I’ve been doing book reviews for a while now. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned doing them.
First of all, I do it because it’s fun, because it’s useful (every writer, when not writing, should probably be reading), and because it’s helpful. You’ve probably heard “do unto others something-something?” If I can do something helpful for another indie author, I will. I want to give back, help the industry, help an author.
Anyway, most of the time it’s good. It’s simple – people send me books, I look at them, and if I like them, I read them. Simple as that. Then I review them.
Most of the time I get to read what I want. I get a lot of thriller, mystery and fantasy. Just what I want. I do get a lot of other requests, but unfortunately, I have to turn a lot of them down.
Some people don’t seem to understand this, but doing reviews is a buyers market if there ever was one. I don’t need more books to read, people are hurling them in my face right and left. So naturally I pick what I like the look and sound of most. Which means I have to decline things. A lot. Some people get offended. I’m sorry. It’s not because your book sucks (unless it’s absolute shit, but don’t worry, in that case I’ll tell you), it’s just that I have other, better options. Better suited for me I mean.
One thing I could do with more of is horror. I don’t see a lot of horror, hardly anything. I’ve been wondering if it’s because the horror genre is something a lot of indie authors don’t venture into, or if it’s just because it sells well enough as it is. Do they not need reviews? (I guess I might be barraged with horror requests now, so don’t be surprised if I have to turn you down).
That’s another thing – if I’ve read something that sounds exactly like your book last week, I might turn you down. “But you said you read fantasy!” doesn’t really help if that’s all I’ve read for three months straight. I like variations. Sorry.
Also – I like it when people are capable of asking. You don’t have to do much, write my name correctly, and be polite, but I absolutely hate it when people just send me their book with an email saying “WANT REVIEW!” (This actually happened). Also, if you mass-send an email, made out to “Debra”, I’m not going to throw myself around to read your book.
Yet another thing – if you ask for a review, and I accept, I assume you’re going to reply, and send me your book. I’m not going out of my way to hunt you down. You might be on my list for a while, but if you forget, that’s your fault not mine.
And the last thing I’m going to complain about – don’t expect me to send you my review for “approval”. I’m going to write my review honestly, and in my own way. You don’t get to influence it. If you found your way to send me a request, I’m going to assume you’ve look at my old reviews (at least a little bit). Of course, if you find a spelling mistake, or want to comment on it after it’s live, sure, I’ll happily edit it for you (if it’s reasonable), but you’re not in charge.
Okay, venting done, and I apologize. Most of the time reviewing is fine, it’s good, and it’s fun. I like it, and I’ll keep doing it. But please, if you have habit of requesting reviews, don’t be any of the people above. It doesn’t help you.
To sum up: Reviewing is great, most authors are awesome, some times people are lame. Don’t be lame.