Ten Tips on How to Request a Book Review – A Guide for Authors
Ten Tips on How to Request a Book Review – A Guide for Authors
I have been blogging for what feels like an eternity, in reality, it is just shy of eight years. During this time I have received thousands of review requests from authors/publishers/tour companies/PR companies, etc.
I know a good review request when I see one. I also know which requests make me say ‘no’ immediately or even hit the delete button.
Below are ten tips on how to hopefully and successfully, seek out review requests from book bloggers.
Tip One – Don’t just find a list of bloggers email addresses and mass send a request.
There is nothing more annoying than receiving a mass email review requests. An impersonal request that starts with ‘Hello Blogger’ and then continues to ignore everything that we bloggers have stated in our review policies.
For most bloggers, this kind of request will either get your email deleted or a decline coming your way.
Tip Two – Read our review policies
The best thing that any author can do when seeking out review requests is to read the blogger’s review policy, in full. You can see ours here.
The policy should tell you who to contact, what genres the blogger reviews, what format they accept, and whether they are open to receiving requests at that moment in time.
Tip Three – Follow the review policy
I wish I had a pound for every time I received an email that asks if I can make an exception to my review policy for them. Don’t be this person.
If a blogger states they only accept physical books then don’t try and persuade them to review your PDF file. If they are closed for review requests it is rude to then send an email stating can you add my book when you are back open. Just wait.
Tip Four – Call the blogger by their name
If a blogger advertises their name then call them by it. My name is everywhere, it is on our review policy, and it is part of our email address and yet some people still can’t get it right. For those who don’t know me, ‘Hi, I’m Stacey’.
If their name isn’t advertised then greet them with their blog name. Try and make sure you spell their name/blog right too. Remember if you are sending an email on a tablet or phone and you have predictive text switched on, double-check that it hasn’t changed the name.
Tip Five – Don’t add lots of links or attachments
When you add numerous links and attachments to your email it can often end up in the blogger’s junk/spam folder and be missed. If you want to add a link to your book for the likes of Amazon, Goodreads, your website, then stick to just the one.
Tip Six – Remember to include the important information
This one may have some of you giggling. I have lost count of the number of times I have received a review request that just stated, ‘review my book’. I’ve had titles and blurb missing, two very important things for reviewers to decipher whether they want to review your book. So double-check before you hit the send button that you have included both of these and anything else the reviewer asks you for.
Tip Seven – Use paragraphs and be wary of your spelling
Have you ever tried to read an email that is just a big ball of text? It is hard work, so make sure you use paragraphs.
Also, check your spelling. If you send an email asking for a book review and you litter your email with spelling mistakes then reviewers are going to assume that your book is of the same quality and may decline to read it.
Tip Eight – Be Polite
Don’t demand that the reviewer responds to you by a certain date, or has your review posted in a short time frame. If you would like your book reviewed for say publication day then ask nicely and give them plenty of time to read it.
I have received review requests from authors telling me I have one week to read and review their books. This is never going to happen. Our review list is always huge, as are other bloggers. If you need your review by a certain date ask well in advance, they just might be able to do it.
Remember that alongside blogging we also have a life outside of the blogging world. Many of us have families, homes to run, jobs to go to or are currently studying at college or university. As much as we would love to, we can’t read and blog 24/7.
Once you have sent your request give them time to respond. Let it be noted that some bloggers don’t respond to everyone. If you haven’t heard back within two weeks I would assume the answer is no.
Tip Nine – Be truthful
Make sure that the information you send us in a review request is correct. Don’t write the genre of your book as something it is not as you feel it might make it more appealing – I recently had our review request only open for mysteries and thrillers as we had run out of books in these genres. An author came to me with their ‘historical mystery’ book. After reading the blurb something didn’t seem right and so on reading some reviews I noticed everyone stating the book was a ‘historical romance’. Turned out the author thought by changing the genre we would review their book, which they later admitted.
The trouble is if you are not truthful with the information you could find that your book is given a low rating if it is read by a reviewer who isn’t interested in the genre it really fits in.
Also, book bloggers are very good at noticing fake reviews. Unfortunately, it happens a lot on Goodreads, not as much on Amazon, and this can have us declining a review. Who wants to review a book from an author who obviously doesn’t care about honest reviews they just care about getting five stars. If this is what you are after you are approaching the wrong people. 99% of book bloggers are all about honesty.
Tip Ten – Remember we do this for free
Please remember that book bloggers read, review, and promote your books for free. Yes, we receive a free copy of your book (never ask a blogger to pay for a copy, this is just bad manners) but everything else we do, we do it because we love to read and share our thoughts with others. We don’t do it for the free books.
I don’t think some people realise how much hard work goes into book blogging or how long it takes to read a book and write a review, nor how much time it takes to promote that review on book sites and social media. Nor do they realise that if we love that book we tend to sing its praises everywhere, telling family, friends, and strangers about it. We also often buy a physical copy of books we absolutely love too.
Plus, not everyone is hosted on free sites such as WordPress or Blogger, some of us pay huge costs to run our sites and we do it because we enjoy what we do.
A few little extras tips for you
– If you receive an email declining to read your book, don’t take it personally and don’t demand to know why your book was declined, just accept and move on.
– If the reviewer accepts to read your book, and you are both on social media, give them a follow. Show that you are interested in their blog and posts.
– When your review has been posted, thank the reviewer. If you are on social media, like/retweet/share the post. Work with the reviewer to promote it.
– Lastly, putting yourself out there and asking reviewers to read and review your work can be scary. Remember we are just normal people, most of the time!