Goodreads lists over 1400 YA novels published for the first time in 2013. In order to cover them all, I’d have to review nearly four novels each day. While some of those novels aren’t a good fit for this blog and some of those authors probably aren’t interested in having reviews posted here, I still receive more requests each month than I can commit to review.
What makes requests memorable? What can authors do to stand out as savvy and professional? As a review blogger, here are my thoughts on what makes for a fabulous working relationship between author and blogger:
Reads My Blog
When I get a request email that specifically comments on a post I’ve written or mentions an aspect of the blog the author finds useful or appealing, I’m more inclined to pay attention. Why? Because this tells me that I’m not just getting a form email sent out to a hundred bloggers, and that the author has considered whether my blog is a good fit for the novel he or she is hoping to have reviewed.
A form email from a publicist or publishing house isn’t a terrible thing, however. Professionalism and seriousness on the part of the author definitely grabs my attention.
Gives Me Great Links
It’s a great idea to include your author web site, any site with an excerpt and even a link to your book on amazon, if it’s posted there and has any reviews. Before I accept a review, I like to check those two places to find out more about an author. If an author provides those links in the email, I’m more likely to click them when I first read the email than to check it later when I have more time.
On the author site, I’m trying to get a feel for what kind of person the author is. Is the site really classy? Does it look like the author invested time in site development and management?
At Amazon or another site which allows me to read an excerpt, I do exactly that. If I read the first five pages of the novel and find myself cringing at spelling and grammar errors or simply not connecting with the characters or story, I’m likely to pass on the review request.
Is Interested In Other Posts
I enjoy conducting author interviews and hosting cover reveals and other events like that. When an author asks about those or offers to participate in an interview, I’m inclined to feel like that author is working hard to be accessible, and I can’t help but respect that.
Follows Up During the Month of Scheduled Review
Sometimes an author (or publicist) drops me a quick line to make sure I’ve got everything I need and we’re still on track for a review posting soon. I’m always impressed to get these emails. I think it shows a lot of organization and professionalism.
Tweets About the Review
Getting my blog site out there helps me gather more readers, so I really appreciate the authors who take the time to mention the review on Twitter or other social media sites.
Contacts Me Post-Review
A word of thanks is always appreciated, whether it’s in a blog comment, Facebook post or twitter mention. I’ve had authors email me and critique my reviews before, and as long as they’re polite and constructive, I don’t mind that so much. I’m happy to correct any errors in the post.
Once or twice an author has responded to the review in order to clarify a question I had about the story. One time I’d been confused by the title choice. Another time the resolution of the story didn’t make sense to me. The author wrote to explain what motivated her to write the novel, so I was able to add that to my review as an explanation. I love that stuff.
I also respect an author’s decision not to read reviews. I usually try to email an author with thanks and a direct link to the review a few days before the it’s posted, but I will not include the link if I know an author doesn’t want to read reviews about his or her work.
Emails Me About the Next Book
Nothing is better than finding out an author I loved has written another book and emailed me to ask for a review! Sometimes I catch news about new releases on Facebook, and I can chase an author down to ask if I can review the book, but sometimes I miss those announcements. Having those requests in my inbox makes sure I hear about the book and can respond in time to schedule a review.
As an author or reviewer, what experiences have helped make this process smoother for you? What tips would you offer other reviewers and authors seeking reviews?
Kasey, I appreciate your site so much! Not only the fact that you review from a Christian worldview, but that you yourself are so thorough, tactful and sweet! I trust your reviews – not something I could say about many other sites I visit! Ditto to Colleen: Keep up the awesome work! 🙂
Thanks, Ashlee! That means so much. I enjoy your blog, too. 🙂
I don´t think I could make a savvy comment on this post that would add anything to what you said. In my book, you’re the sensei of YA book reviewers from a Christian worldview, not to mention a favorite person. Keep at it!!
Thanks, Colleen! Your encouragement means SO much. 🙂