How Not to Ask for a Book Review

March 26, 2014 by Laura J. Davis

Originally posted on the Laura J. Davis blog

I have been reviewing books for a little over seven years now, both for an online Christian newspaper and for my own personal enjoyment. Unlike most professional reviewers who work for big magazines/newspapers (who can receive up to 50 review requests a day), I work on a much smaller scale and can take the time to respond to each and every email. However, whether you’re approaching a big-name newspaper reviewer or an independent blogger, there are things you shouldn’t do when asking someone to review your book, and I get them all the time. We’ll start with three of the most frequent requests that have crossed my desk.

Would you review my book?

Many of the emails I receive have only one sentence, “Would you review my book?” The author then signs their name and gives me no other information. They do not tell me the name of the book, nor do they give me any hint on what the book is about. NEVER do this. Professional reviewers will probably delete your email and bloggers will either forgive you for being so absent-minded, or they’ll delete it too. Reviewers do not have time to drag information out of you.

I have a book releasing on (insert date). Can you review it?

Once again the author forgets to tell me the name of their book. This type of question makes me feel like I’m being asked out on a blind date, “Do you want to go out on Friday night with what’s his name?” The answer is no.

Would you review my book? It’s historical fiction. It’s called ________ and you can find out all about it at this link.

This is getting a little better. At least the author remembered to tell me the name of their book and the genre, but do they want me to review their book or go on a scavenger hunt? If you can’t send me all the information in one email, why bother sending me anything at all? This is discourteous to those you are approaching. By making them search for your information you are implying that your time is more important than theirs. That will not help your review at all.

Would you review my epic fantasy thriller called _________? It’s about _________ you can reach me at __________.

This is much better. The person tells me right off what genre of book I’m dealing with, what the name of the book is and what it’s about, as well as how to reach the author. Perfect! Except for one thing — I don’t like epic fantasy thrillers. Before you send out a request to a book reviewer, make sure you know what kind of books they like to review. Otherwise, you are just wasting their time and yours. We’ll discuss where to find your audience at a later date.

When you are looking for someone to review your book, whether they get paid for it or not, keep in mind reviewers are very busy people. Remember that magazines and newspapers especially don’t have the time to decipher your requests. It is much better to just send them a press release.

However, most of the people you contact, if you are an Indie author, are probably bloggers. Even though they are not professional reviewers they are still taking time out of their schedule to review your book. So be kind, be gracious and give them all the information they will need to make an informed decision about your book.

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About this Contributor

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Laura J. Davis is a former singer/songwriter who took to writing full-time after emergency surgery caused the loss of her singing voice. Her singing career had lasted for 30 years. Her first book, Come to Me, won a Reader’s Favourite Award. In 2013, her bible study Learning from the Master, Living a Surrendered Life, was featured in Book Fun Magazine as the non-fiction book of the month first place winner. She has had stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul Married Life and Chicken Soup for the Soul the Dating Game. Her latest book, He Who Has an Ear, is a look at who the seven churches of Revelation are today. Laura is currently featured in the Author’s Network book, 50 Great Authors You Should be Reading.

When Laura is not writing she is teaching bible studies and reviewing books. She can be contacted through her website at www.laurajdavis.com