Ten Tips on How to Request a Book Review – A Guide for Authors

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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 seven 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 policy.

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

If 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 then I would be probably richer by about £70 by now. 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. Today for example I have been called Abigail. 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 fo 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 the 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 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.

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 careful with our personal information

One of my biggest bugbears in the blogging world has to be authors who use our personal information that we have given them to email us a review request for their own gain.

I have lost count of the number of authors who have signed me up for their newsletter without my consent. Please don’t do this. At least twice a month a receive a newsletter from an author I haven’t signed up to receive. If you want to send us a copy of your newsletter ask us is it okay to send it or ask us to sign up for it.

Also, if we give you our home address to send us a physical copy of your book, please be careful what you do with that information and never pass it on without our consent. I once received a book in the post with a note attached that read. ‘Hi Stacey, I got your address from (another author), thought you might like to read my book.’

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, leave them a comment on the post. 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

If you have any more suggestions then please let us know in the comments below

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