To all my readers I’m really, really sorry. I know I’ve been harping on and on about review requests lately and that you’re probably sick of it, but I promise this is the last post about review requests for a while. It’s going to be a sort of pillar post for authors, I suppose.
If you’re an author and you’re reading this you’ve either found it via search engine, social media or simply because you’re a regular reader of my blog. Fair enough. But if you’re an author who sent me a review request and got this link I feel I need to explain to you why I’m rejecting your review request. I get it, authors need reviews in this new scary world of social media, especially since the rise of the book blogger. And I get it that not a lot of reviewers are open to indie submissions like I am. That’s why I feel this article is so important: you don’t want to alienate the reviewers you need to publicize and therefore sell your book to other readers.
So here is hopefully my final, comprehensive list of how and why review requests get rejected.
1. I’m closed to submissions.
If I’m closed to submissions you can be entirely secure in that my rejection of your review request isn’t personal. I’d reject J.K. Rowling if she submitted a review request when I’m closed to submissions. If you’re being rejected simply because I’m closed to submissions as long as you aren’t rude about it you’re welcome to submit again when I am open to submissions. Seriously, next time just read my review policy more carefully, okay?
2. You sent me a generic request.
A generic review request with a greeting line like “Hi!” or “Dear Sir/Madam” or anything variation thereof actually stings a little for us reviewers. I mean, here you are, this author that’s requesting we take hours of our time to read and review your book and you can’t even take the time to find out our names? To a blogging community that is gaining power online but still being generally rejected by the mainstream media, that hurts just a little. Every article you’ve ever read about submitting a query to an agent tells you to address them with their name, so why are you going around using generic emails to contact reviewers?
3. Your book is not something I’m interested in.
Yes, despite the seeming randomness of this blog I am technically a YA reviewer. I do review anything that catches my fancy, but my main focus is YA. So if you’re submitting a picture book or an erotic novel, I think you can see that there’s going to be a problem. But what if I rejected you even though your book is targeted at young adults? Well, it could be that I feel there’s too much romance (I hate romance) or that it’s a genre I’ve read far too much of (vampires). Again, it’s nothing personal. I just try to read books I think I’ll like. It’s that simple.
4. You didn’t follow the instructions in my review policy.
Yes, as part of my review policy you must include your follower statistics in your first email to me. This isn’t to weed out poor newbie authors so much as it is to weed out people that don’t follow my policy. I get a lot of submissions so I can’t afford to waste my time on people that don’t follow my instructions. Really, most book reviewers I know can definitely afford to be picky especially when they’re accepting indie submissions. That’s why when you submit to other reviewers I would advise you to read their policy and follow it to the letter. First impressions matter.
5. You have a reputation for being nasty to reviewers/have been rude to me previously/are pushy in your review request, etc.
I was recently told to kill myself by an author because I rejected his review request. I think you can see why I’m a little reluctant to accept submissions from authors whose Google searches turn up all sorts of nasty things on Goodreads or book reviewing sites. If I find out that you’ve attacked reviewers for negative reviews previously, have been paying for fake good reviews or have been doing any other shady behaviour I’m not going to accept your request. And yes, I absolutely do my research. You can be sure that if there’s something out there I’ll dig it up and reject your request so fast your head will spin.