1. Authors and publishers must realize that a book reviewer is doing them a favor. Book reviews are some of the best publicity in the world, and reviewers perform a valuable service. If you don’t agree, go spend a few thousand dollars on print advertising and see what I mean. Above all else, respect the reviewer’s time and opinion.
2. Know your genre! And don’t be upset if the reviewer doesn’t accept your genre. We all have our likes and dislikes. For example, please don’t try to submit a BDSM book to a “clean romance” reviewer. Everyone is allowed to enjoy what they want. Just move on to the next reviewer. Use our genre index to easily find the reviewers who will accept your book.
3. Even if you get a negative review, you should accept it as valuable feedback. Not everyone is going to like your book. It is never appropriate to berate or attack a reviewer over a negative review. Google the negative publicity that author Alice Hoffman received when she decided to attack a Boston Globe critic by calling her a “moron” following a tepid review of her novel The Story Sisters. Do not stalk or harass a reviewer that gives you a bad review. It’s petty, and it may come back to haunt you.
4. If your book is unedited or full of typos, then you shouldn’t be contacting reviewers in the first place. Nobody wants to read an unedited manuscript.
5. Don’t expect a reviewer to pay for a review copy. They are giving you FREE publicity, and the least you can do is pay for the review copy and the postage.
6. If you would like the reviewer to host a giveaway or a contest, that’s fine, but the reviewer should NOT have to pay for postage or the giveaway copies. Once again, this is a book promotion tool, and the reviewer is doing you a favor. You can either reimburse the reviewer for the postage costs (via PayPal or some other method), or you can send the “contest winners” their copies yourself. And don’t be a flake—if you ask a reviewer to host a contest, make sure you have copies to give away. If the reviewer prefers to mail out the copies herself, then that is fine. Either way, give the reviewer the option and let her decide.
7. Don’t bug a reviewer endlessly about your review once you have sent the book. Reviewers are busy, and many of them get dozens of review requests every week. If they give you an estimate such as “five to six weeks,” then it is appropriate to ask politely after that time period has passed.
8. Many reviewers will request a synopsis of the book to see if they like the subject matter. Be prepared to provide this, and make sure the synopsis is free of typos or other grammatical errors. When I get an e‐mail from an author that is full of errors, I usually just delete it. Do you need help crafting a review request? Check out our new review request letters section (next).
9. Always visit the reviewer’s website and read the submission guidelines before you submit your review request. All reviewers are different. Some want a chapter. Some want a few sentences. Some just want a link so they can review the description themselves. Tailor your review request to each reviewer, and you’ll have much better luck getting some free publicity.
10. A quick thank you note to the reviewer is a nice touch, whether the review is positive or not. Also, once a positive review is posted, make sure you visit the blog and leave a comment. Reviewers like followers, so mention that you’ve followed their blog. They also really enjoy hearing an author’s response. It shows professionalism and class.