Guest Post: What do Authors want from Book Bloggers?

Sabine contacted me recently asking if I’d like for her to do a guest post. This one one of a few ideas she had and I thought it sounded like a fun post! 🙂 Thanks to Sabine for the great post.

What do Authors want from Book Bloggers?

During my quest to gain reviews for my e-novella The Black Orb, I contacted a million (that’s what it seemed like) book bloggers. Reading a blog, checking the review policy and contacting a particular blogger takes time, patience – and a thick skin. After reading many book bloggers’ comments on what they want from an author requesting reviews for their books, I thought it might be an interesting idea to write a post from the opposite party’s point of view. With the arrival of self-published authors, book bloggers are overwhelmed with book review requests. However, as authors, we do have certain requirements when we approach book bloggers.

So here goes the list:

  1.  Post a review policy that clearly defines the genre and the sub-genres you like to read, the format of books you prefer to receive and the approximate time frame in which you can read and review the book. If you do author interviews, giveaways and guest posts, this is the place to state that. If you don’t accept self-published authors or e-books, post it here.
  2.  Make it easy for authors to contact you by either having a contact form or displaying your email on your review policy or contact page. My personal pet peeve is when book bloggers tend to embed their emails and it requires an outlook express program to open their addresses. Since I don’t have an outlook express program installed on my computer, I always tend to not submit to these bloggers. (My loss!) Make it easy for the author to contact you. Contact forms are best because they protect your email address (since you don’t have to give it out on your website).
  3.  Don’t accept a book in a genre or sub-genre you don’t really like to read. If I had a penny for each review which states that “perhaps the story didn’t appeal to me because I don’t really like these kinds of high fantasy/science fiction/paranormal stories”, I think I would be rich already. If you like your stories to have romance, or if you prefer urban fantasy to high fantasy, state it in the review policy. Or don’t accept the request for review.
  4.  Don’t post a scathing review if you hated the book and stopped reading it half-way through. Inform the author that you will not be able to provide a review.
  5.  One bad review will not kill a book, and generally authors have thick skins as they are used to rejections, but it will hurt us…so even if you hate the book (and you finish reading it), write about at least one thing you liked in the book.
  6.  If you like the story, and gave it a three star or above rating, do post the review or a shorter version of it on other sites, such as Goodreads, Amazon, etc to help the author sell the book.
  7.  If you find yourself posting three stars or below for most of the books you accepted for review, consider revising your review policy. You are probably accepting the wrong kind of books.
  8.  Don’t expect that the authors will automatically begin to follow you on twitter and other places because you reviewed his book. A thank you email is mandatory for the author (naturally) but beyond that, he isn’t obligated to do anything. You accepted a book to read and gave a review. After all, the author is providing a free copy, in exchange for which you may or may not post a review. And that too, may be a negative review. It’s a fair deal. (Authors will be tempted to develop relationships with bloggers they admire and respect, and that’s an organic process and not a requirement of the field.)
  9.  Inform the author when you accept the review that you expect them to provide a link from their website or tweet about it. After all, you are entitled to gain some exposure from the review – but don’t expect the same when you have posted a bad review. No author is going to flaunt a bad review on their own website, or tweet or brag about it in any way.
  10.  Don’t use a giveaway as a means to acquire new followers, but rather as a way to reward your loyal followers. If you are posting regular honest reviews, you will gain followers in a natural way soon enough.

Having said all that, if the author does not follow your review policy or submits a book without prior permission, feel free to delete the email without any regret. Book Bloggers and authors have a mutually dependent relationship, and it is important for both parties to maintain a certain respect for each other. Remember that it takes months, if not years, to write a book but it only days to read it.

Author Byline: Sabine A. Reed is the author of fantasy e-novella The Black Orb. She has her own Writing and Publishing Blog where she gives tips to new writers. You can find her on twitter as SabineAReed also.

12 thoughts on “Guest Post: What do Authors want from Book Bloggers?”

  1. This is a very useful post. Hmmmm… I do not provide a contact form, I simply ask the author to leave a message on my latest post with their email in the form of xyz at the rate of abc dot com to avoid spammers. A contact form is a good idea.
    However, I am very clear about the kind of books I enjoy reading and only accept books falling in that category.
    I began to review books that I liked, then I began to include books that I won in giveaways like GoodReads and have only lately thrown my blog open to authors, especially authors coming out with their very first book.
    Thanks for an interesting post.

  2. Wow! Great post! Now…how to get word out that I WANT to review books?!? Definitely going to update my site for the New Year about reviews and Interviews!
    Cheers and Happy Holidays!

  3. Re: 2 – Both Firefox and Chrome browsers will allow you to right click on the link or picture the email address is embedded into and copy email address. From there, you can paste the email address into whatever you use. You never have to deal with Outlook.

  4. Great post!! i think the most difficult part is the review policy. At August i had updated my review policy that i do not accept review copies for the next months until farther notice. Needless to say, that i had emails for reviews normally and that’s when i noticed that many authors don’t really read our policies which made me really mad.

    Anyway, i think the most important thing is to learn how to say “no”. Due to excitement you say yes, and then you have a pile of books and you don’t like even half of them.

    1. Definitely. I’ve put up my message on the review policy page, in the sidebar and on my contact page (if I forgot, I definitely intended to). But I have got pretty good at knowing when to say no. Sometimes!

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