Asking Book Bloggers for reviews? A few little tips from my little book blog

COFFEE

Helllllo readers, a slight musing today on mylittlebookblog; I saw a post about requesting reviews and thought I would write my own. The good, the bad and the downright ugly I thought I’d share a couple of pointers on that all important email. I think each blogger will have their own views on how it’s best to go about it, but these are my personal pointers for scoring that book review.

1)       Make sure to have a nosy through their review request policy:

Although for me I accept almost all genres of books (which may explain my incredibly messy and well-stocked to-read-list) some bloggers have genres that they won’t read. It’s their blog, their choice to read certain books and sending a review request that doesn’t fit with their blog will only waste time for you and for the blogger you’ve contacted.

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2)       Do not assume

I have had so many requests over the last two years that are almost blank emails with the book attached saying, ‘Please find my book attached for review.’ Firstly, it doesn’t help the reviewer at all because we then have to go and search for the book and then reply, but it also puts us in a difficult position. I know sometimes I feel the want to delete the email but the polite blogger in me will email back, wait for a response as to why I should read the book or even a little bit of blurb. Just don’t assume and give your book the time it deserves for a blogger to really understand what it’s about

3)       Hook us in

This I think is really important; tell me why I am going to enjoy the book. I guess imagine we’re talking face to face, I’m holding a cappuccino and I’m looking a little tired. Make me sit forward and ask questions, give me your book all wonderfully wrapped up so I forget about the coffee and instead have a sudden desire just to read your book.

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4)       Why my blog?

We as bloggers know that authors will of course request reviews from a number of bloggers but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to feel a little chosen. Just a line saying, I like the way you reviewed this book, or I know you adore historical fiction so you may enjoy this, it makes us think, yes, this is an author who understands what I’m trying to do here. Also, addressing the email to the bloggers name makes a big difference, there is often an about me page so if you can try to pop it in there.

 5)       Be Patient

For me as a blogger I seem to acquire at least a couple of review requests a day and I definitely don’t have the capacity to stay on top of it which means that I am constantly overwhelmed. Recently an author sent two emails almost exactly the same within two days infuriatingly. Give us a little time and you will receive.

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6)       Saying that: Give to receive

Sometimes I get requests telling me where to purchase the book the author would like me to review. For me it has to be a no because I earn utterly no money from mylittlebookblog and being a recently graduated student living away from home there isn’t lots of money to go on books. A pdf is perfect for me, but I would say if you’re can’t give your book to bloggers without their purchase then reviews may be a little hard to come by.

7)       Practice makes perfect

It will take time to get that perfect pitch written and sent but practice makes perfect and you will get responses. I know of requests that have been brilliant. One request recently mentioned my adoration of Malteasers which is mentioned on my about me page it made me really smile and that’s what you want to do; get that reader/blogger so invested they can’t say no.

8)       Don’t mislead me

Most of these points are quite general but this is my own personal quibble. I often get reviews from marketing agencies or PR interns stating ‘Read [inserts name] best-seller, adored by the masses, winner of so many awards…blah.’ I then head over to Amazon and there are no customer reviews on Goodreads and I cannot find a blogging review. Us bloggers do our research and often it not being a best-seller will not stop us from reading the book. Misleading us may though.

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 All of these points are really just ways to not start on the wrong foot with a reviewer. This blogger is going to read and review your book and that’s a big deal. This review could be shared and seen by so many of their readers, don’t spoil it with an under par review request. As always these are my tips and they are not an extensive list. Any bloggers that have any comments, additions, critiques I would love to hear your thoughts.

Leave a comment

  1. July 6, 2015 / 3:34 pm

    Completely agree with all of your points.

    • July 7, 2015 / 9:00 am

      Glad you liked the post and glad you agree 🙂 xx

  2. July 6, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    Loved this, I have recently started receiving review request emails and I’m running into some of these issues myself. Couldn’t agree with you more!

    • July 7, 2015 / 9:32 am

      Goodness already, bless you! I think sometimes you have to stand a little ground as a blogger and I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. All we ask is a nice, slightly personalised and friendly email I think 🙂 xx

  3. July 6, 2015 / 11:33 pm

    Well spoken. A review request email is like sending in an application for a job. You have to make a good impression if you want to be considered.

    • July 7, 2015 / 9:02 am

      It definitely is 🙂 I think it’s just best to put your all into it 🙂 xx

  4. July 7, 2015 / 12:02 am

    THIS IS AMAZING. Sharing everywhere because . . . this is amazing and so so so so needed!

  5. July 7, 2015 / 7:23 am

    Totally agree with you, we are humans with lives outside of reading books, don’t treat us like automated robots.

    • July 7, 2015 / 9:31 am

      My Uncle recently asked me if I blogged for a living and I thought I might as well do. My evenings are spent desperately writing up reviews, reading and replying to comments. Add in replying to emails, posting on goodreads and amazon and social media and it might as well be! 🙂 Just getting a nice review request is kinda all we ask as bloggers I think 🙂 xx

  6. July 7, 2015 / 11:50 am

    Great points! I wrote about this topic but yours is far more detailed. I’m sharing it on my social media accounts, thanks for writing such a great article!

  7. July 7, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    I think you said it all. I run into the whole gamut. I think the ones that goad me most are the requests for genres I don’t read, and the ones assuming I want to read the book so much I will go out and purchase it. In a perfect world, maybe I would hop over to Amazon, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Like you, I don’t make money from my blog. I tend to ignore the requests that expect me to buy the book for the review.

    • July 8, 2015 / 8:49 am

      Totally agree, I tend to review books from all genres but I think it would really be tiring to respond saying ‘I don’t read this genre,’ if it states it. 🙂 I’m the same, would love to be able to purchase books that are sent to me but if I really want to I think I would have already bought it. Saying that some books sent by PDF I have gone out and bought if they’re that good! 🙂 xx

  8. July 7, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    Reblogged this on BOOK CHAT and commented:
    Authors, Lizzy at My Little Book Blog makes some very valid comments. Please read if you are considering contact a blogger for a review, and check their website for their review policy.

    • July 8, 2015 / 8:43 am

      Thank you for reblogging 🙂 reading the review policy is definitely important cannot stress that enough 🙂 xx

  9. July 7, 2015 / 3:43 pm

    I enjoyed reading your post. I think courtesy and respect should be at the heart of requesting anything from anyone. When you review authors’ work, you are doing us an important service – one for which I am grateful. It is hard enough to get visibility these days with the sheer numbers of novels released, so why make matters worse. Respect goes a long way.

    • July 7, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      Wonderful to hear from you and a brilliant comment. I completely agree with you, all us bloggers are attempting to do is to share the work that we get to read, and it’s so exciting to be part of a writers journey. I think to receive an email request that makes a blogger feel special does really make a bloggers day. It ends up being a happy ending for both I think 😀 xx

  10. July 7, 2015 / 3:46 pm

    This is a great post + a fab new blog for me to follow! Thanks 🙂

    • July 7, 2015 / 3:47 pm

      Eeeeee thank you 🙂 so lovely to have a new follower to the blog and so glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂 xx

  11. July 7, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    I completely agree.

  12. July 7, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    Great advice. It seems like good manners covers most of the points. Reviewers are priceless. Thank you for what you do 🙂

    • July 7, 2015 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment 🙂 totally agree! Xx

    • July 7, 2015 / 5:06 pm

      And thank you, to you wonderful authors for sending us your books 🙂 zz

  13. July 7, 2015 / 9:03 pm

    Completely agree with all those points. I haven’t been blogging for long but have definitely had some better than other review requests. I’d possibly add that even if I have responded to your email saying I am happy to have a copy to review, that authors still need to display patience as I think all us bloggers have more books than time to read, and thus can’t always guarantee when a book will be read.

    • July 8, 2015 / 8:50 am

      Definitely 🙂 I wish I had all the time in the world for blogging but job, friends, family all get in the way 😉 but yes I totally agree with that, some are really understanding, some less so 🙁 xx

  14. July 7, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    Great post Lizzy. As my nan always told me “manners cost nothing” and a polite and personal email goes a long way in my book (or should that be on my blog!) I’ve only recently started my blog and I’ve found that all of the authors I’ve had contact with so far have been lovely and genuinely happy to have a review done for them and that makes me smile.

    • July 8, 2015 / 8:47 am

      Thank you for commenting! 🙂 I definitely agree manners really do cost nothing! I think for me, if I receive a request that is a little, unthoughtful then it puts me on a bad foot when I start reading. Most are absolutely wonderful and genuine and then suddenly one or two are just a little off. Good luck with the blog will have to check it out 😀 xx

  15. July 8, 2015 / 9:32 am

    Great tips! Basically, don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do in a face-to-face situation. It’s amazing how often people forget that 🙂

    • July 8, 2015 / 9:50 am

      Definitely 🙂 that’s a great way of putting it actually 🙂 xx

  16. July 8, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    Yes!!! All of this! I used to review books, but right now, I’m only doing interviews and book features on my blog, which is stated very clearly. I still receive review requests, often with the book attached. It’s really not okay to do this. Most book bloggers will delete these emails unread because no one wants to open an attachment they aren’t expecting. Great post!

    • July 8, 2015 / 4:38 pm

      So glad you liked the post! It is really tough sometimes, I have thought about closing my inbox but for now I’ll keep rifling through all the review requests! Great comment 🙂 xx

  17. July 8, 2015 / 9:43 pm

    Sharing this everywhere! Such great pointers. At what point is it okay to follow up? I sent out several requests months ago, but I don’t want to be pushy. Now that I have some decent reviews, should I ask again or just move on. I know you guys get a gazillion requests a day.

    • July 9, 2015 / 9:41 am

      This is when you’ve sent me a review request and I haven’t got back to it 😉 I think if it’s been at least a month or so and you’ve not had an email back then it’s okay to ask if they’ve had a chance to at least read the email? But write it in a way that says, I really want you to read my book 🙂 xx

  18. July 9, 2015 / 8:10 am

    Strangely I’ve never had a review policy as such, mainly it’s just free stuff, yay! Having said that you are right at the random nature of some of the emails and how they assume you would review a book when you don’t usually touch whatever genre it is. the most successful way for authors is to build up a relationship with the blogger before they even think of asking.

    • July 9, 2015 / 9:46 am

      I don’t have a review policy as much, I mean I have a contact page and a paragraph saying all my reviews will be honest, what I don’t really like reading and the like. Some blogs however focus on specific genres or have stated they are not receiving requests and yet they still appear. I think that’s when they’re important. I mean I’m all for free stuff 😉 but not if I’ve specifically said please, I’m drowning in books!

      But yes you’re right, assuming someone will read your book is a no no for me and to be honest, I think it’s more important to start a relationship with a blogger. Some of the writers I’ve worked with, even if it’s been a year, I almost constantly resurface my reviews or comments by including them in guest posts, top ten tuesday’s posts, and on anniversaries of the blog. It all helps to create a lasting relationship!

      (Sorry this comment went on forever!) xxx

  19. July 13, 2015 / 5:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your tips! Someday when I have a book to be reviewed I will absolutely follow your advice, promise!

    • July 13, 2015 / 10:41 am

      I’m glad they helped! Really wasn’t expecting so many responses to this blog post but so glad it’s helping! 🙂 xx

  20. July 13, 2015 / 10:36 am

    Really interesting, I’m getting a lot of ‘hey, here’s the link to buy my book’ and ‘I know you don’t read dinosaur crime alternate universe with talking unicorns, but read my book and you will!’
    Being original really grabs my attention. And a name – not ‘dear blogger’.

    • July 13, 2015 / 10:41 am

      Ah this comment is so so true although must admit a book genre of ‘dinosaur crime alternate universe with talking unicorns’ sounds fricken awesome.

      I know what you mean though, because we all have reader/writer preferences, we like to read certain books, writers choose to write a book in a particular genre. I often will try the book in the hope you might change my views, but even though I might enjoy the writing or the characters, often the books won’t move me as much as the books of my preferred genres.

      Also totally agree, dear blogger really upsets me, Lizzy, Lizzo, Bladwin, Funsize, Malteasers loving book addict with an adoration for historical fiction, they will all work, but please not dear blogger!

      Thank you for commenting!!

  21. July 13, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    Terrific points! I pinned this and tweeted it. Thank you.

    Want to review my book? I’m joking, I’m joking…

  22. July 22, 2015 / 10:26 am

    Hi – Just wanted to say thank you for the pointers. I work for a small publisher and do some PR work for them so for me this was really helpful. Some things like, check genres and don’t mislead should be obvious, of course. Many thanks.

    • July 22, 2015 / 11:35 am

      So glad you liked this post! I think many of them rely on general manners but I’ve just popped in a few that I see being spoken about in the book bloggersphere. Glad it’s helped! xx

  23. August 4, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    Again, thank you for visiting my blog and “liking” my post. Very busy these days–I sent three short stories and five poems out to various journals–but when things slow down a bit, I hope to spend more time on your site. Thanks again.

    • August 5, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      hey it’s okay always look out for new posts on your blog 🙂

  24. January 23, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Really helpful — just about to re-blog it. I’m a writer, not a book blogger (I’m sure some of you are both). I’ve not sent out any requests yet — just trying to get as much info as I can before I do.

    • January 26, 2016 / 11:32 am

      Awesome! I think there are so many ways to ask but just be mindful. I have a closed review requests box at the moment because I felt my blog was taking over my life a little and yet I still get requests to my email address which a little exhausting! Just be nice, friendly and a lovely person to talk to which I’m sure you are 😀

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