I love my blog and I love the many wonderful books I’ve discovered through running this blog and the talented authors I’ve had a chance to help, even if only a fraction. Do you know what I don’t like? Review requests. I’ve noticed an increase in them lately and it’s forced me to become ever pickier about the books that I take on. However, there are some cases where I’m not even tempted to find out more about the book. Here’s why:
The way my name is – or isn’t – used
You wouldn’t believe (or if you’re a book blogger you probably would) the number of emails I get that don’t even start with a greeting but launch straight into the pitch. Or they say ‘Dear Donna Brown of Book Bags and Cat Naps’. That immediately puts me off. Apart from the fact that it’s not very personable, it makes me ask: is that for my benefit or for yours, so when I reply you can actually remember who I am? Start a spreadsheet so you can just look up the email address! And my name? It’s on the bottom of EVERY blog post I write. So please don’t write ‘I’m such a fan of your blog’ on an email that begins ‘Dear blogger’.
Sending an email that has no marks of correspondence at all
True, in my review policy I ask for certain things to be included as a minimum but I’ve begun receiving emails where nothing other than those things are included.
Subject: Review request
Title: My Book
Blurb: The best book ever written
That’s it… no greeting, no touches of personality at all. If I wanted a form submission, I’d have a form.
Sending an email with typos or lower case in the subject line
Typos happen, I know this. Especially when it’s midnight and you have to be up by six to get to the day job and you’re tired. But there are a couple of places that I find typos unforgivable: my name (it’s only five letters and I’m not Dana, Danna, Dona) and your subject line. I’ll see those first so take a step back and make sure they’re right. As for the subject line:
“book review request”
Professional? Terrible! And take my advice right now (it’s free – you may as well) a LOT of people find this a turn off. Just add in the proper casing and it looks about a hundred times better.
Not including the book blurb
Yes, I know you included a link and that’s very kind. But I’m now getting up to ten review requests a day alongside the 200 other emails I receive and – I’m not being unkind here – I need to scan, weigh up and decide pretty quickly. I need to have the information I want in the body of the email so anything I choose to look up on Amazon is an optional extra.
Not including a link or blurb
It’s a VERY kind reviewer who will hunt down your information because you haven’t sent a book blurb or link. And it’s not me.
Telling me something is for me – when it’s blatantly not
I don’t think it takes a long visit to my site to see that I like cats, romance, literary fiction. ”Hey Donna, you will LOVE this celebrity diet book…” doesn’t work. By all means, tell me you have a literary fiction book you think I’ll love – I just might – but don’t tell me you have a sci-fi novel that’ll blow my socks off.
Not reading my reviewing policy
I have my email in easy access on my menu bar and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that people are just blanket sending without checking my review policy, looking up my name etc. So that will be coming off, which is a shame. There are clues in emails that someone hasn’t read my policy at all. Don’t assume that I won’t care or I won’t realise. There’s a policy in place for a reason – mostly so you don’t waste my time or your own.
All of these are things that I’ve begun to see over and over again. I’ve tightened up my review policy and I’ve now become pretty firm at just saying ‘No, thank you’ if these things crop up. Because they’re not difficult things and they aren’t time consuming. You know what it tells me when authors do these things? That they don’t actually care about my opinion or being on my blog. That I’m just making up the numbers. And that’s absolutely fine – but you can be damn sure that the people who do want to be on the blog, who do take the time to connect and who do know what I’m like will get priority every time.