The Undiluted Truth About Review Requests – Accepting and Not and All the Decisions In between
Book reviewers, bloggers… this one is for
you us. This is something that has amazed me for years. All the wonderful review requests we receive by email (is it not a book lovers dream?). Yet – what emails sent for a potential review request really make it past the 10 to 30 seconds you give to them? I honestly feel bad but more than not – many hit the delete pile, and it may not even be because the book is not one I would read… in most cases it is that the pitch did not catch my attention in the amount of time I have for it. (Yes that is a huge run on sentence but who has time for periods? 😉 )
I hope not. I used to email back each person or company that sent me a review request to let them know if I was unable to accept at this time. Most times I would also let them know why… if it wasn’t a book I think I would enjoy, or if time limitations just did not allow me to agree to another book. I liked doing that… but now I just do not have the time to respond to each email.
Here is the honest truth and I have to believe I am not the only one. Time is precious. I have my personal email where I receive job requests for my writing as well as personal communications. I have a second email that is for Friends of the Library, and a third email for bookish stuff (where I direct all book related emails to go to). Being a busy active person with a life, I try to give each of these emails a look each day, but I do not have time to spend hours reading and responding to emails.
So…. the point of this post was to share what does sell me on looking further into a review request… and what does not. Let’s start with the “does not” first…
What Does Not Work In a Review Request
- The introduction. Dear sir or madam may pass if the rest of the email is good – but honestly – it is not 1902. If you are trying to catch my attention use my name, or just say hi or hello reviewer.
- If you are going to use my name, make sure it is my name. I am not delusional… I do not think that I am the only person that you sent this email to and you covet my review thoughts and only my review thoughts. 🙂 However it starts the email off on a bad foot if you call me Jerry or Julie. Or really… any name that is not my own.
- LONG over informative emails with no pictures. Chances are if I do not already work with your publishing company or with you, I am not going to invest time in a too wordy email about a book. Keep it short and sweet. Engage me in why I want to read this book.
- No book cover. This is not always a big deal, but again, if you are a new to me publishing house, or author promoting your book… I like to see the cover. Honestly – I always like to see the cover. That is just me. Even with the companies I do work with I will look up the book if a cover is not in the email… that’s just me. I dont know why but I like to connect the cover to the story line. Covers for me are a plus.
- Pitching a book to me that if you read my blog or even glanced at my review policy you would know the book wasn’t for me. Please do not tell me in one sentence that you enjoy my blog and in the next sentence pitch to me a romantic erotic western (*for the record – three types of books I clearly state I do not read… romances, westerns, or erotica). LOL. Ok that example is extreme… but it has come close to happening. 🙂
- Not being clear on what you are offering (ie. book copy, Netgalley, …) I have at times said yes to a review and then received a PDF to read it on my computer. I dont read books on my computer.
What Does Work In a Review Request
- Call me Sheila. Or even say “Hey bloggers” or “Hey book reviewers” or even “Dear Reviewer”. I am not picky, just start your email out right with a greeting. I dont mind being grouped in an email that I know has went out to many. We are all friend here. 🙂
- Tell me in a short synopsis about the book or books you are pitching. If you are excited about a particular book, or know it is is being considered for a movie, or even that you expect big things out of the book.. tell me. That’s interesting stuff.
- Show me the book cover! I love seeing covers. If I read a synopsis of a book I am interested in – I still want to see the cover.
- If you are pitching several books, I dont even need the cover if there is a link where I can look at the book and see more about it.
- Clear instructions of what you are offering (ie. a book for review, Netgalley, PDF) is awesome as well as how to respond to you.
That’s about it. I ♥love♥ receiving review requests and I wish I had the time to read and consider them all but as those of us who write review know – we cant say yes to them all which makes the email pitch all the more important.
I am curious, do the things I mention here in review requests cause you to consider or not consider a book? Do you have a criteria that you like to see in a review pitch? If so, please put in the comments your thoughts on book pitches.