I know this topic has been done over and over again by various book bloggers who have been angered by the way they’ve been approached but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and again. There’s a few general do’s and don’ts for approaching book bloggers about books but most of it really is just common sense and the way you approach a book blogger is crucial and that one email alone can either land you a review copy or not. If you’re a publisher, publicist or author wanting to get some reviews of your book please take into account everything not only I am saying here, but everything every other book blogger in the world has said about how to approach them! I’m not trying to dictate to anyone what they should and shouldn’t do, it’s a free world after all but there is the right way to go about it if you want the optimum result.
(I have based these points on authors/publishers who contact you for the first time about a book. If you have an exceptionally good relationship with an author then some of these may not apply).
Do your research
I’m not suggesting you sit there Googling us for hours on end and we don’t expect you to know our birthday, shoe size, favourite colour or the name of our first pet but we do appreciate it if you take a look at our blog before you email us. Take a look at some of the reviews we’ve wrote before and you’ll begin to get a good idea as to whether our followers would enjoy your book.
Don’t attach a copy of your book to the email
… until we have stated whether we want to read it or not! If you do attach it straight away, is gives out a bit of a bad impression – like you assume we have nothing better to do and we’re just going to read and review your book without and second thought. It makes you seem over-confident and unprofessional.
Do provide enough information
If the email reads, ‘Hi Jenny, I have a book called ‘XYZ’, would you be interested in reviewing it?’ although it’s polite enough, it doesn’t give me anything to go on! Provide the blurb, genre, publisher and links to Amazon or Goodreads so we can make an informed decision if we want to read it or not.
Don’t send out a mass email
Although your mass email might provide us with all the information we need to decide if we want to review your book, we know straight away if it’s an email that has been copied and pasted to hundreds of other book bloggers. It’s like second nature to us to be able to spot these things so don’t underestimate us! We want to review your book because you want us to review your book. Not because you just want reviews from anybody just for the sake of getting reviews. Make sure you like us as a reviewer before you go sending us your life’s work.
Do be patient
Book bloggers are busy people! We’re often multitasking, reading and writing at the same time, reading more than 2 books at once as well as sending emails, writing blog posts and keeping our blogs up to date. This is on top of all other non-blogging commitments so if we don’t reply to your email after a few days don’t email again and badger us about it. The same goes for if we do decide to read and review your book. It’s likely we won’t give you a specific date straight away of when we’re going to read it so don’t keep asking every few days, ‘Have you started my book yet?’
Don’t ask for reviews via social media
This is one of the biggest no-no’s and probably the most unprofessional thing you can do. Requesting reviews via Facebook/Twitter or any other social media site automatically paints you as an amateur.
Do read and respect our policies
I literally can’t stress this enough. If we are going to take the time to review your book for free, the least you can do is read our policies and respect our guidelines. Some bloggers may not be accept books at that given time, don’t email anyway “just in case” because the chances are the email isn’t even going to get read. Most bloggers will state in their policies what books they review/don’t review and what format they accept the books in. If they don’t accept e Book’s that’s their own choice so don’t email them asking them to review your e Book. Like I said, we’re very busy so we set our policies to suit us. Don’t waste our time by asking something that you’ve just read we don’t do. If you have written a horror book then email a blogger who only reviews romance we know that you haven’t taken a blind bit of notice of our policies and will result in an automatic delete.
Don’t bad mouth us
If we don’t review your book, there’s obviously a reason; no time or not the right genre. Or maybe we started your book but we couldn’t ‘get into it’ so to speak. That’s fine! Not everyone is going to like the same thing and if one book blogger in the entire world didn’t like your book, that doesn’t mean not everyone else will. We will be honest with you, whatever the outcome so please do us a favour and don’t bad mouth us if it’s not the outcome you were hoping for.
Are you a book blogger? What is important to you when being approached by an author/publisher?
I agree with almost all of your points. My own personal preference is to receive the MS attached to the review request, though. I don’t want to make a personal connection and make a request for a MS, because it makes it seem like I now owe them a review, or an explanation if I don’t review. I prefer to have it all upfront, so I can decide if it’s right for me or not, all in one shot.
But that’s listed in my policy, so if they check that out, they’ll see it.
I’d also point out to those looking for reviews that a meticulously submitted response (along with acknowledgement of my policy and the content of my blog) is going to put that request at the top of my look-at list. I already know that this person knows what I do, and the odds of it being a successful match are much higher.
That completely makes sense why you would rather them attach the review copy to the original email, I’d never really thought of it that way before but I think if I accept a review request I know, 100% that I’ll read the book, so they’re not sending a review copy for nothing. If I wasn’t 100% certain, I wouldn’t agree to it. Very good point!
Thank you! You’re absolutely right 🙂
Thanks for the reblog!
A HUGE yes to this post!!! If I get a really well written, polite query that goes along with my query policy there’s a good chance I’ll review the book. But I don’t get too many of those. I cringe when authors try to advertise their book to me on social media. I’ve had authors keep sending me tweet after tweet asking me to review their book or send me pouting/mad tweets because I decided to ignore them…and after they sent those tweets I KNEW I made a good decision in not reviewing their book!
Great post! 😀
Alice @ Alice in Readerland
Yay I’m glad it was helpful and came across how I’d hoped.
I’m sorry you’ve had to experience those unprofessional requests! It makes it all the better though when you do get those nice, friendly request – it doesn’t take 2 minutes to read someone’s policies! 😀 xx
Great post! I roll my eyes whenever it’s clear that the person who’s requesting a review hasn’t read my review policy but I can see how it can get annoying if a person gets too many requests like that. I remember one that made me laugh because they said that they had read my blog and review policy but the book that they were offering for review was of a genre and a format that I clearly state that I don’t accept.
Hahah my point exactly!
I’m a reviewer. I also don’t like getting the book attached to an email, but I’ve never turned someone down because of it. It is rather rude, though. It just kind of makes me roll my eyes when I see someone has done it.
A huge majority of people follow my review policies, which are straightforward: I have a bulleted list on my Review Policy page of what I want sent to me. And people are always welcome to ask questions / leave comments. So most of the time, authors send what I asked for. However, sometimes requesters don’t, and I find that the worst offenders are publicists or people other than the author. I find that mind-boggling. Presumably they’re being paid for their services, and they’re just being sloppy!
Unfortunately, I get too many requests to spend extra time hunting around for the info I asked for, so if it’s not included or readily available on a website, I just decline now. I do, however, spend the time I need reading a blurb and first chapter to get a feel for whether I would enjoy the book or not.
Yeah I can’t say I’ve ever turned down a book for having it attached to the email alone – it would have been amongst other things which made me decline.
It’s good that a lot of people follow your policies – I think as well as authors/publishers knowing the dos and don’ts us as bloggers need to have clear guidelines. I think might are fairly clear but bullet listing them might be better so I might have a think about re-vamping mine next week – thank you! And I completely get what you mean about publicists being worse than authors, I guess it is just sloppiness in most cases really.
I’d never thought about reading the first chapter to see if it’s the kinda book I’d wanna read, that’s a really good idea so I think I’ll do that next time I’m in two minds 🙂
Reading the first chapter has helped me avoid books I know I just won’t like. People get someone else to write their marketing blurb, so reading the chapter shows their true voice and style. I’ve also accepted stuff I might not have because the narrator was so engaging!
Yeah. I really don’t like it when they don’t use my full name. Even though I have more preffered names. xx
How often do you get inappropriate requests?
I personally don’t recall getting that many. The odd one here and there that just makes me roll my eyes but I do know a fair few book bloggers who regularly get inappropriate requests!
Interesting read, thanks Jenny. 🙂
Welcome! I’m basically just re-hashing what tons of other people have said in the past!