Bookish Chat : Handling Book Review Requests

November 16, 2013 Bookish chat 52

I am one of those bloggers who is very open about the fact that part of the reason I love blogging is due to all the review books that I get to read for free.  I mean BOOKS for FREE!  Who knew!  That isn’t the only reason I blog but it’s certainly part of it.  I know not everyone is the same and I totally respect that, we are all different and there is a place for us all.

But for me personally, whenever I get a notification from an author wondering if I would read their book, I still get all the good feels.  However, I’m now more choosy about what books I will read and I don’t say yes to them all.  I pick what books I think I’ll like and take a chance on those.  If I don’t like the blurb or nothing shouts ‘read me’, I’ll pass.  Which brings me to my question….do you reply to all authors who contact you?

Initially I did.  Mostly to say yes as I was shocked that they contacted me at all.  Overtime though, I was getting too many requests and so started filtering.  And initially I was still replying to the other authors explaining that I didn’t think their book would be my cup of tea but still wishing them all the best with it.  And then I started having problems:

– One author said it was similar to x book that I had enjoyed on Goodreads and would I reconsider.  Ummnh, no!  If it’s similar, what is the appeal in that!

– Another author told me they though I would like it as I like mystery books but said ‘you know what you like, I suppose’.  Yes!  No, I suppose, I do know what I like.

– Another author said as you don’t want to review such a book, will you try this other one that I wrote.  Le sigh!

And so on, till I decided; No more replies unless I want to review your book.  I know that is probably a bit harsh on authors who are sending their babies out in to the bad world and are probably anxiously waiting for a reply.  It feels like bad manners but I don’t have time for hassle.  I feel bad bringing this policy in due to behaviour from a few authors but I had got to the stage where I was sending a ‘no thanks’ reply and waiting for the lashback.  I can’t even imagine how these authors would have taken a negative review but thankfully didn’t have to worry about that.

Bookish Chat : My question to you is how do you handle this issue.  Do you reply to all requests?

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52 Responses to “Bookish Chat : Handling Book Review Requests”

  1. Angie

    I never answer authors. I tried to post a Review Policy on my blog hoping that would sway them from sending me any. Since I do have this posted I don’t really feel bad for not answering. I just have too many books I want to read then to add more to that pile. Another place I have problems with self promotion is in one of the goodreads groups I moderate. Oh man.. it is straight SPAM. I set up a specific folder for goodreads author books because I couldn’t get rid of them.
    Angie recently posted…Goodreads and it’s book clubs

    • trish

      I find a lot of authors find me from GoodReads so I can only imagine how much worse your inbox clutter is. It is annoying that only some authors even take the time to read your review policy, especially in your case when you don’t even take them on!

    • trish

      I only decided during the week that this is my policy so I have still to update my review policy page. Good point though, if that is clear then I feel better. If they choose not to read that page, that is their problem!

  2. Cayce

    “BOOKS for FREE! Who knew!” YES, I was the same when I started blogging too. Netgalley looked like a paradise for a book lover (it still does) Although I was always super picky (I think it’s one of my inborn traits) so I never requested much books or accepted many review requests, and I mostly just windowshop on Netgalley/Edelweiss.
    And no, I only reply when I accept the request.
    Cayce recently posted…[Rant or Rave] Spoil me ROTTEN!

    • trish

      LOL, I doubt we are alone in that reaction. I often go to NG and EW for a look too just to see what’s coming up. Nowadays I only click if it sounds like a book I would buy in a bookshop.

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    Of course we all love free books- it feeds our addition. I laughed about the replies authors gave in response to No, thank you. I have been there done that. My review policy clearly states no reply unless I am interested. I get upwards of twenty requests a day and I am sad to say this but if they haven’t provided the info I request I don’t even read them. It sounds harsh but my time is already limited. I am picky as well, and accept books that scream read me as well. Great post.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…If You Were Mine by Bella Andre

    • trish

      Thanks Kim, I can’t believe I never thought about just doing this before. I’m going to update my review policy page first chance I get. Like you, I just don’t have time. 20 a day, eeekkkk! However I also don’t want to stop accepting requests as I have gotten some great reads from authors so I think this approach will work better for me.

  4. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    So glad you brought this up, Trish, because it’s something that’s been on my mind lately, too. My process has basically been exactly like yours. At first I responded to them all, and accepted them. Then I got overwhelmed and only accepted them if I *really* found them interesting, but still took the time to reply to each quest.

    Now? I just don’t. I’ve gotten so busy lately — and the requests are coming in so much more frequently now — that I basically dismiss them immediately if they don’t follow the guidelines in my Review Policy. (I seriously got a request and all it said was “Hello! My name is [redacted] and I’m a professional writer. I looked through your site and found it very attractive and informative. I’d like to write a guest post for you. Do you accept them? If so, please, let me know.” Ummmm no.)

    But yeah. I feel you. I just can’t respond to them all, especially if they can’t take the time to follow my review policy or introduce themselves or SPELL MY NAME CORRECTLY. Sigh!
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Exploring the Multiverse with Angsty Teen Protagonists

    • trish

      I know, those copy and paste emails are the worst ones of all. But on the other hand, I’ve had ones that mentioned my cat and a few other snippets from my ‘about me’ page and even though I put the info out there, I still felt really uncomfortable with all that referenced back in the email. There is a happy middle ground!
      I think if they don’t follow your review policy, that is a good place to start filtering them out. And now that I’ve realised so many other bloggers don’t reply either, I’m happy to just update my policy to state that will be the case, unless I’m interested in the book.

  5. Alise

    I’m in the same boat as well. Although not many of those occurances have happened to me except the “Another author said as you don’t want to review such a book, will you try this other one that I wrote” it does get frustrating when it is obvious the author copy and pastes a review request to 1000’s of different bloggers, obviously not reading anything about YOUR own blog. Great post!
    Alise recently posted…ARC Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

    • trish

      That is very true about the copy and paste emails, I really think an author should at least show they have read your review policy. Or use your name or something, just personalise it a little.

  6. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I love the free books too! Of course too many free books and you start drowning, lol. I use to answer every single one, but then i started getting responses like yours or even worse people would send me an email directly from my site which clearly states “I am not currently accepting review requests.”
    Now I only reply to those that are directed from another site other than my blog, those I want to review, or those who will repeatedly send me emails until I do respond.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Saturday Issue Review: Bandette Vol. 1 Presto! by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover

    • trish

      That is very frustrating that authors just ignore the fact that you are not currently taking on new review books. Why would they waste both your time and theirs, makes no sense to me!

  7. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    Ha! you’re not alone – I LOVE getting free books. It’s one of the best parts of blogging! But I also get too many requests and started not responding when I wasn’t interested. I feel bad, because I can only imagine how that might feel to send your book out there and get nothing back, checking your email daily for a response. But no response doesn’t leave me open to the kind of responses you’ve gotten. Plus, I’ll admit it: I hate saying no. I suck at it, so I don’t make myself do it. Right now I’m super frustrated because I have on my review request policy and about me pages that I am not taking requests right now and still I get a few a day! Seriously?
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…November Novella Knockout Mini Challenge

    • trish

      That is a good point, I hate saying no too. It makes me feel mean! From the responses I’ve gotten here it looks like lots of authors take no notice of review policies which is a bit frustrating. Ignoring the requests when you’ve made it clear you’re not currently accepting them seems fine to me!

  8. Dee @ Dee's Reads

    Ugh how annoying! Initially I started replying to all of them too…and saying yes or no, not my cup of tea. But I agree, there is a backlash and for me at least, I just stopped having time to do all that.

    I’m a lot stricter with who I accept on goodreads too because I found a lot of authors would add me just to convince me to review their books and spam my inbox with event requests.

    Your policy of only replying if you intend to review their book is more than fair. I follow that policy too, it’s necessary and I think a refusal email actually encourages them to like fight for their book. That’s why I have such a detailed review submission page haha! So I can tell if they followed the directions means they read it, and if not I know they’re spamming me or copy pasting their requests to tons of bloggers. I also list all the genres I do review, and if it’s from one I don’t review I auto delete 🙂

    Great discussion Trish!
    Dee @ Dee’s Reads recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #24

    • trish

      I must check out your review policy next time I visit, it’s a good way of filtering them down! And I hear you on the Goodreads spamming, I have learnt my lesson there too.

  9. Bea @Bea's Book Nook

    Yep, the free books are undeniably attractive. 🙂 But they do pile up and then I get behind. 🙁

    Like you and many others here, I used to reply to all requests but changed to only answering if myself or one of my associates was interested. It gets overwhelming. I automatically delete any that don’t follow my review procedure. I do feel bad not replying and if it’s an author or publicist that I’ve worked with before, I will reply.
    Bea @Bea’s Book Nook recently posted…Sunday Book Share #63

    • trish

      I think filtering the requests by who is following your procedure is a good way to go. Like you, if I’ve dealt with an author before, I’ll always reply to them. In that case if I didn’t, I really would feel that was rude.

    • trish

      The standard mails are so discouraging, especially if they send you a request for a book in a genre you have no interest in. It makes it clear, they didn’t bother to look at your blog at all.

  10. blodeuedd

    Saw this over at Kimba’s blog.

    I used to answer all but if I did that I would spend all my time writing emails and saying no. No answer from me means no. Sure some request are really good written but most are so this is my book (no blurb), you can get it here (link) and review it..eh no thanks
    blodeuedd recently posted…Mishel Reviews: Blood, she read – Sara Hubbard

    • trish

      I am the same, initially I didn’t get that many requests but over time they exploded. And I don’t really have time to answer all individually especially when it’s easy to spot that they are just copy and paste jobs to masses of bloggers.

  11. Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA

    I’ve only had a few authors contact me so far but I’ve always replied, even to the no ones. Bad responses to that no would probably make me change my mind on that. So far I’ve only had the polite “thank you for considering it” type of replies when I said no.

    I check the author and their books out on Goodreads and their website before I say yes. I always feel bad saying no, but I don’t want to force myself to read a genre I know I don’t like. Right now I have a little too much on my plate to accept any more requests even if they were flowing in.
    Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA recently posted…Cover Refresh: Waiting on the Sidelines

    • trish

      I am the same, I check them on Goodreads too. Part of my review policy is a link to GR so if they don’t bother to do that then I rarely read any further.
      And yes, so little time to read all we want to read! I have gotten some great books via authors though so I keep it open and just filter to the ones I want 🙂

  12. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I used to respond to them all, too, with a nice “I’m sorry,” but after a couple of them “twisted my arm” and I agreed, I was so very sorry…for real. Those who did that had sent me a book I simply could not wade through. Very sorry! And the review I had to write….not a good one.

    One was even a DNF….so now I don’t reply unless I’m going to accept…unless, of course, I know the author and I’m just not accepting it because I’m overwhelmed with review requests.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this delicate issue!
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGE

    • trish

      You are right Laurel, it is a delicate issue! I think if an author attempts to change your mind, then that is a bad sign and a good place to just cut them off. I know I have felt pressured as well but having heard your stories, I’m glad I dug my heels in and just didn’t reply to those ones.

  13. A Voracious Reader

    I’ve had a pretty good experience so far with requests. I state on my policy that my queue is long. I mean, seriously long. If they don’t mind a long wait then I’d be happy to see if the book is one that grabs my attention. I do respond to all requests still, but I don’t get a lot anymore. It may be they have read my policy and don’t want to wait. I’m fine with how I do it now. Until it changes. lol
    A Voracious Reader recently posted…The Sunday Post ~ 17th Edition

    • trish

      LOL, my wait is crazy long too. I probably should state that in my policy! For books I do accept, I always let the author know and give them a chance to pull out before they send the book if that doesn’t work for them. No one ever has so far which is good as by that stage I’m looking forward to the book! It seems a good way of filtering requests down though by what you say 🙂

  14. Charleen

    I’ve never corresponded with an author, but I say right on my review policy page that I don’t accept review requests, so if an author ever did contact for me for a review, I’d probably just ignore it. (If it sounded like something I really wanted to read, I might consider it… but I might also just add it to my TBR and get to it in my own time… don’t want to reward someone for not respecting my decision.)

    But, one time I contacted a publisher to verify a quote from an ARC was in the final copy, and the person who responded asked if I would be a part of a blog tour for the book. And I kind of freaked. Because I knew when I started blogging that I didn’t want to do tours. I might make an exception if it was a book I thought was great, but this one definitely didn’t fall in that category. But I was so nervous about how to professionally decline I considered accepting just because it would be less awkward. It’s only one post, after all, no big deal, right?

    So glad I mustered the courage to decline. (And it was fine, of course. I don’t know what I thought was going to happen… but still, nerve-wracking, as my first real contact with the other side of the book business.)
    Charleen recently posted…Review: White Fire

    • trish

      That’s funny! I understand your reservations about blog tours though as they do add pressure and ditto with author requests. I recently had to contact a tour host for a book I really didn’t like and say I couldn’t review it during the tour as I couldn’t be positive about it. Thankfully, it was no problem at all but it did make me feel anxious.
      Have to admit, I love contact with publishers, it makes me feel like I’m getting a little taste of an industry that I love.

  15. Rinn

    Oh gosh, I am the exact same. I was so happy to get requests when I first started out, then I realised just how much stuff I was promising to read and review – and now I get more requests than ever, DESPITE my policy saying I’m only open to major publishers (which basically means Netgalley…). I always have to reply saying I just don’t have time, and then some reply saying they can wait a few months, or check back in a few months – but that makes me feel pressured. One author was really pushy AND they were offering up a kids book, which I don’t review, so I just had to come out and say it really wasn’t my kind of book – and I never heard back. Made me feel mean, but ah well.
    Rinn recently posted…Sci-Fi Month: Common Concepts in Science Fiction

    • trish

      I think sometimes you have to be mean to someone who is being too persistent. Or just cut them off and delete the emails. It is mean but honestly they should read your policy and then they will see you are not being rude. I don’t get why authors just don’t target blogs who review within their genre. That would work better for everyone.

  16. Megan @ The Book Babe's Reads

    I’ve just started deleting review requests that don’t interest me. I’ve even had to block certain email addresses from sending me emails, because one author would just not leave me alone! So I totally agree with your new policy – it’s just too much work to keep up with review requests, and I think it’s better if they just don’t get a response – I mean, maybe they won’t even remember that they sent you a review request then. I completely agree with your decision, girly! 🙂
    Megan @ The Book Babe’s Reads recently posted…Do Other Readers’ Opinions Influence Yours?

  17. Tonyalee @ lilybloombooks

    WOW. I didn’t know you have had such responses!

    Honestly, if someone didn’t get my name right or asked me to review a book that I specifically said I don’t review, I wouldn’t respond. If they can’t take the time to read my policy then….

    But to those that I have replied to have been pretty nice about it. Some are a little pushy at times but I just ignore them if they get that way. If it is something I am interested in but I am too overwhelmed, then I say that.

    But overall, I don’t reply to all. I usually handle them case by case but I understand your decision! Great post, hon!

    • trish

      I know I get some requests that are so well written and quirky that I will still reply to even if my answer is no. But in general from now on, it’s going to be a no reply unless I’m interested.
      And those copy and paste mass emails where it is so obvious that they didn’t read your review policy are just annoying. And getting your name wrong is just asking for you to hit the delete button!

  18. Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books

    Oh I definitely don’t respond to all the e-mails I get-That would be crazy hard!! Especially since some of the review requests I get are mass e-mails and I can totally tell that they haven’t read my review policy.
    But sometimes when I don’t accept review requests I reply and give them an option of doing an interview/guest post/giveaway because I’d like to help them out in anyway I can.
    And you are right although I don’t blog for the free books itself I do find that’s it a perk(albeit a perk that comes with responsibility!).
    Thanks for your honesty, Trish! 🙂
    Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books recently posted…ARC Review: Crash into You – Katie McGarry

    • trish

      Now that I’m getting more requests, the volume is a problem too but I could sort that with a standard no thanks email that I copy and paste. However I’m just not willing to give anyone a chance to try to wear me down anymore.
      That’s interesting re the guestpost/interview Nuz. I don’t do a lot of those as I would just rather focus on books I’ve read but it’s a good way to give an author a spotlight if something about their email appealed to you.

  19. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads

    I don’t really accept review requests anymore. I do occasionally get the emails from publishers of the books coming out that there are review copies for. If I feel I can handle them, I will request a few, but technically that’s me requesting. As for authors requesting, if it’s not something I’m interested in, I just ignore it. Why? Because of the horror stories I’ve heard of authors being extremely pushy to try to get you to review their book. If you say no, they shouldn’t email you back and be pushy about it, but some do. So I just don’t say anything.

    Now, nobody reads the review policy on my old blog, or even the front page before asking apparently because despite shutting that blog down months ago, I still get review requests for myself and my co bloggers.. It’s slightly irritating to know they don’t check it.
    Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads recently posted…Reading With Kailyn: Little Golden Books

    • trish

      It is so rude not to read your review policy, especially from a blog that is no longer active and not accepting requests. Talk about wasting everyone’s time!
      I totally agree, if you say no, they shouldn’t email back but unfortunately a few do. Just a few but enough for it to be a problem. So no more replies from me unless I’m interested.

  20. Danielle

    I rarely respond anymore unless it’s to say yes. I did and had it in my review policy that I would answer no matter what within two weeks and I forgot about one and the author tweeted my review policy which I’m assuming was a rude ass way to call me out on something that was genuinely overlooked so after that I said screw it!
    Danielle recently posted…Review: Once Upon a Road Trip by Angela N. Blount

    • trish

      That is so mean! My thought on those type of authors is you had a lucky escape as God knows how they would react to a negative review.

  21. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    Most of the requests I get come from my Amazon profile. And the vast majority are blasts to dozens of potential reviewers (not even the courtesy of a BCC), they don’t know my name, they ignore my genre, and they ignore the fact that I’m not taking self-pub requests. If they can’t bother to take 30 seconds to read my profile, I don’t bother replying.

    I would remove my e-mail from Amazon to eliminate these requests, but I also get requests to review things like electronics, and I DO like those requests. 🙂
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…Reading Peer Pressure and Thoughts on Allegiant

    • trish

      I have never had a review request from Amazon so that’s interesting. Buy yay, requests to review electronics, that’s very cool! No wonder you don’t want to remove your email address, afterall it’s easy to just delete what doesn’t interest you. I really think it’s only polite to check a bloggers review policy if you are an author and to those who don’t respect that, well then they have to be prepared for the consequences.

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