I’ve noticed a few trends among the indie and self-published authors who submit requests for review and I just wanted to address them here really quick.
I’ll respond to every review request I receive. I’m not going to pretend I’m so busy that I can’t respond and I don’t get nearly enough to have that kind of thinking (maybe a dozen a week, at most). I sit down every Sunday (usually) and respond to review requests that have piled up during the week. So if you don’t get a response from me, your or my email was lost in the void, or you addressed me as Bites. Or Lit Bites. Or Bites Blog. Or some other variation of my blog name. That’s not my goddamn name. My name is on my blog. All over my blog. If you can’t be bothered to find it, I can’t be bothered to do anything other than hit delete. I’ll take ‘To Whom It May Concern’ or ‘Dear Blogger’ or no salutation at all (although that kind of annoys me, but not enough to just hit delete). Just don’t call me by the name of my blog, for the love of god.
Another good way to not get a response out of me is to follow up my declination with a request for a reason why. I am absolutely NOT responding to any of those. Ever. Not only am I not obligated to justify my declination to you, I’m not putting myself in a situation where you’re going to think this is the time to convince me that I should read your book or for you to argue with me about why I should read it. No. Don’t ask. The stock answer is “any number of reasons.” Let’s just leave it at that.
And some ways to lessen your chances of a no?
- Send a blurb in the body of your email. You’d be surprised how often people don’t do this. I’m not chasing links, I’m not reading attachments. No blurb in the body of your email means I don’t know what your book is about and I’m going to pass.
- Make sure that blurb is free of spelling and grammar errors. Again, you’d be surprised. If your blurb is riddled with them, I’m going to assume your book is too and pass. And this goes for actual content as well. I often get an idea of what kind of writing I can expect in a book from the blurb since many self-pubbed and indie authors write them themselves. So if it’s a big ol’ mess or rambly or doesn’t make any sense, I’m going to assume your book is the same way. And pass.
- Don’t send the book with your initial review request. This is presumptuous and I don’t know anyone who’s going to open an unsolicited attachment. Wait for a yes response. I won’t decline outright for this, but it does annoy me. I don’t think I’ve ever accepted a review request of an author who’s done this, for a number of reasons, not just this one alone.
- Keep it short and sweet. And especially don’t bury your lead. You’re pitching your book so give me the blurb up front. Don’t make me scroll through pages of the email just to get to it. By the time I do I’m only half-paying attention.
- Of course, most importantly, read my policy. I mean, like, actually read it. Because I will automatically decline if you try to throw me off my mentioning something in my policy and sending me something that I expressly don’t want. You’re a dick for doing that and I’m going to say no immediately. It’s pretty broad and what I won’t read is pretty small. I read broadly and I want to keep it that way. But if you pitch me your self-help book on how to find Jesus I’m probably just going to delete your email because you’re just throwing shit at the wall and hoping something sticks.