Authors, listen up: this list is for you. Now that I’ve been at book blogging for a few months and received my fair share of review requests, I’ve had some experiences that completely turn me off from accepting a review request, and feel it necessary to share. Please don’t take this list as an attack on authors, because the majority of my interaction with authors has been amazing. Think of this list as more things to avoid doing. Some are easy.
- You didn’t read my review policy. If you won’t take the 30 seconds to read my review policy, what makes you think I’m going to spend the 3+ hours reading your book? To help me weed out people who don’t read my review policy, I have an embedded Google form in my review policy page. Part of my review policy states that I only consider requests that come through the Google form. My Google form allows me to a) get the exact information I want from an author and b) figure out who hasn’t read my policy. When I get a review request through email, I know the person has not read my policy — and I disregard the request just as my review policy states.
- Use Twitter or Goodreads to recommend your book. Exceptions to this rule include: a) promoting your book on Twitter that is in no way directed specifically at me and b) if I ask for a book recommendation (though if you recommend books other than your own, I’ll probably pay more attention to you because the way I see it, you’re addressing me as a person that way, not as a way to get another reader). Unsolicited recommendations directed at me are annoying and seen as unprofessional. For example: if you do something like @ reply me with a link to your book when I’m not following you, and I’m not talking about anything related to your book — just that I loved to read — it’s NOT okay. I’ve also received book recommendations (that I don’t ask for) on Goodreads by the authors themselves. See #1 above.
- Send me multiple requests. The same author in #2 sent me another review request by email. Judging by what looks to be a standard review request that I received the first time, I’m guessing he doesn’t remember me. But I remember him (and also? My stance on Amazon has not changed). Delete. I’ve also had other authors send me multiple requests for the same book that makes me think they have no idea they already sent me one in the past. I’d be okay with, “I was wondering if you received my previous request….” but if you’re just copying and pasting the same thing you wrote me the last time? If you can’t remember that you sent me something, that tells me you’re only interested in promotion and not necessarily interested in establishing a relationship beyond that. At the very least, keep track of who you have contacted. And if you are sending out a second or third request, make it personal.
- Address me like I am a nameless and faceless blog. My name is Amanda, and I run On a Book Bender. Saying “Hi there” or “Hello” or nothing at all doesn’t move me. You have a name, and so do I. Taking the time to find my name is good. Taking the time to personalize your request is even better — even if it’s to say, “I looked at your site and I don’t know if this is your kind of book but I thought I’d try anyway.” I mean, hey. At least you took the time to figure out what books I like to read. I might actually be more willing to pick up your book if you treat me like a person.