I had an experience recently with a very frustrated author that prompted this article. She was a debut author trying to get bloggers to review her upcoming release. She had contacted me through twitter asking if I would review her book. Two days after her initial request, she started to send messages to me that sounded borderline frantic. The messages ranged from, “Why won’t you respond to my request?” to “Is this because I went with a small publishing house?” Feeling the desperation and inexperience in her words, I did respond because I wanted to offer her a little advice. Knowing how many of you are out there in the same situation made me think that what I said may also benefit you.
Things to keep in mind when you’re requesting a book review.
You are not the only person out there with an upcoming book release. When you contact a blogger (especially one with a popular website) you should know that most get daily requests from authors, publicists, and publishers asking that they review their novels. In most cases, it has nothing to do with your method of publishing and everything to do with timing. The YA Fantasy Guide has six reviewers on staff. When I get a request, I email my reviewers and ask if anyone wants it. We read and review as much as we can, but it’s impossible to take on every request we get.
Attitude will get you everywhere or nowhere. You will find very little success asking for reviews through twitter. It’s 140 characters which leaves very little room for you to talk about yourself or your book. And, quite simply, it’s unprofessional. You’re asking someone to take time out of their day/week/month to do something that ultimately benefits you. Keeping that in mind, don’t ever freak out if it takes a while for a response. Most reviewers do what they do for fun so many have jobs and it could take some time to get back to you.
Personalize your request. Ask yourself these questions: What have you done to make your request stand out? Did you generically ask for a review or did you tell them why you wanted them specifically to review it? Did you read their review guidelines and follow the instructions? Have you done any research on that blogger? Have you followed that blogger and made comments on other areas within their blog? Have you contacted them on twitter to discuss books that don’t include yours? Have you offered to write an article or do a giveaway along with your review request? I can tell you that I personally have taken on additional books when I know that the author did their homework. The extra effort does make a difference.
I hope you take this advice because it will help you score more reviews. Good Luck and Happy Writing!
Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can read her advice for aspiring writers on her blog The YA Fantasy Freak or you can follow her on Twitter.