Book Blogger Pet Peeves
Q: How do I get more book reviews?
When sending your book to bloggers in exchange for an honest review, in order to be most successful, there are some things you need to know. We have pet peeves just like everyone else, and we follow a blogger code of conduct.
If you’re a fellow reviewer, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. When an author/publisher/agent/narrator disrespects said code, it’s a big slap to the face, amiright?
Know the Two Types of Bloggers
You will come across two different types of bloggers:
- The blogger who only wants free stuff (gag)
- The blogger who actually wants to contribute to your success as an author
Run and hide from Type 1, my friends. They’re easy to spot and are frequently on the prowl on NetGalley (which makes it even harder for you to decide who to give your books to on that platform). The crooks of NetGalley ruin it for everyone else.
If you can, definitely submit books directly to blogs via their submission forms. NetGalley is an awesome resource, and you should take advantage of it if it’s in your budget, but it’s impersonal, and the likelihood of actually getting a review is slim. Take the time to build relationships with Type 2.
Understand the Pressures
Both bloggers and authors feel pressure, but they stem from different places.
When it comes to writing reviews, we need to post around requested deadlines, but it’s not usually a “do or die” type of thing (sometimes we feel that way, but it’s not a permanent emotion). We just have to stay on top of requests. Above all else, we write because we love it and want to support our favorite authors. The key takeaway: blogging is optional (I almost wrote “flogging” there lol).
From an author’s standpoint, the emotions that go along with the territory are significantly more daunting. There is more at stake. You give books away in hopes people will like them (oh God, do they like them?) or they’ll leave a review (wait, where’s the review posted!!). You rip out your hair because feedback is what fuels you. Yet, at the same time, you’re terrified to read the reactions.
Optional vs. essential fuels the debate of blogger vs. author. Sometimes us bloggers take giving feedback for granted.
Be Aware of the Pet Peeves
Let’s begin, shall we?
Pet Peeve #5: Submission guidelines
DON’T: Don’t email a blogger directly unless their email address is listed on their contact page. This little detail is enough to tick off a reviewer and it’ll be an immediate rejection. Most bloggers have submission forms on their website outlining formats they prefer, the genres they review, etc.
DO: Read submission requirements carefully. Bloggers ask for this information for a reason. Try to fill everything out the best you can. I know…it takes “too much time,” and you can’t even guarantee a response. Well, you go from a 0% chance of a response to 50% by just submitting your request. If you had those odds with a lottery ticket, you’d go for it, right?
Pet Peeve #4: That first request
DON’T: Good Gaawd, don’t just send your book blurb when you request a book review. Or, even worse, one sentence. *beats head on table*
DO: Make it personal. Say hello! If you’re a debut author, it’s so important to make a stellar first impression. And yes, we do review books from debut authors—for some reason, people think we only review NY Times bestsellers and this is not true.
It all boils down to showing respect. We know you’re trying to reach as many bloggers as possible, we get it, but if you can’t manage a few sentences introducing yourself, why should we spend hours on end reading, reviewing, and posting our reviews on every platform known to man?
Pet Peeve #3: Sending your manuscript
DON’T: Don’t send your manuscript on initial contact unless requested to do so. When an author sends a .pdf or .epub straight off the bat, it screams, “I expect you to review my book.” As I stated earlier, blogging is optional, and a blogger will likely opt out of reviewing your book if you choose the aggressive approach.
DO: On the flip side, on the submission form (because you carefully read through it) if there is a space to add your ebook, absolutely DO IT! Sometimes bloggers want to skim a book before committing to it. This only works in your favor. Seriously. You’ll know immediately if a reviewer is going to love your book or not and it’ll ease your worries a little.
When in doubt, don’t send your manuscript upfront.
Pet Peeve #2: Timing of ARCs
DON’T: Does this even need an explanation? Don’t send your ARCs out the week before the release! *cringe*
DO: Ideally, you should be sending your review copies 3-6 weeks in advance. This gives us room to plan and make sure we’re posting our reviews at the best time to help your sales.
Pet Peeve #1: Follow-up emails
Personally, this one is my biggest pet peeve. I want to rip my hair out when y’all send me follow-up emails! I’d rather be doused in hot oil! I love you all, really, and I will deal with all the other pet peeves to a point, but do not follow up and “see how the review is going.”
Bloggers will either provide an expected review date, or give you a timeframe. If they don’t, that’s not really fair to you in my opinion. But for the most part, you should have somewhat of an idea of when their review will be posted. I know things happen and sometimes a blogger will leave you in limbo—just be patient, it’s okay!
DON’T: Please do not follow up with us. Even if we’re one month (or more) later than expected, refrain from doing it.
Imagine this scenario: I’ve just read your book. I really, really loved it. I’ve let you know an approximate date range for my review. I’ve written that sucker, and I am about to schedule it.
I see an email from you in my inbox stating:
“Hey India, I just wanted to follow up with you to see how the review is going. When are you going to post it? Did I miss the review?…”
Seems innocent, right?
Bloggers deal with communication differently. Considering I email all authors when a review goes live, no, you didn’t miss it. What, did you think I forgot? I post the progress of all my reviews on the front page of my website…
Owwie. Major slap to the face.
Many times I have had my reviews scheduled and I’ve pulled them off the editorial calendar just because an author incessantly checks in. Just put me on your blacklist now because even if I adore you as an author, I will cancel my review for you, and I will never review for you again.
I’ll let you know, of course.
Pet peeves are no joke.
DO: Trust your bloggers. I know this one is hard because you’re giving your books out for free, and there are people in this world that will take advantage of that. But realize that blogging isn’t as simple as writing a review and posting it. Just like how you don’t go straight to press with the first draft of a manuscript. There are stages we all have to go through especially if we manage our own blogs.
Now, it’s different if you’re friends with a book reviewer. Send that email to see how it’s going. It ain’t no thang. But don’t send a second one. Never ever EVER. Even if you’re BFFs for life! They said they’d get it done, so trust that.
I hope that was helpful. If you’re an author, now you know some of the things that really push us off our rockers. Sometimes these actions seem innocent…until you hear from the other side of the table. Maybe we can bridge this communication gap and support you the way you’ve always envisioned.
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