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7.01.2010

Book Bloggin 101 - Review Requests


Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

Q. ohmygod! An author contacted me for a review! What now?


Exciting isn’t it. Someone actually found your blog, from like wherever, took the time to contact you and request a review. How cool is that? It really is a heady feeling for the first time, actually its exciting whenever it happens, first, second, hundredth. That is until you make your way to the authors web site and find out that the book is a memoir about former prostitutes who now sell used shoelaces and your book blog is about historical romances. This is a joke of course, but it really is true sometimes. My first review request was for an f/f erotica eBook. Never having even read erotica before, it stopped me in my tracks. It was like a battle of the guilt as my inner dialogue went to war, as depicted her my iconic representations of the voices in my head. There are actually a few more but these were the ones involved in that particular discussion:

Ohmygod! Your first review request! Accept. Accept. Accept. Who cares, it’s like a free book!


Um...Rach. Have you ever read about two women falling in love? Is that your cup of tea?



Who cares... we once saw that movie, remember the two chicks kissed right? What was it the one with the chick form Party of Five or whatever. And we weren’t like ‘Oh Gross’ you can handle it your not a phobe or anything right?! If you don’t accept it what is that saying about you?

 It doesn’t make you some uppity phobe if you turn it down, its not your taste. Erotica is like porn right? What would you rather watch Harry Potter or Porn?


Porn. Duh.



Yeah, that is why your personal DVD library is stuffed full of Jenna Jamison’s videos, right?! Hmmm...let’s start reading them off... Harry Potter, Dark Angel Season 1, Buffy the Vampire Season 2, Twilight, Debbie Does...WESLEY! {Brother}

*snicker*



That is not hers!




You are such a prude.


 You review young adult books.



You were also into the Anita Blake series. Speaking of porn! Oh and those faeries, do I have to mention those bad little faeries?



Respectfully decline. I don’t believe you’ll like it. And that my friend is the final say. No likie, no acceptie.


Prude.




In the end I didn’t accept the novel. I did read the synopsis. I did visit the authors web site. What made up my mind was it turned out to not even be a paranormal themed book. So I brushed the little angel and the little demon off my shoulder and made up my mind based on the facts. I still don’t know if I would have accepted it if one of them was a vamp. Probably. PJV Fact #89: I still have yet to read anything F/F or M/M. Just M/F/M ;) But based on my inbox that might change soon.

What is the basis of this long drawn out BS dialogue?

When you get that review request, go to the web site, go to the blog, read the synopsis. Maybe even read a review or two, if it is available. If your little inner voice says. “That sounds good.” Accept. If it says, “Yikes, I don’t know about that.” Don’t accept.  It might be your first one, it might be your 100th. In the end, if you don’t like the synopsis, you’re probably not going to like the book.

THE ACCEPTANCE:

Write a professional email response. Treat it as if you are responding to a company that is requesting an interview. (Even though I’ve been doing interviews lately and have come to realize that a lot of people don’t know how to do this).

Dear AUTHOR NAME: you know the whole, I am a professional and respectful being, that will handle your book with the utmost care.

I like to thank them for the opportunity. They took the time to search you out and are trusting you with their baby. You are not entitled to the book... it is a reward for the good work that you have put into your blog. Not an entitlement. Remember this and translate it into all of your author/reviewer interactions.

Tell them that you think their book would fit with your blog’s theme and that you would like a review copy. Include your address, or if it is a digital galley, just let them know which email to send it to.

Salutation and that is that. Short, professional and to the point.

THE DECLINE:

Dear AUTHOR NAME: professional and respectful goes both ways.

Once again I thank them for the opportunity...but, I will have to decline on the offer. Sometimes, well usually, I state a reason why and then close it quickly. Salutations and the whole nine.

This is an aside on the above. I actually, well usually, when I state a reason why I’m declining they come back with an argument on why my point is not valid. Case in point, my stated reasoning on a certain book was that is was the second in a series, and to give the book a proper review I felt I need to have read the first book. They came back stating the book could actually be a stand alone. So the little angel and demon reappeared. Stick by your guns or relent. Always a personal decision. I’ve decided it might not be a good idea to state your reasons why.

When a review request comes in, do you ignore some of them?

Yes. I’m not proud to say it, but sometimes I do. Professional goes both ways. And when I’m sometimes approached in a not so professional way I might just ignore the email. I’ve also had some misleading emails. An email from what looked like a small indie press, but on research it turned out to be a self-published author who had just used a local printer. The book didn’t even have an ISBN #.  These I’ll just ignore. Or send off quick responses to. Some I accidentally ignore. I don’t have time when the email comes in and I file them in my REVIEW REQUEST inbox and then time passes and I haven’t got back to them. I don’t do this intentionally, though. I like to get back to everyone, even if it is two weeks later.

Q. Ok, I accepted. Now the author/publicist came back and wants my site statistics? What?

The rep wants to know what kind of traffic you are generating. I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions. Now I have these on hand - quick draw like.  They want to know your follower count. Generally I respond with (these aren’t my actual numbers): Parajunkee.com generates a respectable amount of traffic, with a google follower count of 500, 100 email subscribers and a daily traffic rate of 100 unique visitors, totaling about 2500 unique visitors a month.

I get this information, from 1 my google friends connect count, then my feedburner account that manages my email subscriptions and I get the daily visit rate from google analytics and statcounter.com.  There are a lot of site visit monitors that are out there. I recommend analytics and statcounter.com - they are easy to use and install. Statcounter actually being easier than analytics but not as detailed.  If you are not using any of these I would recommend using them immediately.


This is really a brief touch on this, I will have a post soon on this. Probably on the design site.

Ok, my friends I think that about covers it.  Did I miss anything this week??? Please ask anything at all you want in the comments section, or if you want to keep anom... send me an email: parajunkee at gmail.com


17 comments:

PeaceLove&Pat said...

Great post Rach. I totally get what you mean. My blog is pretty eclectic but and I usually just accept books that are not on my preferred genre but sometimes I would do an exception if the blurb really impressed me.

Thanks for the analytics link I tried as different one and but it was complicated so i did not use it again.

chelleyreads said...

thanks for this rachel! i always feel bad about turning down review requests but i do sometimes (even when it fits my blog because i'm very busy with life and family).

LOL my first review request i turned down because i was scared of the FTC--this was about 3 or 4 months after i started blogging.

Blodeuedd said...

Lol, I love the angel devil talk ;)

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

great post and so true about turning books down if you don't think they fit with the blog.

cynthial11 said...

Thanks so much for the great advice! =)

Tanya said...

Another great post, Rachel! I love your good/bad voices! :P Thanks for also including something on the site stats. I will have to look into installing one.

vvb32 reads said...

i liked the angel-devil talk too. and they're cute to boot. good info here. thanks for sharing.

Patti said...

Thanks for sharing. The angel/devil are adorable!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

Great post girl! And you definitely have a point. When I first started out, right off the bat, I immediately accepted all kinds of books for review, and I ended up going through a phase where I read a whole bunch of books that I didn't care for because I'd gone free book crazy!

Kah Woei said...

Thank you for the advice. Will practice it, if I ever get the chance. :-)

StephTheBookworm said...

Awesome post!

Josette said...

This is an informative post, thanks for writing it! I'm not proud to admit that I did ignore some review requests but now I hope to at least write back a reply to say I'm not interested in reviewing the books now.

Ladybug said...

Great post :)

The last time I declined a book I also added a link to a page where the author could find other book reviewers that surly would be interested in the theme(that was a poetry book). I felt so bad about saying no but at the same time I don't read poetry so it would be wrong to accept the book.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Great post! We just recently had to turn something down but our site is pretty clear that we stick with fairly clean YA. So when we get a request for something racy, I doubt they've researched what we do.

Mariya said...

Thank you for this. I just recieved a request to review a book and I go to look at the site and I am like, ugh, I wanna turn it down, but I dont want to offend the author of anything that I don't want to read the book, but this post was very helpful.

Tristan Bruce said...

I'm Am eternally greatful that you have this blogging 101 on your page i just started my blog and when i saw this i said "YAY" guidance.....thanx so much you just made my life that much easier ;)

Marla said...

Thank you so much for this. I just received my second review request for a book which is not exactly within my guidelines and was panicking as to what to say to respectfully decline. I calmed down after reading this and I think I was able to do so. Thanks, again!

Marla @ Starting the Next Chapter

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