I recently found a bunch of articles I wrote for the now defunct Young Adult independent author blog, YA Indie. The posts are almost 2 years old now but a lot of the advice I gave is still relevant to indie authors. I’ll be re-posting most of my articles here for a while. Hopefully they can help some new self published authors out!
You can find more of my YA Indie articles here.
You’ve done everything “right”. You’re online and interacting with potential readers. You’ve designed an awesome cover. You’ve spread the word about your book. You’ve contacted the appropriate book bloggers. Despite all that, you’re not getting many book bloggers to accept your book. So….what’s the problem?
A while back I asked my readers (many of whom are book bloggers) what makes them reject a review request rather than accept it*.
Many of them opted to just leave comments so you can read their responses here.
Here are some of my reasons for saying ‘no’:
I Don’t Like Your Summary
I don’t mean that in a hurtful way though. I tend to treat review requests just like I would books at the library or bookstore. If I’m not interested in the summary, I’m not going to read the book. I’ve seen all kinds of summaries between book blogging and searching on Amazon for books to read. The ones that don’t tell me anything about the book, the ones that tell me everything about a book, the ones that sound way too much like other books, the ones that are way, way too out there for me. Those all tend to turn me off of a book.
You might consider rewriting or tweaking your summary. Absolutely look to others for help or suggestions about your summary. As a reader, I’d like to know just a bit about what the story is. I want just enough so that I’m interested in picking the book up. [Just a personal preference: make sure you differentiate yourself from other similar books. I know that the basic ideas of stories are recycled. That’s fine but your book needs to be different in someway. If a book is exactly like Harry Potter, why should I read it? I’ve read Harry Potter.] A fixed summary can only help the interest in your book.
You Don’t Know How To Write
I do a bit of research about the review requests I get. I look the book up on Amazon and Goodreads. I try to see if I can find an author blog, Facebook page, or Twitter. If I see really bad writing by you on those sites (misspelled words, no capitalization, run-on sentences, bad grammar) or in your review request, I’m going to pass. Same thing applies if I see reviews of your book complaining about those problems. I refuse to read books if they’re filled with problems like that. It is completely unacceptable. Your book might be properly edited but your online presence indicates otherwise.
I’m Just Not Interested In Your Book
I hate the assumption that if you like to read some insert genre books, you’ll want to read all insert genre books. That’s not the case at all. I like some fantasy books but by no means do I want to read all of them out there. This goes for all the different genres I read. It really is nothing personal if your book doesn’t catch my interest. I’m sure you’re a lovely person but I just don’t want to read your book.
Your Book Is Exclusive
I really don’t like to exclude my readers when doing a review request. I’m always hesitant to accept books that are only available on Kindle or only available in ebook format. I know that some of my readers don’t have a Kindle or other ereader so I don’t like telling them about something that they can’t pick up if they’re interested. [That’s not to say that I don’t accept those types of books. If I’m on the fence about a book, this would swing it to ‘no’ territory.] [Yes, I know you can get ereader apps for your computer but that’s kind of a pain. I know I wouldn’t want to read on my computer.]
Fellow book blogger, Grace from Books Without Any Pictures, shares her thoughts about accepting books.
“There are a couple make it or break it things that I look for when reading a review request. One of my pet peeves is editing; if there are multiple spelling or grammar errors in the request, I’ll decline it, no matter how interesting the story might sound. I don’t mean to be anal about it, but it makes me think that the book will be sloppy too. That being said, I’m more likely to accept a review request if the author mentions that the book is professionally edited. If the author has written multiple books, I tend to go to Goodreads or Amazon and browse some of the reviews there to see if there are any glaring flaws.
I also tend to decline a review request if it’s obvious that it’s a part of a mass e-mail. I like knowing that the person requesting the review has read my review policy and has looked at the type of books that I’ve reviewed before. I ended up changing my review policy a few days ago to explicitly state that I don’t accept mysteries and thrillers because my inbox was getting clogged with review requests for them, even though I hadn’t reviewed those genres before.
I’m relatively selective with review requests, mostly because I don’t have time to read everything that I’d like. Sometimes I will turn down a book that looks interesting just because I can’t fit it into my reading schedule.”
Hopefully this gives you some things to think about!
To the book bloggers out there, what makes you reject a review request?
*Besides ignoring review request criteria. ALWAYS read (and follow) review policies before contacting book bloggers even if you’ve worked with them before.