I’m a book reviewer. My name isn’t Anita. It’s a pseudonym, so don’t start looking for me. I’m doing Steph a favor and nothing more. She asked me to write a post on author’s asking for book reviews and endorsements so they look more professional and less like an amateur hacks. My words, not hers. :D
Asking for Book Reviews
Most authors who approach me are unknown to me and in many cases I’m not interested in helping. It’s not that I want to be mean. I review specific types of books. I have submission guidelines. I accept emails.
I’ve had several authors who send me books that I’ve never been interested in. How would they know? My Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Shelfari and LibraryThing history. My blog. I review books on there, stating what I like and what I don’t.
I don’t like it when authors don’t research the type books I like to review. When they don’t follow my submission guidelines or even email me to ask what they are. I don’t like it when authors use a standard, form email.
You’re writers. Be creative. Think of this email as a query letter. I’m getting a dozen emails a day, what is going to make me want to take time out of my very busy schedule to read and review your book instead of another author’s book.
Other types of emails I get that drive me crazy are the ones where “I saw you liked so and so’s book. Here’s mine to read.” Then when I check it out, that book is NOTHING like the book I liked.
Another one? “Can you give me a glowing review? I’m a new author and could really use one.” If you ask for a review, you need an honest one, not a shill one. So if you’re going to solicit someone for a review, I suggest the following:
1. Do your homework. Know what they like and don’t like.
2. Follow their submission guidelines if they have them. Email them if they don’t.
3. Don’t ask for a glowing reviews. Ask for an honest one, and if the person doesn’t like your book, thank them. Do NOT behave like a kid with a temper tantrum and retaliate like what I and others have had to endure.
4. Accept “No” as an answer. The person might be too busy, have a ton of books in the TBR pile, have their own books to write, etc. There’s a ton of reasons why someone can’t. Imagine if you were flooded with a book review requests, wrote your own books, had to work a job, take care of your family, and go through the books already in your TBR pile.
We all live busy lives. Accept it.
Asking for Book Endorsements
I’ve also been asked to endorse books. I have accepted several requests to look over the book. A couple of times, I said yes and endorsed it.
There was one time I said no. The book preached on things I’m opposed to. It was obvious the person hadn’t done their homework or else they would have known this. I said no and sited why (didn’t agree with the material in the book).
The response? I received a guilt trip about how hard it is to get an endorsement. When that didn’t work, I got the “Author X doesn’t agree with everything in the book but is endorsing it.” My response, “Glad it wasn’t so hard to get that endorsement after all.”
So if you are going to ask for an endorsement, I suggest:
1. Do your homework. Does this person like books you are writing?
2. Ask an author friend/acquaintance who writes in a genre similar to yours. You want to reach the same target audience, or at least I assume you do. Otherwise, the endorsement will have no clout with readers. A thriller author who endorses a fantasy book won’t have the same impact with potential readers as an fantasy author who endorses the fantasy book.
3. Accept a “no” answer gracious. No guilt tripping, no whining, no “well so and so is doing it”, etc. Be mature enough to say “thank you” and move on.
In my opinion, the best reviews and endorsements (read: “word of mouth”) comes from fans who don’t know you. It takes time to get reviews, but the best people to review your books are actual readers who have nothing to gain or lose by reviewing them.
As for endorsement, nothing is more powerful than word of mouth from a fan who tells everyone how great your book is to their fellow readers. Yes, it takes time, but it’s the most satisfying way to get them.