Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review Pitches: Sometimes I love them, sometimes I don't

Let me start off by saying I love, love, love to read. That's one of the reasons I started this blog. Each new book is an adventure. Sure the jacket copy can give you some clues, but you never know the full story until you read it. So what I'm about to say is not meant as an attack on authors or publicists. I have great respect for what authors and publicists do, so much that I'm going to grad school to learn about book publishing. But it has to be said there is a right way and a wrong way to pitch to a book blogger.

This post is not meant to single any author or publicist out. In nearly two years of blogging, I've received too many review pitches to count. I've said yes to these pitches more often than not. The ones I decline are simply because I don't think a particular book is right for me or I just don't have the time. Now, there have been many times when I simply ignored an e-mail pitch. Ninety-nine percent of the time I ignore one because the pitch was just plain awful. The other one percent is simply because I forgot about the pitch, sorry sometimes I get a little forgetful.

Normally, when I receive a pitch about a book I'm ...

ECSTATIC!! Yes, I get a little excited when I'm pitched what could potentially be a great book. But then sometimes I get a pitch that leaves me a little.....

Steamed!!! Increasingly, I have received pitches that have left me a little steamed. Again, this post is not meant to single out any author or publicist. But I feel I have reached a boiling point and something has to be said.

Here is an actual pitch I received. The person will remain nameless.

"Subject Line: Review Request of xx book
Please find attached a copy of the book. It is presently available on I'd appreciate it if you could leave a review there, or anywhere else you might review."

Now I have received several pitches like this, and I just can't ignore it anymore.

The subject line alone of this e-mail implied to me that this particular person was asking me to consider a book for review. But upon reading the e-mail I'm basically being told here is an e-copy of the book and post your review on or anywhere I might post reviews. There was no description of the book in the e-mail. There was a picture of the cover and the title seemed to suggest it was a mystery novel. But I have no idea because the information wasn't provided. There were no links to the author's site (if you don't have one that's Ok, but you really should have one), to articles or other links to other reviews. I can easily look the book up, but I shouldn't be doing that. An e-mail pitch is supposed to entice me or sell me on the idea of the book. To do that, information about the book should be included in the pitch. You can't assume everyone will want to review your book without some basic information. Instead, I simply ignored this pitch because it was highly presumptuous. 

"Dear Jael, dear blogger, dear Bookangel, Hello Jael, Hello blogger or Hello Bookangel," followed by a simple summary of the book, links, and picture of the cover will suffice when pitching to me. Other bloggers might want to be addressed by their name only, but everything else I said is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow.

Forgive me if I'm rambling, but I have to break this down even further. My name is Jael. I didn't see that anywhere in this e-mail. In fairness to this person, my name, until recently, was not listed under my contact info. It is on the page now, just in case someone has a problem. It isn't that hard to find out my name. People who follow me on Twitter or found my site through it know my name. But in this case, I will take the hit for someone not knowing my name. However, if you don't know my name I'm not offended if a pitch e-mail starts off with, "Dear blogger or Dear Bookangel." I also don't mind the form pitches that big publishing houses send out. Why? Because often those pitches are full of information not just on the particular book or books in the pitch, but also on upcoming projects. Now, don't get it twisted. I don't apply different rules if a pitch comes from a big publishing house. I review books by self-published authors, too.

If you've been reading my blog regularly, you know I'm unemployed at the moment. Yes, I have more free time. But during the week, a lot of my time is spent researching and looking for a job. I have applied and been accepted to grad school, but the process took some of my focus away from reading. I do like to read, but my days aren't consumed by reading. Blogging and reading is done in my spare time. I don't get paid to do this, and for someone to assume I'm going to review a book based on a THREE-SENTENCE PITCH is a little rude and insulting.

Please try to see this from the prospective of a blogger. Would you like it if someone made assumptions on what you should do with your FREE TIME? Again, if you're an author or publicist please don't get offended by this. If you have a great book, most likely I'm going to say yes because I love to read. But there is a right way and a wrong way to pitch a book to a blogger. A three-sentence pitch will never cut it.

Thank you!! Happy reading!!

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