I write book reviews both on this blog and for other magazines. Occasionally I do review a book I have bought and enjoyed reading, but most reviews here are done because a publisher or author approached me for a review. I have a reviews policy: take a look if you want to know how to ask a blogger to review your book.
Here’s how not to approach blogger-reviewers:
Don’t call me “Dear Blogger” and send a mass-circulation email
I have a name. I know I won’t be the only reviewer you are approaching but if you can’t be bothered to send an individual email I can’t be bothered to review your book. Sending a mass email tells me you are broadcasting and don’t care if I reply or not.
Don’t send me a link to your book on Amazon
Letting me know your book is available for purchase is not a request for a review. If you want to ask for a review, be prepared to send a review copy free of charge. Writers get requests to work for free, usually from people who somehow think this is “good publicity” and will somehow translate into book sales. When that request comes from another writer, it’s actually an insult.
Don’t attach an eBook
Doing so tells me you are presuming I will agree to do a review. This makes it incredibility tempting to say “no.”
If your book is an eBook or has an eBook version available, let me know. If I agree to review and am happy to look at the eBook version, I’ll let you know. I can review eBooks, but sometimes it’s more practical to have a hard copy. I don’t write in margins, but some reviewers do so prefer a hard copy. Sending an eBook on the assumption they can print, at their expense, so they can write their review is unhelpful.
Don’t demand to know when I’m posting my review
I usually email to confirm receipt of a review copy and email again with a link to the posted review. How soon I can turn around a review depends on my current work load and commitments. Review copies are dealt with in order of receipt so if I’ve already received a couple of novels and half a dozen poetry collections, yours is ninth in the queue and the review will not be posted next week. Even if my review tray is empty, there is no guarantee I can start reading your review copy the moment it arrives.
Don’t urge me to turnaround a quick review
I know the feeling: your book is out there and you want feedback (reviews) and people to buy it. But before I can write my review I need time to read your book. If I say I will review your book, I have committed to do a review and will post the review when I’ve had chance to write it. If I didn’t want to review your book, I would have said so when you sent me your request.
If I can read a book in an hour and write my review within thirty minutes, that’s a shallow, formulaic book with no complexity, no depth of character that deals in stereotypes or caricatures written in predictable text. Your book’s not like that is it?
Don’t get careless on social media
Social media is public, not private. If you complain on-line about my review or the fact I decided not to review your book, chances are I’ll find out and you’ll be the one who looks stupid. I’ve blogged about responding to reviews before.
A professional approach will get a professional response
It’s usually a good idea to check if a blogger reviews the type of book(s) you write. Sending me your carnivore recipe book might get an interesting review, but not the enthusiastic review you wanted. Some reviewers won’t review out of their favourite genre. Don’t lambast them for it, accept it. Reviewing is undervalued and bloggers are often reviewing in their own time so if they chose to only review books they know they will be passionate about: that’s their choice. It’s also their blog. If you think there’s a gap and no one’s reviewing space opera anymore, start your own review blog.
I know how many hits I get on my blog so it’s not necessary to mention that you’ve read some of my articles or reviews. My decision to review is purely based on the book you’re requesting me to review.
I can use a search engine and I have been reviewing for a long time. It’s not necessary to send an overwhelming amount of information about you or your book when requesting a review. A paragraph on your book is sufficient.
I don’t expect a thank you. My review is my opinion. My opinion of your book may not agree with your opinion of your book. If you like my review, please do post a link to it on social media. It promotes your book as well as my blog: win win.
By Emma Lee