Thursday, December 09, 2010

Book Bloggers

Ever wondered about the process? Ever wondered the best way to approach book bloggers? Ever stopped to think these people are human, too?

After seeing this account of what not to do when contacting a reviewer at Feathered Quill Reviews, I asked a couple book bloggers about review books and etiquette.

First, Michelle at the Red Headed Bookchild tells us how she solicits books and provides some great tips for other reviewers:

I started my blog with a lot of previous connections to the publishing world because of my job as bookstore manager. So I was able to request books to review without a lot of the normal channels. I was also sent stuff in advanced due to my strong relationships.
BUT through the months I have discovered other outlets and there have been only a few that I have solicited myself due to extreme interest in the title.

For publishers, I keep it simple and sweet. I introduce myself, briefly mention my interest in title or genre, and readership (followers and other places I post). I thank them for their time and that's it.

For authors, I tend to gush a bit more and explain my love for their books. This has only resulted in one author setting me up with her publicist. I don't ask to review when I contact authors atleast I haven't yet. I come at them as fans and if they want to promote themselves further and send me along, then great!

I like working with both. With my previous connections, Book Blogs.ning and going to BEA, my need to request is...well, not there. I get approached plenty with wonderful books to review and I feel fortunate now that I can pick and choose.

Always be kind, to the point and thank them for their time. Don't tell them your whole life story and don't ask for too much.

Debbie at Debbie’s World of Books has tips for authors and publishers who are seeking reviews from book bloggers:

Sure, I have a few pet peeves when it comes to requests.
1. Address me by name when you send a request (and the correct name!). You would be surprised even with my blog containing my name in the title people still get it wrong.
2. Include a synopsis. It bugs me when all they include is a title and I have to go hunt down the book description to see if I'm interested especially if it's a smaller title and hard to find the synopsis.
3. If they want a book reviewed by a certain date please include that. Often I have my reviews scheduled out months in advance so don't expect me to read a book and have the review up the next week.
4. Research a blog for their review policy. If your book doesn't fall into the genres stated in the review policy then please don't send a review request.

As for dealing with authors or publishers I would have to say I would prefer dealing with the publisher and publicist. This is something new. I used to love dealing with authors until I had some attack me for not liking their books. I try to be constructive in my review if there were parts that bothered me and wasn't trying to be mean. So now I prefer to work with the middle man so to speak.

Thank you, ladies! Both Michelle and Debbie are really nice people and maintain great blog sites, so please take a moment to visit them.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How could they possibly miss Debbie's name????

JournoMich said...

Fantastic advice and a real insight into your approach. Thanks for this great post! (Also really enjoyed Monday's, btw, even though I didn't have time to comment. The law is fascinating and so important for citizens to understand!)


Helen Ginger said...

Very interesting. I do occasionally review books on my blog, but I'm definitely no professional at it and don't approach anyone to send me books.

Do you ever receive a book, read it, then decide not to review it?

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

This is something I wondered about. Bless these ladies but I wouldn't want their job.
I only blog about books I like. No one asks me and I'd choke approaching any one else.
Thanks for this great info.

Anonymous said...

Misspelling a name is like shooting yourself in a foot. I think I misspelled your name once over on my blog. I'm going to visit these two ladies blogs. Thanks for the post. That's two in a row I'm bookmarking from your blog.

Debbie's World of Books said...

Thanks for having me!

Helen-I try to review all the books that I have accepted. It's rare that I don't review a book if I finish it (I occasionally have a DNF (did not finish) book and I don't bother reviewing those). If it turns out being a negative review I try to state why and I'll also sometimes link to a review of someone who did like it. I think tastes are very subjective so a book that doesn't click with one reader may with another. That is why I think it's critical to say what exactly bothered you about a book since it may not bother someone else.

Bast said...

I don't review books, but interesting to read nonetheless.

Golden Eagle said...

I review books on my blog, (not as a book blog, just every once in a while) so this was helpful! Thanks for the post/advice.

Elana Johnson said...

Most excellent post--with great timing! Thanks!

Kristin Rae said...


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. thanks for bringing on board Michelle and Debbie .. and getting them to spill the beans about reviewing books and etiquette involved .. interesting .. I shall pop over and see what's going on! Cheers - Hilary

Hart Johnson said...

This was an avenue I completely hadn't thought of, so now it's on the list--and I know some do's and don'ts before I snuff it up, even! Thank you!

lynette355 said...

I love doing book reviews. But, I too agree! I have a schedule that is booked up a month ahead. And I have to have time to read too. So please expect me to take at least 3-4 weeks to get a review up.

Arlee Bird said...

I have been running into a lot of book blogs lately. I didn't realize there were so many! I have to admire these folks. If I were doing a book blog I'd probably only have one or two posts a month. I read very slowly.

Tossing It Out

TerryLynnJohnson said...

There are no words for how perfectly timed this post is for me. Thank you.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Michelle and Debbie, thanks again!

Hope this helps everyone!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Debbie, I'm not exclusively a book reviewer and hats off to those who are and for all the hard work they do!

You made good points on checking out the blog first to see the genres reviewed. While I can read most things I do have some genres that I don't read.

Ditto on asking me last minute--"oh, my book is out in a week or two weeks can you review it? I'll send you the digital files." Wtf?

Uh no my blog is usually filled at least a month in advance, sorry. Most reviews I do are contracted with me two to three months before they're released.

Something else I would add: Whether an author approaches a blogger for a guest spot or a review, be professional and do your homework prior to approaching them. Check out the blog.

As a blog owner I always conduct my interactions with publishers, publicity reps, and authors with professional courtesy. Whether we are paid for what we do or don't, this is STILL a business.

Good article Diane!

Jai Joshi said...

Lots of great tips here.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for the tips. I think the job of a book reviewer would be difficult. Though I can understand authors feeling disappointed with a review that doesn’t go their way, I don’t know why some feel the need to attack the reviewer.

Unknown said...

THis is great information. I know I'll be using it in the future.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I've had wonderful cooperation from the book review sites and bloggers I've contacted in the past. It's a tough job. I have a lot of respect for those folks willing to read analytically and give honest feedback to their readers.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Great tips! I can relate to Debbie's pet peeve #1 because both my names get misspelled ALL the time.

The Old Silly said...

Thanks for sharing these valuable insights from Michelle and Debbie, Diane!

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I have to also saying that not putting your name in the body of an email gets an immediate delete from me.

Also, please read the genres I review as well. Each blog has a readership and does grow to expect a few things from each blog. What I learned from BEA and the Book Blogger Convention is that the more niche you can make it the better.
I still get review requests from authors for Young Adult even though I specifically say that i no longer review them.
A review on a blog is not necessarily going to get you the right attention. you really have to find the right market to get your book out there. Doing a romance review on my blog would not really do much, because most of my readers don't read that. etc etc.

Thanks for letting me participate Diane!

Debbie's World of Books said...

I just got a request today that was an immediate turn off and brought up another thing to keep in mind. Introduce yourself! This email had no greeting, no book description, not even the title of the book! They didn't tell me who they were and just said they attached the book as a PDF. I am assuming they are the author because I am hoping a publicist wouldn't make all these mistakes.

Yeah,I'm definitely not even going to open that one up. Sorry.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Excellent point, Michelle! And thanks for contributing.

Debbie, that's sad - that person's just sending out blank emails to everyone, like casting pebbles into the ocean. And sending an email attachment is dumb if it hasn't been requested - I'd delete it, too!

N. R. Williams said...

Nice post and timely. I haven't done this yet. Only 6 more chapters and a quick read to make sure in the edits I didn't forget to remove this or that or add according to my editor. Yes, I got someone who offered to work with my limited funds. Great lady. One thing you didn't mention is money. Is this free, or is this a paying job?
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nancy, an established book blogger receives only fre ARCs. Unless you're paid by a service or magazine, you do it for free.
And glad you found someone within your budget. You won't regret it!