OMG! An author contacted me for a review! What now?
Exciting isn’t it? Someone found your blog, took the time to contact you and requested a review. How cool is that? It really is a fantastic feeling. Especially for the first time, actually its exciting whenever it happens, first, second, hundredth. That is until you make your way to the authors web site and find out that the book is a memoir about former prostitutes who now sell used shoelaces and your book blog is about historical romances. This is a joke of course, but it really is true sometimes. My first review request was for an f/f erotica eBook. Never having read erotica before, it stopped me in my tracks. It was like a battle of the good vs bad as my inner dialogue went to war, as depicted here, these are my iconic representations of the voices in my head. There are actually a few more, but these were the ones involved in this particular discussion:
In the end I didn’t accept the novel. I did read the synopsis. I did visit the author’s web site. What made up my mind was that it turned out to not even be a paranormal themed book. I brushed the little angel and the little demon off my shoulder and made up my mind based on the facts, I was only reviewing paranormal themed at the time. It was in my review request too.. I still don’t know if I would have accepted it if one of them was a vamp. Probably. I have since accepted some erotica and even one that had a F/F relationship, but not the main focus. I guess I’m still a prude…Patti is still trying to talk to me in m/m romance. I’m getting there.
What is the basis of this long drawn out BS dialogue?
When you get that review request, go to the web site, go to the blog, read the synopsis. Maybe even read a review or two, if it is available. If your little inner voice says. “That sounds good.” Accept. If it says, “Yikes, I don’t know about that.” Don’t accept. It might be your first one, it might be your 100th. In the end, if you don’t like the synopsis, you’re probably not going to like the book.
Write a professional email response. Treat it as if you are responding to a company that is requesting an interview. (Even though I’ve been doing interviews lately and have come to realize that a lot of people don’t know how to do this).
I like to thank them for the opportunity. They took the time to search you out and are trusting you with their baby. You are not entitled to the book… it is a reward for the good work that you have put into your blog. Not an entitlement. Remember this and translate it into all of your author/reviewer interactions.
Tell them that you think their book would fit with your blog’s theme and that you would like a review copy. Include your address, or if it is a digital galley, just let them know which email to send it to.
Salutation and that is that. Short, professional and to the point.
Once again I thank them for the opportunity…but, I will have to decline on the offer. Sometimes, well usually, I state a reason why and then close it quickly. Salutations and the whole nine.
On a personal note, I have taken to mainly not writing declines to authors. Mainly because opening a conversation sometimes leads to an arguementative response. If you again use the interview analagoy, as an interviewer I do not respond to the 100s of resumes that come past my desk, I usually only call the people that I’ve actually interviewed and had a conversation with. I have been applying this to the blog a lot more lately, especially as the rate of review requests increases.
Reasons to Decline a Review Request.
- The synopsis does not look appealing
- You get a “funny feeling” when reading the email request.
Does the author sound a little desperate? Or does the author sound off, like English might not be the first langauge? Are there a lot of grammar issues in the request? Does something just seem off? Trust your gut. If something feels off, you might want to stay away from the book.
- You are not a fan of the genre.
- You’ve read other books by the author or in the series and you didn’t like them at all.
It would be ok if you have read the author and was so-so about the book, but if you loathed a title and the writing, chances are you’ll probably not like her other stuff. Give it a chance if you want, but I like to go into a review with positive intentions (doesn’t mean it plays out that way) and disliking the author’s other works usually is a dead giveaway.
- The author is requesting a set date to review and you don’t think you can meet the deadline.
- Your TBR is full. You are scheduled out for months. Why take on more? I know my review schedule is teeming up until March of 2013 – so unless the ARC is an April 2013 release, I can’t accept a review copy. Keep a schedule and know your limits. The book is a hot ARC that everyone is raving about? But, is that fair to the other books you’ve accepted? Which one will you push back just so you can get your hands on that ARC?
Bloggers that just accept books upon books — just so they can have a fashionable Mailbox Meme post is doing a disservice to the publishers that send them those books. I understand that some pubs just send the books without requesting, but when I see bloggers with ARCs upon ARCs each weekend — and then I see that they do 1 review a week, it just strikes me as greedy. You don’t want to be greedy. It’s a deadly sin. 😉
You’ve Accepted. Now the author/publicist replied and wants your site statistics. What now?
The rep wants to know what kind of traffic you are generating. I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions. Now I have these on hand – quick draw like. They want to know your follower count, but usually they want a pageviews number. Generally I respond with (these aren’t my actual numbers):
Parajunkee.com generates a respectable amount of traffic, with a follower count of 500, 100 email subscribers and a daily traffic rate of 100 unique visitors, totaling about 2500 unique visitors a month.
I get this information, from:
- My subscription count on all my RSS feeds, along with gadgets like Networked blogs and Linky Tools
- Then I check my email subscription (these can be a variety of programs)
- Then I check Google Analytics and JetPack statistics, they are usually close, but analytics is more reliable
- Finally I like to include my Twitter follower account, because I do think it is integral to the blog promotion
Good luck and may the ARCs be with you!
This post was previously published in Blogger, but in transfer was deleted. It has been rewritten and updated.
Reader Question of the Week:
You can report them to gmail if you would like. It is a viable option – if they have a gmail account. It is a very drastic one though, since Google might shut down their account which in turn will shut down their blog if they are on Blogger. Or you could reply back to their email and tell them that you don’t appreciate the spam and that you consider it spam. You can also mention that their tweets and emails do not tempt you to enter their contest – in fact it does the opposite. Maybe they’ll learn from their mistake, instead of losing everything.