Review Bloggers are first and foremost, book LOVERS. They spend countless hours reading and writing reviews on books in their favorite genres. Guest Editor, Kasey Giard has posted over 500 reviews on her blog, The Story Sanctuary and has rejected many review requests for good reason! Take a look at some of the review requests she has rejected and then make notes on the best ways to make YOUR approach.
HOW To Ask Bloggers For A Review —
The RIGHT Way!
When I started reviewing books online, I had no idea what I was getting into, beyond the joy of sharing great reads with other readers. As I started accepting requests from independent and small press authors, I quickly realized I’d taken some things about authors, often my heroes, for granted.
I assumed everyone who writes a book has at least a basic understanding of things like genre conventions, grammar, professionalism, and some idea of marketing strategies. I figured if I made my review guidelines clear and easy to understand and posted my honest review of books, I couldn’t help but have great experiences with authors whose work I’m helping reach the hands of interested readers.
After writing over five hundred reviews now, I’ve seen a wide range of approaches from authors, and I have to say, some just don’t seem to understand how to approach a blogger. At all. Want to see what I mean? Here are some cases that made me cringe most.
Hi, I speaka English not so good.
Please to review my book is love story about boy and girl.
I have so much admiration for authors who write in a second language. Seriously. That’s a huge undertaking and an amazing ability. But when I get a review request email that’s difficult to read, I imagine the novel will be roughly the same. There’s just no way I could read and enjoy 250 pages of a book written like this.
Hi, I never proofread anything.
I’m like to submit to you me book for review.
Proofread your email. Send it to your critique partners or writer friends. Let them find your typos. Treat an email to a reviewer the same way you’d treat a query letter to an agent. You’re a professional. You’ve got this. Also, be aware that the blogger is probably going to assume your book will be as well-edited as your email. So, no, you’re probably not gonna score reviews with a request email full of errors.
Hi, I don’t understand genre conventions.
Please review my young adult novel for children aged eight to twelve.
Young adult books are for readers twelve to eighteen. Middle grade books are for readers eight to twelve. So which is it? Some reviewers take only one or the other. For me, this screams that the author hasn’t done any research on genre conventions. If he can’t be bothered with something as simple and critical as that, what other mistakes has he made? Sadly, I’ve got a limited number of review slots available. I don’t have room for people who don’t know what they’re doing.
Hi, my marketing copy tells you nothing!
Greta had it all. Then a mysterious stranger with a terrible secret moved into town. Greta can’t resist the powerful attraction she feels, but loving him might cost her everything.
I have no idea what this story is about. I mean, okay, there’s obviously some romance and some kind of conflict, but what actually happens to these people? Sub out Greta’s name and you could have Twilight or maybe Romeo and Juliet. What is it about this story that’s original or unique? I have no idea, and I’m definitely not requesting it.
Hi, my friends say this is better than Harry Potter.
This book has been called the next Harry Potter! My book is the next Hunger Games!
I’ve seen statements like this an alarming number of times. Please don’t. Seriously. It’s like introducing yourself by saying, “People always mistake me for Tom Cruise.” You’re inviting the blogger to focus on all the reasons your book falls short of the comparison, which sets you up for a terrible review, even if you’re able to secure one. I tend to worry these authors have an overinflated ego, an unrealistic view of their novels, or are simply desperate for reviews. I nearly always pass on the chance to review these stories.
If you really want to go compare with a bestseller, it’s better to say, “Fans of Harry Potter will like this book for [insert relevant similarities].”
Hi, I know nothing at all about your blog.
Dear Blogger, you may be interested in reviewing my book.
These kinds of emails are usually some sort of email blast. Which can be okay if the rest of the email is totally stellar and it doesn’t open with something generic, like, “Dear Blogger”. But more often, it’s going to sound generic and desperate and like you didn’t take the time to research any of the blogs you’re approaching.
I’ve written a cookbook you may be interested in reviewing.
Yeah, no. I don’t review cookbooks. So for me, that’s outside my scope, and you’ve wasted your time.
I can’t say this enough. Research the blogs you want to review your book. Look at what genres they review. Look at books they’ve reviewed recently. Look for blogs with positive reviews of books comparable to yours. Make sure the blogger is currently accepting review requests before you contact them.
Hi, I think your opinion of my book is wrong.
Thanks for posting the review, but your comment on my plot made no sense to me.
This is a tricky one. I’ve had authors contact me a couple of times to ask me to fix a typo in their name or the book’s title. That’s all good. Please do that. The blogger is more likely to get additional page views from people searching for your name or title, and that won’t happen if it’s spelled incorrectly.
But refrain from asking the reviewer to defend her review. She doesn’t get paid to read books and put reviews together. It’s all volunteer time. I spend between five and ten hours on each book I review. Unpaid time. Please don’t spit on that time by arguing with me about my opinion.
If you’re unsatisfied with the review, update your spreadsheet (you know, that fancy one where you track all the bloggers who review your books because you’re so organized) to note not to ask that reviewer for a review next time you release a book.
Your review says there’s profanity in my book, but there isn’t.
My reviews include a breakdown of content which might be triggers for certain readers, including the instance of profanity. Hey, if I’m wrong about the content, that’s something I’d want to know. But be really sure you’re right before asking for these kinds of corrections.
One time an author and I went back and forth a couple of times about my notes on the prevalence of profanity in his book which he claimed wasn’t there. I ended up sending him page numbers and quoting sentences. It was pretty annoying and absurd and a huge waste of my time. Guess whose books I won’t be reviewing in the future?
Hi, my book cover looks like I spent about ten minutes on it.
Here’s the thing. Not only will a crummy cover reduce your sales, it will make bloggers less inclined to review your book! I’m serious. Think about it. Your cover is often the only significant image in the book review post. If it looks like someone cut and pasted together some free graphics and slapped a title on there, the cover is probably not going to woo book bloggers.
Above all, be patient. Building a successful blog network to promote your book takes time.Allow yourself time to research blogs well in advance of your book’s release. Give bloggers some time to respond to your emails. Be sensitive to the fact that many bloggers book their calendars months in advance, and may not be able to accommodate a tight timeline even if they really want to review your book. I tend to book my review calendar sixty to ninety days in advance, so reaching out at least three months before your release date is ideal.
Remember most bloggers don’t get paid to post reviews (you should never be asked to pay for reviews), and there are way more books on every book blogger’s to-be-read list than she can ever read, so you’ve got some fierce competition. But also know that she’s on your side. She’s blogging because she believes in the importance of literature and wants to match readers with their next favorite book.
Invest time finding bloggers who enjoy your books and cultivate good relationships with them. That investment will pay off in spades. Those bloggers will be happy to promote your book across social media accounts and will likely be willing to publish additional posts recommending your book or include it in recommended reading list posts. All that extra exposure helps you.
Offer to participate in an author interview or guest blog post. A busy blogger will appreciate having the chance to promote a book she’s interested in even if she doesn’t have time to read it right now.
Ultimately, we, the bloggers, and you, the author, are on the same team. We want to reach readers with great stories, ones that stick with us for the rest of our lives. Without you, we couldn’t do what we do.
About Kasey Giard
Kasey has been reviewing young adult and middle grade books at The Story Sanctuary since 2013 and has posted over 500 book reviews. She is a three-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest and the winner of the 2017 Oregon Christian Writers Cascades Contest for an unpublished short story.
In her book Reviews Wanted, Kasey shares her passion for helping authors through practical strategies on landing reviews with book bloggers. The book covers common mistakes authors make in approaching bloggers as well as specific techniques to build lasting connections with a network of bloggers to aid authors in promote their books.Kasey lives in Central Florida with her family and two cats.
About Reviews Wanted
“Absolutely awesome! Reviews Wanted is well worth reading, re-reading and remembering. The style is clear, concise, professional and entertaining. Writers at any stage of their career can pick up important information from Reviews Wanted. A real gem!” – Kathleen Cook Waldron, Silver Birch Award-winning author.
Reviews Wanted is packed with tips from a veteran book review blogger and author of over five hundred book reviews. Learn how to successfully build relationships with book review bloggers and get word about your book out to readers and other reviewers, helping to generate far-reaching buzz that turns into sales.
Click on the PREVIEW tab and see what’s inside …