You’re an author. You wrote your book and now it’s time to send it out into the world. You jump on social media and you see a bunch of people identified as “book bloggers” hanging out, chatting about books, writing reviews, and spreading the word. Sounds like just what you need. So you go to send a blogger a review request.
And this is where I start to see authors flounder. Bloggers want to support authors but we do have to pick and choose, sometimes, what books we accept for review and that can come down to a few things. Some of which are in your control, some aren’t.
What Bloggers Do
First, I’d like to note that book bloggers aren’t the end-all to promoting your book. We are one way but working with bloggers won’t be enough to make your book successful. That comes down to you too. Bloggers are great for:
- Early reviews. We can share our thoughts on our blogs and Goodreads in advance of your book’s release and (hopefully) convince readers to pick up your book.
- Book hype. Bloggers champion the authors they love and if you get a few bloggers in your corner who love your book, they’ll keep the excitement up and convince their friends to check out your book too.
- Media promotion. Not only do we bloggers post on our blogs, we also share our content and excitement across our social media pages, which is great for getting your book out there.
You have to remember, though, that bloggers are people. We often do this in our spare time and for the love of books. Reading your book, reviewing it, and promoting it takes time and most of us don’t have enough of that time in the day to work with every book/author that comes out way.
The key is to maximize your request’s chance of being accepted.
Step 1. Do your homework.
Every blogger is different. Most of us have review policies that indicate whether we’re accepting requests or not, what genres we read, and other information that you should keep in mind when requesting.
Read the review policy.
I can’t stress this enough. So much time and effort could be saved by so many people if they just read a blogger’s review policy. Make note of whether a blogger uses a request form or asks for direct emails. Look at their guidelines for requesting. Do they only accept a certain format? Specific genre(s)? What information do they need from you in your email?
If you ignore a blogger’s review policy, your request will end up in the trash.
There’s no reason for us to accept it. We ask for certain things and it’s a quick way to weed out requests that aren’t worth our time. You’re not the only author out there so don’t hurt yourself by not putting the effort in.
I also recommend checking out a blogger’s social media page(s). Often, we talk about the books we love and if your book is similar to another we liked, that’s something you can mention. Read our past reviews. Each of us reviews in a slightly different way and perhaps you don’t like our style. Maybe you love it. This does NOT mean stalking our personal accounts. It’s okay to look at our public BLOG pages. That should be more than enough. Our personal accounts are personal for a reason.
Know the blogger you want to send a request to before sending it. It’ll save you time as well as the time of any blogger you email.
Step 2. Sending the request.
You’ve made sure the blogger is accepting review requests. Your book is in a genre they read. You have all the information they’ve asked for on-hand. Time to write your email (or fill out a form if they have one).
Include the blogger’s name. Don’t just address the email with “Dear Blogger” or “Hi there” or whatever variation you think of. Address it to the blogger you want to read your review, whether you use their real name or a pseudonym they go by.
This is ESPECIALLY important if a blog has multiple reviewers and one general email. How are we to know who you’re sending your request to if you don’t put a specific person’s name?
Introduce yourself. Who are you? Why are you writing to this blogger? It doesn’t need to be long but don’t just jump in and tell us you want a review of your book and leave it at that.
Mention necessary information. Based on the blogger’s guidelines, include whatever information they ask for regarding your book. If they don’t have any guidelines, a few good things to include are:
- Book title (we’re going to check it out so the title is pretty important)
- Synopsis (we need to know what your book is about)
- Release date (it’s good to know if the book is released or not)
- Goodreads link (we’re probably going to look anyway, make it easier for us)
- Cover image (not always necessary but nice to put an image to a title)
It will differ with every blogger, of course, but covering your bases helps. If you are looking to have a review posted within a specific time frame, make sure to mention that as well so the blogger can determine if they can meet your request.
Thank the blogger. You’re asking for our time and energy. A simple thank you is appreciated.
You might think you’re doing us a favor by sending us a copy of your book in your first email. Or maybe you think you’re saving us time by just sending it before we even decide if we want to review your book or not.
Some people might be okay with unsolicited books. From what I’ve gathered there are also plenty of people who aren’t. Just because you gave us your book doesn’t mean we’ll review it. You’re better off requesting before sending. It doesn’t better your chances by attaching it to the email.
A Note on Amazon Reviews
I’ve seen an increase in form emails regarding Amazon reviews and don’t know where they come from, but want to mention it.
Just because we reviewed a book on Amazon doesn’t mean we’re going to 1) WANT to read your book, 2) accept your request, or 3) read your book.
Half the time, these emails compare two books that aren’t even remotely similar in genre or content. If you email a blogger and tell them that because they reviewed XYZ on Amazon, then they’ll love your book, there’s a good chance it will be an automatic delete.
Step 3. After you send your request.
There are a few things that might happen after you send your request.
- Your request is approved and you can move forward working with the blogger.
- Your request is denied but the blogger asks you to email at a later time.
- Your request is denied.
If the blogger wants to work with you, that’s awesome! You can figure out sending the book to them in whatever format they ask for and go from there.
An approved request does NOT guarantee a positive review. We’re here to share our honest opinions not boost books we might not even like.
If the blogger doesn’t have time to accept your request at the time but says to email them at a later time, then don’t despair! It’s not necessarily a reflection on you or your book so make note of it and when you go to request again, just make sure to check their policy to see if anything has changed before re-requesting.
Don’t be a jerk. If a blogger denies your request, such is life. Don’t lash out at the blogger. Don’t harass them. Don’t try to call them out on social media. Just… don’t do anything. Let it go and move on. This is a community and if you attack a blogger for turning your request down, you’re likely to get blacklisted. We don’t want to work with people who jump on us when they don’t get their way. That’s not how this works. Word will get around to other bloggers as well. Just let it go.
The same goes for critical/”negative” reviews. Don’t go after a blogger because you don’t like their review. Those thoughts are for other readers, not you. You can’t control whether a person will like your story or not and it’s better to ignore it and move on.
Reasons Your Request Might be Declined
There are an abundance of reasons your request might be declined and they don’t always have to do with you.
Things You Can Control
- You didn’t read our review policy. Just read it.
- You didn’t include all the information we requested. That’s on you too.
- You were rude. Also on you.
Things You Can’t Control
- Our schedule is already full for that week/month/time period. It happens. A lot.
- We simply aren’t interested. Not every book is for every reader.
We aren’t attacking you when we decline your review request so don’t attack us if we do.
The General DON’Ts
Here are a few things I have seen or heard of authors doing that have gotten their requests immediately deleted or ignored, or the author is blacklisted by that blogger, etc. Some come from my own experience, others were submitted by the community.
- DON’T ask for a review outside the blogger’s genre. If we don’t read that genre already, why would we read your book?
- DON’T request a GOOD review. There’s no guarantee we’ll like your book. We can be honest with our reviews but aren’t here just to boost your book blindly.
- DON’T spam bloggers on social media. Guess what? We check your feed when you send us DMs and replies pushing your book. We can see you copy/pasted the same message and sent it to a bunch of other bloggers.
- DON’T request through social media. Don’t DM/private message us your requests on our media pages (unless a blogger specifically states they accept requests in that format).
- DON’T friend us only to rec your book. This is popular on Goodreads and makes us want to read your book even less.
- DON’T address your request to a generic person. Or misspell our name. Like I mentioned above, take the time to address your request to the blogger you want to read your review.
- DON’T send follow-up emails daily. Look, it’s one thing if you don’t get a response after a month and want to follow-up. Sometimes emails get overlooked (but make sure the blogger doesn’t state in their review policy that they don’t respond to every email). But don’t send multiple emails within the same week “to make sure.”
- DON’T send the same email to multiple bloggers. Bad form, y’all. Bad form. Mass emailings mean you not only didn’t read OUR policy but you ignored everyone else’s you sent requests to as well.
- DON’T be rude. Not being polite and respectful is a surefire way for that request to end up in the trash.
- DON’T stalk our personal accounts. Just don’t. It’s creepy.
- DON’T attack us for declining your request (or writing a critical review). You’re not entitled to our time nor are we required to like your book. Deal with it and move on. There are plenty of other readers in the world.
- DON’T name drop. We don’t care if so-and-so told you to email us (unless it is a publicist we’ve worked with before or a blogger we know well). Name dropping just means that your book can’t stand on its own.
- DON’T ask the reviewer to BUY your book so they can review it. I’ve gotten this so many times… If we wanted to buy your book, we would. But we’re not going to buy it because you want us to review it. Not how that works.
This post makes it sound like it’s very hard to work with bloggers.
It’s not. Honestly we ask that you treat us with respect and read the material we have posted for you. Those review policies aren’t for us. We write them so you know what we like to read and how to go about asking us to read your book.
This is not a hard task but I’ve seen and heard enough horror stories and have had my own problems that I felt a post was needed to outline frustrations we, as bloggers, have working with authors sometimes.
We WANT to support you and your book. Help us do it.
I have no doubt that I missed SOMETHING in this post because there is a lot of info here so PLEASE let me know in the comments. And I’m not looking for bashing authors here, people. Be respectful. This is about creating a cohesive post for reference.
Let me hear yo’ thoughts!