When I embarked on this journey as a self-published author, I discovered that I was going to need book reviews if I wanted to succeed. I also discovered that other people also need book reviews for their books to succeed. So I thought I would be nice and offer to read books for fellow authors, free of charge.
I put this offer up on the Indie Reviewers website, and boy, was I amazed! I was not, in any way, prepared for the volume of book review requests that would come pouring into my inbox. Now, sadly, I have more requests than I have time for. My current reading list, at the rate I’m going, could take me well into 2013. For this reason, I’ve had to make a public statement that I’m not currently accepting books for review (more on that later).
Keep in mind, I am fairly new to this book review thing, but I have learned a few things along the way…especially a few things you don’t want to do if you ever want this person you’re contacting to ever read and favorably review one of your books at any point in the future.
I’ll admit it. My name is a little strange. It looks like Michael, but it’s not. And, even if it was (there have been a few female Michaels—Michael Learned comes to mind), my name and my picture are both on my “About Me” page. It shouldn’t be that difficult to figure out that I am NOT a “Mr.” It shouldn’t be, but apparently it is…
2) Say, “I know you don’t normally review erotica, sci fi, ______ (fill in the blank), but I thought you might make an exception for my XYZ Novel That Is So Much Better Than Anything Else You’ve Ever Read.”
Okay, so this person has obviously taken the time to read the information I posted on the now defunct Book Reviews page. Gotta give them credit for that. But if I say that I don’t review a certain type of book, don’t send me a request for a review of that type of book. Please. Don’t waste my time or yours. If I’m telling you up front that I don’t really care for a certain type of story, that’s for your protection. I don’t want to automatically set you up for a negative and/or lackluster review when your book, quite possibly, could deserve a glowing tribute.
Plus, a statement like the one above just smacks of arrogance, and arrogance ALWAYS rubs me the wrong way. ALWAYS!
3) Leave a comment on my blog saying, “I was getting really excited about sending my earth shattering, groundbreaking novel for you to review, but then I read that you’re not accepting books for review anymore. I’m really disappointed.”
Again, a comment like that just sounds so self-centered and arrogant it grates on my nerves like a set of fingernails that’s permanently attached to a chalkboard, relentlessly scratching against it for all eternity.
Of course you’re disappointed. I understand that. But please try to understand that, when I review a book, I don’t get paid for it. This is all on a volunteer basis. And I have a family and paying work to try to juggle at the same time I’m reading your books for free. Sometimes, something’s gotta give in this equation, and it’s not going to be the stuff that earns me money or the people who are depending on me for life care.
Still, I don’t like the idea of disappointing anyone. My main goal with this site, after all, is to help other authors. That’s why I’ve extended the Book Promotions invitation to everyone, regardless of genre, English language proficiency, etc. I do, however, reserve the right to edit anything that comes through this page. This is my site, and I want to keep it looking as good as it possibly can.
I truly don’t mean to be offensive with this list. I just wanted to point out things that people have written to me that have really damaged their chances of getting me interested in reviewing for them. My goal is not to harm you. My goal is to help you. Please remember that.
But I’ve had to make an executive decision resulting from a recent problem I had with someone who asked for a review and then was not happy with the one I posted. You can read a bit more about that here. It’s not a decision I’m thrilled about, but I feel like I have to do it to protect myself from further manipulation and abuse. I strive to be honest. Always. That’s not going to always turn out most favorably for the author and/or publisher, but that really shouldn’t be my problem (or ANY book reviewer’s problem, for that matter). But those who would put the blame on the reviewer ruin the chance of anyone being able to give/receive an honest book review…thus sadly affecting the quality of the reader’s book review experience…and that’s definitely not fair for potential readers.
Still, by all means, send me guest posts with links to your book and/or the answers to the interview questions I’ve posted on my Book Promotion page, and I’ll do my best to promote you (even though, due to the volume of requests I receive, I may not be able to respond to you right away)!