This has been burning in my head for some time now. It’s about book requests. More specifically, a review requested by authors and/or agents to you, the book blogger. **This post may be a bit snarky and if this discourages authors from sending me requests, then so be it.
I haven’t been blogging for very long, just a little over 7 months, and during this time I have received review requests of all shapes and sizes. I’d first like to state that I think it’s great that I’ve even gotten one request. I don’t think such things should be discouraging for bloggers if they don’t receive any- though I know it is for newer bloggers and it can make or break a persons blog and their will to continue on. Even I have thought that way at one time or another, especially if you’re a fan of bloggers who have made a base of supporters and receive those coveted goodies. I don’t think that way anymore and that’s not why I began this post.
Since this is my blog (& I’m the ruler, chosen one, kingslayer of it), I want to take a moment to talk about the etiquette of such requests and the reasons why those requests can leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong- I love requests, if they’re done right. They can make me happy and I’ll skip over imaginary fields of buttercups and shoot rainbows out of my mouth. Other times, they can make me face-palm and press delete. And all the other times (the times not in the other times :P ), they can make me pissy as all get out- I’m Godzilla at that time and I’ll stamp my ass all over Tokyo.
The good requests are the ones that have taken the time to read your review policy. They may be copy and pasted or they may be a bit more personalized. These are the ones I’m happy to take the time back and reply.
The normal, mass requests are the ones that see you have a review policy, skim a little and email you. These are the ones with requests that have nothing to do with any of the genres you enjoy or would ever read. These are the ones you cluck your tongue at and delete.
The bad requests are the ones that just email you without looking at anything except if your email is spelled with two e’s or an a. These are the ones that can give you a headache. This is what this post is about. I’m curious as to what others do when they get these types of emails.
I have received a few requests I got excited about. One time I had been emailed wanting a request, only to then ask for my follower count after I had replied when, hello, my follower count is plainly listed. –When someone requests a review from me, I expect that person to have looked around at my blog. My blog numbers are plainly visible. I don’t hide my followers- I don’t want to hide them. They may be few, but I’m glad to have them. I don’t appreciate the situation being turned around on me with, “I’m sorry, but you must have 500 followers and a jet-pack to receive a book from me.”
If you can’t take the time to look at my blog, then why should I take the time to look at your book? Yes, I realize that there are tons of book bloggers, but when you’re at my blog, looking at my blog, thinking about my blog, I would expect, well, a little more respect.
Another time, I had been emailed about a review for Middle Grade fiction. I was asked if I would like an e-copy or a hardcopy from their publisher. My preference is hardcopies because it’s easier for me and I’m more likely to read a book that is in plain sight than one that sits on my laptop. I replied asking for a hardcopy, providing my address and all that good stuff. Well, the requester finally decided to take a good look at my blog and realized how girly it was. The book they were promoting was geared toward boys- I’m female therefore I can’t like boy stuff? What? What kind of logic is this? What honestly got me was that they were trying to avoid negative reviews. I had this plainly said to me.
I get it, you want positive reviews. You want as many people as possible to like it and blog about it to create buzz…but…negative reviews are to be expected. I couldn’t believe it. That is one thing I refuse to do. I refuse to only write good reviews. I want to write about a book I didn’t like and why I didn’t like it. If you’re emailing me wanting a review, only to then turn around and say you only want positive reviews what am I supposed to think? My feelings with this is: don’t even bother emailing me if that’s your foremost thought. Get your friends and family to write sunshine and rainbow reviews for you. Don’t enlist me to change the way I feel about something. (I did not email that person back I was so angry.) If your book is good, I’ll say it’s good and you won’t receive any negative reviews- are authors not confident in their own work? (If you are an author reading this, I’d love to hear what you have to say.)
Don’t you expect bad reviews AND good reviews? I write fanfiction (lol), and while I receive praise, I’ve also had a few people cut me down, butcher my soul and feed it to their hellhounds. I expected it. I knew not everyone would like my story or my writing and even though there may tons of reviews that are positive, there’s still a handful of negative ones. I know that when I write I’m scared of posting the next chapter, I get a jittery feeling and my heart pounds, but I don’t not want negative reviews. I’ve learned a lot from reviewers who took the time to comment and say what they didn’t like. I very much appreciate negative reviews just as much as I adore positive ones.
My question is: What do you do when review requests turn bad? When the requester says you HAVE to have a positive review or when the requester doesn’t read your policy, what do you do? Is the delete button your friend? Do you tell it like it is? Or do you let the email sit in the email graveyard?
**Please note this post is my personal view and not intended to pick fights with anyone or start needless drama- that is not my goal.