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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.