Unsolicited review requests #bookbloggers #authors

As a busy book blogger, I receive many review requests on a daily basis. Most are polite, many are obvious just ‘feeling’ out the process. I try to answer each and every one.

Also, like most busy book bloggers, I have a Review Policy clearly stated on my blog.

Today I got an email that I found unsettling.

I won’t name the author who sent it, but his email reads as follows:

As the publisher and writer of **********, this is to advise
that I’ll be sending you a Kindle ebook.  (Kindle gift voucher link attached)

Lately, I’ve been receiving more and more emails that seem to assume I should be overjoyed to read his/her book.  At my wits end, and as this email was for a book that I had NO interest in reading, my reply was thus:

Dear *******,

Please take the time to read my Review Policy.

Perhaps in future you would be better served by ‘asking‘ permission before sending along an Amazon gift voucher.  Many bloggers, such as myself, are very busy.  Right now I have close to 200 review commitments. I can only read around 100 titles a year, so that puts me TWO YEARS behind.  I hope you understand.

I appreciate that you sent along an Amazon gift voucher, but I will not be redeeming it. Perhaps you could get it refunded and send it to another reviewer who really wants to read your book.

Thanks for your email, but I found it rather presumptuous.
Best of luck with your novel.

His immediate response?

A simple “no” would suffice.

Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a book blogger.  Am I wrong to expect authors and publishers to read my Review Policy?  Should I just have replied ‘no’, as this author suggested? I thought I was being polite by explaining myself.  Looking back at my reply, it does sound a little terse.  That’s what happens when you are taking the time to write your sixth ‘no’ in one sitting.

Oh, well, it seems you can’t please all of the people all of the time…

Do YOU get unsolicited review requests?

Do YOU answer each and every one?

Should I grow a thicker skin?

Should I have just not answered him?

What about Amazon Gift vouchers? Do you just accept them all?

I felt that I couldn’t accept it if I had no intention of reading his self-published book.  Looking back, I think if he had worded his request differently, I might have at least considered it…

Oh, the mighty power of words.

 All support and/or constructive criticism greatly appreciated.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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95 Responses to Unsolicited review requests #bookbloggers #authors

  1. You went above and beyond – most authors )I hope) do not have such an entitlement attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. luvtoread says:

    Oh my word!! I think your response was amazing. Clear and instructive! One wonders how the author would’ve responded if you had disliked the book…
    I’m really bad at responding to review requests, and most of the time don’t respond at all. Many times I’ll get a request that sounds like an interesting read, but they want a review too soon, or I’m too backed up with reviews. When I do respond with a no, I try to make my emails as brief and direct as possible. I feel like I’m being rude, but I don’t want to give the author false hope, and I don’t want to have to deal with multiple emails about a book I have no intention of ever reading.
    I really loved your response and thought it was great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the supportive comment. I wish I had been more able to say no back when I first started blogging. I’m still working on a backlog of review commitments for books that I’m not that eager to read anymore. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that actually happens? I’m really new to the game and haven’t had the “privilege” of that yet. I hope it does some day so I can turn them down as tactfully as you did! I really enjoyed your post! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Honestly, I’m hit or miss on whether or not I reply. The thing is, I never want to be rude, but every time I reply with a “I’m afraid I just don’t have time”, it opens up a conversation where I wind up having to repeat myself or I end up giving in with no intent of ever reading it. I have a hard enough time saying no the first time (just because “no” is a hard thing for me). So, I frequently just don’t reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ‘no reply’ approach seems to be a popular one with book bloggers it seems. I do try to reply and have several standard replies that I copy and paste (cheating I know). However, that being said, as the requests are now coming in fast and furious, I think I might choose the ‘no reply’ method myself.


  5. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins says:

    Where DO people like that find their confidence?? They should bottle it and sell it from a market stall, they’d make a killing. I respond to every review request, but I always make a point of asking them why they think their book would be a good fit for my blog – the ones who are spammy and self-interested either don’t answer, or come up with a vague “Well, because you like books”, and that settles that. I rarely take review requests, but I’m far more inclined to agree to one where the person has politely and genuinely reached out, having read my blog and clearly understanding my approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sheree – I like your style. I don’t think a lot of authors have even a remote idea of what a book blogger puts into a book review. There is not only the time reading (which should be enjoyable so some people say that doesn’t count), but also the time spent writing the review, then polishing it, then publishing it, then posting the review on NetGalley, Edelweiss, Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, etc. etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. YES! thank you and amen. I get many review requests as well and as a rule none have read my review policy page, specifically regarding genres I will NOT read. I’ve also gotten the presumptuous ones. I do, however, save them so I can sit down and really read their notes, particularly if they are polite. As you, there is no way I can read them all, nor do I have any interest in reading all new authors all the time. There is occasionally one that piques my interest, but I try to answer all requests (and nice when I get a polite response). Ones like this one? They obviously didn’t learn a thing, did they.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. bibliobeth says:

    Ugh Lynne this is difficult isn’t it? I do try to respond to review requests, especially if they’re polite and nice but lately I have to admit I’ve been ignoring them. I get frustrated that it quite clearly states on my policy I’m closed to review requests and I totally understand if they want to “try their luck,” but when they’re being presumptuous or don’t approach you in the right way it makes it far harder! ☹️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. erindecker13 says:

    I hate getting emails titled “Dear Reviewer”. It would be nice for authors to try to put as much time into finding out information about me and my blog before I put in a huge time commitment to their book.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve never had an unsolicited review request. I think my blog will have to be a bit more popular first.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alexandra says:

    I assume offers like this to be a “phising” expedition for me to click on a fake link, and consign them to the spam folder. I also took down my review policy, and no longer actively seek to review. I got tired of being inundated by idiots who’ve written an ebook that isn’t even properly formatted, especially since in my Review Policy I said NO ebooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting Alexandra. You are the second person to comment that they have taken down their review policy. Having NO review policy is I guess preferable to having one that people don’t read. LOL I have just updated mine and hope that most folk will take the time to actually read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. B Lostinacoulee says:

    I have seen a few requests or emails from authors that have left me shocked. That one is shocking. lol We only reply to the requests we accepted and I feel no obligation to answer the ones we are not interested in. I don’t know if that is right or nice or not. I always feel like I only need to know what people are interested in not what they are not.

    The one that we received that shocked me the most was an author asking the Traveling Sisters to review her book and she send us a link to purchase it on Amazon. I deleted it and ignored it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, ha. I think I got that same email. Actually I think I’ve received three different ones that included a link to Amazon so that I could buy it myself and then review it. Gobsmacked! The presumptuousness of some people!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. ron877 says:

    I answer almost all my requests in a polite way … except for one. The author asked me to review a book I had reviewed. I didn’t bother to send him the links but I did send him a recommendation to at least be aware of reviews he had received. He replied by saying I should be aware of how busy he was. It took a lot of effort to resist being sucked into a discussion spiral that might have gone nasty.

    No one has sent me an unsolicited voucher and I would have been offended to receive one. Even if the book interested me, I would not review it because I don’t like the feeling that I had been “forced by kindness” to do it.

    Next project: A review policy. I like it and can’t believe I haven’t done it yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Ron. I loved your term “forced by kindness”. I feel we often feel pressured into reviewing books we really don’t want to read or review for this very reason. As to your author who you had ALREADY reviewed – sometimes you do have to just stand back and not pursue the discussion further. Well done you!
      Good luck with composing your new Review Policy and thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Scott Nagele says:

    As an independently published author, I’m sorry you had to deal with this. Authors should be rewarded for professionalism and the quality of their work, not how pushy they can be. I don’t think you need to give him another thought. I would encourage you to forget about it and get back to the parts of your blogging that bring you joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Scott. You are right. If it hadn’t been for the Amazon ‘gift’, I would probably have deleted his email and forgotten it. I do try to support authors, independently published authors and those who are published by renown publishing houses. I was surprised to check his book on Goodreads and it had quite a high rating. (4.28 rating with 656 people rating) I can only assume his fiction writing is superior to his people skills. LOL


  14. I just don’t reply anymore. My review policy clearly says I’m not accepting review requests just now and that if they want a guest slot and I don’t reply within 48 hours, I don’t have space or their book doesn’t appeal. I used to feel bad mannered not replying but if people haven’t bothered to read the policy or have just ignored it, well too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Norrie says:

    Ugh, some people! Seriously, what’s wrong with them?
    I had a review policy that said I’m currently not accepting books. It was ignored all the time, so i had to remove my contact page completely 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Beth Tabler says:

    I have received a few like that. Also, I get “Dear Reviewer” which I can’t stand. It is a commitment on both sides of the equation. At least look up my name first, it is not like it is hard to find.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Either Dear Reviewer or no salutation whatsoever like my email – they are both inadequate in my opinion. What they are asking for is a commitment of time. We might get a free book, but if it is one we have no desire to read, a blogger would not be true to themselves if they spent 6 hours reading it, then another couple hours writing the review, then more time promoting the review on social media. Would THEY do all that work for someone who couldn’t even be bothered to find out who they are? At the very least they can find out who we are and what our review policies say.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t have a review policy posted and am currently declining requests for review from new to me authors, though I will do blog tours. I send a short and direct decline and that seems to work effectively. However, I do not respond to requests that are not sent to me using my name (they tend to be blast emails to lots of people) or through my blog contact form.

    As for that Amazon gift? If you have no plans to read the book, definitely don’t accept it. And, I wouldn’t worry about his issues in redeeming it. You didn’t ask for it and didn’t accept it. His problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I took down my contact form on my blog and the emails I still get (through Amazon although I thought my email address was not public) are mostly for genres that are completely not the type of novels I read. I sometimes reply but sometimes don’t, it depends on how nice and personal the mail is. If I see it’s a standard thing I don’t really bother.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Carol says:

    Thanks for sharing! It’s always interesting and helpful to know how other review bloggers handle these issues!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. nsfordwriter says:

    How awful and pushy! Sorry you have had that experience.
    I don’t state anywhere that I accept requests, nor do I have an email address on my blog. I’ve had 2 DMs on Twitter and I just replied that the books were not the genre I read (which was true).

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I don’t think there was anything wrong with your reply at all, in fact he was being very presumptuous. I have a review policy and fortunately don’t get too many requests these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I get so many every day! Just assuming you want to read their book. Now I have a auto answer that just says “We are not accepting review requests at this time, please have your publisher contact us after 2019”. The ones who just sent you the book to download, I just delete. I get thousands of emails a day and I don’t have time for people who really just batch mail out requests.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. If they queried agents, in the same manner, my guess is, they self-published. I’ve read wonderful, carefully crafted fiction by self-published authors, but the remainder . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Shalini says:

    I get requests and some I reply which interests me and since I was down with flu, I have a huge backlog so now I don’t reply.. I have weird requests of poetry and war books and past life regression. My head hurts thinking about it. So I don’t reply. I have mentioned that in my review policy that I will reply to books which interest me

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m currently not accepting new review requests and have this stated on my review policy page. Thankfully, most authors seem to take notice of this and I get few requests these days, although like you I do try to respond to each of them if only to politely decline (unless they’re clearly generic in which case I just delete). As well as being presumptuous, sending an Amazon voucher seems most unwise on the part of the author since I would think it would fall foul of Amazon’s community guidelines by suggesting payment for the review and a connection between you and the author.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. So sorry you had to face this.

    The author was way out of line, and it would have been ok to simply not respond.

    I don’t know why people forget that the same courtesies we extend offline, need to followed online.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Courtesy means everything to me because it denotes respect. I think I would just have deleted it were it not for the Amazon gift included.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. We need to give and expect respect in online life just as we do offline.

        I recently wrote about how strangers friend me on Facebook and then immediately DM to ask for likes and to buy their jewelry, books, etc. No attempt at interaction, and then they do not request, they order to you to do stuff for them.

        Your post resonated with me. I hope these authors, who give others a bad name, stop doing this.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. M T McGuire says:

    Well, there’s an author who sounds like a total spoon! I confess I haven’t applied to a review blog in years, mainly because these days the best ones are so busy – as you demonstrate – that it’s all a little too similar to the trad querying process, but I do follow review blogs and have discovered many good reads from them and hugely appreciate the time and effort people like you put in. I despair at the behaviour of some of my fellow authors. Is it so difficult for them to follow the guidelines? And to be so pissy after you sent a very reasonable reply.

    Ho hum. Idiots are everywhere.



    Liked by 2 people

  28. yvonnembee says:

    I have a contact form that actually states that I am not open to requests, I should take it down really

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvonnembee says:

      God my fat thumbs hit the wrong button before I’d finished.
      So I should take the form down really… But it makes me laugh when I receive a message that goes along the line of… I know you not accepting, but I think you will love this book… 🙄 😂
      If a request comes via my blog I tend to ignore, unless it’s an author I’ve read before. If a direct email I do occasionally respond and decline.
      I always tt to be polite even though my basic point on reviews has been ignored.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Why take it down Yvonne? It sounds like a sound idea to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. marypicken says:

    I think we all get them, wrong genre, wrongly addressed, not bothered to read review policy. I used to feel bad and try and answer them all, now it’s only to those who have taken the trouble to be relevant. I thought your reply was fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. bwreviews says:

    Your email was perfectly polite! Polite, but firm. It’s an email I would send, honestly. We don’t get many review requests here, but I get them all over my various platforms. It’s flattering, but annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Reviewerlady says:

    I always reply. I would never accept a gift voucher. If it’s not my kind of read, I say so and suggest the check out The Book Blogger List if they are looking for reviewers/blogger. The vast majority reply with a ‘thank you’.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. carhicks says:

    Yes, I also receive unsolicited review requests. I do reply to them all. Sometimes, the book piques my interest and I say that I will read and review but will not commit to a timeline. If that is okay with them, then send it along. Sometimes I say no with a brief reason, such as not my genre choice, too many commitments already etc. I have not received unsolicited kindle vouchers though. I think your response was fine. This author needs a thicker skin. Enjoy the rest of your day Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. There’s nothing to beat yourself up about. You took the time to not only reply, but explain your reasons for being unable to review. When I was a self-published author, approaching bloggers for the first time, I took the time to read their blogs and follow them for a while, getting to know if they were interested in my kind of book. I read their review policies, and when I emailed them I made sure to make it clear that I KNEW their blog (and used their name, which is only basic courtesy!). My message ASKED if they would be interested in my book, gave a (very) brief outline, and then thanked them for taking the time to read the message, and that if they weren’t interested in my book I totally understood because they are busy, and not every book is for every person. Authors have to appreciate that bloggers do all of this reading and spreading book love in their spare time. The fact that you do this is incredible! xx

    Liked by 3 people

  34. I get quite a few unsolicited requests, it does irk me when some don’t even take the time to find out what my name is and address the email to Dear Hooked. I think personally that the best thing to do is just to ignore the ones that aren’t of interest, or who clearly haven’t taken the time to read the review policy. An email that shows that the author has taken time to find a bit about us certainly does go a long way, and I will always try and reply to those ones. I’ve been threatened by an author in the past when I’ve responded to a review request that I’m not interested in so it isn’t something I do any more, and I’m very careful now about who I respond to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Threatened… really? How awful! Makes my little problem pale into insignificance. I think I might have just clicked the delete button on this one if it hadn’t been for the Amazon gift link included. I imagine getting your self-published book reviewed is quite challenging, but I do think the author needed to hone his requests with a little background research and some courtesy.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. I’m so impressed that you answer every unsolicited (arg!) submission and email, and I thought your answer was not only as honorable and correct as it could possibly be, but also more gracious than such a presumptuous “gift” deserves. In this era of time and attention being the most precious commodities in all our lives, that author’s message was the equivalent if those loud, annoying video ads that pop up in the middle of the thing you’re reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I have to say I thought your email was polite, you COULD have just said no. You took your precious time for someone who clearly couldn’t be bothered to respect yours.
    I get very few unsolicited review requests. In fact, I think I’ve gotten only one from a marketing department who saw I reviewed a previous book from an author and offered me an ARC. I am not loud enough or big enough or whatever you need to be. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I’ve got a review policy but I still get a lot of requests that fall outside my interests. I’ve lost count of the number of ‘clean romance’ or ‘romcom’ books I’ve been asked to review. I never read romance novels – ever. I am polite and respond if people are polite to me. Thankfully I’ve never received a rude or assuming email!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I do get unsolicited emails like these, although my blog clearly states I’m not accepting review requests. Sometimes I’ll reply, sometimes I don’t. Once in a blue moon, I actually even make an exception. I try to be polite when I do reply and have luckily never received a reply like the one you have. That’s just rude and most definitely for me a reason never to work with that author.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Jen Lucas says:

    I get a lot of unsolicited requests and to be honest, don’t have time to answer them all. An less than no inclination to answer ones which aren’t even addressed to me. To be honest, I wrote in my review policy that I can only respond to requests I am going to accept so if they bother to read that then they will know. If they keep pestering, I know that they haven’t read my policy in which case I don’t feel remotely guilty about simply deleting the email.

    Maybe that sounds harsh but I work full time as well as blog so just don’t have time for hours of blogmin on top of everything else. I think you’ve been very polite and I do hate those – here is my book/link – emails as they are so rude. They get deleted without consideration as how do you know the link doesn’t contain a virus?

    I wouldn’t worry too much and just keep doing what you do. It’s more than enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Jen. ♥ I wish I was born without the ‘guilty’ gene as it seems to plague me relentlessly. I can learn a lot from experienced bloggers like yourself. I’m glad that it isn’t only me that considered his email ‘rude’ – I admit to being a little rude back to him…

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Mischenko says:

    I’ve received a few like that and simply don’t reply. It seems generic to me and I already stated that I’m not taking any requests at this time on my about page. Like you, I think it’s decent to reply to requests, but I don’t on those. Just my opinion. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I guess I have to learn to not take this stuff too personally. I’ll have to learn how to press that trusty ‘delete’ button more frequently.
      Thanks for sharing your opinion – I really appreciate it. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

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