Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions (April 16, 2012)

Book Blogger Confessions is a new Monday meme started by Tiger at Tiger's All-Consuming Books and Karen at For What It's Worth. The purpose of the meme is best stated by Karen here:
"Tiger and I thought it might be time to start a meme to discuss some of the frustrations that are unique to book bloggers. What happens when the hobby you love becomes more of a chore?
This meme will appear on the first and third Mondays of the month. Tiger or Karen will give us a question to respond to and a linky for sharing our responses and developing community.

This week's question is: Review/Guest post requests: Do you have a review request policy? Has it changed over time? How do you handle requests that don’t meet your criteria?
In the past, what types of "pitches" have caught your attention? Are there any (non-specific) examples of requests that are off-putting to you as a blogger?

When I began my blog I never dreamed that anyone would read it let alone ask me to read their book and review it. I think it was probably about a year before I started getting review requests. I didn't have a policy of any kind when I began. I would look at each email request and accept anything that sounded like I would enjoy it. 

But then I found NetGalley and was invited to participate in the Amazon Vine program. I also began getting requests from publicists who worked with publishing companies. I began to feel just a little overwhelmed with all the requests. I still buy a lot of books and want a chance to read and review them too. I decided that it was time to develop a formal review policy.

As of Jan. 1, 2012 I stopped accepting self-published books for review. I had too many books already on my stack and had been burned by accepting books that were just not well-edited or well-written. If I accepted them, I felt obligated to read them and some were sucking all the fun out of reading. Reading is my hobby but not my occupation. It is supposed to be fun!

These days I simply delete requests that don't follow my policy. I also skip some requests from publicists I have worked with before if the book doesn't catch my attention. I will usually email them back saying that the book just doesn't fit into my schedule or doesn't sound interesting to me. I do try to limit myself to six review books a month but have been accepting as many as nine. That means that at least half of each month's reading is review books. 

I keep a Google spreadsheet with a listing of all the books I have accepted for review so that I can keep some control and not overextend myself. I have also started using publication date as a filtering mechanism at both NetGalley and Amazon Vine. Even if a book sounds wonderful, I can't accept it if I already have too many that need to be read and reviewed by the same date.

I think the only requests that I find off-putting are the ones from people who have clearly not bothered to look at my blogs and see the kind of books that I enjoy or requests that ignore my review policy.

How about you? Do get a lot of review requests? How do you handle them?


  1. I haven't gotten many requests yet but the few that I have accepted I could tell that the publicist had read my review policy by the way the request was submitted. It makes you feel really good when you can tell that people take the time to read your policies. The few that I have declined I could tell that they had NOT read my policies at all. And I totally agree with you that those are the most off putting requests.

    Great answer to a great question! :)

  2. I do it pretty much the way you do. I think I still like Netgalley best because it's a little of everything & is generally replete with great books and authors (& editing).
    I do still accept some books by self published authors but ONLY if I'd pick it up anyway. If not it's just not worth my time.

  3. I completely stopped accepting self-pub several months back, as well. It hurt to turn my back on indie works, but there were simply too many to read, and no way of knowing if they'd been edited before publishing.

    Love your spreadsheet idea! That would definitely help with scheduling.

  4. I am always changing my system of organizing review books. I used to keep a spreadsheet on the computer but stopped updating it somewhere along the line. I now keep a simple notebook organized by month and check off books as I go.

    Good for you for limiting the amount of review books that you receive - there are so months that all I read are review books because I am still working on saying no! ;)

  5. Excellent answer!

    I do accept self-published books but I'm picky. If the cover is poor or the Kindle sample is badly edited, I don't accept the book.

    I don't like when an author doesn't pay attention to my review policy. It's there for a reason- to save my time and theirs!

  6. I was amazed and humbled the first time I received a review request. I started blogging because I love to read and wanted to share my thoughts of what I read. I review all the books I read - my books, library books, etc.

    I just created a review policy and I am really hoping that it gets read. I do state that I am not able to respond to every request but will get back to them if I am interested. This kind of gives me an out for those requests that don't meet my requirements.

  7. I completely understand the fun sucking. And I really want to read the books I am buying as well. Glad I am not the only one out there.

  8. These days I would rather just buy a book or read what I already have. I rarely request or accept request.
    The obligation of it all was ruining blogging for me.
    There are plenty of great sources to get books these days - netgalley/sharing with other bloggers.
    With the self pubs I almost would rather pay the .99-2.99 price tag and not worry about their response to my review because of other bloggers bad experiences.


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