What Are The “No-No’s” In Review Requests?

What are the No-No's when asking bloggers to promo a book

Ever so often a blogger posts an article about the right and wrong way to contact bloggers for reviews. I have not posted one so far- but now, it’s time.

There will probably be a few tips that you’ll see on other blogs- but mainly, I want to tell the tips from my point of view or my personal stories about review requests,

Listen, I don’t want to sound like I speak for the entire blogging community, or that I know everything or that I am Queen Blogger. I understand that you, said author, wrote this book. You spent months/years/previous lifetimes/etc working on this book- and you want everything: To be recognized on a best-selling list, a contract to write as many books as you would like, movie/TV show options and all the hoop-la. So, I get it. I get it from the top of my head to the tips of my coral painted toes.

BUT….

Here’s where tough love is beginning. Tough love is shooting all over the place.

You are asking a person to read a book- to invest time in a book. A book that may sound wonderful from the blurb/excerpt/first chapter- however, it’s not guaranteed to continue being wonderful. You are asking a book blogger to put the hours/days/weeks into reading and then review the book which can take hours/days because most bloggers are doing this in their “free” time.

Blogging is not our job and while many of us would love to find a job where we could read and then write our thoughts on books- it’s just not happening. This is not to say that we don’t love getting review requests- we do. Most of us would just like a review request that is straight-forward, to the point and concisely put-together.

1. Not reading the review policy. It’ll save you much time and energy. It’ll tell you the type of books that said blogger prefers. Preferred modes of reading material (paper or e-versions). If they are accepting new review requests or taking a break. The review policy is a fountain of information. Use it.

 

2. Addressing the blogger by the wrong name. Listen, let’s just cut through some of the smoke and mirrors here: Many times, even when you “personalize” your review request- it’s a cut and paste job. And you know, I don’t blame you. I understand. Here’s where things get dicey: When you don’t check to make sure you are addressing the correct name of the blogger.

True Story: I get a review request from XYZ author saying “Hey Sue Ann” and then complimenting me on my blog. Well, thanks so much- but I’m not Sue Ann. In a further communication with the author, when XYZ realized that I was not Sue Ann- the author went on a long apology stating that the sky was blue, the Mets had lost the latest ballgame, Mickey Mouse called, and on and on about why they had called me the wrong name. Listen, I know you copied and pasted. You know you copied and pasted. A simple “I’m sorry” would have been much better. Moral to the story: Just make sure you are addressing the email by the right name.

But, T, you say- what if I don’t know the name? A-ha! Well, for me, I use the name Traveling With T- so review requests to T, to Traveling With T or my real name are appreciated. For others, they usually have their real names in their About Me section or their email address. Just be aware!

**If all else fails, the title of Most Wonderful Book Blogger Ever could work in a pinch,** (Just kidding!)

 

3. Sending a PDF only for review. Can we just stop with the PDF’s? They are hard to read (the scrolling from side to side, etc) I don’t know what the reason is- but more and more I am seeing the requests with mention of a “I can send you a PDF for review.” Stop the madness, please.

 

4. Not sending the book in a timely manner. Some authors are taking pro-active roles and lining up for bloggers for potential review months ahead of book being released (this is a good thing!) So I understand if you contact me with the fact that book will be released 6 months ahead of time- you won’t get paper ARC’s till X time before book is released. But if your book is already out and you have been wanting me to give you a time-frame of when my review might be published- and 6 to 8 months go by before you send the book- well there was your timeline. In other words, send the book as soon as possible. *Note: This is more for indie authors.*

 

5. Spamming social media accounts. You see me talking about books on Twitter- and think “I have a book! Let me mention that.” Don’t. Go to the blog and send an email. Use your time on social media to chat with accounts you find interesting, to try to begin the first steps in building a relationship. Spamming the blogger is not advised. Even less advised is tweeting “I know there is a process in getting books reviewed, but….”

*************************

What are some of your “no-no’s” that you think authors should know about? Tell me in the comments!

 

Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off

 

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “What Are The “No-No’s” In Review Requests?

  1. Awesome. I get so many PDF review requests. I just don’t get it. It doesn’t even feel like reading a book, for heaven’s sake. I read PDF docs as part of my day job, I definitely don’t want to do it on the side. Urghh!

    • I’ve been wondering if it’s a money thing- like if creating PDF versions is cheaper or easier for authors. I accepted 1 from an author that I have previously enjoyed- and after struggling with reading it for 3 weeks, I said NEVER again. Will not do that. I tried to make the font bigger so I could see it better- but then I’d have to scroll all over the page trying to read the darn sentence. Then if I left the font alone, I didn’t have to scroll- but it just felt wrong as well.

  2. T, or whatever your name is (hehe), great post! All things that irk reviewers. I think it’s important you chat about the time it takes to read and review, and this isn’t our “day” job.

    • πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thank you so much M! This post has been floating around in my head for months and I just finally decided it was time to put the words to keyboard and post this.

      And the thing is- probably between 90-95% of pitches to me are great- the info is there, there is an attempt to personalize, the books are sent in a timely manner. But, I noticed that when I placed my email on my blog that is when I started seeing pitches that were lacking. And it’s disheartening to see pitch after pitch that could be SO much better if a tweak here and there was performed.

      And, lastly, as free time becomes more scarce- it needs to be known that, for many, this is a hobby. I’ve worked hard to make my blog a nice place to visit- but it’s def still in the “hobby” category.

  3. Awesome post. I’m with you on the pdf. I don’t like it. I know it might be a selfish thing to say and I should be grateful that an author asked me to read their book before it’s available to the public but I like ARCs or at least a e-book version of their work. Just my opinion. Now if only you can write a post on how to request an ARC copy from a author/publisher that would be great. So many conflicting ways on how to do it.

    • I don’t think it’s selfish- I think it’s just honest. I really prefer print myself- if I’m going to do e-versions, I’d just rather get them from Netgalley or Edelweiss.

      You know, that’s a good idea. I’ve actually never requested a book myself- except for the last set of She Reads books (but the publicist knew to expect my email).

      I think I may give that post some thought, tho!

  4. It’s mind-blowing to me how many pitches I’ve received (as a book blogger and as a book buyer and events coordinator at a bookstore) that include misspellings, poor grammar, etc. These pitches don’t exactly make me want to read hundreds of pages of bad writing IN MY FREE TIME.

    • YES! Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES! I completely understand. COMPLETELY. Before I put my email address on my blog, because for awhile I was only getting review requests from 1 pub house and my She Reads books, I was surprised at some of the pitches I get. Like the vampire love story with highly erotic scenes that is just like “women’s fiction”. Mind-boggling. Thank you so much for stopping by to comment!

  5. Books in the Burbs says:

    Great post!! I hate pdf’s!!! I will also add that I don’t like when I respond to an author about not having time in the schedule to read their book and/or it’s not my genre, and then I get emailed later about the same book…again. I don’t like corresponding back and forth with an author, whose book I don’t intend to read. Then, they start following me on my social media accounts and start commenting on them to build a rapport and “guilt” me into reading their book! I just don’t like feeling hounded. I agree-what we do is free and based out of our love for reading. I would much rather deal with tour hosts and publishers, as I think sometimes authors can be overreaching and not realize that they can come across as a crazy character in their own book πŸ˜‰

    • LOATHE PDF’s. I can totally understand you not wanting to feel hounded. I think it’s a fine line between trying to be proactive and being a bit too much for some bloggers.
      Are you noticing more self-pubbed authors hounding you on social media?

  6. THE PDFs!!!!!

    OH gosh do I hate these. It is slightly better with the new Adobe Digital Editions ones but still who wants to read books on their computer? NO ONE. We are much more likely to tire of the book or just not get to it because we are dreading reading another PDF.

  7. You’ve covered all the bases but I’d go even broader- forget reading my review policy: read my blog! If you did, you’d know I don’t read Navy SEAL action political thrillers. And as for knowing my name- at least get my gender right! Apparently, I’m a guy who reads guy books. πŸ˜‰

    I guess I also don’t go for any assumptions that I’l review the book at all. I only agree that you can send it and I’ll read it but not necessarily review it.

    • Totally agree — I don’t waste space on my blog for a review policy, because I feel that anyone could spend a minute or two reading my blog and figure out what kind of books I read. And I never agree to review anything, only to accept a copy of the book to consider reading and possibly reviewing.

      • Interesting! That was my line of thought, then someone told me you “really need to have a policy” So, I did. I’m def saying for review consideration a whole lot more than I used to say it!

      • Interesting! That was my line of thought, then someone told me you “really need to have a policy” So, I did. I’m def saying for review consideration a whole lot more than I used to say it!

    • YES!!! I think when I said read the review policy- I kind of thought while you were already there, the whole “look at my blog” just a minute didn’t need to be spelled out (BUT apparently it does since I got a review request for a child’s book today- I don’t review kids books!) And really?!!!! I mean, maybe it’s just me- but I assume that most bloggers are women (b/c it seems that is really how it is!) But, there are def other clues on your blog to indicate that you are a female! Geez!

      The last point is something I have struggled with: At 1 point- I did review everything I got. And sometimes old habits die hard. I find myself using “for review consideration” quite a bit more than what I once did.

  8. They offer up PDF b/c you can convert from Word to PDF easily from inside MS Word. Just save as a different file type. They don’t want to pay someone to do the conversion and they don’t take the time to learn free software like Calibre. I don’t accept PDF’s and I’ve made that very clear. No exceptions.

  9. I have been not accepting requests for over a year and kid you not get at least 10 a week. Drives me nuts.

    What would I add: if you hire a PA make sure they follow the rules. It makes you look bad if the person representing you send canned emails, adds people to mailing lists (another annoying trend), and doesn’t read policies.

    The twitter thing:I have blocked every author that has asked me to promote for them through dm or tweet except one. Her I told that wasn’t the proper place to do it.

    Also never send the book in your email pitch (yes usually PDF). First it could contain a virus and second it is a little premature.

    Great topic

    • Oh my stars- I totally believe you. CRAZY how many people don’t take time to read the review policy!

      YES!!!!!! I totally agree with you about the PA and my gosh the adding to mailing lists- so at first, I was getting these mailing list emails in my inbox and I thought “Oh I must have signed up for this when I signed up to win X book”. But then after a while I realized that someone was adding me to the lists- so I started unsubscribing. SO annoying!

      I think the problem with Twitter is that other authors (especially indie authors) see us talking about books & talking with authors and they don’t exactly know better- BUT, I do agree- it’s annoying (and thank goodness for the block button!)

      And YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! It is a little premature- but especially on the virus issue!

      I’ve got a couple of similarly related topics floating around in my head- waiting for me to get fingers to keyboard to type it out!

      And thanks so much!!!

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