6 Things to Avoid When Pitching to Book Reviewers

20 Jun



First of all: Let’s keep in mind that almost all reviewers are volunteers. They gladly write reviews because they enjoy providing a service to fellow consumers, and to support good writers. They love to read good books and are passionate about evaluating books. They spend their valuable time to write a review for YOU. Some are published authors themselves, working on their own writing projects – often on top of working full-time jobs, being parents, pet-owners and on top of it all are running a household – which means they are very busy!

Here are some tips that will help you not to waste the reviewers (and your) time and hopefully get a review of your book:

Read the submission guidelines!
Follow their directions carefully. Don’t give reviewers a reason to disqualify your book right off the bat. Not everyone reads e-books. Often reviewers prefer hard copies of the book. Having print copies is not only important for reviewers, but also for your book launch or book signings and to sell them to people who prefer print instead of e-books.
Don’t put time pressure on reviewers.
See the introduction above! Book reviewers love to read and if they have a bit of time, they will grab the next book and indulge in it. Please don’t try to push them to read your book ahead of the pile of those who wait much longer in sequence.  They are doing you, a total stranger an (unpaid) favor and don’t want to be pressured and annoyed.  The sheer volume of review requests that reviewers receive can be staggering.
Research the reviewer’s interests.
Don’t pitch romance to a children’s book reviewer. Don’t pitch a self-help book to a mystery reviewer. Investigate at least 20-30 books reviewed on Amazon or the reviewer’s blog to find their preferred genres and read the reviewer’s biography, in order to learn about the kind of books he/she likes and reviews.
No mass mailings please!
Don’t pitch via a DM (direct message) or tweet or mass email that reads “Hello, I’m looking for someone to review my book. You can read about it on my website at …. Thanks!”  When the reviewer checks the writer’s Twitter timeline, they will find out that you just pitched dozens of reviewers…. Not only is it unprofessional but it will not get you into a reputable reviewer’s book list. Pitch professional via customized email, just like you would pitch an agent, editor or publisher.
Don’t address your query “Dear Reviewer”.
Would you write to an editor or publisher “Dear Publisher”? Be polite an use the reviewer’s name…and please: spell it right! Nothing ticks off more than to receive a letter with your name wrongly spelled.
Don’t make reviewers buy your book.
They “work” for free for you, read and then write about your work. Most important: reviewers help you to sell more of your books and climb up the rankings on Amazon, the least they can expect, is that you provide them with your manuscript. If a reviewer states in their guidelines, to read print books only, don’t offer the digital version and suggest that they print it out for reading.  There are digital printers (e.g. Espresso Book Machines) who will do this job for you and even ship it to the reviewer – in case you have only an e-book version of your novel.
No attachments please.
Don’t send an attachment of your book with your introductory email. Most reviewers won’t open any  attachments from people they don’t know.

Read more tips on how to get book reviews:

  • Most sites publishing reviews have a procedure for receiving requests. Abide by the blogger’s requirements and show respect for the reviewers time.
  • Find a way to convert the book into the format, most convenient for the reviewer.
  • Send an email with a query first. You are competing with other books so be professional. Don’t be pushy as reviewers are doing you a favor, reading your book.
  • Send customized requests to your prospective reviewers: A reviewer receiving a request that looks like mass mailing has no incentive to review your book.
  • You certainly have to offer a free copy of the book, reviewers will not fork out the money to buy your book, and then invest time in reading and reviewing it.
  • Not all books are for all people. The reviewers opinion is required and that includes the risk that the review will be scathing, if that is the reviewer’s opinion.

Be courteous, professional, thank them for their review and reciprocate the favor, making sure you credit the reviewer and provide them with publicity in return for their book review. Write more reviews and you will get more reviews of your own book!  So, when did you write your last book review?
Read more about how to get book reviews:

Million Dollar Question: How to Get Book Reviews?

Tips to Get National Media Book Reviews

How to Get Book Reviews – Lots of the

Bestsellers with More Than 150 1-Star Reviews

Need Book Reviews?! Part 2

Are Book Reviews really THAT important?

Review Tip: Send a Query to Los Angeles Literary Reviews



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3 responses to “6 Things to Avoid When Pitching to Book Reviewers

  1. A. F. Stewart

    June 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Might I add an addition to the “address your query” advice; make sure you have the right gender when addressing the reviewer. I use my initials as a writer and I’ve had many a review request addressed to Mr. Stewart, instead of Ms. or Miss.

    • ebooksinternational

      June 21, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      you are right!
      But hard to figure out when only initials are used, such as A.F. … : )
      That makes it often difficult, and also when the first name is second, such in some Asian countries.
      One has to dig a bit deeper in such cases.

      Cheers, Doris (Ms)

  2. Vashti Quiroz-Vega

    June 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Very helpful thank you!


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