Discussion: Review Requests – do’s & don’t’s

discussionI was ready to post the following discussion days ago and then some things happened and I felt like I was forced to rewrite it. Okay, so that sounds way more dramatic than it is…

Anyway, thing is I filled out this form to be added to the Indie Book Reviewers List. I didn’t think I’d get that many requests, unknown blog and all. But I got them and don’t get me wrong, it is flattering! So far so good. Because of ‘all’ the requests I got, I couldn’t help but notice how they were worded. Most of them could have been done better. So I thought I should make my thoughts about it known. The following things I have experienced myself, I am sure there is more to be done wrong and to be done right.

And please don’t be afraid of the Indie Book Reviewers List. It is really, really great and you get to know nice authors and interesting books.

I couldn’t help but notice – again and again – how often this is done wrong. The following things? Don’t do them!

  • no personal address/no addressing at all

I thought that would be a given, but apparently not? Most book bloggers have their name on their site and it is not hidden. You can find it out with absolutely not problems. Of course some don’t tell you their name – which I am not damning at all! – but you can write something like dear [insert blog’s name]. Congratulations, you have now addressed the book blogger personally!

  • mass e-mail

You know those spam e-mails, that get send to many, many accounts? You know how you take a little glimpse at an e-mail like that and you know instantly that it is a mass e-mail? Guess what, book bloggers do too! You don’t feel really appreciated if you get a review request which has been send exactly like that to many, many accounts.

It’s like you’re saying If 5% are stupid enough to review my book/click on that link and therefore download my virus on their computer, that’s enough for me! (being deliberately mean here of course). It really dims your chances of a positive answer.

  • unread/ignored Review Policy

It hasn’t been written just for fun. There’s a reason a book blogger put it on their blog. Hint: It’s for you to read it and follow it. Writing something like All the other reader’s loved my book! or I am sure you’ll like it! isn’t following a review policy if your book’s genre isn’t listed as a wanted genre or even worse as an unwanted one. But of course you only know that if you have read said review policy.

  • attached book file

First of all, you don’t know which file format the book blogger likes and/or needs. But let’s put that problem aside, because there is a worse one.

Attaching your work without the book blogger’s permission is like you’re implying that they haven’t anything better to do than read and review your book. So why should they say no? It’s such an honour to be chosen as a reviewer for your book. Sadly it reminds one more of those flyers you get in your letterbox. Those you put in the trash without reading them.

  • Lying

Again, I thought this one would be a given. But it’s not. You can’t state you have read a book bloggers blog if you haven’t read it. They know you’re lying! Little hints are for example: Book blogger’s name isn’t used even though it is on their blog or an ignored review policy.

Now that we know the bad things, let’s take a look at what should be done.

  • Try to learn the book blogger’s name
  • Put something personal in your e-mail

You could tell them why you have chosen them for example. Maybe you have read a review by them and you really liked it (hint: you should say why you liked it). Or you can refer to their policy, tell them how you got to know their blog… there are a lot of possibilities.

  • give information about your book

A summary/description is a must of course. But tell them more. I know a book blogger can research them themselves but why should they? You want them to review your book! And you should know the pages count for example. Since you have written it. Those things can be copy & paste, don’t worry.

  • ask which format they’d like to have if they approve of your request
  • be polite

Maybe you’re asking yourself why you should put so much work in each request. Well first of all, book bloggers put a lot of work into their review. And those are a lot of work (if you don’t believe me or are just interested in it, take a look at Jenny’s blog post about it).

I’m assuming writing your book was a lot of work. So many hours you sat and wrote, wrote certain things again, trying to improve it… don’t you want the book bloggers who review your book to be a good choice, tailored to your book? I’m thinking yes. So you have to read their blogs, otherwise you won’t know their likes and dislikes, their reviewing style, the sites they’re using to talk about your book….

Writing hi, please review my book, it’s great! I’ve attached it, thanks! may be quick, but it really dims your chances of having your book reviewed. Do you really want that?

Looong blog post is nearly finished. Now I’m asking you, dear readers… What are your experiences with getting reviewing requests? How do you think about them?

As of now I have declined every impolite request. Call it pride, call it headiness. I’m wondering if I were to get a request to review a book I really, really want to read and said request would be like the bad ones I described above… would I accept it? Or would I decline it? (I’m thinking and hoping the latter.) What about you?

10 replies

  1. Ha, that’s exactly how I got my everyday review requests almost up to 40. I just signed up for that website too, it’s insane how much traffic it generates. I love that you addressed the spam mails. I can’t imagine that this actually works. NOBODY downloads a book from an attachment without previous interaction with the author. Great post, I agree with everything you said!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 40? That’s a lot of time you have to spend answering requests.
      Spam mails are the bane of my existence… and I can’t imagine that they are successfull either. So why do it.
      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Fantastic post, I usually decline review request in any case because I find reviewing for a specific person very stressful. It’s easier to do it for publishers because at least I am not dealing with the author directly. But with indies, I feel that ruffling feathers if I didn’t enjoy the book would be too direct. However, I do always appreciate a well written review request as you mentioned. I do NOT like the ones that send me like 10000 words long essay lauding their own books that are very obviously just copy and paste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true that it is more difficult if you are in direct contact with the author, especially when the book’s not your cup of tea. But I like to think of it as a challenge to write my review as inoffensive as I can while still staying true to my opinion (at least I try to make myself to think that way. It isn’t easy.) .


  3. This is a great post! I know the review process from the blogger side, but I wonder how I would handle things on the author side. Format and politeness really does make a difference and I will definitely reference this post again if I ever manage to get anything published!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. The invitation for me to review books make a huge difference on whether I accept or not. I feel much more valued that the author has taken time to read my blog. You make a great point that they spent a lot of time on their book, so a bit of extra time to get the right reviewers should be a given.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.
      I always think if I were to write a book, I’d wanted to know how the reviewer reviews. Is just “it was good/bad” or do they give a little information, analyse the characters, write objectively or cheeky…(every reviewing style has its ups and downs). So I don’t understand those mass e-mail for example.

      Liked by 1 person

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