Wednesday, 4 April 2012

How not to solicit a review.

Just recently I received this email. I'm not going to include the book title or the sender, since I refuse to give them the benefit of even bad publicity to aid their work, but this is a classic case of something you SHOULD NOT DO!

Hi there, <--- (clearly couldn't be bothered to look up my name, my blog title - or simply hit a load of random email addresses. I wouldn't have minded if they gave me some indication of knowing who the heck I was! Or actually giving a damn.)

We were wondering if you could review -----------. This is a book that has been very popular on the
internet. It is a very powerful book , we would really appreciate it if you could review the book.
I have attached the ebook , photo cover , and book description. You will need the Sony reader to view the book.

Now, I state quite clearly on my blog that I don't take review requests direct. It says so in my Review Policy. If they'd bothered to look me up they would know that. I could forgive them on that point, but they continue to insult me. The email is very extremely badly written in a way that makes me grind my teeth and would convince me that the book would be equally poor. If you can't manage reasonable grammar in the request, what the heck is a book's worth going to be like?! Typos and the like - well, we've all done that. 

They tell me how it's a 'powerful' book but don't actually tell me what it is. They've sent me the book without waiting to know if I'm prepared to review it, and clearly without even bothering to look at the genre of books I tend to review. They then 'tell' me that I will have to use a Sony reader to read the book. Um, I don't have one of those. I have a Kindle. Not that I actually say I'll accept Kindle compatible books to review any more than I accept requests at all. But even if it had been a Kindle compatible version, I still wouldn't read it. Because, on scanning down the email, I discover this is a DIET book. Um, hello? *waves* Reviewer of speculative fiction here! Not only do I not read or review diet books (or any kind of self-help books), but I don't believe in dieting full stop. Now, I know a lot of people DO believe in dieting, but not me. And it seems to me that the only way to really review a diet book is to do the diet? Nuh-uh, missy!

Basically this comes back to one of my 'rules' in the whole publishing industry. Research. If they'd taken the time to research prospective reviewers, they wouldn't have wasted my time and theirs with this request. They wouldn't have irritated me enough to do one of my few rants on the blog. Not only do I not want to read the book but I'm tempted to post a review condemning their book, their tactics and their grammar. Having done a quick scan of Twitter and Facebook, and after speaking to a fellow author, it would seem that pretty much anyone remotely connected to books is being spammed with requests to review this book. The sad fact is they may well get reviews from it, but the majority are more likely to ignore the requests, or possibly report/block them as spammers. Will that stop them? Probably not.

On the plus side, I got a blog post out of it. And now I've purged my system by unleashing my thoughts upon the world, what are your thoughts? What would you have done if this request appeared in your inbox? (BTW, what I actually did was tell them that I don't accept review requests, that it wasn't my genre, and suggested that they take a look at my Book Reviewers List. Something else that is probably too much bother for them.)


  1. Oh my... I can fully understand the need to rant here! I noticed the bad grammar in the email immediately, and thought the same thing you did: how bad is the book going to be if they can't even type a simple email at least mostly correctly?

    Did you receive a response to your reply? I'm wondering if they tried to convince you further, as has been my experience when responding negatively to requests like this.

  2. My reply to comments doesn't work on my blog for some reason so...
    I consider myself a fairly mild-mannered kind of person, but certain things get under my skin and this is one of them. It's rude, stupid, lazy, slap dash - a whole bunch of things that make me mad. I haven't had a response to my reply, but then that could be down to a difference in time zones, or just more laziness/indifference. Trying to convince me further would be a...mistake.

  3. LOL! This is nothing more than spam. I wouldn't bother with it either.

  4. The words 'rude' and 'ignorant' come to mind. The sad thing is that this person probably will score a review or two. It's the scatter-gun approach. Send out 100 spam letters, and if 2 score, that's 2 reviews. etc.

    That said, the email is so badly worded that it's hard to imagine anybody would take the chance.

    And I'm glad the rant made you feel better.

  5. @Kayelle and Greta - agreed on all points! Honestly, if they can't be bothered to do a little research and proper requests, why should anyone bother to read the book?

  6. I'm noticing more and more of this kind of thing, just as an author in the social media swim. People on Twitter send me messages asking me to download, read and review their books. Um, no. I'm not a reviewer. I read for pleasure. I think a lot of people are using the "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" approach to selling books these days. Unfortunately. Thanks for the interesting post!

  7. Thanks for commenting! That approach smacks of desperation, certainly, and a complete lack of respect. :-/

  8. Holy geez. How rude.

    I miss your Six Sunday post. *pout* I'll come back next Sunday. Have a nice week. :)

  9. Hi Wendy,

    Yes, that was my feeling. And I'm sorry about Six Sunday, but I hope to be back for next Sunday. or at least the week after that. Thanks, and have a good week too.

  10. If I'd received that request I'd either have just ignored it, or sent them a polite but stern email.

    Hope that's the last spam you get. :/

  11. It annoyed me too much to ignore. :-/


I always love to hear your thoughts.