Thursday, September 8, 2016
Ramblings… how i handle review requests
When I first started this blog, almost 7 years ago, I didn’t know what review copies/ARC’s were and I certainly never expected authors to read my reviews or email me. So when review requests did start coming in I said yes to everything. I mean – how can you say no to a book! That an author wants YOU to read??
Then as time ticked by I got overwhelmed by review books. Self pub and small presses took off so the requests quadrupled. And I truly wanted to help. I wasn’t enjoying what I was forcing myself to read but couldn’t say no. I tried to turn down some requests but a lot of authors wouldn’t accept no.
Going through email became my most dreaded task. I hated saying no to anyone who put in the effort to contact me and I hated arguing with an author about why I didn’t want to accept their request. After awhile I just deleted most of them without a response. But that didn’t feel right either.
Then I read a great discussion post over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup where authors gave bloggers advice and an author mentioned in the comments that she never knows whether to follow up or not. Did the email reach it’s destination? Go to spam? Author’s are in limbo too. But several bloggers brought up how annoying and harassing the requests can get - even after a rejection - so they don’t bother dealing with it anymore unless they want to review the book. Basically it’s awkward on both sides.
After a few exchanges with the author I came up with a form letter that I reply to all review requests with.
I can’t even tell you how much easier this has made my life. Do I still get the occasional harassing follow up email? Yes. But I feel no obligation to respond since I’ve already said my peace.
Here’s the basic letter. It’s a simple cut and paste once you write it. Sometimes I customize it a bit more for the occasion and I try to personalize it if I have the time.
* This email is being sent to confirm receipt of your book review request.
(Address author by name here)
Thank you for taking the time to contact For What It's Worth to review your book. (I add the title here)
I'm currently accepting review requests on a very limited basis (2-3 books per month) and will contact you within 7-10 days if I select yours for review.
For What It's Worth
I think it covers all the bases. Yes, I got your email, I’m not accepting many requests so don’t take it personally, and a definitive time frame for me to respond so they aren’t waiting forever to see if I will accept. I star and put in a folder the books I am interested in and get back to them within the 7-10 day time frame.
I do not bother responding to any requests that don’t meet my Review Policy Guidelines and you SHOULD have a review policy. It covers you both for requests and if you have a problem with the author later when the time comes for the review. Not every author or publisher reads it but that’s on them – not you.
For example…mine specifically states that I do not review non-fiction and that I don’t accept unsolicited attachments so if that’s what it is – I don’t respond.
I also don’t respond to mass marketing email requests from publishers. They ask you to contact them if interested and I figure they don’t have time to read my rejection anyway.
How do you guys handle review requests? Authors - am I missing something in my form letter? I tried to address the most common miscommunication/issues while keeping it short and to the point. I’ve learned that the longer I make things, trying to cover every base, the more confusing it gets.