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Saturday, March 2, 2013

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You might recall, if you are a frequent “Shelfer” (Shelfer: person who visits Me, My Shelf and I frequently) I started a series of informational posts about different topics pertaining to blogging back in 2011.

My first, written quite a long time ago and which could use some updating if I am being honest, was called, Hey How Did You Get That ARC. I followed months later with Hey, How Do You Review? And now I bring you my next installment, geared toward anyone hoping for a review from Me, My Shelf and I:

Hey, How Do I Get A Review From You?

Over the past several months I have noticed a pattern in the review requests MMSno_wayAI gets. Many are impersonal, have little to no information, and in some cases are flat out tricks to get responses.

We get 15-30 review requests a day. 85% of which are from independent authors or small house published authors. You might imagine that going through these requests can be time consuming, especially since I don’t get around to the e-mail every single day. And while am I very grateful to be considered on any level, for review of any novel, the lack of base line politeness in some of these e-mails is staggering.

Since I also realize that maybe some people don’t know proper review request etiquette (even though every blog has some kind of info listed about this very thing) I figure that I can help everyone out a little by laying down a few tips. These are mine, I in no way am saying ALL blogs are like this, though I would imagine to some extent more than most are. But please refer to the title of this blog, How DO I Get a Review From YOU – for help making sure you meet any specific requirements of a particular blog, stop in and take the 30 seconds to look at the Review Request Policy they took time to write out for you.

First some background on MMSAI and how we choose what to review:
MMSAI consists of 8 reviewers. 5 Full time, 3 part time. When a request comes in, it is passed on to the team for their consideration*

Each member decides two things when they get a review request:
 
1) Does this book look like something I might enjoy (because really, we might be a review site but we don’t review books that don’t interest us..that would be silly)
2) Can I get this review done, in the next ___ months or so. (We do not take what we do not think we can review in a timely manner. ARC’s especially of the printed variety are expensive and for promotional use. We do not want to waste the money and resources of any author or publisher, any where. Ever. Period. )

*considering it has the needed information, to be explained in the next portion of this blog post.

Now that you are up to speed on that – here are some helpful tips for getting your review request noticed by Team MMSAI:


SAY OUR NAME!

Me, My Shelf and I | Team MMSAI | MMSAI | Shelfers | Amber | Melissa | Rosmelie | Katie | Yvette | Ashley | Sarah | Charlie | Amanda

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I have just listed more than 12 appropriate ways for you to start an e-mail to us. Yet some how we constantly get e-mails addressed to a name of someone we don’t know . Today alone I got e-mails addressed to Scott, Mandy, Hey You!, Val and Blogger.

Blogger? Really. I don’t e-mail people and call them by their profession “Hey Astronaut”, “Dear Podiatrist”, “Excuse me Homicidal Maniac”. Um no. I use peoples names, especially when I’m asking them for something. And if I don’t know THEIR name, I at least address thri business

Hey now Amber, promotional work for an author is tough and time consuming. Mass e-mails that are not personalized are needed sometimes.

You are totally right! Mass e-mails are needed sometimes. I am guilty of needing to use them from time to time as well. But, mass e-mails are no bueno in this instance.

When you send us a review request, you are asking us to give you, and your novel our time. To read it, critically review it, share that review on Twitter, facebook, Goodreads, Amazon and any number of other places we post things. It is unreal to me that you can expect all of that from us, and yet can not simply address the e-mail to the blog you are sending it too?

Not to mention, it’s just plain bad manners and remember this is your first impression! Don’t blow it on something simple.


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GIVE ME THE INFO

This is a big one. I mean really, how can we decide if we want to read your novel if you provide us little to no information about it?

And PLEASE don’t link me to 400 pages, no one has time for that, and I’m really not going to go hunting and gathering for the info to pass on to my team. It’s like inviting someone over to dinner then asking them to cook it when they get there. Honestly.

I need all the info, in the e-mail – I’m talking synopsis, book cover, genre. Well, really hmmm that’s about all. How do people constantly not give me this info?

Really now what I’m typing this one out it seems eve more ridiculous that I don’t get this info a lot of the time….

What happens to your e-mail if you don’t give me any info? I delete it. I’m sorry, but if I e-mailed back every singe review request to tell them what I needed in order to properly consider their book, I would do nothing but this. Also, not only is providing the basic info on your book common sense when asking for a review, this info is in my Review Policy. Yes I know – no one reads those. But still…it’s there.


DON’T BEG, IT’S NOT ATTRACTIVE

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We hate saying no. We do. Who want’s to turn down books? Crazy people, that’s who!

But even with so many reviewers, we can not, despite our best effort, review every book we get a request for. This is a big reason our amazing Yvette came up with My Indie Monday. A way to feature the independent authors we can’t get a review in for. And even those non independent authors we can’t review, we tend to offer a spotlight or guest post or giveaway of some sort, whatever they want. We try very hard to promote and be accommodating.

Sometimes, though even when we do offer these things we get pleading e-mails that can only be described as begging. It’s hard to be put in that position. Especially since we’ve already said no, and in many cases offered another option.

It is never personal. And it’s not us saying we don’t like the idea of your book. But between those two things listed above, those things we take into consideration for reviewing, and add in the fact that maybe we have read our weight in Dystopian novels lately and yours also happens to be one – sometimes we just have to say no. So please, when we e-mail back with a decline for review, whether we offer something else along with it, know that it’s not easy for us either.


DON’T TRICK ME

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I organize 8 people including myself. I handle all the e-mails, scheduling and posting of content my team sends me. I am also the mom of two very active kids, writing my own novel, who has a house to run a family to feed and don’t forget books to read and review.

So when I get emails thanking me for signing up for a tour and agreeing to a review that’s due in 3 weeks, that I don’t remember, I’m going to panic flail and maybe cry as I hurriedly try to respond asking questions, sobbing and apologizing that I don’t know what they heck they are talking about.

When I then find out this was just someone’s twisted idea of a good marketing ploy to get me to respond, thus starting a conversation where they can then back me into a corner and ask me to participate. I’m going to go freaking irate and with hold screaming profanities. Because I’m human.

This happened to me 3 times in a month, I spent hours devoted to this instances, scrolling e-mail, sending e-mails, emerged in conversation with said Tricker sorting it out.

All I can say is, who does this? How is lying ever a good thing?


RECAP

Be nice. Be Informational. Treat us how you want you and your book treated. Remember we are human. You need us and we need you, and this can only work if we treat each other with respect.

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So authors, weigh in – what can blogs do to make your life easier?

And Blogger Friends, what are your complaints, if any about requests?

amber1

Reactions:

12 comments:

  1. I've only get about two or three requests a week since my blog is so new, but I've noticed a lot of the email are just mass messages. It definitely makes me think twice about looking at the book. I appreciate every request I get, but some of them are a little odd. I have an entire Review Policy page that lists the books I'm willing to review and what my interests are and some authors don't take the two minutes to get to know me, so why should I consider their book? I always end up feeling like a jerk when I send a rejection email though.

    Kait @ YA Vixens

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  2. Ughh I get really sick of getting Dystopian/Sci-fi requests when I specifically state in my review policy that I don't read them!! It sucks... and then I feel bad that I have to say no :( And I shouldnt feel bad but I just do anyhow!

    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Book Blog

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    Replies
    1. Well my use of the genre in the post was just for example. We love those books here, we love all kinds of books but you can tire of some at some points, or just flat out not be able to get them in. You know?

      What if you put what you review in your blog tag line, like this: "Reviewing Contemporary and Fantasy since 2010", or something else. I can see how people assume everyone reviews everything. Also, in a lot of cases they don't care that you don't read it - they are just hoping you will see it and change your mind about their one book.

      Just delete them and move on.

      Delete
  3. I get emails asking for a review because I'm "so honest" and yet I get an email stating that they thought I was wrong and that 3 star I gave them should be a 4 1/2 at least and would I change it??...um, NO!!!
    If you don't want an honest review, please don't ask me to review your book!!

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    Replies
    1. Wow - I have heard about the pushy author but never encountered one personally. I don't think I would know what to do with someone telling me what they think I should have stared their book at.

      I do know I would have probably removed my review from my blog, and refused to work with them in the future. It might be list a little promotion for them to be on my one blog, but it's something I can control.

      I'm really sorry you have had to go through that.I hope it's not a frequent occurrence

      Delete
  4. What ever happened to basic manners? These authors are requesting "free" buzz about their book from you. Think they would have the right mind to suck up a bit and maybe read your info to see if you fit in their scheme of writing. Oh well, good luck, it sounds like a lot of work! I enjoy reading your reviews :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoy stopping in! I know my team as well thanks you! It is a lot of work, but I like it. It's a neat world to walk in the shadows of.

      Still, sometimes when I open my inbox I just feel like a mother with 40 kids all demanding something impolitely. Just because you're not face to face with someone, doesn't mean you can at least attempt to have some level of professionalism.

      Delete
  5. *reads back through my email request* .... *sighs in relief*

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  6. I agree with everything you said. Authors call me Harley in emails when that's my brothers dogs name. If they took the time to read my posts they'd see I sign each and everyone with my name Melissa. It shows me they didn't even take five seconds to read a post or review I wrote. My signature is pretty big so it means they didn't even scroll down at all lol. Very frustrating. Why would I want to review a book for someone who didn't even see what my reviews are usually like?

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    Replies
    1. I don't really think that it's even that they should read your reviews. A review, is a review, is a review - you know? More reviews, is more marketing, more marketing is more buzz, and so on. I think that a review is a general thing, every does them a little differently - but I don't think that an author needs to know your specific brand before asking you for one. If you have such a different take on it, or if you are more harsh, or honest that usually known before hand. Authors talk.

      I do think that scrolling through to make sure you are actually actively blogging and to see a signature is a good idea though - you are totally right. It takes but a minute. I wonder if they even go to the blogs, or if there is just lists - like a mailing list with e-mails on it they can reach? Hmmmm, maybe I should look into that.

      Delete
  7. I've had authors and small publishers sign me up to newsletters about books they've got up for review without even asking me!

    Another one I often get is emails from self-published authors saying "I know you've stated that you don't take on self-published books, but....." - they all think I'll make the exception just for them.

    A great set of blog posts, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really bothers me. I take Indies, many do but many don't. While for a lot of things the "It never hurts to try" is a good motto, when you open 15 of them and you state you don't take them, and they know you don't it can be frustrating. Sure it takes us a second to delete it and be done with it (no skin off our back), but the frustration remains after a while.

      And thank you for the compliment! :)

      Delete

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