First the stats. So from May 7th to date I’ve received 119 indie book review requests. I’ve accepted a total of 7 of those requests. Still holding steady around a 6% acceptance rate. Same as the last time I posted some numbers in June.
Over these handful of months I’ve picked up a few . . . behaviors that should be curbed when sending me, or any book reviewer/blogger, review requests. You may say I shouldn’t be all high and mighty about this. I’m being offered free books. Just take it. I’m just a blogger. It’s not like you’re a PROFESSIONAL. To that I’d say, if that’s how you think of me and what I do, fuck yourself. I don’t want to read your damn book anyway.
I may not be a professional book reviewer but YOU need to be professional in how you manage business correspondence. If you’re not taking your book seriously, neither will I. Look, I know I’m a tool for you to use. Doesn’t mean I actually want to be treated like one. I’m sure no one does. So take these tips how you will, if at all. Just remember, look at those numbers above. You’re already at a disadvantage. Don’t make it even worse because you can’t be bothered to learn email etiquette.
ADDRESS ME BY NAME.
Hell, I’ll even just take a greeting. No name even necessary. Just whatever you do, don’t call me by my goddamn blog’s name. My blog is not a sentient being. It’s a website. So when you call be Lit Bites, ONE, you don’t even know what the name of my website is, and TWO, you just ensured that I skim through your email and send you a decline. Doubly so if you’re trying to be cute and quirky in your email and show that you read some of my reviews or whatever.
MY WEBSITE IS NOT CALLED LIT BITES.
MY NAME IS NOT LIT BITES. OR BITES.
DON’T ATTACH ANYTHING.
I mean anything. I’m not going to open it. Other people may feel differently about this, but especially if it’s the entire book, no. You’re being presumptuous when you do that and it’s a turn-off. In this world of computer viruses, hold off on attaching anything, even if it’s promotional material, unless the person you’re sending the request to accepts it.
MAKE SURE IT FITS MY READING GUIDELINES.
Some of the random book review requests I get, I’m just like, did you even read the guidelines? Probably not because I don’t actually care about your non-fiction book on a particular bird species. Thanks, though.
INCLUDE A BOOK BLURB.
You’d think this would be a given. It is not. Not even close. Put it in the body of the email. Don’t give me links and have me go find it myself. Don’t just point me to where I can find the book, without links, and have me find it myself. Don’t give me just praise for the book. Give me the damn blurb. It should be less than 250 words and copy/paste-able into the body of the email. Not hard. If I can’t figure out what your book is even about, I’m going to pass. And I’m not going to go hunting for it either. Make this easy for me, not a scavenger hunt.
And it goes in the body of the email. Not as an attachment. No attachments unless you have an acceptance.
NO MASS EMAILS.
I know you’re busy and I know this is hard but BCC is a bitch and it’ll almost guarantee you a decline. I know I’m one of many, but don’t rub that fact in my face. Taking those few extra seconds to copy and paste a marketing email and just change out the name can go a long way.
NO-GO FOR MAILING LISTS.
Don’t sign me up for it without my permission. I will just unsubscribe and I won’t look at anything.
Look, I need to actually be able to read your request. If it’s a smash-up of a giant wall of text that looks like you sneezed it out, I’m immediately going to pass. I’m not going to Magic Eye your email in order to decipher what it is you’ve written.
This is specifically for the marketing people/publicists for hire: don’t shot gun a giant book list out and see what sticks. You’re doing a disservice to the authors you represent, especially if that list is little more than two dozen books with elevator pitches, at best. Someone’s not getting their money’s worth out of you. Deleted.
Again, I’m sure some people will think I’m a prima donna or something. I’m really not. I just can’t be bothered with all of this. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that arena.
If you’re trying to pitch me your book to review it means you’re trying to sell it. You have a product, you’re running some level of business, and you’re trying to market it. You need to do it in a way that looks like you actually give a shit, not only about your own product, but about the people whom you’re trying to reach. We’re not throw-aways. We actually do help get the word out there. I’m not saying don’t piss us off or else. I’m just saying you need to be professional with your book.
And don’t turn it on me. This isn’t about me. I’m writing reviews in my pajamas on my own self-hosted WordPress blog. I don’t get paid for what I do and I don’t answer to anyone for what I do. This is not how I make my living. I could stop doing this tomorrow and I would be just fine doing that. I’m not trying to sell anything. I’m not trying to get people to buy my product. I’m not trying to get people to work with me, although I do have people who work with me based on years of rapport and my professional interaction with them.
This is about you. You need to put your best foot forward. I’m just trying to help you do that and trying to eliminate some of these less-than-savory email practices at the same time.
These last couple of weeks I’ve taken a break from review reading because I got married. I needed to eliminate any unnecessary potential stressors for a short amount of time, otherwise I feel I may have lost my mind. If you’re waiting on a review from me, don’t worry. It’s coming. I should be back to my regular reading routine by now.