Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Blogging Etiquette: What to Do When Authors/Publishers Don't Read Your Policy

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As a blogger you'll soon notice that especially self-published authors and small presses will reach out to you and ask you to review their books.

Some of them, but not all send mass emails to every blogger they can find. But are we supposed to do when we get emails like that?

Just ignore them? Here's what I do to prevent this from happening and when it's already too late.

Quick Life Savers:

1. Write a Bullet-proof Policy
You can conveniently refer to it if you get inquiries that aren't suitable for your blog.

2. Add Subject Headlines
In order to avoid getting mails that aren't relevant to your interests (aka spam mail from people who don't even read your blog), state in your policy that the subject headline has to be something specific.

3. Be Selective About Replies
The best case scenario would be to reply to each and every request you get, but mostly it's just a waste of time. I suggest you don't even open emails with multiple recipients.

If you've already received an inquiry...

You can either do it like me and just don't reply/ waste your time on people who didn't even bother to read your policy - or you prepare a generic response. I prefer to be honest and tell people when I don't think collaboration is something that I'd consider.

I have generic responses for the cases that:
  • The person clearly hasn't read my policy
  • I'm not interested in the book
  • I don't have time for another review copy
In any other case I just write up a new mail myself. I definitely suggest that you should at least reply to every serious inquiry you get, even thought it's just to say thanks, but no thanks.

I know it can get annoying to receive dozens of the same mails, I state perfectly clear in my policy that I don't read erotica and am not a fan of historical romance, still the majority of my inquiries seem to be exactly this.

If you have to say no...

  • Be objective. If you don't like something, don't say it. 
I've noticed that it isn't a very good idea to tell people that you don't think you'd like their book. Yes you are a blogger and are usually expected to give your honest opinion, but when replying to inquiries it's very easy to step on someone's toes. 
That is exactly where I know that I've made the decision to decline if someone tries to argue with me. I've actually had an author argue with me declining their book once since I have read, reviewed and liked another book that they thought was similar to theirs. 

Solution: Just say the book doesn't fit into the concept of your blog.
  • Refer to your policy
Especially when people try to argue with you. If you don't like something, add that to the list of things you don't read in your policy.

Everyone has their own takes on this, but you should never be passive-aggressive about it. I know it can get super annoying to get the same mails all the time, but always be respectful and professional.

Further Reading: 
How To Write a Review Policy
How To Decline An Inquiry by an Author or Publisher Politely

What do you do when you get offered to review books and have to decline?

More Etiquette:
(#1) Don't Steal Content and Learn to Credit

You might want to check out my Book Blogging Tips series:

See All

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