What Not to Do When Seeking out Reviews

Whether you like it or not book reviews are an important tool when it comes to promoting books. The jury is out on whether reviews actually influence readers to make their decisions but one thing’s for sure, reviews bring attention to books and you can’t have sales without attention.

I hear you mumbling from here. “Oh but Stacy it’s such a pain in the butt to gather reviews.” True but this is a necessary evil you must learn to like.  Most new authors don’t realize there are certain rules in the industry when it comes to seeking reviewers. Well, I’m here to help.

Below are nine things you shouldn’t ever do when seeking out reviews.  Imbed these into your mind and learn from them.

Don’t #1: Approach published authors you do not know for a review

This is definitely not recommended. There is a difference between asking an author to blurb your book but never ask an author you don’t know to review or critique your work. Soliciting an author for a review is intrusive. Unless the author is also a reviewer and actively seeking books to review, cross authors off your reviewer list.

Don’t #2: Send a reviewer your book before asking them for a review

Make sure you follow guidelines for a reviewer before contacting them. Most reviewers prefer an author or publisher to contact them before sending them a book to review.

Don’t #3: Hold a grudge against a reviewer who declined to review your book

Sometimes reviewers will decline to review your book. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you or wouldn’t be interested in reading it. Reviewers have TBR lists like you wouldn’t believe and sometimes it’s impossible for them to finish the books they’ve already committed to. If a reviewer declines your book remember that rejection comes with the territory of writing. Suck it up and cross the reviewer off your list for now. But don’t hold a grudge against them on a personal level.  You might wanna contact them for a review again some day.

Don’t #4: Hassle friends and family for reviews

Friends and family members are the first ones to promise reviews and most of them never even read your book. That’s life. Whether your book is already out or is soon to be released, don’t beg and hassle friends or family to write a review for you. If you got to ask them there might be a reason. They might not like your book or might not have even read it. That might be tough to swallow but this is where you gotta realize that the world doesn’t revolve around your book. Let family and friends decide on their own whether to review your book. You don’t wanna be the annoying dope they all run from because they are afraid you’ll ask them about your book.

Don’t #5: Contact reviewers who do not review your genre

 Enough said.

Don’t #6: Beg people on Facebook for reviews

I can’t count how many times I see authors and even publishers begging for reviews on Facebook. This is unprofessional and tacky. The more you annoy people, the less they’ll be interested in reviewing your book.  You can contact reviewers on Facebook unless they say otherwise but leave the general public alone.

Don’t #7: Stalk readers who have read your book and hound them for a review

If you see that someone on Goodreads has read your book don’t contact them asking them to review it. This will put the reader on the spot. They might not want to review it. If a reader intends to review the book then they will. They are not obligated to review a book.  Don’t be that nutty author that stalks for reviews. No one will want anything to do with you.

Don’t #8: Speak negatively about a reviewer in public

Don’t badmouth reviewers or anyone in public. Whether the reviewer declined to review your work or didn’t respond back to you, don’t post about it on FB, your blog or anywhere else.  If you do and other reviewers see this, they most likely will keep their distance from you and your book.

Don’t #9: Expect the publisher to get reviews

Most publishers will get reviews for you or at least aid you in getting them. But some won’t lift a finger to get you one review.  It’s your responsibility to know which type of publisher yours is beforehand. Don’t sit around for months before your release date assuming your publisher will get you reviews. You’ll end up scrambling for reviews at the last minute.


Be sure to view the post: What To Do When Seeking Out Reviews

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16 thoughts on “What Not to Do When Seeking out Reviews

  1. Stacy-Deanne

    Glad you enjoyed it, everyone! I see so many newbies making terrible mistakes when seeking reviews. They don’t realize some of the things they do can damage their reputation or the chance that someone would ever wanna review their work. So I figured this post was a necessity for those who might not know better but want to learn.

  2. Vivienne Diane Neal

    Hi Stacy, What a great article, and thank you for those nine tips, which I have always practiced as an author. I host virtual book tours and feature romance authors on my blog, and I make it very clear that I do not do book reviews. Nevertheless, stay well and keep up the good work in keeping us authors in the loop.

  3. Al Hunter Jr.

    Great information, Stacy! Now, as a newbie, what are the “dos?” And are paid reviews by Kirkus Indie or Clarion worth the money? Do they have real prestige with booksellers?

    1. Stacy-Deanne

      The “dos” just consists of having commonsense to be honest. Everyone should know spamming and sending your work to people who haven’t asked for it isn’t the best way to get a review and can hurt your rep.

      The best thing to do is to research reviewers and contact them in the correct manner. Also everyone should know never to spam people for reviews. You never bother the general public for a review. I would stick to only contacting reviewers. Simply go to their websites or blogs, read their guidelines and follow the directions. This is your best chance to get a review.

      Stay away from paid reviews. Paid reviews are worthless. You never should pay for a review. It will have no merit in anyone’s eyes. Totally unrecommended and a waste of money since no review guarantees sales.

      1. Deatri Post author

        Thanks for the great article Stacy-Deanne. I find that a lot of people wait until their book is out or a week or two before the book is released to start requesting reviews. It’s best to start at least 6 months prior with your request.

      2. Al Hunter Jr.

        Stacy-Deanne, here’s another thank you from me. I didn’t know there are folks who review books for free and don’t work for a newspaper or magazine. Also, your advice on paid reviews is priceless. I noticed the websites of many books included Kirkus reviews, so I thought that was the way to go. Now, I’ll research some independent reviewers.

  4. Tiffany C. Lewis

    This is a great article for me, and an overall AMAZING website, for me! I am a new Author, only having a few works published in literary magazines and being included in a few compilations and I am right around the corner from completing a novel and trying to get an agent for it, so all these tips are SUPER important to me and I love it.

    Thank you guys for your dedication to getting this info out!

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