Here at The Book Pushers we love blogging. We love to read great books, talk to authors and chat with fellow readers. But, one of the biggest annoyances as a blogger is dealing with review requests.
So we decided to come up with with this helpful blogging and review requesting 101 lesson plan for authors.
1. As an author, you should always know who your audience is. In other words, please do your homework!
If you are writing romance books, you’re gonna want to find a romance blogger, like us. Likewise, if you write military nonfiction, you should find someone who likes those books. Almost all reviewers have what types of books they accept for review on there “about me” page. Read it! Follow it! And please don’t send them books or requests that are not applicable. If you think they might like your book anyways then Rule # 2 doubly applies to you.
2. Provide information with your request.
Do not send an email that only says “Please read my book!” Most bloggers don’t have time to search around to find out more information about your book. Give us the blurb, the genre, a link to an excerpt. We really appreciate not having to hunt down information about your book to determine if we are interesting in reviewing it.
3. Be polite and professional with your request. Here are a few very unprofessional things I’ve seen:
– Addressing someone as the wrong name. If you can’t take the time to look up who runs a review site, don’t bother sending your request. Call me MinnChica, call me Nicole, I don’t even care if you call me Dear BookPusher. But DO NOT call me Jim, Jane, or Hey. It’s kind of rude. It shows you don’t really care, that you can’t take the time to look up who you are reaching out to.
Recently my friend Sophia from Fiction Vixen got an email calling her Dear Fiction. Many of us had a good chuckle on Twitter about it. With only a minute or two of looking through her blog, that author could have known her name, could have seen many people call her FV. Not taking the time to do so made that author seem unprofessional and rude.
– Don’t talk negatively about other bloggers or authors. Most of us bloggers are all pretty good friends. We enjoy talking about books, and we don’t take kindly to you bashing one of our friends. And while you might think you’re book is better than someone elses’, we might not agree.
– Don’t get caught up in online BS. Again, us bloggers talk to each other. If you create a reputation for yourself online as arguing with reviewers, leaving negative comments on reviews, or creating drama online, we don’t want to deal with you, regardless of how wonderful your book might be. The headache of dealing with the “what if’s” doesn’t appeal to us. But at the same time, we’re not exactly a quiet bunch. Once we get riled up, we’ll let you know!
– Sending a copy of the book before a reviewer says they will accept the request. I don’t know if this necessarily bothers ALL bloggers, but I find it quite presumptive. If we have been talking about your book or have already reviewed your work please feel free to send the book along with your request.
4. Know what you are getting yourself into.
No two book blogs are alike. Here at The Book Pushers, we are all kind-hearted and honest about what we did and didn’t like, and are not likely to use snark or overly dramatic prose in our reviews. Some blogs will be more likely to be snarky and sarcastic in their reviews, especially if they didn’t like your book. Others are known for being blunt and occasionally harsh in their language as far as why they did or did not like it. If you are the kind of author/person who can’t handle that, figure that out ahead of time, and send your reviews only to those who you WANT to hear from. If someone does give you a bad review, remember not to engage them. You asked for the review. They gave their opinions. Whether or not you agree with the reviewers opinion doesn’t mean you can start a Capslockfesto.
5. Don’t lie to us.
Please don’t tell us that you love to read our blog day in and day out. Please don’t tell us you think we have great content, then ask us to read your self-help book. If you honestly read our blog, you will know we have never (and will never) read a self-help book. We are not stupid, but when you lie to us, it makes you look unprofessional. (Poor Sophia from Fiction Vixen had this happen to her WHILE getting called Dear Fiction. 🙁 Never a good thing to get more than one thing on the list wrong!)
6. Give us some time to get back to you, and some time to get your book read/reviewed.
Most bloggers (at least here at The Book Pushers) have lives outside of blogging. We work full time jobs, we have families to take care of, we need to eat and sleep and have time for reading. Give us a couple days to get back to you. If you are worried your review or request has fallen to the wayside, give us a few days before sending one email after another asking if we got your original email or when your review will be posted. This will only clutter our inbox, and we don’t like cluttered inboxes because… ZOMG and *head explodes*.
To end on a more positive note, here is something that an author recently said in a review request to me that I was so pleased to see:
She told me why she thought I’d like her book, based on something I’d already read. I got an email a few weeks ago that said “I see you’ve recently reviewed a few science-fiction romance novels. I was wondering if you would be interested in reviewing my science fiction romance novel, it’s recently been favorably compared to books X, Y and X that you have recently read. To me this shows that you’ve taken the time to actually look at my blog, you’ve seen what I like and you can honestly give me a reason why you think I’d like it.
5 thoughts on “School is in Session: Review Requesting 101”
Great advice 🙂
And yes please know my name (if it be Book Girl, Blodeuedd or whatever, just as long as it has something to do with me), and say hi at least, and thanks.
And I am not a fan of those who send the book at once. Before i felt compelled to review those then, now they go in the trash
@blodeuedd: Thanks! And yeah, I usually just trash the emails of the people who send the book without asking me first.
I agree 100 percent with your point about knowing an audience and becoming familiar with a site. If an author can’t take the time to read my blog, and make sure that I’m a fit, then why should I take the time to read said author’s book?
I don’t mind getting a book ahead of time too much. I do agree that it seems a bit presumptuous, but if I don’t want to read it it’s no big deal to me. I do dislike it — a lot — when an author feels compelled to defend a book to me after I’ve reviewed it.
Great post! 🙂
@Kristyn: I couldn’t say it better myself! Why should I spend my time, if I don’t get the same courtesy?