One of the best ways to promote your book is to have people read and review it. There are a lot of book bloggers out there that you can send a review request to that will help promote your novel. Most bloggers have enough of a following that, with a review posted on their blog, you could get a few more “to-read”s on Goodreads and even some sales!
But the only way for this to happen is if you have a good pitch when you send a review request. I’m going to walk you through what the majority of bloggers that I know want out of a review request. I will also include a sample of a good email and a bad email when sending off your review request to a blogger.
Review Request Policies
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can do is actually read the blogger’s review request policy. My personal review policy states the genres of books I will and will not read. It is best to align your requests with bloggers who read the genre that you write. This will make it more likely that the blogger will not only enjoy your book but know what to look for when reading your book. If a blogger reads mainly contemporary novels and you write high fantasy, this would not be an ideal match. As they say, stick to what you know.
Review policies will also discuss where you should send requests, whether it be an email or in a form to submit to the blogger (more on how to do this below!). It is important that you follow these instructions as thoroughly as possible. The closer you follow the blogger’s instructions for request, the more likely they will be to reply — and accept — your review request.
Make sure you look for time constraints. Bloggers like to have their blogs scheduled far in advance and cannot always fulfill specific date requests if they are not received weeks in advance. If you want to have your book read and reviewed by a specific date, try to request that about 6-8 weeks in advance.
As well, don’t be afraid to send a follow up email. Bloggers get busy and, honestly, sometimes we forget about a post for a specific date. If you have a scheduled date for the post and the blogger hasn’t followed up with you a week in advance about said post, email them and gently remind them about it. Don’t be too pushy but sometimes a reminder is good just to be sure.
Make it more about you rather than them. Instead of being accusatory or blaming the other person, use “I” statements. “I hope you are enjoying the book” or “I am really looking forward to seeing what you think about my book” will go a lot further than “You said you would have it done by this day” or “You should have finished the book by now”.
If the blogger has a review request form submission on their blog (see Dani’s blog for an example), make sure you fill it out exhaustively. If they ask for something, INCLUDE IT. Don’t say “same as above” or “see previous answer”, type it in. It will make the blogger more likely to read through your request fully.
Any email you send about your book is extremely important. When it comes to review requests, you want to make sure that you get the important information about your book to the blogger, while creating a personal connection. After reading their review request policy and determining if they will consider your book, it is important to read some of their posts, especially their reviews, to determine if they would be a good fit for your book. Search their blog for your genre to see what other books they have reviewed; read through these and mention in the email what you liked that they focused on in this review.
After your introduction about who you are and what you do, tell them about your book. Include the summary, the genres that the book is categorized in, and the publication date, especially if you want the blogger to have the book read and reviewed on that date. You can add the link to Goodreads and Amazon, if applicable.
Do not make the blogger have to search for links; it is always better to include them and let the blogger determine whether or not they want to click them rather than have the blogger search for your book.
Some bloggers will state what format of books they accept. If possible, try to meet their request, but if they state they will only read physical copies of books and you only have ebooks, state this in your request. This may just be a guideline for some people, they may not have an ereader or they may have eye conditions that might make reading ebooks uncomfortable. It is always best to be upfront with the blogger in your request.
This is JUST a base. You should add a bit more to the beginning to make it more personal for both you and the blogger. The more personal you make it, the more likely the blogger is to accept. However, don’t include too much. The entire email shouldn’t be more than a few paragraphs and a maximum of 1000 words.
Try to be flexible to what the blogger can offer. If I cannot review a book, I typically offer the opportunity to have a spotlight post or a guest post on the release date. This would still be a good way to get your book out into the open on the blogger’s website while compromising.
Clogging Up The Email
You do not need to include your entire life story in the review request. Nor do you need to include other reviews of the novel. Linking the person to Goodreads/Amazon is enough for the blogger to see what other people have thought about the book. Keep your email simple and clean so that the blogger can get the necessary information without feeling as though they are overwhelmed.
Copy and Pasted Requests
The worst thing you can do is have the email be impersonal. If I as a blogger think you could send the request to any other blogger, I am already turned off from reading your book. We have all received a request that was addressed to someone else. We immediately deleted the emails.
I understand that you can send more emails if you copy and paste the requests, but if you spend time on personalizing a review request, the blogger will be more likely to respond.
I want to say that this example is an EXTREME, but I have received one pretty close to this. It’s very off-putting, and I tell my blogger friends to watch out for requests like these because they don’t seem genuine.
I hope this helps you in requesting reviews.
If you’d like to run a review request sample email by us, feel free to email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will read over these emails, and correct them once as we see fit, for the low fee of £2.50! Any subsequent changes will cost £0.75 per email exchange.
Please put in the subject line: REVIEW REQUEST EMAIL READ-THROUGH
Bloggers: Can you think of any other examples of bad etiquette in your time as a blogger? What about examples that made you happily jump to review the book?