Let’s face it. Book buyers pay attention to reviews. The more reviews you have, the more books you’ll sell. But getting your typical everyday hobby reader to write up a review is like convincing the folks here at Knockin’ Books to go camping: it just ain’t happening. That’s where book bloggers come in. They’re basically professional readers. Bloggers take their jobs very seriously, and they have impressive followings to show for their efforts.
But like little deer in the forest, bloggers scare easily, and some authors find it difficult to convince these elusive folks to read and review their work. Why is that? Are bloggers just grumpy bastards who like squashing the hopes and dreams of eager creative types? Maybe. Or...is it possible that you’ve unwittingly done something to piss them off? Never let it be said that we’re not givers, folks, because here are the top 7 things you might be doing as an author that are guaranteed to piss off book bloggers:
Ignoring the review policy
A blogger’s review policy is their Bible. It tells you what the reviewer likes and doesn’t like, and what they’ll need in order to agree to reviewing your work. Most bloggers put a great deal of time into writing their review policies. I know we did.
And even after all the time and energy we put into creating our review policy, we still get review requests that lead us to believe the requestor didn’t bother to even to read through our wish list. What makes us think that? Well, when we get a request for review of a book of poetry with no attached mobi file, it proves that not only was the review policy ignored, but that they probably didn’t look through our site too much before firing off their request, either. Anyone who did would know that we are IN NO WAY mature enough to read and appreciate poetry. You need grown-ups for that kind of stuff. Adults who are way better at adulting than we are.
Long-story-short: ignoring a book blogger’s review policy is probably the quickest way you can piss them off.
Here at Knockin’ Books, we get lots of review requests, and we reply to each and every one of them. Sometimes it takes us a week or so, but everyone who requests a review from us gets an answer. We also consider each request carefully. We read the query letter and the blurb. We check out the cover. (Because no matter what you’ve been told, people DO judge books by their covers) Often, we go as far as checking Amazon and Goodreads to see what other reviewers thought of the book.
We do all of this to make reasonably sure that we’ll like the book before reading it. It doesn’t always work, but if we think—for whatever reason—that we aren’t the right reviewers, we reject the review request. Because of our careful consideration of each request, when we get a distinct sense of deja vu from a query letter, we’re quick to realize that we’ve received a duplicate request.
By requesting a review from someone who has already refused to read your work, you’ll only succeed in irritating the blogger, who now probably thinks you’re either too disorganized to keep track of who you’ve requested what from, or too dimwitted to understand that no means no. Either way, your chances of getting a review from someone who thinks you’re a mouth-breathing scatterbrain probably aren’t too high.
It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then, when we reject a review request, some clever author will fire back with a scathing, snotty reply. We usually just let the Get Off My Lawn Guy handle those, but not before it pisses us right the hell off. You can bet that we don’t forget the names of authors who mistreat us, and those folks are understandably blacklisted from our site and our services.
We know that authors marketing themselves are super busy. We also understand that it’s tempting to draft a form letter for your review requests in the interest of saving time. But here’s a little secret: book bloggers can smell a form letter a mile away. Seriously. Form letters stink on ice. Just like everyone else, bloggers want to feel special. They don’t want to feel like you’re blasting out review requests to anyone with their own domain. Taking the time to read through their blog and send out a personalized review request (maybe even with a specific comment about one of their blog posts) is more likely to win a blogger’s favor than any form letter ever could.
In summary: Obvious form letters = pissed off bloggers.
Failure to promote
If a book blogger takes the time to read and review your book and you fail to do them a solid in return (i.e.: promote their review on social media), you’ll be left with an irked reviewer who may not be willing to entertain any of your future review requests.
Here's another little secret specific to Twitter: when in doubt, it's always better to retweet a posting from a blogger than simply "Liking" it. The best part is that it doesn't take any extra effort on your part. It's a single click either way.
Lack of manners
When someone does you a favor, it’s customary to say thank you. My mom taught me this when I was three. It would seem, though, that some authors didn’t receive a similar lesson when they were children. An alarming number of authors don’t even offer a quick thanks when we let them know our review of their book—the review THEY REQUESTED—is live. But because I can’t go make them take a nap or put them in time out like my mom did to me when I was rude as a child, all I can do is be quietly pissed off at authors who lack even the most cursory manners.
When you request a review from a blogger, you’re not guaranteed a POSITIVE review. It’s a sad truth that you might send a blogger your book, then get eviscerated in print when their scathing review goes live. That’s the business. It’s brutal, but YOU ASKED FOR IT. Lashing out at the blogger is a monumentally bad idea that is guaranteed to earn you nothing, save a pissed off reviewer.
For more tips on how to win a book blogger’s heart, check out this Amazon-best-selling book, written by some of our favorite people. (OK, we wrote it. But it’s still useful. Pinky-swear.)
So, all you authors out there, what do you think? What have bloggers done to you that pisses YOU off? (Not us, of course. We're assuming it's other bloggers.) We’d love to hear about it!