I am a book reviewer and I publish my reviews in my blog, Little Miss Reader. I receive hundreds of book review requests each year and, unfortunately, I must reject most of them.
There are lots of self-published authors out there who have no idea how to write a good book review request! I have read numerous posts and articles from authors claiming they know how to write the best book review requests. The thing is…they are usually wrong. So, I am here today with a few tips for sending in review requests that will hopefully give you more acceptances and fewer rejections.
I receive between 10 and 30 review requests per week and I generally only accept 1 or 2 of those. I reject so many mainly because they have forgotten the following;
Always make the request personal
You do not have to write an individual request for every blogger or reviewer you approach – but you really should! The least you can do is personalize it by using their name. Never begin with dear blogger, dear reader or something as impersonal as that! And, never, ever address it to “dear sir.” Use the blogger’s name – always.
Another tip is to show that you have looked at the blogs and read several former reviews. Flattery will get you a long way, but make it tasteful.
Always have your facts straight!
I have received too many review requests boldly stating that I have either read, and even enjoyed, a book from the author before, or read a similar book and enjoyed it – and those are usually all lies. I know I am not the only one who receives those mails and many book reviewers do not accept those requests. Even if we are disorganized, we are usually 99 percent sure of the books we have read so do not try to trick us into anything.
Always read the review policy
Another reason I decline so many review requests is when it’s obvious that the author has not read my review policy. If a blogger receives books for review, there is usually a review policy to go along with it, and it is very important that you read it! In my review policy, it states that I only receive physical copies for review, so I will automatically decline any request with a digital copy. There is usually also a timeframe for when you can expect a review, preferred genres, and everything else review-related. It usually only takes a couple of minutes to go through a review policy and it is very easy to see if an author has read the policy – so take the time to read it!
Always be sure that your book is a good fit for that reviewer
If you have written an erotic book, you should not send review requests to Young Adult (YA) bloggers, and vice versa. The description and main area of coverage is something you can find in the review policy, or even in the past reviews. There is no use spending time writing a review request that is doomed from the beginning because of the book’s topic or genre.
In the world of books, reviews are very important but review requests are more important. A good review request can help an author’s sales rank. A bad review request can lead to no review, which can hurt sales.
So, send sending out requests to book reviewers, do it right. And, remember…there is always a chance those reviewers will be loyal readers in the future.
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AmandaEmma is a reviewer and a blogger. She created her book blog, Little Miss Reader, in 2013 and has since written numerous reviews. She became a reviewer for Hot Key Books in 2014. She has since created a Danish blog as well; Frk. Litteratur and is now a prominent blogger and reviewer in the Danish book blogger community.
I did not even know there were online book reviewers! So I googled that and got lots of hits. e.g. http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/09/15/100-best-blogs-for-book-reviews/
but it does not have a non-fiction category. So I added that search term and got:
PS Can anyone suggest best way to send free copies to libraries?
Randal, you should contact each library individually and ask them 1. if they’d like a REVIEW copy and 2 in which format they’d like it. Most will request a free print copy. If they like it, they may then even shelf it, which means they never had to buy a copy. If they want an electronic review copy, be prepared to offer them one of 3 formats – mobi (the format used by Amazon for the Kindle), epub (the format used by other ebook reading devices) and pdf (which can be read on one’s computer or on a variety of devices, including many phones). They may also then start distributing that ebook without paying you for it.
I do not recommend sending free copies of libraries. People can then simply read your book for free instead of ordering it and even the library will have obtained a free copy.
– Angela Hoy
I advice you to go on amazon or goodreads and find nonfiction books you think are similar to your book and then find reviewers through there instead of through a big list. The information can be out of date and people usually forget to find the review policy if they have a master list.
Very interesting article. I have a question, however. The statement regarding only accepting physical copies for review: Does the author mean one should be sent with the request? For an indie author, that could get awfully expensive with, often, no hope of return. Or does she just mean that if a request to review is accepted or some reasonable interest shown, then a physical copy would need to be sent? Thanks.
We advise authors to give all reviewers a choice of which medium they want. Print book, mobi (ebook for the Kindle), epub (ebook for other e-reading devices), or pdf (which anybody can read from their laptop and from many devices, including their phone).
This article started out as a guide on how to write review requests. If your chosen blogger states that he or she only accepts physical review copies you shall be prepared to send a physical review copy – if your request is accepted.
And I do not recommend attaching a digital copy of your book with your request, send a few chapters instead to see if it is something we might enjoy. I often feel like the book is forced upon me or that the author just does not have time to talk to me if I get a request with the book already attached.
Thank you for this enlightening article!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! It means a lot Pamela.
Thank you for posting this information. As an author, I am always interested in the various facets of the reviewing process and appreciate it when an active reviewer is kind enough to share his/her suggestions and/or observations as you have done.
You’re very welcome, I’m just glad people actually read my work. I do hope this can help with getting more reviews.