Welcome to Book Blogging 101, a weekly feature on Parajunkee’s View that answers your questions and strives to share great book blogging tips and some helpful hints to help you on your way.

Hi, how often do you get people asking you for review requests on book subjects you’ve specifically stated on your blog and elsewhere that you won’t review?
It’s happened to me a few times now. – Sarah Brown

It has actually gone down a lot because I’ve posted a statement that I am not accepting review copies anymore, but before I would get a lot of requests for ‘off topic’ books and actually products. At first I thought it was funny when I was asked to review a weight loss book. Well, I tried to think it was funny, I was hoping they hadn’t looked at my profile pic and decided I need some weight loss. Then it got aggravating. Especially when they came in a lot. It was hard for me not to respond with “Did you look at my review policy?? Where does it say that I review memories or books on physic awareness? I don’t respond though, I just ignore those emails.

How do you write a proper email to publishers to request review copies. You see I want to start requesting review copies but i don’t know the right way. Help this not so new newbie from fumbling around. – Sonya

I can’t tell you exactly how to write a review request that will certifiable work. I can just tell you what seems to work for me. Here is an example of a request that I’ll put in.

To: Zebra Books

Subject: Review Request: Shadow Heir: A Dark Swan Novel #4, ASIN: B005JSZOOK

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: {if you have a contact name insert here}

My name is Rachel and I run the blog, Parajunkee’s View. I would like to request a review copy of Richelle Mead’s ‘Shadow Heir’ (ASIN: B005JSZOOK). The book will be reviewed on Parajunkee’s View (www.parajunkee.com) which is a great platform for promotion of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. The blog has been in operation for over 2 years and has a average daily visit rate of over 1,000.

You can send review copies to the following address:

Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,
Rachel —

Maybe we can get some other suggestions from other bloggers on what works for them.

Do you think posting a negative review is bashing an author? specially when the author is new.What it if the story doesn’t interest you, do you contact the author and say that you can’t finish the book or post a negative review instead? – Anonymous101

No. If the review focuses on the book. You are bashing the author when you make it personal. I’ve seen reviews where they specifically point out nasty bits about the author. There was one on goodreads.com, I forget what book, but it was for author Yasmine Galenorn and they actually critiqued her author picture. Not Good! They were also quite nasty about it. That is bashing. But, if you say that the book was not good, the writing was mediocre, things like that it is not bashing the author, it is basically bashing the book. The author might take it personally because it is their debut or their work of art, but keeping it about the book is keeping it professional. Rule of thumb, I usually like to say one thing positive. Just remember, it is a review, an honest opinion. People might get upset when you talk negatively about something they like, or on the other side of the fence from their POV (just take a look at politics – a lot of people on the other side of the fence from my view get very upset when I state my opinion) but they have to know that it is your opinion and to modify it just so you won’t hurt someone’s feeling, in my humble opinion is being dishonest.

If the story doesn’t interest you, you probably shouldn’t have accepted the book. But, I understand where the synopsis looks good, but you are floundering within the first pages. My suggestion then is to email the author and let them know that you will not finish the book because of lack of interest. I’m so bad about this, which is also another reason I’ve stopped taking review requests. I find it is so much easier to accept reviews through a publisher or PR rep. They are only invested monetarily in the book, not many have their soul in it, like most authors. When you tell them you were unable to finish the book they treat it professionally, whereas an author might get more upset, thus making me feel absolutely horrible, which is the truth. If feel terrible when I don’t like book. I would love to like them all! I would. But, I don’t and when I write a negative review I battle the little voice in my head that says, “don’t say that!” But, you gotta say how you feel about it.

Maybe a dumb question, but how did you learn all these neat tips and tricks, especially about SEO? – Lori Strongin

I have been working in corporate marketing for over a decade (showing age) and in the last five years SEO has become a really big deal. To battle our SEO brain suck, because no one really knew about SEO that much, except Google of course, I’ve had a few Directors put me through training sessions, there was even a time when they called in a big name SEO guru who took the department though a couple of day long training sessions. Then there is also a few good books out there that I’ve read along with blog articles. I picked up a few things along the way like that, but I don’t think I’ve even gotten to even an intermediary knowledge status for SEO LOL.

Your most recent BB101 post mentioned that a blog’s loading time may effect their bounce rate. Are there some things that can be done to help my blog load faster? I try to keep it clean, and not have a lot of buttons and widgets in my sidebar, but are there other things I need to be checking for?

Thanks! – Penelope @ The Reading Fever

First I would suggest getting rid of unnecessary widgets and gadgets. Anything 3rd party, meaning moving and link gadgets from sites like goodreads, amazon, countdowns, those sorts of things. Your blog loads in tiers and if it catches on one thing it will slow the blog down.

Make sure your background image is not large. Make sure your header image is not a large file size. Are you using google fonts? That might slow down your blog.

Check your load time by using sites like: http://www.iwebtool.com/speed_test

Your blog shouldn’t take longer than 4 seconds to load.

Clear your cache and load your site in Firefox. Look in the bottom left corner that shows you what is loading. If it “hangs” on something that is what is slowing your blog down.

XO – Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More.

I can’t get to all the questions, but please ask your BB101 Questions here…bring it on.