Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. This feature was previously known as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.
For today’s topic I choose to talk about review requests and replying to them. I think every book blogger has received their fair share of review request. When I just started blogging I knew how excited I was when authors started contacting me asking to review their books and in most instances I said yes. Eventually I came to a point I realized I didn’t have to and didn’t want to review every book for which I got a review requests. I hate saying no, so I decided I would consider the book and if I wanted to review it I replied and if I didn’t I put the e-mail in a folder called blog and most likely I would never look at it again. Recently I changed my stance on this and I started replying to every review request I got. With this I mean all review requests I receive directly from an author.
First let me stay that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not replying to review request and I don’t want to give anyone the idea that they should be replying to review requests. I merely want to explain why I never replied to them and why I decided to do now. I think everyone should decide for themselves what to do and I can understand both sides. This post is about my descision and why I made that descision.
What’s the norm?
If I look around on other blogs it seems not replying to review requests seems to be the norm. Most bloggers mention something like if I don’t reply within X days it probably means we aren’t interested. Some bloggers do promise a reply and some don’t mention anything about review requests and if they reply or not. I always thought it was normal to only reply to review requests you were interested in.
Why I never replied to review requests
I had lots of reasons why I didn’t reply to review requests and I will list those next.
- Takes too much time. Most book bloggers get a lot of review requests, most probably a lot more than I get. I think I get somewhere between 1-5 review requests a week, some weeks more then other’s but that’s the average. Still that are 5 e-mails that need replying. It takes time replying to e-mails and it seemed easy to decide to only reply to review requests I wanted to accept and don’t to the ones I didn’t want. It takes too much time to reply to every requests I get.
- Mass e-mail. Some authors send mass e-mails and it always seemed that if they didn’t take the time and effort to send me a personalized e-mail, why should I do the effort of replying to their e-mail? I always felt a bit bad when I received a mass e-mail as it doesn’t feel personalized.
- I dislike saying no. I have a strong dislike to saying no, I like to think of myself of a nice person and that doesn’t mesh with saying no. I feel uncomfortable having to say no and I feel bad saying no to a review request as I am sure the author has put a lot of time and effort in the book and it may even be a nice book, but not for me. And the easiest way to avoid saying no is not to reply at all.
- Don’t want to hurt the author. I feel like saying no is bad thing and I might even hurt the author, which is something I didn’t want to. So I thought that most authors probably think not hearing back from a reviewer is less bad then hearing back a no. So I would be sparing the author hurt by not replying.
- Forgot about it. I always sorta forget about review requests I don’t accept. To be honest this is not exactly fair, it’s more like I made the descision to forget about it, I know there are review requests I don’t accept and I decided to not think about them anymore. If I wasn’t going to accept the review request I add the e-mail to my blog e-mail folder and I never look at that. So while I don’t throw it away, I know for an email to go into that folder means I’ll probably never look at it again.
Why do I reply to review requests?
So what changed? I always considered that maybe once in the future I would start replying to review requests I wouldn’t accept. It wasn’t really a clearly cut plan, more of an idea that maybe I would once do that in the future. I always reply to all tour requests from authors on Lola’s Blog Tours even if the book isn’t a good fit for my company and I have to tell them no. So I always considered that replying to all requests was something I might do with Lola’s Reviews as well. We all know those ideas aren’t likely to get done ever, but something changed and I am still not exactly sure what. One day in end November I decided I was going to reply to ever review request I got and I did from then on.
I think my main reasons for this is that like I mentioned before I like to think of myself as a nice person and while I always thought not replying was the nice thing to do I wasn’t sure anymore. Maybe replying politely was even nicer? Saying no might be more helpfull for the author than ignoring those e-mails. I believed I was a nice person, but I did something that wasn’t nice in my opinion, so I decided to change my behavior and start replying to review requests.
Also the thought that some author is sitting somewere with an excel spreadsheet to keep track of their review requests and then waiting for a response till they finally decide I am not going to reply. That thought just hurt me, how long would they wait till they decided I wasn’t going to reply? How long did they keep hope I might? When I receive a review request I most likely decide that same day whether to accept it or not, why not communicate that to the author as well, so they wouldn’t be unsure of my descision?
Beside the reasons listed above I also realized I could come up with a counter argument for all those reasons I had for not replying to review requests. So here are my own counterarguments to my points made in the first heading.
- Takes too much time. It might take a lot of time for bloggers who get a lot of review requests, but for me it only takes a few minuets each week to reply to them and I think that’s worth it. Also the most effort and time goes into checking out the book and deciding whether I want to review it or not, spending another minute to actually reply to the author isn’t that much time and effort in comparison.
- Mass e-mail. Authors are busy and I can totally understand they don’t have time to e-mail every blogger individual. Sure I still prefer individual e-mails, but it’s certainly not realistic to expect that from every author. Authors are people too and they have limited time available and sending mass e-mails instead of individual e-mails spares a lot of time. Also even though they might not take time to send me a personal e-mail, doesn’t mean that’s an excuse for me to not reply either.
- I dislike saying no. Okay I still dislike saying no and I still feel bad every time I have to decline a review request, but I can try to say no in a polite way. I prefer to know what to expect over uncertainty, so maybe authors feel the same.
- Don’t want to hurt the author. I think authors learn to deal with rejection in their writing career and I can only hope replying to them with a polite no hurts them less than not receiving any reply at all.
- Forgot about it. This never was a good reason to begin with as I decided to forget about those review requests. I simply keep review request in my inbox until I replied to them now, making the descision not to forget about them.
How do authors reply when you reply to a review request you don’t accept?
There are authors who don’t reply ofcourse, I mean what can they say? But I also had some authors reply who were happy for the quick repsonse and knowing I didn’t accept the review request. I never expected to actually get positive reactions from the authors when I told them no. And knowing that it helps some authors makes me feel better as well. All in all I feel happy to have changed my behavior and decided to start replying to review requests, it might be a small thing, but it still makes me feel better and I hope it helps those authors to know for sure I don’t accept their review requests.