I have to admit I agree wholeheartedly with Kristen Lamb on this post. I have gotten random emails asking for reviews from people who haven’t looked at my blog to see if I post reviews. And from people who haven’t bothered to even look for my name. (By the way, my name is at the top of my website in Big, Blue, Bold Letters:))
I understand how hard it is to get reviews. I contact reviewers often for my books. But I go to the reviewers site, click on the reviewers guideline link, and read throught thier rules and the genres they accept before contacting them. Plus I do my best to find out their name. Some reviewers sites don’t have this option, but most do! Use their name!
And I don’t try to contact them in the comments! Most reviewers would like for you to take the time out and send them an email. When authors don’t take the time to follow reviewer rules, reviewers don’t take the time to check out what you have to say or more importantly, what you’ve written. Be considerate. Have respect for reviewers. Reviewers are awesome! We need them! Reviewers do us a huge service, even if the review is only a couple stars. Sometimes low star reviews let us know we have to go back and take a good look at what we’ve written. Something may need to be changed. Don’t waste your time and the reviewers time trying to get them to read something they won’t read. Also, authors need to remember that reviewers have a big TBR list. Your book could sit on their TBR list for months.
Many years ago, when I first started my blog I wrote reviews. That has changed. I will still write a review every once in a while on marketing books I read. Marketing books are my main focus right now. The reason being is because I am learning about marketing, and I like sharing what I have learned about marketing with other authors.
This does not mean I will review your book. I have gotten very persnickety about the marketing books I read because there a ton of them out there. Most don’t have the information I desire. So when I come across a good marketing book I will probably write a review on it, so I can share it with other authors who are looking for the same reading material.
This being said-Please don’t ask me to review any books. As Kristen states, it takes a lot of time. Time I don’t have.
Now to Kristen Lamb’s post. 5 Ways to Make a Blogger Want to Stab Us in the Face.
Lately, I have been getting a ton of emails from hopeful writers wanting me to write reviews of their books on my blog. Somehow, somewhere I ended up on some marketing guru’s “list” and if I find out who it is, it will not be a good day for that person since they are charging hopeful writers for incorrect information.
Caveat emptor, my kiddos.
I know none of you—beloved followers—are guilty of these mistakes, but I will say that making that shift from unpublished newbie to “pro” is harrowing and we all do some really stupid stuff. It’s part of why I write these posts because none of us has this information embedded in our DNA. We have to learn some time, so maybe this can save you or someone you know some embarrassment.
So five ways to make a blogger want to stab us in the face.
#1—Send a Request Via Form Letter
It’s funny, I blog on certain things and time passes and I think “Whoa! Everyone knows not to do that! I don’t even need to talk about—*brakes screeching*—SERIOUSLY????”
First of all, let me emphasize that requesting a book review is no small thing, which is one of the many, many reasons I almost never do them. In over a thousand blog posts, I have done ONE. Count it. ONE book review on my blog.
Here are some basic reasons why I almost never, ever do book reviews (other than the fairly obvious reason that I am NOT a book blogger). The blogger has to secure a copy, take time to read the book (12-15 HOURS of undivided attention). Then she has to analyze the book and then craft an intelligent post…for FREE.
We are asking for about a 20 hour time commitment. Again…for FREE.
This means that if you meet a book blogger or reviewer, you should just hug them or make a
small large burnt offering of coffee and chocolate. Reviewing books is a really tough and often thankless job.
Meaning, the very least a writer can do when asking for such leviathan effort, is to address the BLOGGER BY HER FREAKING NAME.
When I see this crap in my In Box? It makes me see red.
And lately I’ve been getting far too many of these kinds of e-mails.
#2—Fail to DYH
Do your homework! DYH is actually a two-pronged deal. First of all, any a$$hat with a web site and a shopping cart can claim to be a “guru” with a list of reviewers/book bloggers for sale. I’m not exactly certain how these folks do what they do, but I imagine it involves combing the internet for popular blogs then finding our contact e-mail and selling that list. The problem is that these folks may or may not have done any kind of research.
They are simply looking for popular blogs then charging writers for that list.
The e-mail pictured above? This person apparently got my name off a list he’d paid for. A list of bloggers who review literary fiction.
#3—Fail to Make the Match
To reiterate, I am not a book reviewer and even if I were? I would rather be water boarded than read self-published literary fiction. Yes, I am a troglodyte—judge me all you want—because I’d rather be water boarded than read most traditionally published literary fiction.
I know! I am uncouth and horrible and plebeian and I will totally own it. I read all kinds of fiction, but like most literate humans, I have my ranking of favorite genres…literary being dead last and about ten slots below instructions on how to update to Windows 10.
But while you might be horrified to find out that I don’t care for literary fiction, it IS useful information.
If we are looking for someone to review our books, we need to make sure we are finding reviewers who are passionate about the genre.
Do not try to get an expert in literary reviews to look at an epic high fantasy. It wastes your time, the reviewer’s time and it’s just a bad plan.
First of all, it highlights we didn’t do the research to see what kind of books the reviewer specializes in. Secondly, the reviewer might not possess the right set of eyes for judging our work. This is like taking our BMW sedan in to a mechanic who works on BMW motorcycles. Sure, he works on BMWs but the skill set is completely different.
If someone who doesn’t like your genre reviews your book, that already stacks odds against the reviewer having an enjoyable experience which bodes ill for your work. Also, if that person hasn’t read a lot of the genre, he will be ill-equipped to give a solid review. All genres have expectations and a good reviewer understands what those are.
#4—Fail to Even Get Eyes on the Blog
What I’ve found particularly unsettling about this barrage of messages from hopeful writers is that not ONE of them took time to even stop by and look at my blog. All of my archives are available. In fact, google my name with book reviews and not a single book review.
Getting a book review should be approached the same way as looking for an agent or publisher. Do the research. Look at their site. Who are they? What do they do? Double-check everything, especially any paid lists. We need to make sure that the information is even accurate, but more specifically? We need to make sure it is a good fit.
Check the blog to make sure you want that reviewer getting hands on your work. Is the reviewer any good? Is he professional? Is she kind? And I don’t mean kind as in using kid gloves on the work, but we don’t want to just hand our stuff to a reviewer who gets hits from crushing authors’ will to live.
My expertise is in content editing. I have earned the nickname The Death Star and for good reasons. In fact, I’ve been killed in at least five novels that I know of from authors who were grateful for my Red Pen of Doom…but who also wanted the joy of legally murdering me.
NOT book reviewer material.
Not. Just don’t.
#5—Make Zero Effort to Engage Ahead of Time
Granted, I don’t do book reviews. I am, however, generous with other stuff. I have had folks who regularly comment on my blogs and after a few months might say something like, “Ugh, I wish I could win your contest. I am just so stuck!” And guess what? I will message and say, “Hey, send me ten pages.” Why?
This commenter has taken valuable time to be supportive of me and my blog.
I don’t imagine book bloggers are much different. If we find book bloggers we like, take time to engage, share their posts and form even a loose connection, this can go a LONG way toward making it to the top of their list for a review. Those who “cold call” will rarely be made a priority by any reviewer worth his or her salt.
In the end, manners and kindness go a LONG way. What are your thoughts? For the book bloggers and book reviewers out there, would you have anything else to add?…