Updated: Dec, 2016
There doesn’t seem to be as many post about author etiquette for approaching book bloggers. Here’s a couple:
So I decided to write one and give my top five ways to up your chances in the ‘getting your novel reviewed’ department.
1. Read the Review Policy. Period. This is a given. As reviewers we cannot emphasize this enough. This is the one common thread among all angry reviewers. One reviewer made an excellent point, if an author can’t take the time to read the review policy, which almost always takes less than 10 minutes (mine is 5, I timed it), plus the maybe 10-15 minutes to send a personalized email that has all the reviewer’s specifications, why in the world would a reviewer dedicate maybe 10-15 hours to read their novel plus the additional time to write a review? Authors have to take the time if they want reviewers to invest almost 10X the same amount. Nothing annoys a reviewer more than if someone ignores what they’ve specifically stated. It’s a waste of both the author’s time and the reviewer’s.
2. Be Polite & Professional. You’d think this would also be a given, but nope. You’d be surprised at the amount of rude and inconsiderate things I’ve read as a reviewer. And trust me those people always go on my blacklist. Example: a potential author sent me an obvious mass email (big no no #1) that actually had a disclaimer at the bottom saying they were sorry if the book didn’t meet my requirements for review (This novel didn’t meet my requirements big no no #2). I replied “Read the review policy in more detail and we might consider it. There’ll be an extra two week waiting period for not doing so in the first place.” In response this author said that I must be referring to the note buried at the bottom of my review policy, that there was much better reviewers out there to use who’d been doing it longer than I had, and that my two week waiting period was “a joke, immature, and unprofessional”. (HUGE NO NO) This author got it better than prospective authors now. If you don’t make the statement I specify in my policy, I discard your request. Yes, I could’ve used something less direct for my original communication but that’s absolutely no excuse for what this author said. I will never review for this author, nor will I ever read anything by this author. Pretty sad to burn bridges when you’re trying to build up your book isn’t it? Please please please, be considerate.
3. Support the Reviewer. Be Active On Their Blog. As time has gone on, I am receiving more and more review requests. I really like to help other authors, but with me doing only one review a week, it works to the author’s advantage to do everything they can to set their book apart. So help us reviewers out. Follow our blogs or our twitter handle. Become a subscriber. Like us on facebook. All those good social media things. I’ve met some amazing other authors and people through friends of internet friends. It’s common sense that those authors who follow a reviewer’s blog, who comment on posts, who know the content (etc) will get a leg up than those who just send an email. We’re all trying to make connections in one way or another. Personally I truly appreciate the gesture and the effort.
4. Have A Great Request Submission. I really want to love a book right from the beginning. If an author hasn’t at least perused QueryShark. Go look. Like right now. A good book request is essentially a query letter. As an author myself, when I submit my novels to reviewers I pretty much copy and paste the paragraphs describing my book. A good query letter can be used over and over again for submissions to agents, editors, publishers, even eventual back cover copy. As a reviewer, I am that much more likely to prefer a novel that sounds enticing. Include your cover art. This means cover art done by a designer, not a pencil drawing done by you and some Microsoft WordArt. Make sure you pay attention to the do’s and don’ts of each reviewer. It’s an awesome feeling when I read a review submission and I like the request so much that I’d really like to jump the book to the front of the queue. 😀
5. Contact Correctly & Be Appreciative. As reviewers it’s hard to take seriously an author who floods a twitter feed or facebook page. If you’ve read the review policy and contacted me once through twitter or facebook, I’d say you’re okay. But it’s those authors that contact just because and don’t do one iota of looking beyond the facebook page or twitter handle, that are hard to stomach. In addition it’s always nice to graciously send appreciation. This is especially important if it’s a negative review. Some reviewers may not want a thank you email, but most don’t mind. For me, I find it energizing. Make sure to do your due diligence and understand how to contact the reviewer, and should you be fortunate enough to get a review an appreciation email is most often a good way to go.