#LetsDiscuss2022 #11 – Unsolicited Review Requests – #DiscussionSunday.

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The question this time comes from a post I saw by Mint @ Mint Loves Books:

Do you accept review requests?

Discussion Sunday 2022

Disclaimer:

These are my personal opinions. I do not expect anyone to agree with anything here, and in fact, I’m certain that many will disagree and/or even hate many of the things I’ve written below. Sorry about that, but you are always welcome to express your own opinions – be they contrary or comparable – in the comments section. So, with that out of the way… let the controversy begin!

What made me think about this topic?

As noted above, I saw a post by Mint @ Mint Loves Books called “Why I don’t accept review requests.” and that made me think it would be a good topic for discussion. She posed a few questions. They include: Do you keep your review requests open? Why or why not? What has your experience been with review requests you’ve accepted/denied?

My Thoughts…

Do you keep your review requests open? Why or why not?

When I first started blogging, I was always open to review requests – both from authors and from publishers. Then I started getting ARCs from NetGalley and Edelweiss and my Kindle started to get filled up. At a certain point, I decided that I just had too many books to read, and it might be better to close up that avenue. However, on my Book Reviewing Policy page, I left the door open a crack by saying:

SORRY, I am not presently accepting new books for review (but you can always try to convince me that your book is worth my making time to read and review).

What has your experience been with review requests you’ve accepted/denied?

Several authors and publishers have tried to convince me to read and review their books. I have accepted a minority of them, since most don’t bother to look at my blog or my reviewing policy page, or even my Goodreads profile, and they send me queries for books that are WAY out of my genre preferences. These get automatic denials. I can tell if they haven’t done their homework, or if they’re trying to get me to read some badly written crap from the emails. I swear, I wonder how anyone with any level of self-esteem can send out an email with terrible grammar or tons of spelling mistakes, and expect us to believe that’s not how their book will end up being as well!

Of the books I have accepted, I’ve had mixed results. For example, one author who approached me wanted me to read her contemporary women’s fiction book that she promised wasn’t romance. She told the truth, and I’m soon going to be reading her third novel! Another author wanted to send me her YA fantasy novel, but there was something in her email that made me take notice, and not reject it outright. Soon after I (halfheartedly) agreed, she mentioned that she was also publishing a travel memoir. I asked her if I could beg off on the YA novel and read her memoir instead. She agreed, and I just LOVED that book. Last year she published an adult, literary fiction novel, and I loved that one as well. So far, only one other author offered me a book that I didn’t reject and I enjoyed it (but it didn’t wow me).

Regarding those books I accepted reluctantly, a few of these authors were so anxious to get me to read their books that they sent physical copies! I’m sorry to say that I only finished reading one of them, and then the book got a review of only 2.5/5 stars. Two others I just won’t bother even looking at, because I just don’t read fantasy novels. Another one had WAY too much graphic sex for my taste, and the last one I gave up on because of the incessant name-dropping of famous Hollywood people, which detracted from the main protagonist’s story. So annoying!

Finally a few publishers have offered me books, but mostly they don’t sound like good matches to my tastes. This is different from the relationships I’ve developed with a few publicists, who noticed my reviews of books by their authors and/or their imprints. That’s reaped me some excellent novels.

There you have it!

So… what about you?

Do you get many unsolicited review requests? If so, how do you decide which ones to accept and which ones to reject? What has been your experience with the books you accepted?

This post is my 11th entry in the 2022 Discussion Challenge & Giveaway, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

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34 thoughts on “#LetsDiscuss2022 #11 – Unsolicited Review Requests – #DiscussionSunday.

  1. Just like Nicole said, I have made it my policy that I don’t respond to declined requests. I started out being semi-open to reviews, but then found that I would feel guilted into accepting ALL the books, because I didn’t know how to tell people no. So, I just added a nice little disclaimer that said “no response equals a ‘no'”, that way no guilt, AND I don’t have to find the time to politely let these people down. Publishers are different- I find most of them are just like “check out X book, here’s a widget if you feel like it!” so those I use my own discretion. Funny enough, I also say I am mainly closed for reviews but feel free to try! I have had (I think?) three authors break through, and all of them convinced me by dropping references to The 100, so. Now everyone knows how to get me to accept a review copy I guess 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They figured out the button to push on you, then! Oh, dear! Some used to say “I love chocolate” to try to get me to read their books. Sorry, that doesn’t work. If you can’t pinpoint a particular (small, boutique) chocolatier that you love, that’s not going to do the trick with me!

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  2. I don’t ask for review request on my blog. On GR one author mistake me for someone else and ask me to review their book. I did it anyways and it turn out to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With NetGalley and a few publishers sending me books, I don’t have time to fit in unsolicited requests from authors. Although I say this clearly everywhere I post reviews, I still get several requests a week. I rarely reply at all, I’m afraid – it all takes too long, and again I make it clear on my profiles that I won’t reply. I feel it’s up to authors to at least check profiles and review policies. I also frequently get requests for books in genres I never read. It’s as if they just scattergun out requests with no real consideration for the fact that reviewers get inundated by them. Sometimes they even say things like “I know you don’t read books about erotic cowboys in space but would you read mine?” If I sound grumpy about it, that’s because I am! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We don’t accept as many review requests as we used to on our blog. For my part, I don’t like the pressure to read to a schedule anyway and, as you say, there are SO MANY requests. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by accepting a bunch. Also, many authors and/or publicists clearly haven’t read anything about our blog–not our review policy, not our names! I don’t like the idea of being asked to read someone’s 400-page novel and provide an in-depth critique of it when they can’t read a few paragraphs of my review policy. I understand a lot probably do mass e-mails and don’t personalize, but it may be worth trying to tailor some review requests to get more favorable results.

    Finally, I used to politely respond to every review request, but a not insignificant number of authors got pushy and would not take “no” for an answer, so now I just ignore requests I’m not interested in. Some will persist and send eight e-mails asking if I got their previous e-mails, but it just seems like people take being ignored less personally than getting a polite rejection. They can’t really yell at me if I’m not engaging! But experiences like that also made me move away from getting involved with a bunch of review requests.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was actually surprised to see so many comments say such similar things. I thought in the past bloggers were having better experiences with this, but perhaps something has changed in the industry.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a review policy that says I do not accept review requests, but I get them anyway via email. 99% of the time I say no. I am signed up with TLC Tours and I like doing their review tours.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting topic! I do get review requests, and I mostly just ignore them at this point. It astonishes me when the person sending the request clearly hasn’t done even the most cursory look at what I do and don’t review. This is a good reminder that I should update my review policy. At this point, I have about all I can handle just trying to keep up with my NetGalley books. I really don’t need to add to the pile! (But it’s nice to hear that you’ve ended up finding books you love this way!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We closed to indie review requests years ago, though people still email us. It’s too overwhelming, and I hate directly emailing the author the review if I didn’t love the book. I did write on our policy page that I would be open to requests from traditional publishers, but I’ve only very recently, like in the last year or so, actually been contacted by people representing HarperCollins, Little Brown, etc., and I do occasionally accept some of their books to review. I much prefer to work with the PR department than directly with an author.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, I’m selective. I get some offers, and have accepted the ones which seem to be a good fit for me – and they usually are. However, I’ve had some where I can tell that the author or publicist really hasn’t even looked at my blog because they are so far away from the kind of thing I read. And they have occasionally persisted which I think is rude because at the end of the day I’m reading what I like and writing about it in my free time – this isn’t a job! I definitely nowadays refuse more than I accept, because I have so many books to read. However, the weirdest one I had was someone this week offering to write content for my blog for free on subjects like fashion, influencing, health etc. FFS! I ignored it and they even sent a chaser. Bizarre!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t get many unsolicited review requests. I do accept some of them if the book sounds as though I’d like it, but even so I’ve had mixed results. Some books I’ve enjoyed and others I haven’t – it’s a bit of a lottery. So these days I try to be more careful. Like you I’ve had requests for reviews from publicists who have read my reviews and suggest books that match my tastes. I do not review self-published books, or accept books directly from authors – far too awkward if I don’t like a book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, not all self-published books are equal, to be honest. Some of my favorite authors now self-publish their works, but they did go the traditional way to begin with, so it isn’t like they aren’t talented.

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  10. I don‘t get many requests and mostly I reject them—mostly they don‘t seem to be good matches to my current reading preferences. Plus I am badly overbooked with buddy reads and Netgalley. I don‘t want people to be left hanging for long, if I accept a request and I just can‘t make that happen at the moment.

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  11. Just via net galley, as I can pick a book thats in one of my preferred genres. I’ve only been blogging less than a year, but have received a couple of review requests. I haven’t accepted any of them yet, as they’re not my genres, so I feel it would be unfair to the author. I did review a local authors book as a favour, even though it wasn’t my genre. I tried to emphasise the things I liked, but also mentioned bits I wasn’t fussed on. They haven’t been in touch with me since.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If someone tries to tell me that I will ‘love’ their book, it usually leads to a refusal. I want to make up my own mind without heavy marketing. I reject an awful lots of books – typos in the submission, typos in the ‘look inside’ option on Amazon. Cheap nasty book covers (indicates may also be no money spent of editing and proofreading). The list goes on…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting topic! I really want to be open for requests but, I do this for MY enjoyment and I really don’t want to make time to read something I probably wont like. Im behind enough is writing reviews for books I choose! 🤣 I cant imagine making time for ones I didn’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I receive so many unsolicited requests! I hate to tell people no, so it’s hard! I would say 90% of them are way out of my preferred genre range. I prefer to work with publishers. I’ve only accepted a handful of requests from individuals. I prefer to search out my own reads on Netgalley because I’m sooo picky. I dread giving less than enthusiastic reviews and vet books carefully!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I loved seeing your take on these questions! It baffles me that authors will send unsolicited requests without looking at anything about you – your blog, your review policy, your Goodreads, anything. What makes them think they will get a review (or a good review for that matter) if they pitch you something you’re not likely to enjoy?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Davida – it’s a great subject, although it’s also a touchy topic. I don’t accept requests for reviews, ever. I used to, but I didn’t enjoy the time pressure to read something I might not be interested in and I also felt awkward communicating with the authors. Now I just pay attention to what books are out there and try to read a few indie books a year.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I only accept hard copy books as print is my preferred medium. I prefer to be asked fIrst rather than just be sent books out of the blue, but I am quite overwhelmed at present so am thinking of cutting back even more on what I accept.

    Sometimes I ignore email requests (le don’t even respond) if a) they are from non-Australian sources as I only accept requests for Aussie books (with a few exceptions) and/or b) they are self-published and/or c) they are genres I don’t read. My time is too precious to reply to those who clearly have not taken the trouble to read my policy let alone blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I accept very few review requests, but I’ve been pretty happy with the few I’ve read this year. For me the key is a request email that is really tailored to my blog’s interests (complimenting something specific on my blog doesn’t hurt!) but most importantly, it needs to be a book I could see choosing for myself. I also do a little independent research on the book, maybe even looking at a sample if available. Like you, I used to read a lot more of these requests, now I have more than enough I want to read of my own choice and from NetGalley. But I do appreciate the opportunity once in a while to support a less well known author.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I usually don’t accept review requests. I will sometimes take a look at the book, and as you said, often it is way outside my genre interests. A few times early on I accepted review requests directly from an author or an author’s representative, and those times I found the works to be pretty bad. I reviewed them anyway, and in one case the author got mad at me. I haven’t had an unequivocally good experience with accepting a review request, which is why I usually don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I used to get them, but I haven’t for a while. I say no to all except I would help out a fellow writer IFF they would also review one of mine. Mostly that’s not the case though, and I don’t want to feel obligated to finish a book I may hate!

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