Want a Review? Here’s Five Things to Avoid

I’ve been blogging for almost two years now and I’ve learned a lot about what this is all about. Specifically for book blogs. Reviewing books is a large part of that and we all do our best to review the books we are asked to review in a timely fashion. However life sometimes has other plans and over the last two years I’ve noticed a lot of things that authors do that I really think they should avoid if they want to get their book reviewed. So want a review? Here’s Five things to avoid.

I will say that that doesn’t mean that ever blogger feels this way so obviously I’m only giving my opinion on it and what I feel should be avoided.

Tip #1

Tagging a book blogger in a tweet with a link to your book. I can’t say this enough but book bloggers don’t really get a lot of respect. It seems like we do probably to most people but frankly we don’t. So the worst thing you could do is something so impersonal as this. Especially when it’s all your doing, tweeting reviewers with the same link. It just feels like you don’t care about what we do and I get that maybe you shouldn’t have to but I think there should be a relationship between an Author and someone that’s reviewing their book. Even if it’s a few words.

Tip #2

Not reading our review policy and emailing us anyway. So emailing is great but it’s not when you aren’t taking the time to know what that reviewing reads or whether they are even open for reviews. My policy has clear genres but also tells people that they can give me anything and I’ll decide if I want to read it, other bloggers have hard expectations. So emailing them something that isn’t on their list is just wasting their time and yours.

Tip #3

Demanding we change a review because it’s not 4 or 5 stars. If you’ve done it before to other bloggers it stands to reason that you’ll do it to anyone. A review isn’t for an author. Not really. Yes it can be a source of constructive criticism but that’s not the purpose. It’s supposed to be honest. If I liked your book but it has some flaws, it’s likely going to be a 3 star book. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad one, it just means that I saw things I didn’t like and things that I did.

I think the important piece to this is an understanding that we aren’t trying to hurt you. We know how hard you’ve worked, we work hard too. We get it. But if we can’t be honest then what’s the point? I will say that reviewers that are just mean aren’t the kind of people I’m talking about and that isn’t fair to an author at all. There are ways to give a 1 star review that don’t involve completely trashing the book or the author.

Tip #4

Repeatedly emailing on the status of the review. I know that this means a lot and reviews are important for sales. I think we all get that, but the more you email asking when we are going to review the more often we are going to put off reviewing your book. It isn’t because we don’t care but if in the original correspondence I say that I don’t know when I’ll get to it but I’d be happy to review it when I get the chance, that means that I really don’t know when I”ll get to it. Could be a week, a month or more.

The fact is that is that for a lot of us this isn’t a full time job. We don’t get paid. We are doing this because we want to. Because we love books. But that also means that our time is limited and we can’t always get to the books we want when we want. Trust that when we say we will review it that we will, it’s okay to also not give a book when a review can’t give you a clear timeline. There are so many of us around that you’ll find someone that will read it faster.

Tip #5

Expecting us to buy your book and review it just because you asked. I review books that I buy, but if you email me and you want a review the standard procedure is that you supply a review copy. That is the exchange. I’m not saying that I won’t buy your book. But I don’t like buying a book because I HAVE to. I think that since we aren’t being paid, in most cases, that the expectation shouldn’t be on us to purchase the book.

I don’t buy books a lot and when I do they are thrift store books or on sale books because I’m not able to spend 12 bucks to review your book for you. This leads to the heated debate about paying for reviews or book bloggers being paid for reviews. I don’t support flat out paying for reviews, but I also don’t think it’s fair to say that I have to buy your book, effectively supporting you, when you won’t donate anything to support me.

We are both struggling in this situation but I’d be getting the shit end of the deal.

These are some things that I’ve either seen discussed on Twitter or I’ve had happen to be that I didn’t like. I am not calling anyone specific out and couldn’t honestly tell you who did any of these to me because I don’t need to remember their names. Anyway, I hope that this was helpful and that no one takes offense to it. I’d love to read your comments on this topic so feel free to leave me one!

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5 thoughts on “Want a Review? Here’s Five Things to Avoid

  1. I can’t help but think I’ve been relatively lucky. Mostly I don’t have authors doing this but I frequently get authors tagging me in posts about their books. It’s infuriating.

  2. This is great, agree with it 🙂 I hate when I get sent impersonal messages. Especially when they obviously haven’t looked at my blog, or else they’d know I don’t review middle grade books, fantasy romances and detective stories.

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