Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The One Thing Book Bloggers Hate Most

As I mentioned in another post, when I decided to coordinate my own blog tours I first spent some time thinking about what book bloggers might value, understanding what they do and the effort involved, and how to create great relationships with them.

I strive to make sure the bloggers I work with feel valued, and that idea is at the root of my blog touring process. At some point I realized, what better way to understand what they value than to ask? So I put out a survey, and 70 bloggers responded.

I asked bloggers to list some things authors or publishers have done that really turned them off and made them NOT want to work with those authors/publishers.

The overwhelming common thread in the answers, repeated over and over in various ways, was this:
Disregarding the blogger's review policy.

Here are some quotes from the survey:
“Authors who don’t read my review policy and send review requests anyway.”
“Spam me with requests to review books that clearly go against my guidelines…."
“My policy says I don’t review ebooks, and yet I get a ton of offers for them.”
"Asking me to review without looking at what type of books I accept.”

You get the idea.

Yes, it takes time to read each review policy and tailor each query. But you know what takes a lot MORE time? Reading your book (10-15 hours), writing up and formatting a review post (30 min? 1 hour? 2 hours?), promoting the post, and cross-posting the review on AmazonB&NGoodreads. Respect the review policy, and you help ALL authors stay in good standing with the bloggers who do so much for us.

Want To Put Together a Kick-A$& Blog Tour, But Not Sure How?
You're in luck - I'm co-teaching a webinar, 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour, on Feb 1. I'll be sharing more of what I've learned from the survey, plus my process for planning and conducting blog tours. A blog tour company may charge $100-$1000 to do your tour. This webinar is 50 bucks, and you'll learn all the essentials for creating your own successful blog tour, plus tips for building relationships with book bloggers and making your tour stand out from all the rest.

Space is limited - register for the StoneHouse University webinar 10 Steps to a Successful Blog Tour.

More On Blog Tours
This is the third post in my series about blog tours and working with book bloggers. Read the other posts:
Why Do a Book Blog Tour?
How I Went from DREADING Marketing to Loving It

Author K.C. Neal :: Pyxis Series :: YA Paranormal


Unknown said...

Great post!! I find that is what we complain about most too LOL

Although I don't have a "strict" review policy, maybe I need to change that though.... NAH

K.C. Neal said...

Thanks, Heather!

If your policy works for you, I say keep it! ;)

Asheley T. said...

Love it. I'm not an author, but I like this series you're doing here!

Bibliotropic said...

Total agreement! That's one of the things that really ticks me off. (that and getting review requests from people whose work has supposedly been compared to authors whose names they can't spell properly...) I make my review policy pretty simple. I list the kinds of books I enjoy reading. I list what I won't read and review. I ask for a basis synopsis. Nothing too terrible.

But what gets me is the amount of people who still try to submit ebooks to me when my policy clearly states I'm not currently accepting ebooks for review unless I specifically request them. I even make it clear why - I have an overwhelming number of ebooks on my backlog and don't feel that it's fair to take on more when the author will likely have to wait upwards of a year for me to finally get around to reviewing the books, since the other ebooks take priority. And yet I still have people who must just skip to the part where I list my email address and ignore everything else. It's a black mark against them right from the beginning, and that's never a good start to a writer/reviewer relationship.

Amy said...

Great post. I don't get a lot of review requests being a newer blog, but I hate when I get a request for a book that my policy says I will not except. Or the "Dear Blogger" I do have a name.

April said...

Excellent post! I agree completely!

April said...

I do want to add that one of the things that upset me is when I take the time to read and review a book that an author or promoter sent to me and they in turn do not take the time to pop in and make a comment or acknowledge such. Just a quick comment goes a long way to feeling appreciated.

K.C. Neal said...

Asheley, Biblio, Amy, thanks so much for your comments! Glad to know I'm putting the right info out there.

April, I saw one discussion about how it can make other commenters self-conscious about discussing a book if the author comments on the post, but it seems like the majority of bloggers, like you, really appreciate the acknowledgement. (And I admit, it never occurred to me NOT to comment on the posts before I saw that discussion.) Thanks so much for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Very well worded and informative, KC! It, indeed, is my biggest issue when receiving review requests.
A Cupcake and a Latte: Young Adult Reviews!

Anna @ Literary Exploration said...

This is just so so true! I get so many review requests from authors who completely disregard my review policies! I have a whole list of things I need when authors send a request and if you leave one of them out, I'll ignore the email completely. However, the authors that take the time to send me everything I need to consider a book get high priority on my acceptance list. I've even had authors send physical books even though they have ecopies because my review policy states that I put physical books before ecopies when reviewing.

Sometimes I get review requests that are obviously copy and pasted, but the authors also take the time to personalize it to me. Such as, "Dear Anna"! Starting a request with my NAME first goes a LONG LONG way!

Love this post! Authors will REALLY benefit from this if they take the time to read it!

Anna @ Literary Exploration

KendallGrey said...

This is awesome! I'm in the process of requesting reviews right now, so it's very helpful. :-)

One thing I'll say is that sometimes the restrictions aren't as clearly marked on reviewers' sites as they could be. I sent a request to a certain blog this week and was politely informed they don't accept self-pubbed books. I was mortified that I'd screwed up. I went back to look at the blog again, and couldn't find anything in the review policy about self-pubbers. I mentioned it to a book blogger friend, who checked out the site herself and pointed me to the policy. I swear I never saw it. Not the first time. Not the second time. Only when friend specifically said where it was did I see it.

I'm not interested in wasting a reviewer's precious time or mine. I appreciate those who make their stipulations VERY CLEAR and put them in an OBVIOUS place. Color me "dumbass," but sometimes we old folks need things to be screamingly obvious. :-)

Wendy Darling said...

Great post! I would add to the list of peeves:

-poorly formatted requests, with bad grammar and typos
-a request that isn't personalized to me
-pitching an offbeat category I don't normally cover without a reason why
-not including a link to GoodReads and/or synopsis of the book
-telling me what formats you offer

I would also add authors who offer you the first book in a series, get a ton of great press/reactions/people buying the book because of it, and then who don't offer the sequels.

There, I'll be quiet now. :)

SweetMarie83 said...

Great post! I think that being a book blogger before publishing my book taught me so much. I'm still a book blogger, I have a review policy in place, and yet I get requests every week from authors who have clearly not even bothered to read my policy. I'm sorry but if you can't take 2 minutes to read my policy, then I can't take 2-3 DAYS to dedicate to reading your book. Plain and simple. And the funny thing is, so many bloggers are complaining about this exact problem, and yet a lot of authors just don't seem to get it! It's frustrating because it gives indie authors a bad name and people lump us all together...but people like you clearly try to make a connection with bloggers, so it's not fair to lump us all together.

Kara_Malinczak said...

Thank you! I tweeted about this last night! I get so many requests from authors that clearly haven't read my review policy or you would know that I am not accepting any requests at all from self-published authors right now until I get through the list I have. If I can devote days to reading your book, you can devote a few minutes to reading a couple of paragraphs. My review policy is not long. I expect you to read it or I won't EVER review one of your books on my blog.

K.C. Neal said...

Wendy, Anna, Wendy, Marie, Kara - thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Wendy D, love the additional list of peeves!

I think so much of this is common sense and courtesy. I understand sometimes honest mistakes are made (I, for one, am always terrified I'm going to call a blogger by the wrong name - maybe a brain burp when I'm on my 30th query letter lol.) But really, authors are asking a huge investment of time, and it's not unreasonable to expect that they read your guidelines.

Kendall, love that you're being so meticulous. It will pay off for you, I'm sure! And PS you always manage to make me laugh. :D

Silvia said...

This is an amazing post, K.C.!
I don't know what to add because it seems to me every comment here already made perfectly clear the common point and sums up pretty well how a book blogger feels about it.
TOTALLY agree with you guys!

Estevan Vega said...

yup, this is a definite must. i must admit, i have made some of these mistakes in the past, but you bloggers are merciful, and you rock. no joke. stay classy.

K.C. Neal said...

@Silvia Thanks for the nice comment!:)

@Estevan So true - they are a patient bunch. I think if more authors knew how important it is to follow the policy, write a personalized query, etc, they wouldn't be scratching their heads wondering why so few bloggers respond. We're all on a learning curve and I've made my share of mistakes!

Natalie Star said...

I spent many hours looking for review bloggers and reading their policy pages.

My only request to reviewers is to please be VERY specific, short and to the point, and have a nice clean page.

Some pages were very vague and got mad when I didn't "conform". One gal said "I welcome YA". I sent mine and got back a nasty reply stating "I don't read paranormal YA". Um, honey your page didn't specify that. She replied back and from what I could tell she wanted contemp YA only. Very confusing. Please, know your genre's, or do your homework.

Other pages were too busy and wordy, just really confusing. I was totally lost. That is a red flag. If the page is crazy I won't even submit.

I know I accidently in my frenzy of looking for reviewers miss something. I'm human and so is everyone else. So sometimes you gotta give the benefit of doubt too.


Angela @ Reading Angels said...

I love this post K.C.!

That is for sure my #1 Pet Peeve.

The second would be pitching to me on twitter or my facebook page. Take the time to look at my blog and find my email or click the contact page from there, please.

If you are wanting me to post on my blog, then the least you can do is click through to it...

Bea said...

Oh boy. I agree completely. I've tweaked my review policy several times, trying to make it workable for myself and for authors (and publishers). I get so frustrated when requests don't include the info I ask for (one or two missing items I can overlook) or are clearly not a genre that I review (I've twice been pitched business books and I have no idea why, lol)

Natalie Star, you make some good points and we, book bloggers, should remember authors are human too.

Anonymous said...

As everyone else has already said, I completely agree! I try to make my review policy as quick and easy to read as possible and I still manage to get completely out of the ballpark requests.

I wish authors would take an extra 2 or 3 minutes to make the request a bit more personal. They could open so many new relationships with bloggers that way.

Alison at The Cheap Reader

Jill the OWL said...

Try me right now. I have in bold and right at the top that I am NOT accepting books for review at all and get one (at least) a week still!!!!!! I don't think mine could be any clearer!