For those who are not known with the term review requests, this basically is the opposite of requesting ARCs. When you request an ARC, for example on NetGalley, you look at the synopsis of several books, decide which ones you like and you request them. Then you wait for the publisher to accept (or not accept, because that happens a lot too), and you can read and review it. Review requests are very different, instead of going to the publisher or writer yourself, writers come to you with their books. This means that whatever request you get, it can be very different from what you normally read.
Of course, if you get a request you don’t have to accept. I think my acceptance rate is quite low, about 40%. I have gotten about 18 review requests (give or take a little I haven’t actually counted) and reviewed 4 so far, 3 I have not yet reviewed. I guess you could say I’m not a professional and I haven’t had much experience, but I’d like to say a few things about review requests and whether it would be something you might like to do.
Help Authors – The first thing that comes to mind is the opportunity to help out unknown authors. Of course big well-known authors will not go find bookish bloggers themselves, usually, they take a simpler road using their publisher. Therefore, the authors that contact you will most likely be small indie authors, people who self-published their book.
Free books – Of course free books are always welcome (I would start a book orphanage if I had the space and money, save the books!).
Find new things – How vague I am, haha. What I’ve found so far in my ARC reviewing business is that I’m way more likely to accept a book when it’s handed to me than to go out and get it myself (especially if that means buying it). So genres that I’m lesser acquainted with, or usually wouldn’t read, I wouldn’t go out and buy. Now, however, when someone comes to me with an intriguing synopsis, even though it’s a genre I wouldn’t usually pick up, I am more likely to accept and actually read the book. This opens my mind to new books and genres, and you know what: you never know whether you’ll love it.
Impolite emails – What I love about some authors is that they actually send you a personal message, telling you why they think their book fits your preferences or even something about your blog. Other authors however, don’t seem to have the decency to even put my name at the top of their email. If I get a review request like that, I am 99% likely not to accept, simply for the fact that if they didn’t put any time in it, why would I?
Not matching my preferences – I’ve gotten a lot of emails from authors talking to me about their non-fiction book, or historical fiction spirituality book, or who knows. I almost never read non-fiction, especially not if it’s about a topic I don’t know much about. In fact, a few weeks ago I got a request for a book about puppy training, and while we just got a pup, I don’t feel like I am the right person to review such a book. So saying no thank you, it is.
It takes time – Reading takes time, reviewing too. This is just a matter of priorities, if you have the time to put some extra time in your reading schedule or are willing to push forward other books so you can read the requested book, go for it.
So while for Indie authors, book bloggers might be a great opportunity for some extra book reviews which would lead to more sales, it is not always a perfect solution. For me, it is fun to do on the side of reading ARCs from NetGalley, but I find myself giving priority to those ARCs opposed to review-requested books. Saying no to authors is something I sometimes struggle with, especially when they’ve written an elaborate personalized email about a book that really does sound interesting, and I simply do not have the time. It’s frustrating, but I push myself over that, because when I do decide to review a book it feels very fulfilling to know I actually helped someone get their book into the world and maybe someone else will enjoy it after me.
If you want to get review requests, what to do?
Review Policy – Review policies are there to avoid the annoying situations as described above. A review policy should consist of information about what your reviews look like, information on ratings and genres you enjoy reading. You can also state whether you for example only review physical copies. Authors that want to contact you can thereby see whether their book would match or not. Also, make sure that you clearly state whether
Enlist yourself – For authors to find you is not that easy, as far as I know, authors don’t go scouring the internet to find book bloggers. Since the beginning of November, I’ve been enlisted on a book blogger list, which makes it much easier for authors to find you. I have not a single clue which list it was (I’m slightly embarrassed about that), but if you’d like to enlist as well I’m pretty sure google can help you out. If you google “book blogger list”, I’m sure something will pop up.
Do you take review requests? Do you enjoy it or not? And what are your pro’s or con’s?
P.S. At this moment, I do not take review requests, since I simply don’t have the time.