PSA: How Not To Approach A Reviewer

I'm back with another unasked for PSA! This time I tackle how to approach a reviewer. Or, more accurately, how not to approach a reviewer.

I've been doing this for a good 85 years or so it seems like, and though people come and go, there are some mistakes things that never seem to change in bloglandia.

Mistake #1:

Addressing me by "Reviewer", "Mr. Bark" or "Dearest Bark" (though I admit that one warms my heart a little). This tells me that you have not taken 5 minutes to read my review policy of which I agonized over. How do I know? Because I tell you my real name in the first few lines. It's the simplest test ever and you just failed.  I know we are all busy little bees but my policy is pretty brief and to the point and it's there to help you avoid wasting your time with me.


Mistake #2:

Attempting to personalize an email with the wrong information:


I'll never be the kind of person to tell others how to conduct their business (especially when it comes to writing reviews) BUT today I am going to be the annoying person who tells you that this is most likely not the best way to approach a reviewer. I know I am a nobody and I do NOT expect anyone to know my life history of reading, HOWEVER, if you attempt to personalize an email to me please check to see if I've read the book you claim I have reviewed in the Kindle store. Ummm, I obviously have not ever read nor reviewed Stephen King's On Writing. Have you read any of my terribly written reviews?! Delete.



Mistake #3:

Attempting to convince me that your book is just the same as Twilight or Stephen King or The Girl On The Whatever and that it is better than all of them combined even though your book appears to be about space traveling cats on a quest to find a planet uninhabited by nasty humans, or it's a non-fiction account of your life but you swear it is better than any King story, or that your book will fix my life. That one hurts a little. Perhaps I don't want my life to be fixed by your words. Perhaps I like my life messy and cluttered and that's what brings me joy. Please trust me when I tell you that I am the wrong person to pitch any of that to which you'd know if you read my review policy. Le Sigh.

Also, reading my review policy and insisting that your book is the "exception" and sending me an email anyway telling me that I will love it because "it has a little horror in it" even though it is a 500-page historical fiction tome about your imaginary granny is not the way to get a response.


Mistake #4

Befriending a reviewer on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or Instagram and instantly sending them a DM asking them to review your work. Or worse, sending them a direct link to buy it. Nothing says fake friend like that instant DM. At least pretend to interact a few times before slipping unwanted into someone's DM's. If that sounds seedy, it's because it IS. Now some folks don't mind unsolicited DM's and if approached correctly and respectfully it can result in a review but please always ask first if it's ok to private message. If you are ignored, assume it is not ok. An instant DM always makes my heart stop and regret friending someone, not even gonna lie. See ya later, bye, fakest friend.


Mistake #5

This one is my favorite. There's this guy I'll call "The Pumpkin Farmer". The Pumpkin Farmer is notorious for leaving comments on Goodreads reviews. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that except his comments always have nothing to do with the book being reviewed and always and consistently say, "I think you'll enjoy my new book The Pumpkin Farmer. Here's the link to buy it!" Byeee. He makes me laugh because he's been reported so many times and he always comes back undeterred to continue his anti-social behavior. Don't be a pumpkin farmer. It's only funny if you're the pumpkin farmer. Otherwise, it's just rude and super weird and scares us off your books. Someone had to say it. May as well be me. 


Mistake #6

Sending a reviewer a PDF copy of your book along with your pitch as a first contact. OMG please don't ever do this. Most of us do not read PDF files because of wonky formatting on e-readers and it's also scary to receive an unexpected attachment in an email. Also, don't give your work away like that. You don't know who is on the receiving end of that email. They might be a total weirdo. Oh wait, I am a total weirdo. Yeah, don't ever do that. It's dangerous and weird for both of us.



In closing, I realize in the scheme of things that none of this stupid nonsense is a big deal but if you want legit reviews and don't want to annoy potential readers PLEASE take a moment to read a reviewer's policy, if they have one, before contacting them. Most of you are lovely and do all the right things but there is a small segment of society who probably won't see this post who continues to do it all wrong and make things rough for the rest of us. If you spot them can you send them to this post?

Also, while I have your attention, if you are a horror author needing a review please visit my Horror Reviewer Directory and if you are a blogger and would like to create one for another genre please DO IT because it will help us all out!! If you do one for romance, I will love you forever from a distance!

For more unsolicited advice, click on that PSA button down below.

Much love, Mr. Bark.

A big thank you to my dear friend Jen at Book Den. You know what you did here, lol.

Comments

  1. Heh, great blog post Bark! I do agree with what you said about fake friends, Unwanted DMs and pdf files! I'm pleased to report that I had no contact with The Pumpkin Farmer-you have to be a friend to leave comments on my Goodreads reviews so sadly, he has no chance!

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  2. Haha! You are so welcome. I think. :) Can "space traveling cats on a quest to find a planet uninhabited by nasty humans" pleeeease be a thing??

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  3. Lol, I think all bloggers can relate. I usually just ignore the terrible email requests, and I have a habit of blocking Twitter accounts whose sole purpose in following me is to DM me about their book. And a big fat NO to PDFs! Like they think they're doing us a favor by sending us a precious PDF file, lol.

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  4. Totally made me laugh! :D

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    Replies
    1. That's why I'm hear! Thanks for reading that nonsense.

      Delete
    2. *here

      Good gawd what is wrong with me?! Don't answer that!

      Delete
  5. I get so many similarly worded email requests (very similar to your example) that I wonder if there's a robot sending them . . . you know, like if an author buys some kind of marketing package. "Dearest Bark" is kinda cute.:-)

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    Replies
    1. You know, you may be right. Some of them read like a robot created the email . . .

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  6. Really, it's so simple for them to read the policy first but I think it must work in some way to just mass email bloggers or they wouldn't do it.

    At this point it doesn't even bother me. If I can tell they didn't take the time to read my policy (and you can usually tell in the first sentence - i just delete and move on.

    I really hate the comparison one. First - you are most likely not elevating the genre or writing anything new but also I might LOVE what you're bashing. And I will never, ever, ever open up an attached file.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    Replies
    1. Exactly. Hey, maybe I love Twilight and Stephen King. It's almost always an instant no when they do that sort of thing.

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  7. I love this post! I see all of these things all of the time. It has kind of become a running joke in my house. I love it when I get the emails that say...since you liked Stephen King's It, I thought you would like .... If I was a writer I don't think I would every compare myself to such a big name. I just delete all of the comments on my Goodreads reviews that are only there to sell their own book. People who do that just guarantee that I will never read their work.

    It is the authors, narrators, and publicists that really take the time to read my policy and send an email that shows some thought went into it that I will occasionally consider.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, I keep holding out hope that they'll learn from their mistakes and maybe they do but I still get far too many of them.

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  8. Yes! Yes to all of this. I just delete any emails like that. I don't take requests. I only read what I want. People on Twitter get blocked if they do that.

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    Replies
    1. You have the right idea. I haven't read a book from my own TBR pile in what seems like a year or two.

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  9. This made me laugh so hard and so true! Ugh you'd think people would know better. I mean if I had just written a book and wanted to get the word out I still can't see doing this kind of stuff. Crazy. and yeah those instant DM's... just no.

    Have a great day Mr. Bark :):))

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  10. OMG, I can relate to every one of your points made in this post. When I first starting reviewing it was like a tidal wave....no...more like a tsunami of all of this foolishness. It was so much better going through Book Tour companies. I stopped reviewing for a while and just recently started again. I guess we will see how it turns out this go round.

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    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry that you can relate so easily to these, lol. We live and we learn and please leave your blog deets here and I'll go visit you! Thank you for reading my nonsense!!

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