How to Submit to a Book Reviewer

I love running a book review blog, but the problem with not being able to clone myself is that I receive far more review requests than I have time for.

There are currently 30 pending review requests in my inbox, each offering a free copy of their book, each asking me for a little of my time and attention. I can’t read them all, so what is it that makes one book stand out from another? Which requests get accepted, and which get declined?

Here are the key points which make a book review request stand out:

  1. Read my reviews
    This is more for you than for me, but before submitting, check out my other reviews, see if you like the style. Each book blogger is different: some focus on the positives, some write long rambles, others keep it lean and mean. Personally, I’m not afraid to point out what I didn’t like about a book, which some authors don’t appreciate. Know what you’re signing up for.

  2. Check my review policy
    I wrote my review policy for a reason: to save you time. If I say I don’t review non-fiction, don’t submit your political analysis of the war in the Middle East.

  3. Use my name
    Okay, so I review your genre. Now what? Well, everyone loves to be feel special. Address an email to me personally and I will read that email more carefully. Considering my name is in the sidebar, it’s not that hard to find. Many times I’ve received a generic mass mailer, where my email address is simply one of many. While I can appreciate why an author would do this (it saves time), it gives off a bad first impression. If you can’t take a little time for me, why should I take the time for you?

  4. Information is key!
    Book blurbs, links, available formats, genre, word count… the more information you include in your email, the more informed a decision I can make. All too often, I receive one-liner emails where an author asks me to review their book, without giving me any information about said book. This gets filed under D for decline.
    Be warned, though, that different book bloggers request different information, so it’s best to check their review policies carefully to be sure you’re sending over the right stuff.

  5. Don’t give me your life story
    Just to negate point 4, don’t tell me all about your life. I want to know about your book, not your twelve pet cats (unless they are somehow relevant to the book). More seriously, keep your author bio (if any) short and sweet.

  6. Keep it simple
    I know fancy html formatting is tempting, but that bold red font has to go. If I see another email written in ALL-CAPS shouting about how AWESOME the book is and I should TOTALLY read it, I may suffer from heart failure. Stick to a simple font, at a normal size, in a normal colour, with lots of nice line breaks to make it easy to read. You can even call me an old granny under your breath if you want.

  7. Be confident!
    Please, please, don’t tell me you think your book is crap. That really doesn’t make me want to read it. Enough said.

  8. Wrap it up
    A nice, polite close — thanking me for my time and letting me know how I’ll receive the review copy (Smashwords, PDF, Kindle gift, print?) — is the perfect finish.

  9. I’ll write a follow-up post or two with examples of good and bad review requests, but in the meantime, what do you think? Any key points to add to my list?

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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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5 Responses to How to Submit to a Book Reviewer

  1. Admin says:

    Great post! It’s funny because I just changed my review request page on my site. I was getting too many requests. I also requested that they read my other reviews because it might not be the style they were looking for.

    I’m surprised this post didn’t get more comments, it’s really good!

    • A.M. Harte says:

      Well, I did only post it an hour ago… ;-)

      Yeah, I was thinking it might be good to even draw up an email template for people requesting book reviews. It might make my life and theirs easier!

  2. Najela Cobb says:

    I wouldn’t mind if people kind of queried me a bit like an agent telling me what their book is about and what not. Why they chose me to be their review over other people. Flattery will get you everywhere with me. lol. But, I don’t have a review policy because I don’t accept reviews from people. I can hardly find the time to read what I want to read much less something someone has asked me. I can’t wait to see what the bad and good review requests are like. This is a great post! and that Book Review template sounds like a good idea actually.

  3. John Wiswell says:

    At least consulting the review policy makes sense to me. Why wouldn’t you want to know the priorities of the people you want to review your book?

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