The Indie Author’s Guide to Taming Book Reviewers

I’ve been running this little corner of bookishness and snark for seven months now – if Bookish Creature were a baby, it’d be teething.

Over this better part of a year, I’ve received too many book review submissions to count, and I’ve started to figure out what separates the great ones from the good ones. In the interest of helping authors improve their chances with reviewers (not to mention helping bloggers get more great submissions) – and with some help from the lovely gents over at Striking 13 – I’ve put together a few best practices for taming that strange and flighty beast: the book blogger.

Know Your Enemy Audience

Pay attention to each reviewer’s guidelines! Most of us only accept a handful of genres and file types – no sense sending your book out to someone if it’s not their cup of tea. If they don’t have any guidelines listed, try taking a look at their previous reviews to see what genres they tend to read.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Proofread your email. Twice. Typos happen to everyone, but an obvious lack of care in your message doesn’t give me high hopes for your book.

Put Your Best Book Forward

“Do not send every story you’ve ever written, pick one. Nothing worse than getting half a dozen emails, one after the other, from the same person, or getting a book series described in a single submission form with a multitude of attachments. If your book is well received, then by all means reach out to us again with another piece of work.” -Richard from Striking 13

Be a Tease

Back cover blurbs are great and all, but what we really want is a taster of your writing style before we commit to the whole book. If you’re not comfortable sending off a review copy right away for us to flip through, consider including the first chapter, or pointing us towards Amazon if you have their Look Inside feature enabled.

Link Me Up

Speaking of Amazon – most reviewers like to link around to various publishing outlets and social networks. Make it easy on us and include these links in your message. Amazon and Goodreads are the major ones, but including your personal website, Twitter handle, and Facebook page is also helpful.

We’re Only Volunteers

With books as in life: suggest, don’t demand. I can’t speak for every blogger out there, but if you give me a little wiggle room I’ll do my best to work within your marketing campaign – provided the deadlines are reasonable, of course. That said, life happens no matter how fast you read, and for most of us, this is just a hobby. Be patient with us. 😉

Be You

Ditch the formality! I love getting review requests that are friendly and full of personality – they stand out, they give me a sense of your writing style, and they’re far more likely to be accepted. So loosen up. 🙂 We’re all just a bunch of book nerds, after all.

Speaking of nerds – sound off in the comments! Authors, any questions? Bloggers, any more advice?