I was on Twitter last week when this caught my eye: “Writer sends messages to strangers on FB asking for 5* reviews.”
Of course, I clicked on the link (how could I not? I had to know who this person was, going around the internets asking folk for 5* reviews and to see if this method was working so that I could maybe employ this strategy for myself )and discovered author Terry Tyler’s blog. Her post had me in stitches. Sidenote: I am having a lot of trouble spelling “stitches” this morning and my spell-check is going haywire. But I digress.
Anyhoo, in the post, Terry talks about the brilliance the nerve of this author trying to solicit reviews from people who may not have even read their novel. You can read the post in its entirety here, but here’s what had me in stitches:
I have a HUGE but important favor to ask PLEASE!!! If you haven’t already: Could you PLEASE do a 5 Star review of ***name of book**** and maybe corral a few others? During this year I’m going to seek an agent to help me land the elusive book deal. I’m really trying to bump up the current 4.6 Amazon stars to 4.8! Thus I’m shamelessly networking for 5* reviews with a minium of 20 words from you and anyone else who has an Amazon account.
Folks, I couldn’t believe what I was reading! I thought “Is this how the kids are doing it nowadays?” Forget forging meaningful relationships with other bloggers who might read your book and recommend it to their friends or worse (gasp!) querying bloggers based on the genres they like and politely requesting a book review. Is this what’s going on nowadays?
Of course, this got me thinking about plain ole etiquette. I was contacted recently by a stranger on Goodreads who asked me to send out a message recommending his/her book to all of my friends. And someone else recently sent me an unsolicited email (not a personalized email, mind you) with (I’m not making this up), an attachment full of promotional material for their book. The person thanked me in advance for helping to “make this upcoming release a success!” What I wanted to say: “Excuse me, honey, but the last time I checked my name was not Boo Boo the Fool.” What I actually said? Nothing. I deleted the message.
We are all pursuing the same dream. I want reviews and promo for my novel just as much as the next gal, but do you see me going around all willy-nilly, asking folk for 5* reviews, or for them to recommend my novel to their friends, or sending you, my dear blogger friends, unsolicited attachments with my author photo, book cover, and blurb with the expectation that you’ll promote the novel for me because you’re too afraid or nice to say no? No, ma’am! (But I can if you want me to…)
I think that if you’re going to query people for reviews you don’t necessarily have to grovel (unless it’s specified in the blogger’s review policy). All you have to do is be professional and courteous.
Here are a few simple guidelines:
1. Address the blogger by name. Dear “You” or “Hey there” just won’t cut it.
2. Know the genre(s) the blogger reviews! This takes some time and research but if someone specifically states “no horror” please don’t send it.
3. Be nice! Even if someone doesn’t review your book after one query doesn’t mean that they won’t review another book of yours down the line. And if you were a real a-hole to them during your correspondence, consider that a bridge burned.
Here’s a sample, no-frills book review query letter:
Dear (insert blogger’s name),
I recently found your blog on ___________________ and see that you are currently accepting book review requests. Would you be interested in reviewing my novel, _________________?
Here is the blurb (copy and paste blurb).
If interested, I’d be happy to send the novel as (insert format: mobi, epub, PDF, print copy, etc).
Thank you for your time,
Helpful tip: don’t attach anything to the email unless the reviewer specifically asks you to do so in their review policy.
Also: make sure you check if the reviewer is closed to book review requests. No sense wasting your time sending a letter if they aren’t actively seeking books to review. They normally state this in the review policy section of their blog. Another thing that might help: if the reviewer has a blog, check to see when their last post was. If they haven’t posted since 2012, there’s a good chance that they are no longer maintaining their blog.
Sound easy enough, right? What about others? Has anybody else gotten any crazy review or promo requests? How do you go about querying for 5* reviews, I mean um, book reviews?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
*There are MANY review groups on Goodreads where authors can post book review requests. Some are peer review groups and others have forums where you can post your request and people who are interested respond. Some of the groups are even genre specific. This is a great way to get reviews!*