Saturday, February 27, 2016

On review requests that ignore review policies...

Here's something I haven't talked about on my blog before: review policies. Back when I started my blog I did a LOT of stalking. I scoured the interwebs for awesome book blogs and spent hours reading review policies and slowly building my own. I'll admit, I still don't know what the heck I'm doing sometimes, but I feel like my review policy is short and sweet and easy to understand. So why does it seem like the majority of authors who email me haven't even looked at it?

The thing is, I know that authors must have seen my review policy page if they've emailed me. How do I know this? Because it is the only place my email address exists (at least it's the only place I've put it). My email address is not on any of my social media profiles and it isn't on Goodreads. They HAVE to have gotten it off of my review policy page unless there's a secret blogger database I'm unaware of.

When I read a review request from someone who obviously has not read my review policy, the chances of me actually accepting are infinitesimal. I hate to seem melodramatic, but it's honestly a little insulting to get an email from an author who wants me to spend HOURS reading and reviewing their book, when they couldn't even take 30 seconds to read over my review policy before clicking on "email me."

Allow me to share some examples with you. One of my favorites is getting emails from authors who claim to have enjoyed a review I wrote for a book... that I didn't like... and want me to review their -similar- book. No, you really don't. Promise. I also really love the emails that start with a generic "good evening," and attach the book in the email, especially when the book is in a genre I specifically state I do NOT read. Books do not review themselves and I am not going to read and review a book I'm not interested in just because it shows up in my inbox.

A really interesting request I received recently was from an author whose book was an adult historical fiction novel about homeless veterans. The requesting author acknowledged that I review mostly YA but also made mention of my "large collection of historical fiction." This particular request confused me in more ways than one, but most of all I was left wondering... where is this collection? If you go to my Reviews By Genre page, you'll find a total of three historical fiction reviews, one being an Outlander book and two out of three with a three star rating. Clearly, historical fiction is not my genre. But to be fair, I also went to check on my Goodreads historical fiction shelf. It made up a little over 10% of my read books and was 99% trashy historical romance from my late teens (I'm not ashamed).

I know for a fact that I am not the only blogger this happens to!! My good friend Jen has also written about this issue at her own blog, which leads me to wonder again, do authors even glance at our review policy pages before clicking the "email" link?

Authors, I know how hard you worked on your book! There is a reason why I only review books instead of write them. I know that your book is your baby and that you want absolutely everyone else to love it as much as you do! Don't get me wrong! I want to review books! I love getting review requests... that make sense based on my blog and my reading preferences. But I have to let you know, you're only hurting yourself by disregarding our review policies.

If the genre of your book is not listed under "Favorite Genres" in my review policy, I'm probably not going to enjoy your book anyway. It's nothing against you as a person. I'm sure we'd be friends in real life! But why would you WANT me to review a book I'm not going to enjoy?? Out there in the blogosphere, there is someone who would love your book! Someone out there has your genre listed under "favorites" and I'm sure that person would probably be thrilled to get your request! So please, PLEASE take the time to see if that person is me before adding my name to the BCC on your email.

Fellow bloggers, have you encountered this issue? How did you handle it? I'm even more interested to know if any of you have ever accepted review requests from authors who obviously haven't read your policy! I'm curious to find out if these kinds of requests ever work. Let me know in the comments!