5 Things NOT to Include in a Review Request
Everyone wants to get reviews for their books and authors have tried many ways to convince reviewers to read their books. But here are 5 things NOT to add to your review request.
1) Common Interests
Sometimes, when authors research reviewers, they find that they have a common interest or hobby as the reviewer. And as a sort of ice breaker, they will lead with that point in their review request. Or they may end with that as a way to start a conversation.
However, this is not a good idea. To a reviewer, this doesn't read as a professional request for them to review your book. It makes the exchange personal, and until the reviewer knows whether or not they like your book, they might not want the conversation to go that direction. It makes it a lot more difficult to negatively review a book as it raises the question, "If their request was personal, will this author also respond personally (or poorly) to a negative review?"
2) A Friend of a Friend
Often, an author and a reviewer may not have anything in common but a friend of the author has something in common with the reviewer. And that friend liked the author's book, so maybe the reviewer will like it too.
Even if that last part goes unstated, this is a bad idea because is clues the reviewer in that the author doesn't really know what would make someone want to read their story. And if the author doesn't know the answer to that question, the reviewer wont be keen to find out.
3) An Explanation
Reviewers have specific genres they like to read as well as certain tropes that are their favorite. And some authors may decide to ask for a review by explaining that even though their book isn't X genre, it does have Y similarities.
But just like an Amish Fiction reader most likely doesn't want to read an Epic Fantasy because the latter also includes some yummy baked goods, neither will a reviewer want to make this change to their preferences. Especially not if their "brand" of reviews is for the former.
4) Insincere and Unspecific Praise
This can take many a form, from "I love the format of your website" to "I like the images you post to Instagram", or anything else along these lines. It happens when an author feels that their request has to lead with praise of the reviewer, rather than genuinely wanting to because they are a fan.
That forced appreciation bleeds into the tone of the request and gives the impression of insincerity. Especially if the rest of the request makes it clear that the author hasn't actually read the reviewers blog/website, but only commented on the first thing they noticed about the site. This insincerity is easily spotted, as it will usually be a single sentence which does not elaborate on why the images/format/ect. caught their attention.
5) Other Reviews
Part of convincing many readers to try a book is to provide them with reviews of it. And so it seems logical to do the same for a reviewer.
However, reviewers should not read reviews for a book before they actually read that book. It is fine to look at general ratings or to read reviews after they read book, but before they write their own review. However reading reviews first will bias their reading experience and could result in a completely different review than they would have provided otherwise.
Which of these things do you think you would have been most tempted to add to a review request? Are there any others you can think of?
Next week, I will provided a review request template for authors to work with on their own.