How to Get on a Book Reviewer’s Good Side

Posted 6 July, 2012 by Amanda / 34 Comments

This is actually more of a rant than a discussion, but I’m sure many bloggers have been through the same thing and have plenty to add.  These kinds of posts are not new (in fact, Ashley, our revered Zombie Queen, posted one just last week).  But I am left to wonder if they are being read — or even worse, disregarded.  I have received a few review requests lately that have clearly disregarded my review policy, to which I have responded with a link to said policy and a “No, I will not review your book,” answer.

So, without further ado, if, as an author, you want me to consider your review request, you should follow these basic rules:

  • Read my review policy — seriously:  READ. MY. REVIEW. POLICY.  It will save us both a lot of trouble if you do.  My review policy is there for a reason.
  • Follow my review policy — I think this should go without saying, but far too many authors don’t follow my review policy.  Again, my review policy is there for a reason.  If you don’t follow it, this means that before I even read your pitch, I am annoyed at you for thinking you’re above the rules.  You’re not.  I will not accept your review request if you do this, even if your book sounds interesting.
  • If you disregard ANY part of my review policy, explain why — Right now my review policy states that I am not accepting review requests.

    The statement that says I am not accepting review requests is this size.  I get requests anyway.

    If you submit a review request anyway, you most definitely should say why you disregarded my policy.  Even if it’s to say, “Please consider my request when you are accepting requests again.”  Or, “I know you don’t normally accept review requests in the [x] genre, but you recently read and enjoyed [book title], which is similar to my own book.  If you are willing to take a chance…”  Make an effort to show that you are doing more than writing the same email to every blog you come across.

  • Don’t quote other reviews or tell me what your average rating on Goodreads or Amazon is — I am not your other readers.  I don’t know them, and I only trust reviews by people I know.  In other words, I don’t care what your other readers said or thought, because I am not them.  I am me.  Furthermore, only having positive reviews is more suspicious than proof that your book is amazing.
  • Personalize your request — Address your pitch to me, Amanda.  But don’t flatter me by telling me that you read and love my blog.  Unless you have posted comments on a somewhat regular basis, I have no way of verifying whether you are telling the truth or buttering me up.  If you can compare your book to other books that I have loved — and mention these books by title because without the title, I have no basis of comparison — that’s even better.

Bloggers: what would you add to this list?

Filed under: Discussion,

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34 Responses to “How to Get on a Book Reviewer’s Good Side”

  1. I must be the most laidback person in the World because these things don’t bother me. I don’t care if they use my name in an email – I suppose it would be nice, but they aren’t my friend, so why would I care if they use my name or not. I also don’t care if they’ve read my review policy – because honestly, it takes 2 seconds to skim the email and 1 second to hit delete if I’m not interested.

    • For me, it’s a matter of respect for the reviewer and acting with professionalism. Ignoring my review policy is a waste of my time, and is unprofessional and rude on the author’s part.

  2. I’ve been getting a lot of rather weird requests lately. While a lot do seem to read my policy, I know a lot are just sending out mass mailings, hoping to get a hit. I do have a file where I put my unanswered requests… lol

    • I have a contact form to fill out on my review policy page. It still baffles me that people skip over my huge “I’m not taking requests” header to get to the form and yet they never address that fact.

      The file where all my unanswered requests go is the trash can. ;)

  3. I’ve been getting a ton of review requests lately that disregard my policy as well! Must be something in the water this time of year. The biggest thing for me is personalizing the request – please take the time to look up my name, it’s all over my blog so it’s not as though I make you hunt for it because I think it’s funny. I know it must be a lot of work writing pitch emails and researching who to send them to, but if you put it the added time to write a pitch that’s clearly directed at a specific person/publisher, I think you have a far greater chance of success. At least with me. The “Hi Blogger” emails get automatically deleted.

    I got one the other day where the first line was “Please review my book. Here’s the link.” And that was pretty much the whole email. Win.

    • I put my name in my review policy, so there’s really no excuse not to use it.

      I once heard that a review request is the equivalent of a cover letter. You wouldn’t write “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear HR Person” on a cover letter. And you wouldn’t disregard the requirements outlined in an application form, either. A review request is no different. For an author, interacting with bloggers to get reviews of their book is business, and I believe it should be treated as such.

  4. I want a link to the book. It can be a link to the goodreads or amazon page, but I have had to search out the book.

    Do you ever get the author that tells you that your blogger friend recommended they contact you, then when they reference your “blogger friend” you have absolutely no clue who that blogger is.

    I also had an author recently resend the request. I was attempting to be polite when I declined the request with “no one is interested in reviewing the title at this time.” That seems kinder than no one wants to review this. (IMHO) I immediately got a well how about later this year then.

    I’m not sure why review policies get disregarded as often as they do. Bloggers put them together for a reason. Everything an author needs to know is outlined there.

  5. I hate getting the emails that just dive right into the synopsis of the book and don’t even talk to me. I’ve also gotten a few where people say “I read and love your blog!” when I know that’s not the case.

    There’s been one awesome author experience for me and that was with Ram Sundaram. I was contacted by his publicist to review his book and she was a dream to work with! Ram chats me up on Twitter occasionally and even comments on the blog now and again.

    Then there are other authors who are all “Oooh, thanks for reading my book!” until they see one bad thing in the review and then they jump all over you. In addition to treating me with respect in your review pitch — treat my opinion of your book with respect as well.

    I don’t see why it’s so hard to follow review policies, but I do think a lot of authors might just be doing mass mailings to a number of bloggers. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s skim and delete.

    Great post!

    • I can totally understand how a mass email would save the author time, but it’d be like sending out your resume with the same cover letter to every single job you apply for. No one is going to take you seriously that way.

  6. I put in my policy that I only respond to emails that are personalized. I also put that I prefer physical copies but will accept SPECIFIC ebook formats and listed them yet I still get “I have kindle blah blah blah…” I think only one author has sent an email saying “I know you prefer physical copies but at present I only have ebooks.” I was thrilled. (GG Vandragriff, btw. She was a wonderful author to work with).

    I love when people read my review policy.

    • My review policy says if I don’t respond to a request within a week, they can assume I won’t review their book. But if I can tell that people have read my review policy, I am likely more willing to let certain things slide than if it’s clear my review policy was disregarded.

  7. Good lawdie, yes. I dislike when my name is not used. I am a reader, reviewer and blogger but my name is not Book Blogger or Book Reviewer.

    I HATE mass emails. DELETE.

    Don’t even go there with the you read my blog B.S. You obviously don’t or I wouldn’t be getting a review request when I am not accepting them!

    And lately, I was getting a few people who would email me multiple times when I didn’t respond. Did you get my last email? Blah Blah BLAH. Fooooooooock. Get the hint. I don’t want to be mean, so just leave me a long!

    Ok, so I let off some steam. Thanks, Amanda!

    • Oh, getting emailed multiple times would piss me off. But then, my policy says that if they don’t hear from me within a week, they can assume I won’t review their book, so I could just send them a link to my review policy.

      I honestly hate when authors praise my blog. It sounds hollow unless they comment regularly, which none of them do.

  8. I recently had an author send me a review request, and TWICE within their request they misspelled their OWN NAME. Twice! Normally they spell my name incorrectly, and not their own. I don’t know how the author managed to make such a mistake. It really showed me how careless they were in composing the email.

    I also really, really dislike when they compliment my site, yet it’s clearly visible that they’re sending the email to a multitude of people. It makes me feel like they think I’m too stupid to notice. And really, that’s my biggest issue with review requests – that I’m treated like a moron, even if it’s unintentional.

  9. I’ve had it happen a couple times now where I (foolishly…) assume that a book that sounds like it’s in my posted genres actually isn’t once I read it through. I tend to feel tricked when I get halfway through a book, realize that the reason I’ve been getting so annoyed is that it is middle-grade and I wasn’t expecting that and the author just happily ignored the section of my policy that says I don’t like middle-grade books…. It also means I probably won’t give the book as good of a review as it might deserve because I’m not going to give a high review to a book I didn’t enjoy! It’s really for the author’s own good to follow policies… silly geese!

    • When I was accepting review requests, and a book sounded interesting to me, I would do some research on it before I ever accepted or declined the request. I just wasn’t very trusting of whatever the author told me, lol.

      You’re definitely right, though. Authors who ignore reviewers preferred genres are likely going to get bad reviews. In that case, it’s going to be their own fault. But still. It’s wasted time on both the author’s and reviewer’s part in that case.

  10. “I am annoyed at you for thinking you’re above the rules.  You’re not.  I will not accept your review request if you do this, even if your book sounds interesting.” <— dude RIGHT?!?!

    I want to bang my head against the freaking wall!!!! Then, YES- explain and PERSONALIZE and we'll take it from THERE!!!

    There are so many of these posts now, that I honestly think authors ignore them… What other excuse is there?!?!

    • I wonder how many authors actually follow bloggers’ blogs. Perhaps it is less ignoring our posts, and more that they’re generally unaware of what we post unless it involves a review of their book?

  11. Very nicely said! I agree with everything you mentioned.

    I got a request the other day that literally went against all the rules of emailing bloggers. He emailed me (I have a form that he completely ignored), the request was just filled with ‘praise’ from people I don’t know, no link to the book, and no summary. Book blogging can be very annoying sometimes. :-/

  12. Preach it, girl! I hate it when authors are like “Oh you liked X. Would you review my book?” and then their book is NOTHING LIKE THAT ONE!

    • I’m pretty sure that seeing only good reviews means that either the people who didn’t like it didn’t post about it, or they have only gotten friends or acquaintances to review for them. I find a multitude of positive reviews suspicious, actually.

  13. I love this post. Unfortunately, none of the people who NEED to read it probably will. But at least we can commiserate together :)

    I don’t mind the hollow praise. I mean, yeah, it’s obviously hollow and I know they say it to everyone and I’m probably just receiving a mass email and whenever they say something like “I love your blog!” they’ve probably never even read a single post…but I’m vain and I love praise. :P So praise is always a great way to get on my good side.

    The single thing that bothers me the most about review requests is when I’m pitched 1) Self/indie published books (unless they’re on my linked Goodreads TBR), 2) e-books, and 3) books in genres I don’t review (no, sorry, I’m not reviewing the latest erotica book on the blog my tween library kids read! I don’t care if it’s the hottest book on the block!). I do NOT review those types of books and I state that very clearly in my review policy. Sending me those review requests just wastes everyone’s time.

    I used to reply with “No, as per my review policy…” but that was taking up so much time and, frankly, if they can’t be bothered to take two minutes to read my review policy when they’re asking me to give them free publicity, then I can’t be bothered to waste my own time pointing out their inability to read. I now delete those emails without giving a reply.

    I also HATE the review requests that tell me nothing but massive amounts of praise about the book. It’s really annoying to have to scroll past twenty pages of praise (I get it, your book is fabulous!…whatever it’s about??) just to find out that they’re offering me an e-book or that their book is self-published. Or erotica (seriously, what’s with all the erotica requests?? TWELVE YEAR OLDS READ MY BLOG!).

    Also, if I accept a book for review, please, please, please authors don’t “follow up” with me about when or if I’m posting a review. Especially every few weeks. I’ll contact you with a link when it posts, and it will likely be up in the month I told you it would be posted in when I accepted the book (hint: when I say, “I’ll have the review posted in August” that means the review won’t be posted in May, June, or July). Quit nagging me.

    Oh, and I also love it when THEY contact ME and I accept the book…and then the author forgets to send it. Seriously??? That’s happened four times, and two of them were published by Big Six publishers. This totally messes with my schedule, and I’m anal about my schedule.

    Wow, that was cathartic. Thanks, Amanda! :P Sorry for the huge ramble. I didn’t realize I was so cranky about this.

  14. I think you’ll always get unsolicited requests, and really, I’m kind of flattered, but… yeah. READ THE REVIEW POLICY O____O

    I’ve not had as much of a problem with it. I don’t have an e-mail address on my blog, only a form, but the ones I get are often SO far out of the realm of anything I’d even be interested in that yeah…

    I honestly don’t think you could have said it any better… but thaty stands to reason, given you’re utterly brilliant :P

  15. DF

    You are sounding like a literary agent! Just interesting to see how books, book publishing, and reviews are evolving.