Dec 21, 2012

Blogger to Author: How to Query Your Book

Blogger to Author

As a blogger, nothing makes me more flattered than when someone takes the time to reach out to me to review a book they worked on.

As a blogger, nothing makes me more frustrated than when someone expects me to review a book they worked on.

Let me start off with why I’m making this post. Over the last few weeks, I have been inundated with review requests. And I’m not saying that to brag—quite the contrary. I'm just finding myself a bit overwhelmed and, frankly, somewhat insulted as it's obvious that the authors making the review requests really don't have the slightest idea what my blog is about. People are asking me to review books totally outside of the genre I read, other people telling me their book is the next big thing so I HAVE to read it, and authors asking me to review books that make me blush as soon as I see the cover. That’s just the start of it!

Here’s a few tips for people looking for someone to review a title they are working on (be it an author, agent, publicist, publisher, etc.):

1. Know thy blogger:
                I understand that you are a very busy person, and sending out queries is long, tiring work, but avoid generic emails. I cannot stress this enough. Bloggers put a lot of work into their blog. If you want your query to be taken seriously, take the time to get the blogger’s name you’re emailing. Don’t address it, “Dear Blogger/Reviewer/Important Person/Person Lucky Enough to Get This Request.” And while I’m at it? Take the time to learn how to spell their name—even if you copy and paste it from the website.

2. Know your target demographic:
                If you have written a sweeping, steamy, romantic story about people who like to be tied up, down, and around for fun it probably isn’t the best idea to ask someone who reviews children’s novels to give your title a go.
                ‘Blogger’ is not a one-size-fits-all category. Some bloggers will review a myriad of genres, others only a specific type. Personally, I only review young adult (YA) with the occasional middle grade (MG). When someone asks me to review a non-fiction title about how Lincoln reunited the union while wearing a large hat, I’m not going to say yes. It’s clearly posted in my info section what types of reviews I will read. Which brings me to—

3. Use the “ABOUT ME/INFO” section:
                A lot of blogs have an informative section about the blogger. A short missive that says our likes and dislikes, types of books we enjoy, and a bunch of other helpful tidbits that would help you figure out if your book is a good fit for this reviewer. Some of us even say if we are currently accepting review copies.
                For example, my blog currently says I am not accepting titles for review, with the exception of authors, publicists, agents, and publishers I have previously worked with. The why is a blogger’s own personal reason which they may or may not choose to disclose. This is not an invitation to pitch your book even harder.
4. No one likes a spammer:
                Offering your novel for review is not a case of “if first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If we decline, don’t send us another query a few weeks later. There is no reason to keep sending emails … especially if they are totally identical to the first one you sent.

5. Give some options:
                As previously stated, I simply don’t have the time to take on additional titles of review right now. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t help promote your book. I have no problem putting up a guest post or a trailer that someone provides me. Want to offer a giveaway? I’m happy to host it for you.
                Bloggers love books and authors. We want your novel to succeed. Just because I don’t have 5 hours to devote to reading your book and writing a review doesn’t mean I don’t have 5 minutes to upload a guest post.

6. For the bloggers:
                If someone offers you a query, don’t be rude. And I don’t mean, firing back an email that says, “Can’t you read? I only review (insert genre) books.” or “I don’t want to read your book. It doesn’t sounds very good.”
                Someone took the time to reach out to you and offer up their heart. That’s what a book is—a piece of a writer’s very soul. Don’t tarnish that because you’re in a bad mood or irritated. A simple, one-line email declining the title is sufficient. Be as polite as you would want someone to be to you.

The idea of this post truly was not to offend anybody. It was simply something I thought might be helpful after talking to a few other bloggers who seemed to be having the same issues I am. If I upset you or offended you, I apologize profusely. The idea was to help, not hurt.


  1. Fabulous post Hannah! I agree with everything that you said - sometimes I think bloggers can come across as unappreciative when they complain about the requests they receive and that makes us all look bad, but you've stated this beautifully because review requests are definitely a two way street. Just as I always take the time to learn a publicist's name and write a few lines about why I think the book is a good fit for my blog and thus want to read it, I would appreciate whoever is making a request of me to put in the same effort.

    I can't even imagine how many queries an author is sending out, so I understand wanting to cut a few corners with a mass email, but how can you ask someone to take hours out of their day to not only read your book, but also write a review and go through the whole commenting/tweeting/facebooking promotional extravaganza so many of us do for each and every post if you're not willing to take 3 minutes to look at our blog and learn our name? Same with our reading preferences. I got a request the other day (Dear Blogger!) for a self-help series. Um. What?

    As completely hokey as I'm going to sound right now, I think the Golden Rule applies to both sides: treat others as you'd want to be treated. Be polite, do a little research, and know that a personal touch goes a long way:)

    1. THANK YOU, JENNY!!!!

      I went back and forth over whether or not to post this. I had a friend proofread it to make sure I didn't come across as bitchy or whiny. Knowing you feel the same way help set me at ease. :)

  2. Great post. It is frustrating. You're presumptuous. Just kidding :) haha.

    Anyway, I have a review policy, if someone can't take the time to check that policy out (which clearly states the genres I read) then I can't take the time to send them an e-mail response. I don't think I'm being rude, they send those out to tons of bloggers, I think no response is a simple enough 'not interested.'

    1. Exactly! I have a review policy, too. I made it very easy to access at the top of my blog. LOL

      And you're a brat. :P

    2. I know you do, which is why we shouldn't be getting a bunch of spam!! haha. And you love me, brat or not ;)

  3. Glad you decided to post this -- I think it's an important issue, and you've stated yourself very well! =)

  4. Its a great post Hannah. My itty bitty blog gets those mass mailed requests (and here I thought I was special..) I used to feel bad not taking them. I can honestly say nearly all of the books I accepted from those mass mailings were DNF's for me, and I overwhelmed myself accepting them. Only to have the authors (in some cases) write me continually wanting to know when I was posting their review.
    Im sure they were not bad books. Just cuz I dont like a book doesn't mean its bad.
    I had to learn to say No (politely) and I dont take those mass query's anymore.
    Your post was great. Tactful and truthful and fair.
    Thank you :)

  5. Great post, Hannah. Very well said. I have a review policy posted on my blog and if someone emails me without taking the time to read it, I don't see why I have to take the time to email them back. It's not meant to be harsh but if they're not putting the effort into reading a simple request, why should I?

  6. Great post. Glad you shared the link with me. I think people need to be reminded. I really hate getting follow requests on Goodreads from people who have no interest in my reviews and are only trying to use the opportunity to promote their work. I see Goodreads as an opportunity to share fantastic books and opinions, not relentless self-promotion.

    1. Thanks, Liza! GR is getting nuts with all the authors pushing for reviews. I hate friending new people on there because 1 in 10 is an author asking for a review now that we're "friends".

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