Things bloggers want to tell authors: Requesting reviews

One of the perks of being a book blogger is the number of books that we receive for review. For a book lover, there could be nothing better. With the increasing number of books we receive for review between the e-galleys and the ones sent by the publishers and PR agents themselves, it is a miracle that we even have a social life, if at all we did.

So why would I respond to an unsolicited email from a never-heard-of self-published author requesting reviews for his books, leave alone review them?

Okay, that might have been harsh. But that is kinda the truth.

The only thing that we book bloggers love other than reading books is talking about them to other book-worms, a.k.a their blog readers. We are absolutely thankful for the review copies and the giveaways the authors and their publishers offer because let’s face it: otherwise, we would be broke AF.

Requesting reviews

Some of us are alive mostly for the books delivered in their inboxes (e-books) or on their doorsteps. Okay, that may have been a tad too grim, but let us not make it about me. But, you get it, we LOVE the freebies.

But again you have not seen our inbox and the number of emails we receive soliciting reviews in a week. I can only imagine the state of the popular bloggers out there. And to add to the issue, there are several blogs that do not accept indie books for reviews.

So if you are an indie or self-published author, who does not have an army of agents working on social media profile, promotions like book tours and seeking out reviews all over the world and the internet, it, sure, is all the more difficult to handle it all. Of course, this post is not to dampen your spirits but to help in some way or the other.

So how can you, as a newbie/self-published author, make your attempt to reach bloggers more successful? Read on what book bloggers want to tell you, authors, about book reviewing.

1) Get to know us

It is always better to over prepare than none at all. Please spend a few minutes on our blogs and try to get to know us. It always helps if you address us by our names or the handle (if you found us on social media) than a generic “dear blogger”. I am not asking you to read every post in the blog (even though I would totally love it if you do) but at least know if I am interested in the genre that you write about.

Requesting reviews

That brings up the second point.

2) Read the review policy

Most bloggers have a separate page detailing their policy and preferences; a few just mention them on the sidebars. It would hardly take a minute or two to read them. This might sound like a no-brainer but it would be surprising to know the number of people who skip this. It is not only silly that they won’t read it but I feel it is downright rude.

3) Do not pester

The policy page usually has the instructions on what to do further. Not all bloggers review all genres and they do not accept all the books they receive. Most of them will let you know if they accept to review your book. Do not send us your books before say YES. The policy page usually tells you about the expected turnaround for their reviews, if they accept. So wait for a while say, two weeks or so, before you follow-up. Follow up, not pester or antagonize them already.

4) Do not ask for more

Many book bloggers talk about the books out of love and passion. They do not owe you much. If they agree to a review, do not expect or demand more out of them. Even if you are paying for their services, make sure what they offer and agree to. Ask them where they would post and promote their review, and thus your book. Demanding them to post the review in too many places, asking them to tag you everywhere, etc can be too exasperating for them too.

Requesting reviews

5) Respect their views

Not everyone is going to like your work. Not everyone can fall in love with your characters. You are approaching strangers from the internet for an unbiased review. They might give a negative opinion; be prepared to accept it. Do not ask them to remove them, or demand them to not post them. Do not argue about their rating system or their scores. Most bloggers do not even expect to hear a ‘thank you’ from you after the review, much alone an argument with you. Respect their views, especially the one you sought for.

6) Avoid badmouthing

Of late, there have been quite a few instances where authors and bloggers got into a verbal feud. Of course, keyboard warfare is not new, but having badmouthing a particular blogger for their opinion is not okay at all. If you have a problem, be adults and discuss them privately, not on social media. I am sure the news travels and would hit you out of nowhere.

7) Help us help you

Lastly, provide us with all the required details to make a decision about reviewing your book. Once they agree to accept to review your book, you can provide them with Amazon and Goodreads links, and your social links to help to tag you once the review is up.

Requesting reviews

With the Amazon’s new restrictions, many bloggers are wary of being ‘friends’ with authors in the social media, lest making their reviews may be brought under scrutiny and may even be removed. So if they are not accepting your ‘friend’ requests, do not take it personally.

In short, be as polite as you would be when you meet a stranger. Do not let the anonymity presented by the internet spoil you. Do your research.

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Requesting reviews

Let us chat

If you are an author, let us know what’s your say? If you are a book blogger, link your review policy page here and let us know what else you wanna tell the authors that approach you.

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43 responses to “Things bloggers want to tell authors: Requesting reviews”

  1. These are good. I’ve been thinking about a post like this too. If I could add one suggestion, it would be please don’t send your book until after I have agreed to read it. I don’t like the responsibility of having a book that I don’t want to read. The other thing I hate is when the only contact you have with the author is when they want you to review a book. Here’s the link to my review policies. Thanks for letting my share.

    • Yes, I hate having mobi or epub files attached to their introductory mail, too. Your review policy seems perfect.

  2. Love this – and would like to add – don’t send an ARC riddled with errors and expect a high rating – I understand a few errors but not errors on every page. If the ARC is of such poor quality, I cannot trust that all those typos will be corrected.

    • Totally true. Poorly edited ARCs truly get on my nerves too. Even with the promise that they would be edited, I cannot give them great reviews.

    • Here, here, we can only review what we see.
      I can never understand sending a poor quality product to bloggers who are more likely to write and post a review and shout about the book all for free, than most paying customers.

      • I know but in all the rush to get more reviews by the time the book comes out, few authors forget the quality. It happens.

  3. Oh wow…so many YES! I love that you wrote this to help Indie authors because I have seen some amazing authors who have said they were snubbed by bloggers because they were Indie. Very well said ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Haha you made me laugh. That comic is so true!! I go into Barnes & Noble and come out with like 5 books or more and then go into a clothing store and say…. um maybe later. hehe

  5. I always tell authors that there is going to be a long wait and then asked them to confirm that they are happy to proceed. I used to reply to everyone, but now I only reply to those that use my name, or blog name. Those that just start with, Hi, I don’t even read, I just delete, as it tells me they haven’t read our policy – quite clearly states who to address email too. Perhaps I’m being harsh.

    • I find that totally rude. They are initiating the contact and they do not do the one thing we ask them to – read the damn instructions!
      And any mail that comes as a mass mailer with ‘Hello blogger’ goes straight to trash. That is so annoying as well.

  6. I agree with all of the points you’ve made, especially the getting to know us one! It annoys me so much when I get random requests of genres I don’t read and the author has not even bothered to include my name in the message!

    I think a lot of people underestimate how time consuming blogging and reading can be!

  7. I completely agree with you. There was even an incidence where an author was asking reviewers not to post three star rating on Amazon.

  8. I’m a lifestyle blogger—so not only a book blogger. In my experience, authors have been more personal and respectful in terms of pitching me than many of the brands that have wanted to work with me.

    With that said, there are some things that have frustrated me/made me feel bad, because I don’t have a way to adequately read e-books at the moment, so I only review print books (and not every author has print books available, so having to reject someone whose book summary intrigues me, or them having to reject me, blows).

    The main issue I experienced was when an author got upset that I rated his book 2/5 (which I didn’t have to do, but I don’t rate books on feelings alone, because my brain doesn’t work that way), and interacted with me really negatively and traced me to Twitter. It makes me feel a bit…eh. I’m feeling nervous about it. He hadn’t pitched me, but…I don’t think that sort of behavior helps other authors when one author does that. D;

    As far as the links to Amazon and Goodreads go, however, I personally want them—I want to be able to see the book is legit and listed somewhere, whether for pre-order or “coming soon” (whatevs), because such is my way of validating newbie authors and doing a bit more research about the book. But then, I have trust issues (heh).

    P.S. I’m including my backup blog email, but I don’t like to—the comment form isn’t letting me use my email address, because it’s calling it “incorrect”.

    • I have seen some cases of authors harrassing the reviewers and I can’t help asking ‘what are these authors thinking?’ or ‘this is can’t do them any good at all.’ Thanks for visiting my blog and your long comment made my day.. erm. I mean night!

  9. This blog came at a great time for me. I just reached out to a number of book reviewers/bloggers to request a review for my latest release. Before doing so I did read their genre interests, review policies and complied to their requests in terms of Title, page length, Goodreviews and Amazon links, etc. I understand there are many review requests, especially for popular bloggers and reviewers, therefore, why waste their time or mine. In fact, as I was seeking reviews for my recent release, a historical romance/coming of age I came across several reviewers seeking paranormal reads and instead put in a request for my Paranormal novella released at the beginning of 2017.

    As an author, the hardest part for me in sending out these review requests is not getting a reply. I’m always wondering, did I do something wrong or did they receive my email. It takes less than a minute to say, “Sorry not for me. Or thanks for the submission, will have to pass.” Or, an automatic response saying, “it was received and is under consideration.” There’s no sense in replying to the reviewer’s initial status reply, but it does make sense to continue in the search for reviewers. I’m speaking for myself, of course. I do agree, all authors should take the time to read the review policy and attempt to properly address the blogger/reviewer. For the record, I’m so very appreciative of reviewers taking the time and putting forth the effort (blogs, reviews, giveaways, etc.) to read and review my books. As a professional author, I’m grateful to all of the professional reviewers out there. KUDOS.

    • Thanks for your long comment and for taking your time to read the policies before you mail off the book.

      And as for the getting no reply about the statusqro of the review request, I am guilty. I may have not replied to some of the mails in the past, and I will do my best to change that.

  10. I’m a book blogger and an indie writer. I pretty much don’t send requests for reviews anymore because everyone is so busy and there are so many ways for them to get review copies or free books. I get requests (as a blogger) from both indie and trad published authors, but I’m no different than any other blogger out there. I have a giant TBR pile and mostly I just want to read what I want to read.

    That said, if a blogger requests a review copy of one of my books, I’m happy to provide it. But I find it less stressful to let them find me. I think that echoes the way a lot of indie writers are now handling reviews. There are opportunities to have a standing, open offer on places like Bookfunnel. I can offer ARCS via StoryOrigin (my place of choice for doing giveaways and the like. Similar to Bookbub and other services like it). We all do newsletters so it’s very easy to stay in touch, get news of other book deals we know about and see our giveaways.

    Things I appreciate as a writer when it comes to reviews: Review on more than one site–Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub are the biggees, but Apple, Kobo and GooglePlay are also important for a number of authors–I don’t expect reviewers to cover them all. ANY are good and Amazon had gotten a little out of control when it comes to taking reviews down, so I understand a reviewer may pick one or two sites and that is it.

    Another bonus is if you follow the author on Bookbub, Goodreads and Amazon. Never a requirement, just a bonus. Facebook posts of the review are also good (these are great for sharing, but not so great for posterity, hence the value of a review on Bookbub or Amazon where more eyeballs are likely to see the review after it’s had its day in the sun).

    So I’d say the most important thing is: Request books you want. We aren’t all out there trying to pester and we know you have a lot to read. Popular reader sites change. Right now Bookbub is important. A year or two ago, Goodreads was the place to be. Don’t be surprised if you get an author request to “please, could you post your review here…” wherever the here of the moment may be.

    I tend to follow bloggers who make a habit of posting on forums or threads where they are asked for recommendations (bookbub has a facebook thread about once a week where they ask for favorite romances or favorite mysteries or whatever their theme is.) I love blogs that ASK for recommendations like that as well–on the blog AND on other places. It gives other bloggers a chance to talk about a recent good book or a favorite. As a blogger, I have a pinned book discussion thread that changes out weekly, but there’s always a place to talk books no matter what else is going on with the blog.

    Kobo does a thread on twitter AND on Facebook at least once a week where it’s possible to post favorites or themed books. I think Bookbub has a similar thread on twitter. You probably know others. Bookbub has a feature where you can tweet and share your bookbub review right from their site.

    None of these are requirements and I generally only offer them as suggestions if asked. For a bookbub review I can see the review and tweet it right to Bookbub’s twitter so it doesn’t even matter if the blogger/review does it.

    Follows on Bookbubs help me gain ad opportunities. Bookbub (right now) doesn’t take just any ad (except for the little ones you see as you scroll around. Those square boxes can be purchased by any author or publisher.) I have to work to gain a following. Kobo watches the number of buys and reviews too. A book that is popular or has a number of legit reviews has a better chance at getting in on one of their ad opportunities. Amazon also sent me an email probably two years ago mentioning that getting reviews was critical to “visibility.” By that I think they show my book more often if I have recent reviews (not just 20 at release) and ongoing interest.

    Those are just a few of the things that are valuable to a writer–any writer, whether it’s a trad published or indie. Indie writers tend to be more engaged in the forums/twitters/facebooks/bookbubs…because we have to be!

    Good post. All of the things you talked about are very important and common sense!!!

    • Thank you for your elaborate comment on my post. I agree with all your points from the POV of an author. Bookbub is definitely growing up fast.

  11. I just found this post by total serendipity on Twitter. As a book reviewer and librarian, I can relate to much of it. My issue, especially as of late, which others have already mentioned, is authors sending requests for things that are clearly way out of my reading range. This along with things like a generic address (dear blogger) tells me they did not bother to look at the review policy where I do lists my reading interests. It only takes a moment. I do not mind authors finding me, but please, make a small effort.

    As others have also said, I also have a lot to read in the TBR pile, so authors, please, cut us a break. In my case at least, I am a one person operation, and I can only read so much.

    Anyhow, great post, glad I came across it. Paz y amor.

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