Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I Want to Know

Welcome to TNBBC's "What I Want To Know" - a mini series of sorts that will hopefully answer some of the questions and quiet some of the concerns I know fellow bloggers, authors, and publishers have regarding how to choose a reviewer or book to review, review etiquette, how to pitch and be pitched.. among other things.

Last week, we heard from the publishers and authors on what they are looking for in a reviewer. Today, I am turning the tables and asking book bloggers:

What do you look for in a review pitch? What catches your attention?
What turns you off?

Here's what the bloggers had to say:

"I have all of my authors or publishers fill out the same information when requesting a review, so it's not necessarily about how they approach it, it's more the content they supply. I will immediately disqualify a book if the synopsis is sloppy (ie: full of grammatical errors or basic spelling errors.) My thought is... If they are unable to write a proper synopsis, chances are their novel is just as sloppy. I also have them submit their cover art, which is an instant attention getter or turn off. (I hate to say that we judge a book by its cover, but that's life.) I do not disqualify because of bad presentation, but I will mention it in my review." - Misty Baker, KindleObsessed.com

"A big turnoff would be if it was a genre that I don't read. My review policy is pretty accessible on my blog, so I'd be a little annoyed if they didn't bother to check. If I'm a big enough deal to warrant a pitch, check the review policy. I'd definitely notice if it were by an author I like (or had been mentioned/given a blurb by an author I like). I'm definitely one of those people who will try something new if an author I read said the book is good. A synopsis would be important, obviously, and if the book were by a new author, probably a comparison to similar authors." - Kelly Hager, Kellyvision.wordpress.com

"I prefer something that is clearly thoughtful and at least somewhat personalized demonstrating WHY I might like this book or why this book would be a good fit for my blog and the readers of my blog. I work in marketing, and I'm not an idiot, so I know when you have just copy and pasted the same message to everyone. Having a template for a review request is fine but at least know my name and what our blog is about. A picture of the cover will catch my attention as well as a succinct summary of the book including the genre, the reading level and the page number. I like when you tell me what authors or books it might be similar to so that I can get a feel for it and that shows thoughtfulness to the fact that you've seen what types of books I enjoy. One thing that turned me off was an author sending me a long summary and then a half page worth of quotes from other people telling me how AWESOME the book is. I do not care what other people think. Maybe one or two but a half page? Particularly when it could be made-up quotes that you and your family sat around at a table and constructed. No thanks, tacky authors." - Jamie Bennett, PerpetualPageTurner.blogspot.com

Bloggers LOVE getting pitched for books. We enjoy knowing that our blog is catching someone's attention, that the reviews we are writing are being read, and that authors and publishers out there are paying attention.

And when a publisher or author matches their book to our taste, it's a win/win for everyone!

I especially love to get pitches from authors who are friends with, or have read with, other authors that I have previously reviewed on my blog. I find some of my favorite indie literature that way.

I prefer seeing my name at the top of the email pitch, instead of the generic "Dear ," and if they mention my blog in there somewhere, I at least know they took a minute to check it out and learn who I am and what I read. That bumps you up on the consideration scale!

If you link me to the book, I will definitely check it out, so don't feel you have to summarize it or copy and paste the blurb into the pitch. I'd rather get an idea of what you are like, what you are looking for from me, and what I can do to assist getting the word out. I may not choose to read the book myself, so it helps me to know if you are willing to free up a few copies for a giveaway on the blog to try to generate interest for you.

There are so many things that publishers and authors do right when they pitch bloggers. And we all so grateful for making these books available for us to review, and for taking us seriously.

Keep our suggestions in mind the next time you pitch a blogger, and we look forward to working more closely with you in the future.

So what did you think?

Did Misty, Kelly, and Jamie do a fair job letting the authors and publishers know what bloggers are looking for in a review pitch? Was there something you didn't see that you want to share? Is there something that the publishers and authors are doing well that you want to commend them on? Comment here to get the discussion going. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Now that we've discussed what authors and publishers look for in a reviewer, and we've seen what bloggers look for in a pitch, next week we will take a look at how authors and publishers decide who they will pitch for a review.

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