Laura Howard: Requesting Book Reviews with The Bookish Babe


Requesting Book Reviews with The Bookish Babe

This is a topic that I've been thinking about for a long, long time. In the past few years, book blogging has become an art form. I love reading reviews of new releases and posts about old favorites.

I believe a lot of authors overlook the importance of the book blogging community, whether from ignorance of negligence, I don't really know.

With the fairly recent explosion of digital publishing, book bloggers are even more important than ever. I hope Andrea's post will teach new authors and remind the ones who've been at it for a while, the ins and outs of having your book reviewed.

First off, thanks to Laura for having me. The idea that someone actually wants to hear what I think makes me giggle.

I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic of Indie/Self-Pubbed authors, bloggers, and reviews.  There’s a lot that’s been said about the topics. I’m not sure I add anything new or worthwhile to the discussion.  But I’ll try.
Laura asked me to give a few tips about what to do and avoid when approaching bloggers for a review.  Let’s start with what NOT to do:

Please don’t ask for a review via GoodReads, Twitter, or FB

I go on GoodReads strictly as a reader. I don’t hang out there a lot. I check out reviews of books I’m interested in,  update my book status, and add new books to my to-read list. That’s it.
If you ask for a review on Twitter, that just seems lazy. And awkward. What if I don’t want to read your book? Do you really want me to put that out in the twitterverse? I’m usually a really nice person on twitter, and wouldn’t actually do that. But I have seen authors get blasted for requesting via Twitter and it makes me cringe. The exception to that rule?  My good friends.  The people I talk to almost daily. They can hit me up anytime. Usually it’s just to let me know an email about their book is headed my way.
If you ask me for a review on my blog’s Facebook page, there is a 99.9345% chance that I will not see it. I am tragically in denial over the new Facebook. And though I’m trying to do better about posting there, still NO.

Crappy, Lazy Review Requests

If you’re going to request a review, take the time, do a little background work. I know, authors are busy. Guess, what? So are reviewers. It takes a lot of my time to read your book, write a (hopefully) meaningful, unique, helpful review. Then, I have to cross-post to all the sites, tweet links and post it to FB.  That takes a lot of my time. So, if I have to hit a bunch of links to find your cover and synopsis, then chances are I’ll just hit delete. Also, make sure that I read the genre your submitting.

Don’t be weird

This sounds funny, I know.  I am completely serious. I have gotten some strange requests in the time I’ve been blogging.  So have my friends. I have two favorites. In one, the author seemed to really think he was a vampire.  He talked about how he became a vampire, and his lonely existence. I mean, I think I know what he was going for, but dude, it was strange. The other request still baffles me. I’m not sure that I wasn’t being Punk’d. In that one, the author requested a review for a book that he and his Momma wrote about their dead cat, and about said cat’s life (?) in heaven.  Oh, and he included a YouTube video with a song they wrote. I really wish I hadn't deleted that request. I would love to watch it again.

Okay, the part I like: What TO do when requesting.

Let me know in some way that you’ve read my review policy

Doing that lets me know that you respect my blog and my time enough to do your homework.

Be clever

That’s a tall order, I know. And it’s not a requirement. I won’t delete a request if you don’t make me laugh. But I will take a closer look if you do. I’ve taken several books for review that I would have skipped without the clever request.

Most importantly,

Have all your ducks in a row

This one makes me happy.  Include a short introduction that lets me know who you are. Let me know you’ve read my review policy. You have a synopsis, a cover, and links to your GoodReads or Amazon page so I can look at reviews.  Out of all the requests I’ve received, two authors stand out: Liz Long, author of Gifted, and Nikki Jefford, author of Entangle and Duplicity. Liz was clever, unique and included all the info pertaining to her book. Nikki had all of her ducks in a row. She had all the relevant information about her book, and she had everything lined up and ready to go for a blog tour. I couldn’t say no to either of these ladies, not that I wanted to.

I hope these tips help authors out there. I know I feel better getting it off my chest.

Laura also asked me to talk about why bloggers are important to authors, particularly indies. I don’t know that I have personally impacted an indie author. I’d like to think I have. I do know that I love to see them succeed. I love to help spread the word about their books, to introduce them to a new reader. All I can do, basically, is be a supporter, a cheerleader.  And I am so happy to do that. Just this morning, I was looking at two indie books, What a Boy Needs by Nyrae Dawn and Inhale by Kendall Grey.  When I opened Inhale it was the first time I had opened the finished copy, and my words about that gorgeous story were on the first page! To know that what I had to say meant that much to the author blew me away. I teared up like a big sissy. Then, when I opened What a Boy Needs, the author had thanked me and a few friends for our encouragement. Again, tears. 

So, yeah, I guess I do know that I have some impact on indie authors. But to be honest, they’ve had just as much impact on me. Those words that they included in their books mean everything to me.


  1. Aw, yay! Thank you for including me in your list of good review requests-it was much more fun to write review requests to bloggers than writing query letters! :) I agree with everything you've said, both as a reader and a writer! Also, if you ever find that email of the YouTube dead cat song, please tweet me immediately ;)

    1. Yeah,we could have some fun with the dead cat people.. 0_o

  2. Andrea, I think this is a wonderful primer for authors who are about to enter the review requesting waters. I wish I'd had this info before I started requesting. I figured some things out along the way, but I'm sure I looked like a total doofus to some bloggers.

    Re: your comment about personally impacting an author - uh, DUH! Your positivity, generosity, and eagerness to help has been a ray of light on my self-publishing journey. If every blogger was like you, my life would be a breeze! You're at the top of my AWESOME people list. I *think* you already knew that, but I wanted to make sure. And to say it publicly because the world deserves to know how amazing you are. :-)

    Speaking of awesome...Laura - thank YOU for being an indie advocate and going out of your way to help authors like me out. The interview you did with me was great fun, and I'm flat-out humbled you chose me out of a sea of other (better) writers.

    Love to both of you chicklets!

    PS - I'm dead serious about the whale watch next month. I hope you are too. ;-)

    1. I'm all about whale watching! Do I have to get on a boat?? ;)

  3. Thanks for having me Liz. I love what you're doing for Indie authors.

    1. Okay. I goofed. I meant to say "Thank you, Laura"! I saw Liz's name above and had it on my mind. What can I say, it's Monday & my kids are driving me bananas.

      Thanks, Laura!

    2. Yeah, I have those days too. I'm lucky if I can remember my own name at times after having my fourth!! ;)

  4. Great post Andrea, thanks for sharing. and you've DEFINITELY impacted me. ;) You know I love you. You were there at the beginning and loved my stories before most people even knew they were out there. thanks for that. you are such an awesome cheerleader and support for indies. we appreciate you!

    1. I'm so glad you stopped by, heather- your books look AWESOME!!! and you have so many!!! Love the indie community...

  5. Wonderful post and I am so very thankful for YOU and other bloggers. No one would have known about my book without you!

    1. I found you on Allie B's blog, so glad too- I've heard lots of swooning over your hero!

  6. Great topic and post Laura and Andrea and thanks for the mention. ;)

    At the very least, an author should read a reviewers policy (I love that they exist, some sites don't post them). I like to take it one step further and read a few past posts to get a feel for the reviewers interests.

    And I'll join you in the sissy club, Andrea. I get misty eyed by the great kindness, enthusiasm, and support I've received for my Spellbound series by book bloggers.

    It's a very scary thing to release a debut work so near and dear to your heart having no idea how it will be received. That people take the time to read and write these awesome reviews just blows me away.

  7. How go you find reviewers in your genre?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. The list is long and complicated when it comes to learning about agents, editors, publicists, and bloggers. Authors are going to make mistakes. But great posts like this one help us learn quickly! Thanks, Laura!

  10. Great comments!
    Norm, Publisher & Editor

  11. Lovely interview! ;o)

    I too hate it when I get tweeted with messages that are so desperate sounding. Or, when people tweet, FB or blog about how cruel the world is because no one is buying their book. I actually saw a FB post not long ago where the author said, "FINE! If no one wants to buy my book then I'm pulling it! Its no longer for sale." Really? Could there be a good reason why its not selling? Ugh.

    Keep up the great work! Love you Laura!!!! ;o)

    Suzan T.

  12. Very informative and helpful to writers. I tend to be one that does her research and it astounds me that people would tweet or ask on Facebook let alone not find out what a Book blogger wants and needs to review their book. I will be passing this on to all my writer friends. :)


  13. Very helpful advice. Although I do very few book reviews, I'd still like to send the requestee some guidelines, like you mentioned. When I've mentioned that the book review is an honest opinion, highlighting the positive and not so (if warranted), I don't hear back from the author.
    I wish we had more 'honest' reviewers of self pub's. It'd really help the readers.

  14. I'm not surprised that you've garnered dedications, the entire indie community owes an enormous amount of thanks and respect to independent reviewers and book bloggers; I'm another who's very grateful for each and every review.

    As an aside, I review occasionally, and once received a tweet that read 'You do reviews - I've written a book - how about it?'

    Julia Hughes

  15. Great post! These are really helpful tips for those of us navigating the massive book blogging territory out there. Thanks! : )


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