I often judge a book before I even lay eyes on its cover.
During the last four years of reading review requests at Novel Escapes, particularly after accepting self-published novels (as well as those who tried to sneak in before we nudged that door open) I noticed a few things, particularly…
Time and effort in a book review pitch almost always translates into a well written and polished novel.
Here are some suggestions on how to create a fabulous review pitch based on what has flown into the Novel Escapes inbox over the years.
- Put your title, name, and ‘review request’ or similar in the subject line.
- Write all the pertinent information within your email, including your name, a blurb about you, your book title and synopsis, and anything else you think is appropriate.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Be professional, yet personal.
- Portray your novel’s tone and style within the email.
- Personalize the email like you would a job cover letter. Tailor it to each blogger you pitch.
- Include a salutation: A blanket “hello” with no names, earns you 1 point. No salutation, 0 points and using our names? Priceless. Using my name, or one of our bloggers or even “Novel Escapes ladies” tells me you’ve researched our site. You know we’re a team of reviewers. Would you go to an interview without researching the company? You would? Okay, then. Off you go. Good luck.
- Include a link to your novel on Amazon. This saves me time, which I will heart you for. And don’t think I won’t search your book on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you don’t add the link. I seriously vet every self-published novel that finds its way to our inbox, reading the first chapter of each one to ensure high quality.
- Be patient if you do not receive an immediate response. For many of us, book blogging is done in our spare time around jobs and family commitments.
- Even if you receive a negative review, an email saying thank you for your time and the thoughtful review or some such comment is nice, but not mandatory. Or comment on the review itself. We love this.
- Number one book blogger pet peeve: Pitching your book on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. This is a serious faux pas. Take the time and pitch properly. For me, personally, if you’re lazy in this regard I might wonder what else you’re being lazy about.
- Refrain from emailing your entire novel without acceptance. It gunks up my inbox and makes me grouchy.
- Ditto with photos. A PR sheet is fine (and should include your cover anyway.)
- Avoid faulty links.
- Refrain from asking to review more than one novel in an email. This taunts my organizational skills (this may just be me.)
- Don’t sound like Bridget Jones when your novel is serious, and vice versa.
- Do not expect an immediate reply – or any reply if we are declining your pitch here at Novel Escapes. Do your research and read the review policy. Check it frequently if you are delaying your review request. They do change from time to time.
- Control your irritation if we won’t review your novel. Don’t reply and argue why we should. (Novel Escapes True Story)
- Stomp down and crush any thoughts of responding negatively to a negative review. Google Emily Griffin and negative review as an example. Better yet, just don’t even think about it.
- Avoid requesting us to review a genre we have no interest in or explicitly state we will not review. This happens more frequently than you would think.
- Shove the desire to send multiple emails if you don’t hear back from us within a few days off a cliff.
- Do *NOT* state I can just use “this” review if we “don’t have time.” (Novel Escapes True Story)
- Don’t expect a review to happen immediately. We are typically booked at least a couple of months in advance.
- Avoid mass emails with one sentence and a link to Amazon.
- Avoid mass emails. Period.
I don’t often decline novels solely based on a pitch – although I have, particularly those falling in the last two don’ts mentioned. Put some effort into it. First impressions run deep, and you want to grab attention and start off on the right foot. Don’t you?