Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your Book

January 4, 2016 Lola's Advice 54

LolaAdvice

Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.

Welcome to my new feature: Lola’s Advice! Like mentioned above these posts will be mainly directed at authors and will include tips and advice for authors, but I’ll also be focusing on the blogger side of things. As I am both a blogger and a blog tour organizer I like to focus on both sides the author and blogger side of things.

Why I started this feature

I got the idea for this new features when in October last year I signed-up for a series of e-mails by Nosegraze about how to build your bookish business. I already have a bookish business, namely my own blog tour company Lola’s Blog Tours, so I thought it would be interesting to hear what Nosegraze had to say about the topic of bookish businesses and see if there were interesting pieces of information that I could use for my own business. One part that got my attention in one of those e-mails was how Nosegraze build her blog so her visitors where potential customers. While I am aware my blog can help bring visitors to my business website, I also made the conscious decision to keep things a bit separate.
My main goal of my blog is to connect with other bloggers, not authors and I didn’t want to change my blog. But then I was thinking maybe I can do both, make my blog a place for both bloggers and authors. I do have a lot of knowledge about books, marketing and promotion that I want to share, which I do now mainly by offering free advice on my services pages on Lola’s Blog Tours, but that means I only reach the authors who know what to ask and who found Lola’s Blog Tours in the first place. So then I thought maybe I can also share some interesting posts for authors now and then on my blog here? I will use this new feature for that and every first monday of the month I will do one of these posts for now. I hope you will all enjoy this new feature!

Once I got thinking about how to make value for authors on my blog and what kind of posts I could write, the idea for this post popped into my mind. Over the last few years that I’ve had Lola’s Blog Tours one of the questions I regularly get from authors is how to get more reviews for their book(s). And there are some standard answers I give all of them, so why not write a topic about that and have both authors and bloggers weigh in on the topic.

How to get more reviews for your book

  • Send review requests by e-mail to bookbloggers.
    One of the most well known ways of getting more reviews for your book is to e-mail book bloggers and ask them to review your book. While it can definitely be effective, it also takes a lot of time and you have to be careful when e-mailing bloggers. Make sure to read each blogs individual review policy first and don’t e-mail a blogger if they don’t accept review request or don’t accept your books genre. Anna from Herding Cats and Burning Soup has written a good post about how that first meet and sending out review requests to bloggers. This method takes a lot of time, but it can certainly lead to more reviews. Do keep in mind that it’s pretty normal to only have about 10% of the bookbloggers you contact say yes to review your book, so you’ll have to contact a lot of bookbloggers to get a decent amount of reviews. There are also sites or books which list possible book bloggers to contact. A nice place to start is this list of bloggers that Laekan Zea Kemp compiled. Or The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages, a book with lots of book bloggers listed and what kind of review request they accept.
  • Book a blog tour.
    A blog tour can be a nice way to get some extra reviews and exposure for your book. Do keep in mind that the first goal of a blog tour often is exposure and not reviews. Still they can be an effective method to receive more reviews, but it often depends on the tour and book how many review stops your tour will get. There are some type of tours that put more focus on reviews or even offer review only tours. Blog Tours are very valuable to get word of your book out there and hopefully get some nice reviews as well.
  • Book a R2R/ R&R (Read to Review/ Read and Review).
    There are a lot of groups like for example on Goodreads that offer R2R or R&R’s which are Read and reviews events. The author offers a select amount of review copies and members of the group can request a review copy. Sometimes they are required to review it within a few weeks. So the good thing about these type of events is that you most likely get some reviews and get them fast, but it can happen that the reviewers only post on Goodreads and Amazon and not on a blog, so that’s something to keep in mind. Some R2R require posting on Goodreads and amazon and some only on goodreads, so make sure to read the rules of the group concerning R2R’s first. An example of a group that offers R2R is the David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite! group, but there are many more groups out there who offer these type of events.
  • Book a review opportunity.
    Review opportunities aren’t tours, but you can book them at Blog Tour Companies or Promo sites. They help you get more reviews, by having them feature your book on their site and contact their tour hosts if they want to review the book. It’s an easy way to reach a new audience and get more reviews for your book. For an example check out the Review Opportunity I offer on Lola’s Blog Tours. Another option is Netgalley or Edelweiss, although those often are more pricey. The good thing about these is that they are less effort for the author themselves, but they do come with a price tag. I’ve also seen promo sites who beside promote your free or discounted book offer review opportunities.
  • Make sure people buy and read your book.
    A lot book bloggers and reviewers are readers as well and they often buy books for their own reading pleasure and will review those as well. There are also readers who don’t have a blog, but will review on the site they bought a book. So making sure people buy and read your book can in the long run lead to more reviews as well. This method alone likely won’t get you a lot of reviews, but it is a reminder to focus on promoting your book alongside the focus on getting reviews.
  • Make one of your books free or very cheap.
    This ties in with my last point, a way to make sure people buy/ read your book is to offer one of your books free or for cheap, like selling it for 0.99$. There are many promo sites out there who can help spread the word about your free or sale book, some of those are free, others require a fee. And this can be a good way to reach a new audience. I’ve seen quite some authors who offer the first book in a series for free or cheap to attract new readers and often sales or free books will also promote the rest of the series. One of the most well know promo sites that will feature your free or 0.99 book is Bookbub.
  • Put your book on instafreebie.
    This can be combined with other options. It’s a way to get your book into the hands of readers. Instafreebie is a site were you can put your book and readers can download a copy. You can use this to send review copies to your arc team only and even protect access with a password. You can also make it open publicly and promote it as far as you can. Lately I’ve been seeing lots of multi author promo’s where they combine their books and list it on site with links to the books on instafreebies. I don’t think reviews are obligatory when you get a book through instafreebie (unless you got it there thanks to a review request), but it is a great way to get your book into people’s hands and likely get some reviews as well. Instafreebie is paid, but the first month is free.
  • Make your own request a review copy form.
    Instead of hiring a tour company or other business to help with your review request you can also make your own review request form. You only have to make a form and then send out the review copies to who signs-up. The good thing about this is that it’s less effort than sending out individual review request to bloggers, the downside is that you likely will reach less people as you only reach your own followers. It can be a good idea to offer this option alongside others.
  • Use your social media, website and newsletter connections.
    This ties in with a few of the other options. No matter how you try to get more reviews it’s a good idea to use the followers and fans you already have. Tweet, share, post it on your website and send out a newsletter about the tour you booked, the sale you’re running or the link to your review request form. You already have those followers and they most likely will be interested to hear about this and you can get some reviews this way.

Blogger point of view: How I receive the books I review?

Okay now let’s go to the bloggers point of view and see how I receive the books I review on my blog. I’ll list the ways I receive most review copies and what I like about that method.

  • By review request through e-mail. Although I decline a big percentage of the review request I receive, there are some I accept as well and review. I am a bit mixed about this method as I’ve received some great books for review, but also receive lot of review request that I have to turn down as they aren’t for me.
  • Netgalley. Nowadays I get a lot of review copies from netgalley. Ever since I started reading on my ipad I have been requesting more netgalley copies as I know I can read them. And my ipad has the kindle app which means I almost exclusively read netgalley review copies there with some freebies and books I bought with an amazon gift card thrown in. I like netgalley as it’s easy to use, I go there browse the possible books and request the books that seem interesting. It’s simple, effective and everything goes through netgalley.
  • Review opportunities and tours. I used to get a lot of review copies this way, but nowadays I only sign-up for very few of these. A book really needs to catch my attention for me to sign-up for these. I am not a fan of the deadlines that usually go along with tours.
  • Author/ publisher contacts. With this I mean all ways I receive a review copy through an author or publisher that isn’t a direct review request e-mail. Think of newsletters, street teams, review copy request forms etc. There are some authors where I fill out review forms or reply to newsletters to get a review copy. Most reviews copies I receive through review request and netgalley, but a few come this way.
  • Buy the books/ freebies I download. I review every book I read, also those I buy myself. Although lately most of the books I review are those I got for review, I also still have a decent amount of books I bought myself that I review here on the blog. Or those freebies I grab from amazon or Kobo.

Authors, which methods do you use to get more reviews for your books?

Bloggers, who do you receive review copies and which methods do you prefer to receive review copies from authors?

54 Responses to “Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your Book”

  1. Angela @Simply Angela

    I love this post! I receive a ton of review books and, whether from an author or publisher, I would much rather the author/publisher contact me before sending me the book if it’s a new author/series/publisher. There’s some authors and publishers that I don’t mind receiving surprise books from but last year I received a massive amount of children and YA books, which I hardly ever read.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…How To Lose A Bachelor by Anna BanksMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks Angela! I hardly get send review copies directly send to my house, it sounds like it would be better if they asked if bloggers where interested first, because it seems lots of bloggers end up with books they might not want to read that way. I did have had some authors who send a review request with the e-copy attached, which I don’t like either and I am more likely to decline then.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  2. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    Nice discussion post! I get most of my review books from emails – publisher/author/publicist or Netgalley. Netgalley is probably where I get the most from, but all in all, I’m trying to limit the amount of books I accept. I know this can be daunting for authors and it is a lot work to find people willing to accept your book and read/review it, but at the same time, you don’t want just ANY blogger because they might have more negative things to say, etc.

    -Lauren
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…Music to Start the Year: “Young Love” by Eli LiebMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks lauren :). I am the same most of the review copies I get from e-mails or netgalley. And I think a lot of bloggers are pretty picky in whcih books they accept, which can make it hard for authors to find reviewers who want to review their book, but those who are most enthousiastic about the book and accept it for review are probably more likely to enjoy it.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  3. loverofromance

    I think this is great advice to authors!!! It really depends on the email I receive from authors. Some of them I do accept, if they are more personable in the email. But many times they send me an email with a netgalley link attached….so if it has a detached and cold feeling to it than I don’t accept.

  4. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    I think this is great advice Lola. I think more authors should look into virtual assistants. I have no idea of the costs, but it is probably worth it to help handle some of these types of things. Since I review mostly audiobooks, I work mostly with publishers, but I do get some review requests from authors. I’ve accepted some and not others. I have taken some ebooks too, just not nearly as many. Most of those are from authors directly, but a few from Netgalley. I’ve gotten request from authors on Twitter. They were from authors who have followed me and interacted with me and know what types of books that I read before they made the offer.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…In the Company of Wolves Audiobook by Paige Tyler (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks melanie! I do marketing assistant/ virtual assistant work for two authors and I think it can really help, although I do think that not every author will be able to afford it.
      I don’t read any audiobooks myself, so I often forget there’s that side of things as well. I’ve done review opportunity on Lola’s Blog Tours where the author offered audiobook and was suprised how popular they where and within days she ran out of audiobooks (she had a limited amount of copies she offered).
      I’ve also received some review request on social media, but not a lot. It is nice when they take the time to follow you and see what types of books you read before they send an offer.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  5. Berls

    Great advice Lola! I especially appreciate your comments about checking blogger websites before emailing. I clearly state on my blog that I’m not accepting review requests – authors I’m already working with know they can contact me. Otherwise, emailing me is usually a waste of time. If I do end up accepting their book, it’s with the understanding that I may not get to it for quite a while. Such a great feature Lola!
    Berls recently posted…December & End of Year Report Card! | #2015HWMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks Berls! I think it’s really important for author to research the blog they are sending a review request to and make sure they accept review request at all and that genre. It’s a waste of both the author and the blogger their time to send a review request when the review policy already clearly states they aren’t accepting review requests.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  6. Terri M., the Director

    I bounce between a tour company and NetGalley. Most of the books I review right now are ones I own…at least that is my goal since I’m co-hosting the #ShelfLove Challenge. 🙂

    I try not to over request on NetGalley. I’ve heard too many “horror” stories about struggling to maintain that preferred 80% reputation. I want ARCs, but I don’t want to be drowning in them.
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…How I Macro-Manage My Blog | Behind the CurtainMy Profile

    • Lola

      I should make more time to read books I already own, but I can’t resist getting new books. I love netgalley and I have an ipad on which I mostly read netgalley books. I still haven’t reached the 80%, but hover between 60 and 70% most days. I still get accepted for most books and hope to reach that 80% one day. My goal for this year is to get my amount of review copies down as I have too many of them now and I like the amount to be lower so I am more comfortable with it.

  7. Kristen Burns

    I think it’s great that you’re giving advice to help authors, especially since a lot of book bloggers also want to write or can at least offer their own insight into the discussion.

    As a reader/reviewer, I can attest to how well it can work to give away the first book in a series for free. I can imagine how horrifying it must feel to work so hard on something just to give it away, but probably 95% of the first in series books I read are ones I get for free on Amazon. They’re books I’m interested in but probably wouldn’t have paid for, so I wouldn’t have read them had they not been free, but the ones I really like I then review AND I’m willing to pay for the rest of the series.

    I’ve never used Netgalley because I feel like my blog is too small to get approved for anything. But I did have one author tell me about her review team after seeing my reviews of one of her series, so I signed up because I do really like her current series and her writing. And of course you know I joined your blog tour site. I’ve also seen some authors promote their ARC/street team on their sites or in their newsletters.

    Unfortunately for self published authors though, I’ve noticed a lot of reviewers don’t accept self published books. I think it’s a shame there’s such a stigma since I happen to know of a lot of amazing self published books, but I guess that’s a whole ‘nother discussion. Sorry this ended up being so long! I guess I had a lot to say about this topic, haha.
    Kristen Burns recently posted…Cover Characteristics: Book Covers featuring JewelsMy Profile

    • Lola

      It’s been great to hear blogger and authors their point of views on the topic!

      I agree I can’t imagine how weird it must be as an author to give away your book for free while you put so much time and effort in it, but I think it works really well. I do grab more freebies than that I read, but there are books I might not have bought otherwise. And if I like the first book I am definitely willing to pay for the rest of the series. I think that’s where the power is of offering your first book free. You attract a lot of readers and if they enjoy it, they probably stick around and buy the rest of the series.

      I am pretty sure you would get accepted for some books on netgalley already. For a lot of books I think it mostly matters that you are serious about it and have a place to post your reviews and not get your netgalley percentage too low. If you’re interested in getting books that way, I would recommend to just give it a try. As a newbie blogger I joined and was surprised by how many books I still got approved for. Nowadays I get approved for most books I request even though I am not a big blog.

      I have done sendign out review request for an author as part of my marketing assistant work and it’s really sad how many reviewers don’t accept self published books. I read so many awesome self published books and most of my best books I read last year where self published. I hope in the future self published books won’t have that stigma anymore.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

      • Kristen Burns

        I definitely grab more freebies than I end up reading, but I think the key thing is that it’s not like I would’ve paid for it anyway, so the author doesn’t lose anything. If anything, don’t they get higher rankings on Amazon for having the book downloaded more times?

        I’ll probably start requesting on Netgalley this year, but it’s so intimidating! Maybe I’ll find books from smaller publishing companies.

        But seriously, almost all my favorite books last year were self published, so I just don’t get the stigma!
        Kristen Burns recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Goals for the New YearMy Profile

        • Lola

          Yes I think they do get higher rankings when their book is downloaded more.

          I sometimes do grab freebies I probably would’ve paid for anyway, but probably even more that wouldn’t have gotten my attention if they weren’t free.

          I agree netgalley can be intimidating when you first start, but you have a great blog and I am sure you will get approved for some books you request.

          Same here most of my favourite books last years were self-published, I don’t get the stigma either.

  8. Grace MyBookSnack

    This is a great post, Lola! I’m very picky nowadays when I request on Netgalley, and when I do, I do my best to get a review in. I don’t review every book that I get. If I purchase the book, I may review it if I feel like it. As a blogger who has a new-ish blog still, I find tours get me the most exposure. I only sign up for tours of books that I really want to read though.
    Grace MyBookSnack recently posted…The Best of Me by Elisabeth Barrett ~ Interview, Review + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Lola

      I still request a lot of books on netgalley and do fairly well on getting the new ones read, but I still have a bit of a back log from when I just joined and requested some books I didn’t got around to reading and now am no logner as enthousiastic about.

      I do review every book that I read as I feel like I haven’t fully finished a book until I reviewed it and I like to have a written account of what I thought of every book.

      I do think tours are great for exposure as most tour organizers and authors promote your post as well. I don’t sign-up for many tours anymore, but when I really want to read a book I do sign-up.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  9. Sophia Rose

    Sensible suggestions for sure. I like your idea for the new monthly feature.

    I am very fortunate that both the times I got published the publishing house set up a tour that includes a variety of posts, but more than half are reviews. They also set up a Facebook Release Party where winners get copies of the books and are encouraged to review them. I was able to offer some ARCs to people in my GoodReads Group that read the type of stuff I write. Thus, I didn’t have to do any ‘cold contacting’ like sending out emails or filling out blog review request forms. The offering a book free or low-priced is a wonderful idea to get people to try the book and likely review it. I think the biggest thing is to cultivate an on-line presence through visiting blogs, book groups, etc and get to know a group who like what you write so they are happy to read your book for review and definitely get it to them with plenty of time ahead to read it without rushing it.

    And then on the otherside as a blog reviewer, I am almost too easy-going when it comes to review requests. I rarely say no, but I usually say it will be a while (2-3 months out at least). 🙂 Even a contact from someone I don’t know will at least get my attention long enough to see if its a book from the genres I like. I have had some odd emails that I couldn’t make sense of what they were offering so sadly I had to ignore those, but on the whole I’ve gotten to read some pretty good books b/c I took a chance on an author/book I hadn’t heard of before.

    My sources for review books are varied. We have the review request shut off at the blog for a while now, but folks have figured out where to find me. I am not one that gets upset about that so long as people are polite and take no for an answer the rare times I have to decline. Several publishers, authors, author assistants, and tour organizers contact me directly through email and messaging at my social media sites. I also utilize Net Galley. I have an Edelweiss account, but I wanted to clean up my Net Galley pile before I start a review pile at another site.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. I like pondering stuff like this.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Taking What’s Naughty by Alexa Riley #AfternoonDelightMy Profile

    • Lola

      I am glad you like the idea for my new feature :). Thanks for weighing in with your point of view as both an authro and blogger!

      That’s neat with both your books the publishing company set-up tours, I know that isn’t always the norm, but it’s definitely great if you have a publisher that does that. And that you got a lot of reviews that way. Not all tours have a lot of review stops. Establishing an online pressence is a great tip as well. I think if people know and like you they are often more willing to give your book a try.

      I do say no quite often as I get a lot of review request by e-mail in which I am not interested. And I think 2-3 months is till really sooon, I know I have books that I got for review years ago and haven’t reviewed. I do like to say yes to books I never heard of before sometimes and take a chance on an author or book, I definitely found some great books that way.

      I prefer when authors e-mail me, but when they contact me in another way I don’t mind it as long as they are polite about it. I think that’s most important.
      I made an Edelweiss account, but couldn’t quite figure it out and thus never did anything with it. Seeing how many books I request through netgalley I think it might be a good thing to not try edelweiss as well. Else my to-read list would be even larger.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! I am hoping lots of people will find these posts helpfull. And I agree I think personalizing e-mails if at all possible is very important.

  10. S. J. Pajonas

    This is a great post Lola! You know I have struggled with this. I set up an ARC review list, I put my books on NetGalley, and I definitely have sales, but amazingly enough that still doesn’t lead to many reviews. I had Removed free almost an entire year and I only got 4 reviews during that time. I think there’s a certain kind of person that likes leaving reviews and I haven’t found them yet! But I bet all of these things work great for most authors. It’s really good advice.
    S. J. Pajonas recently posted…Sunday Update – January 3, 2016My Profile

    • Lola

      It can be tough to get your books seen and find the right audience for your books. And getting reviews for your books when people buy them can take a long time and indeed not everyone leaves reviews, so you need to sell a lot of books to get a few reviews. I am sure some reviewers have grabbed your book, but maybe they just haven’t read it yet. I do believe that putting the first novel for cheap or free is a good stragey to get people to read your book.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Advice: How to get more Reviews for your BookMy Profile

  11. Siobhan Davis

    Brilliant post, Lola, and can I just say on behalf of authors thanks so much for all you do to help us out! Based on my experience, the most effective means of garnering reviews has been cultivating and managing my own ARC list. I think this is key for authors. Netgalley was very helpful to me in establishing my list when I first self-published. Some reviewers have fallen off, but I’m always adding new ones so it tends to balance out. Some post on release day, others take longer to read and review. All fine by me. I’ve toured with you a few times and always received additional reviews that way too. Another effective means of generating reviews is to offer some advanced free copies to your mailing list subscribers in exchange for an honest review. And something which I find works well is including a small note in the back of my books asking the reader to post a review if they have time. All your suggestions are worthwhile as well. In my experience, it’s a combination of all those things. I’ve stopped submitting direct review requests to bloggers as it’s hugely time-consuming and it didn’t generate much of a return. Requests were always considerate of the individual reviewers review policy and I only targetted bloggers who enjoyed the same genre. Now that I review/ blog myself I can see how much bloggers must be inundated with review requests, so no wonder the response rate was so low. If I was advising any new author I would suggest steering clear of direct review requests and paid reviews (which are always a no-no in my book. Pardon the pun.) and using Netgalley to start building up an ARC list. It’s not expensive if you can join via a co-op/group. I’ve also heard of authors generating reviews via Story Cartel. I’ve never used the site myself so I can’t personally comment. Making the first book in my True Calling series perma-free was a game-changer and I think it works fantastically well as a magnet to introduce new readers to my writing and it’s generated additional reviews. Great discussion and it’s always interesting to hear from the bloggers/reviewers perspective.
    Siobhan Davis recently posted…Review: Betrayal (Infidelity #1) by Aleatha RomigMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! I am glad to help out authors where I can and I hope my new feature will help with that.

      Netgalley can be nice to get seen and reach a wide audience, especially when you don’t have an established fan base yet. Same with tours they get you a new audience and get your book seen and get the author some extra review.

      I think having your own arc list is great! Although it does take a long time to adequately grow it probably. You need people who have read your book first, before you can start building your arc list. I really liked your diea of offering free copies to newsletter subscribers, so you can also reach people not on your arc list.

      And yes I think it’s the combination of lost of those little things that helps. Simply asking for reviews at the back of your book is a good tip too. It doesn’t cost you anything and even if a few people will leave a review becuse of that it’s worht it.

      It’s interesting hearing from authors and bloggers who see both sides. It sure gives you an unique perspective.
      And I think putting TC free was a great idea and helps your series and other books as well.

  12. Braine Talk Supe

    Cool tips and great points, Lola!

    Let me say something real quick on the email part:

    Authors, please personalize your emails and USE THE BCC! We, readers, are very discerning when we pick books to read, at least give us the illusion that you handpicked us or took the time to read out policies and such.

    I also hate it when they send their books on the first email. Sure they say NO PRESSURE. But how about asking me first if it fits me, my audience, or if I’m interested at all?!

    When I get a template email request, and a request that has the book attached to it already, I instantly turn it down. No questions asked. It’s just RUDE!
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Loved It: Missed Connections by Mara White and K. Larsen + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Lola

      I could probably write a whole post about the e-mail part. Using BCC is very important too. I think it’s just common courtesy as an author to check out a blogger their review policy and on the blogger their side I think they should make their contact info an review policy easily findable.

      I also dislike it when authors attach the book to the first e-mail or just give me the code to grab it for free. It just seems rude even if there is no pressure.

      I can see why an author would use a template for sending out review request as it does take a lot of effort if you would have to personalize each e-mail word for word, but at least try to add the blogger’s name and don’t attach the book.

  13. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    First, the timing of this post is impeccable! Lola gives amazing tips… and a day later there’s a HUGE cautionary tale for authors about why they should listen to said tips!

    But seriously, this is a really fabulous post, aside from being timely! I don’t accept a ton of books that I haven’t specifically requested, simply because I don’t have the time, but I do on occasion! If it sounds like something I might enjoy, why not give it a try? But like you said, it’s a crapshoot. I totally believe the 10% thing. But I think what a lot of authors overlook is the newbie niche. As a new blogger, I reviewed TONS of indie and self pubbed books- and formed relationships with some of the authors whose work I really loved. Now that I am not as new, and in a position to get the word out a bit more, I STILL showcase the work of those authors- so now more people are seeing their books out there. So I feel like it could really work for a new author and a new blogger!

    Of course, the Catfish thing made me think of this, since the woman was impersonating a Penguin intern- clearly she wanted bloggers who were working with one of the biggest publishing houses to review her book. But I feel like that simply isn’t as important, because everyone has to start somewhere- bloggers AND authors.

    I love your idea about the cheap/free books- it’s the only way I could afford to blog when I started! I didn’t have $10-15 to spend on every big new release, so I would find Kindle cheapies or freebies, and I found some of my favorite authors that way!

    FABULOUS post, Lola, I really hope people heed your fantastic advice!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Resolutions: Guarantee Not IncludedMy Profile

    • Lola

      The funny thing is that I scheduled this post month’s in advance. I didn’t even know of the drama until you and another blogger mentioned it here. I do remember seeing something about the Penguin intern on my facebook feed, now that you mention it.

      I think it’s a good idea for authors to be aware that the 10% thing is completely normal. It just means you need a very big audience in the first place if you want a decent amount of reviews.

      I agree that as an author it helps to reach out to the newbie’s as well. As a tour organizer I make sure to accept newbie’s as tour hosts as well as they usually don’t have a huge pile of review books yet, so they often will sign-up for more reviews, they can become bigger and even if not their reviews still count and are valuable. I think it’s a good idea for authors to aim for those newbie bloggers as well. Sure it’s awesome when a big book blog reviews your book, but it isn’t necessary to get your book seen.

      I am the same as you I started out reviewing mostly indie authors and even now I still showcase them a lot and most of my favourite books from last year where indie books.

      And I think cheap/free books are a great way to get your book out there. I know I still pick up a lot of cheap or freebies. And if you like that book you probably are willing to pay for the other books by that author, so it’s a win for both bloggers/ readers and authors.

      Thanks Shannon! And I really hope my advice will be valuable to a lot of people.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Thief of Lies by Brenda DrakeMy Profile

  14. Danni Mae

    This is good to know! I just had a family member publish their first book and I’m really crossing my fingers that it gets out there in the blogging world. And, like a lot of book bloggers, I write, too! I’d love nothing more than to see something of mine or my family’s be featured on blogs.

  15. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    In the beginning when I was blogging, I got review copies through blog tour companies, and wile that was a great way to start, I actually tend to do a lot less of that nowadays. I think it’s because I try to only add books to my reading pile if I really want to read that book, so either, the author is one I have already read, or the summary has caught my attention, and I’m looking for the book to be released or arrive at Netgalley or Edelweiss.
    I review almost every single book I read, so that means I want to try to find books I really will enjoy. It’s very seldom that I accept e-mail requests from authors I have never heard about, and this may seem a little mean, but that is in part because the e-mail is filled with spelling mistakes or typos… if the e-mail I get isn’t proof-read, it makes me think the book will be as well.
    Great post, Lola!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Review: Firsts – Laurie Elizabeth FlynnMy Profile

    • Lola

      I was the same when I first started blogging I mostly got my review copies through tours and through e-mail from authors, but nowadays I get most of them directly from authors as I already know them/ worked with them or through netgalley. Although I still accept some review request by e-maila s well, in fact I accepted 3 review requests that way last month from new to me authors, which is on the high side for me.

      I am so bad at spelling and make typo’s myself as well and usually read right over them, so I don’t mind them that as much. Same in books, if I get an arc with typo’s or mistakes not corrected yet it will happen very rarely I spot them. I am just horrible at spelling both in dutch and in english. And even when an e-mail is filled with typo’s I usually still assume the book will be edited.

  16. Trish @ Between My Lines

    I think this is a great feature Lola and I love how you took Ashley’s tips and came up with something that works for you. As well as adding value for authors. I occasionally accept books via email requests (but not as much as I used to.) One thing that always catches my attention is if the author has personalised the email, used my name, makes it obvious they have read my blog or even just comments on a review I’ve done for a book in the same genre. I do understand that it takes time to do all this but I think in the long run, it is better than shooting out 100 generic emails that will catch no ones attention.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…Book Review : My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! I am really excited about this new feature and I hope I can add value for authors and make the posts interesting for bloggers too. I am glad Ashley mentioned that part as it really got me thinking and lead to this new features.

      I also love it when authors personalize the review request e-mail, it’s nice to know the author has taken time to visit your blog and read your review policy. I do agree that personalizing e-mails a bit works better, or at least use the blogger their name. As those e-mails are more likely to catch a blogger’s attention.
      Lola recently posted…My To-Be Read List #17: chosen bookMy Profile

  17. SDCB Steph

    Great post, Lola. I actually have a post with a similar topic coming up. I agree, that emails are good as long as, like you mentioned, they are actually accepted requests. I think that it is also important to know who you are writing to. I am immediately turned off by a request that starts off with “Dear Smart Dames Clever Books…” Another big turn off is requests via Goodreads messages, or even worse, through comments.
    You offer some very useful and practical tips that most writers should find easy to implement.
    SDCB Steph recently posted…Review: Ugly by Margaret McHeyzerMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! I am looking forward to your post on the topic :). I think reading a blogger their review policy is very important when you want to send them an e-mail. I never got a lot of review requests through social media, I’ve had one or two through goodreads, I prefer e-mail, but if a book sounds really good I still accept it no matter where the review request got from. And it’s nice if they at letts use your first name instead of blog name, I never had many trouble with that as my name is easy to find as it’s in my blog name, but even I had e-mails adressed to Lola’s Reviews instead of Lola.
      Lola recently posted…Review: Indestructible by Emma L AdamsMy Profile

    • Lola

      Thanks! It’s interesting how that mail from Nosegraze sparked this idea. I often see authors telling people to e-mail them if they want a review copy or try and get reviewers and still not make a form. I think having a forn makes it easier for reviewers to request a copy and it’s often less duanting than e-mailing.

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