :)

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  4. Thanks for posting this. It can intimidating to send a book out for review, so nice to see some tips on what to do and what not to do.

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  5. Prove that you read our review policy and using our name: YES. These are my two main points I look for in a request. I don't like to get those general mails with 'hey blogger' or when it's clear they haven't paid attention to my blog with their 'I know you will love this erotica book'..

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    1. General emails like 'Hey blogger' annoy me too, unless it's from a publisher in which case it's fine because it's a regular newsletter sent to lots of people.

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  6. great idea for a post, totally agree with these! sending out bulk emails is disrespectful i think.
    charl x
    www.aplaceonthebookshelf.blogspot.com

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  7. Great post idea, Amber! I agree with all of these. I especially don't like it when authors send me a review request and don't even mention my name or my blog.

    I hope many authors read this as it would really help them! :D
    -Erika

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  8. Great post, Amber! As a book blogger here in the UK, I haven’t yet received many review requests from self-published authors (let’s see how long that will last…) but I remember when I was a blogger in my country that I would get countless emails, often from the same people about the same book and in a seriously short period of time. It’s really annoying! I understand that these writers need and want our help spreading the word about their books, but sometimes we just don’t have the time! We have our own books to read – because we bought them or because publishers sent them to us – and to actually take out some time to read novels that we are not that interested in is hard. Anyway, awesome post (again!).
    Patricia x

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    1. Thanks Patricia! I'm sure they'll come flooding in soon.

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  9. One of my big turn offs is when they tell me they are the next JK Rowling, or compare their book to a bestseller. Ugh. I let them know this in my "thanks, but no thanks" reply. Also, I agree if they want you to review their book, and you don't own it, a free copy is a must!

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    1. That's a good one! Comparing themselves to an extremely famous author like J.K. Rowling seems really big-headed to me and also, if I do accept the request, I already have high expectations because of that, so it's more disappointing if the book ends up being a let-down.

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  10. This post is brilliant and I didn't realise until now how many of the things you listed I've spotted.
    Someone sent me an email going "hey thanks for reviewing ... for me, can you review this..." when I'd never agreed to reviewing anything for this person before.
    Also, if you want me to review your book then like you said, at least let me have it for free, given that I'm doing you a favour and ALSO if you're that desperate for me to review it then please just let me have it in the format I want and ACTUALLY READ my review policy. I can't count how many times I've been asked to review PDF's and Ebooks when I've said that I can't.
    Holly x

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    1. Thanks Holly! I'd say 95% of emails I get from indie authors are asking me to review their eBook. It's SO annoying because it clearly states in my policy that I can't read them (nothing to read it on) and plus it just makes me sad that I don't own a Kindle or anything like that. It almost makes me feel like I SHOULD have one, because it seems to be expected nowadays. :/

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  11. Hi Amber - I have to say, as an author searching for reviewers, I'd like to think I have done my homework. I check every blog on my list (yours included)! I try to make sure I am sending emails to those who fit my profile as well as me fitting you! I have spent countless hours going through my list, reading your blogs and reviewer policies before I send an email or cross you off my list! Then, I wait... and wait. That being said, as an author, I think I would prefer to get a generic letter from those I email. It's torturous (LOL--seriously) waiting for a reply and then feel like my efforts were in vain for having done all that searching. I don't know how other authors feel, but when you open your emails, do you then check out the web links that you require before you make a decision? Do you know at that point whether or not you will accept the submission? Though I understand you inbox has to be bombarded with requests, is there a specific reason you do not send a response for a thumbs down? You've put requirements into your review requests blog and I hold all reviewers in the highest regard for y'all are truly the ones who can sometimes make or break an Indie author -- I ask these things so maybe you can address the author's side in your next blog! :)

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    1. Hi Honey, thanks for your comment! You seem to be doing well already by checking blogs and review policies, as you said. Personally, I don't often send rejection emails because 1) I often don't have much time and 2) I find it really hard to say no because I hate disappointing people! I'm going to take what you said on board, though. Also, I think I will do another post from an author's point of view so thank you for the suggestion. :)

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    2. Just reading the comments and thought I'd throw in my thoughts on this. In the past I've had argumentative responses to a no or been added to mailing lists without my permission. I don't advertise my email address on my blog - I use a contact form - so a reply is giving them my email address and some people think that's OK to use whenever they like.

      If someone has clearly spent a bit of time on my blog and sends me a lovely email that doesn't feel like the same one everyone else got, I'm more likely to send a polite reply.

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  12. Really interesting post. As an outsider looking in, I've always thought about how picky authors may be and about the 'do's and 'dont's they must have to consider when choosing which elite few get ARCs or review copies of books, but never really thought about it the other way around :)

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Feel free to leave me a comment. I will get back to you as soon as I can! :)