Discussion: Indie/Self-Pub Authors ~ Help Me–Help You

When sending a book to me a reviewer please keep in mind the following:

  • Please do not just email me your book with no information other than “Hey I’m author X here is my book for review”, and attach a copy. I am lazy, and will just hit delete. I don’t want to search for information about what book you are trying to get me to review. Delete, Delete, Delete. I like it laid out in front of me.

 

:rubs hands:

 

  • Please do NOT insult book review bloggers and then ask me for a review in the same damn sentence. Also, in your email asking for a review, please use spell check. Especially with easy words. I’m sorry, but Delete. {I was however, tempted to write you back and tell you why no other bloggers wanted to read your book, but decided to hike up my big girl panties and just click the archive button instead. Gmail is my friend.
  • Please do include your name, what your book is about, and maybe a small blurb about yourself. I like easy things like ::I used an editor to edit my manuscript::, My Cover is Pretty! And my favorite “ Go Patriots” all things that will make me take a second look. OK, so just because you like my New England Sports teams, doesn’t mean I will read your book—just to clarify. That was a joke. The point is to know a little about the people you are contacting. Don’t send young adult requests to a blog that says clearly “I don’t read YA books” It shows you aren’t paying attention. It will get you deleted.

 

Do you want to see an example of what works? See Below!

 

Hi Erika,

I was reading over your Badass Book Reviews blog and wondered if you would consider reviewing an eBook copy of my July release XXXXXXX. I’ve posted the blurb and book cover below as well as a link to an excerpt if you think you’d like to review it down the road.  Thank you for your consideration.
All the best,


XXXXXXX

Want to see what will get you deleted:

 

Hi, my name is XXXXXX I am a self published author and would like to know where to send my manuscript for a review.

I have contacted literally hundreds of potential reviewers with very limited success. I realise how snowed under and inundated these reviewers get but I have even had reviewers have a go at me just for contacting them.

I would like to know if it is possible to get one of you to review my novel.

Your assistance would be appreciated.

 

And yes, those are real examples above. I didn’t make them up. The last one didn’t even sign his name. The email itself was condescending and insulting to reviewers. I only saved it to use here in my author rant…otherwise I would have hit DELETE!

 

  • PLEASE do not spell my name wrong when you are addressing me. E-R-I-K-A. Not Erica. Not Ericka. Erika. Hells, you can call Mrs. Badass too, that works. If not? Delete! Call me fussy if you want too, but it’s right there for all the world to see, and it’s plastered all over my website. Take the time to address your query properly, you might get a better response. Just saying. Oh, and don’t call your query by a different name. That doesn’t work well either. No-one likes to be called by another persons name.

 

Also, I really hate copy and pasted requests. I get that you are trying to hit up as many reviewers as possible for reviews, and don’t have the time to personalize your emails and inquiries. But You should. You should make the time to personalize your emails to your query. It makes me want to read what you have to say. I like to feel important. I don’t mind saying it. Glancing over an automated message just annoys me. A little friendliness goes a long way towards building meaningful reviewer relationships. If you care about those things anyways. Some don’t.

 

  • Know about the bloggers you are contacting. My blog can be rather snarky. I am snarky. I also am honest, probably to a fault. I try to be tactful if I don’t like something, but I’m also an emotional reviewer, or what I call—a mood reviewer. I don’t have a set style. I review by feel. If you don’t want an honest review, or can’t take criticism, please don’t ask me to read your book.
  • Please do not send me twitter messages asking me to read your book. I use twitter for fun, keeping up with my fellow bloggers and fighting over Men. (Annie, not matter what you say Roarke is mine, I saw him first! Years, Years before!)
  • Please don’t just send me your book without my asking for it. I feel weird having it in my email. Like I’m stealing. If I’m interested I will email you back and we can talk. You’re work is valuable, keep it until you get genuine interest.

 

I’m sorry that I don’t respond to requests that don’t interest me. I get so many per day, that I would spend a lot of time just replying with a No. Bloggers have lives outside of blogs. I have a family of six to take care of. I have four children– my eldest is seven. Do the math. I’m very busy too.

I am toying with an automated message from my contact form, something along the lines of–

“If I like the sound of your book, I’ll contact you! If your book does not interest me or my fellow Badass members, please don’t lose heart or sleep, there is a better fit for you out there in the blogging world.”

 

  • Create a Media Zip File. It could contain your book cover, blurb, bio information, links to all your various places (FB/TW/Website/GR etc) Also, where to purchase and links to your books…along with anything else you think might be helpful to the blogger you are talking with. It will most certainly make me that blogger happy to not have to go hunt down everything. I could spend more time reading and reviewing if I didn’t have to go find where to purchase your book, your web address {only to find you don’t have one yet} then I get frustrated, then I look again and find {Maybe this is the blog for this author?, tough to say} then I just give up, send your book back and don’t post a review, because really, it should be easy for me to post your stuff.

 

This is my attempt at Snarky helpfulness is there anything else I should add? See where my humor is at? Does it mesh with your writing style? if so, contact me. If I scared you…run.

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© 2011 – 2013, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

Comments 9

  • Hey Erika,

    I’ll admit I don’t know the first things about the Patriots — do you have a favorite pro wrestle by any chance? 😉 — but this was a great primer for author-publishers. Thanks a lot!

  • […] Also provide your email and website (or blog address). Erika over at Badass Book Reviews has an entire post dedicated to just this […]

  • Not even for a 5-star review could I say I cheer the Patriots

    *GO STEELERS*

    having said that, everything else here is quite reasonable and very fair of you. The fact that you're willing to look at indie books at all gives you a thumbs-up in my book.

  • First of all, I'm going to go make sure I've spelled your name correctly in our emails! 😉

    But you're right, Erika. There's a certain protocol that needs to be followed when contacting reviewers, and it should be approached a lot like querying an agent or editor. First, always keep it professional, and like you said, ALWAYS do your homework about the blog/blogger you're contacting. Be polite! WHY is that so hard for some people?!? I know that reaching out to strangers can be intimidating. At least, it is for me. Escpecially when these are people who are ultimately going to give their public opinion of your work. But going on the defensive, right off the bat, with someone you don't even know is never a good idea. This was a great post!

  • I've given up on getting much email that addresses me by name unless it comes from a publicist or a fellow blogger. I just shrug and move along. It does bother me a lot to just get a book attached to the email without me soliciting it though. I agree completely that it feels like I've taken something of worth and now I have it sitting in my inbox and I feel guilty about it.

    A month or so ago I had to make a choice between continuing to get a lot of self-pub requests and turning down 90% of them because I either didn't have time or they were just not a fit (mostly because they didn't read my posted guidelines) or just to stop accepting them. I was spending a ton of time in my email writing rejections and feeling horrible about it. Now I just feel horrible that I had to make a statement that I don't accept self pubs. :$

    All of your other suggestions are golden too. However, I have to disagree with one thing. I saw Roarke first, since I was with the series from book 1. Love, love your quote about the cookie. I'd say one of my favorite scenes, but when he's tricked her into sexy times they're all my favorite scenes.