As a top 50 Amazon reviewer (currently #15) and a Hall of Fame reviewer I get a lot of requests every day from authors for reviews of their books. This is a very time-consuming process, and for the most part I don’t have the time to even reply to most of the requests, not to mention to actually read and review the books. I still do try to accommodate as many authors as I deem possible, especially if I think that I’d enjoy reading their work. However, some authors make very basic and avoidable mistakes that will instantly make me delete their message, or at very least have a less-than-enjoyable experience dealing with them. A recent article that I came across mentions five such mistakes, and I decided to add a dozen more that are some of my main pet peeves. Here they are, in particular order:
The author/publisher does not address you with your name or, even worse, uses the wrong name.
- The author/publisher uses bad grammar/spelling in the contact e-mail. This is a dead giveaway that the author’s writing is not very good and is not worth reading the proposed book.
- The author/publisher offers a book for review on a topic that I have clearly stated in my profile I would not be interested in.
- Use of inconsistent formatting throughout the e-mail. This is a clear sign of a cut-and-paste message.
- The author boasts how his/her novel is the next big thing and how corrupt the publishing world is for not recognizing his/her genius.
- The author/publisher sends a book on a topic that is clearly against the reviewer’s beliefs or values. A book bashing Catholicism to a Catholic, or a book bashing environmentalism to a Greenpeace activist for instance.
- The author mentions how he came across the reviewer’s name on the list of top reviewers without going into specifics of which (if any) of the reviewer’s reviews he had liked.
- The author mentions a specific review that she liked without actually giving the said review a helpful vote. The reviewers on most websites live for those helpful votes, and are, quite literally, the only compensation that they get out of this effort.
- The author/publisher offer to pay money for the review. This is not only unethical and against the policies of most websites, but also very tacky and crass.
- Once the reviewer has agreed to receive and take a look at your book, don’t pester him incessantly with the demands to publish the review soon. Most reviewers are very busy with their lives, work, other books they are reading, and numerous other activities that they have to do. They are doing you a favor, and it may take many months before they can finally get to your work. If you need book publicity sooner than that, then you should look into other ways of getting it.
- The author does not acknowledge the reviewer and send him/her a thank you message after he/she posts review. Also, be sure to give the said review a helpful vote if you enjoyed it.
- If the reviewer posts a negative or even a scathing review of your book, don’t retaliate by giving it an unhelpful vote and getting all of your friends and relatives to do the same. This is extremely lowbrow, unprofessional, and trashy. You should assume the risks of possible negative reviews in advance, and deal with those in a mature way. If you can’t, then you really shouldn’t be publishing books in places that allow for customer feedback to begin with.