Authors: How to Pitch Your Book to Bloggers

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

As a book blogger, I get lots of emails from authors, pitching their books to me, hoping I will read and review them on my blog. But I can’t read them all…

We book bloggers love books! We probably love yours, too. But alas, not all of us will love all of your books. Nor can we read all of the books that are offered to us. How can you get the best result out of your review requests?

Often, when I get an author email pitching their new book, I think by myself, “Why didn’t they mention this? Why didn’t they do that?”. But of course, authors can’t look into the minds of book bloggers. So, here are my suggestions for a beautiful author pitch. A good pitch makes me happy and makes it more likely I’ll want to read your book.

Make it personal

Send an email that mentions my name and preferably also my blog’s name.

Hi Judith,

My name is Peter Piper. I have a new book out and I wonder if you’d like to review it on Leeswammes’ Blog.

Good start, Peter! I don’t like impersonal messages that look like spam, sent to maybe a few hundred people at the same time. I may not even read on.

I’m special. Treat me that way!

Keep it special

Your book is special, too, isn’t it? I often get spammy emails from authors and that makes it look like they don’t value their book too much. You want just about anyone to review it? Don’t you care where your book ends up?

Send your email to selected bloggers only (see below). If you target your bloggers correctly, you are more likely to get positive reviews, too!

Refer to my Review Policy

Lots of book bloggers have review policies. Mine is HERE. It will tell you all about my “rules” – what genres do (and don’t) I read, whether I review every book that I’m sent (and within what time frame). Whether I accept e-books, etc.

We bloggers love it if you refer to our review policy.

I saw in your review policy that you like literary fiction and so I think you will enjoy My Book.

Tell me about the book

Give me a short description of the book. Something of the length that many publishers have on their websites. Also say when and where it will be available (and in what formats). Don’t forget to add a page/word count so I know what size of book I’m committing myself to. An excerpt (or a link to one) would be nice, so I can get an idea of your writing style.

Book description: It’s 1985. Aurelia’s parents are in Australia on an extended visit to her grandparents, and she and her brother have been left in the care of their crazy aunt Lillybet…

[and then some more].

The book will be published by [publisher] on July 23nd, 2012 in paperback. A digital version is already available here. 211 pages/ 80,000 words

Click here for an excerpt.

Give me a picture, too. A lot of my decision is based on the cover picture. If it looks good, I’m more likely to believe the book is good. So, attach a (small) picture to your email.

Tell me about you

short author bio is nice. Make it longer you have information that is interesting, quirky, or relevant to your book. Otherwise, this will do:

Peter Piper was born in Greenwich, London, and now lives in Glasgow with his wife, two sons and three guinea pigs. He works as a book seller in an indie book store.

My Book is his second book. His first book, A Grave Yard, was published in 2010 [link].

Link up!

I’d love a link to a website or an online book store. It makes the book more real to me. But never, ever, send me a link instead of the book information. I’m only going to click the link if I’m interested in the book already.

So, have you got a website? Is your book available via Amazon? Link to it. Give web addresses that go straight to your book so your reader doesn’t have to search for it.

Don’t attach the e-book

Please, don’t attach the e-book to your email. It embarrasses me. In case I decide I don’t want to read and review your book, what do I do? Delete your message? That means deleting your book. That’s not nice. I hate to throw books away, but you leave me no choice.

If I like the idea of the book, I will write back to you to ask for it. I promise.

Free books?

Don’t be tempted to think that book bloggers will accept just any free book. We love free books, but even if we like the idea of your book, we still need to make time to read it. Maybe we’re booked full for the next four months. Yes, many of us keep spreadsheets so we can keep track of the review books that we’re expecting or already have received.

We read a lot of review books, but we also like to read some books that caught our interest, but that haven’t been offered to us for review (Jane Austen doesn’t seem to pitch to bloggers, and also, I really, really want to read that new book by my favorite author that I bought last week). Usually we have between 50 and many hundreds of unread books on our shelves. So, don’t be insulted if we say “no” on this occasion.

Proofread your email before sending it

You can’t wait to get the book out to reviewers, but please take a moment to check whether you’ve made any spelling errors or grammatical errors in your pitch. Otherwise, you’ll have me wondering, if you can’t write an error-free email, what will your book be like?

Selecting those bloggers

Often, it’s hard to know where to find bloggers that might be suitable for your book. If you find a blog that reviews similar kinds of books, check out their blogroll (if they have one, in the side bar) where there will be links to similar blogs. Or check out the comments on a particular review, those will be the people that are interested in that kind of book.

Also, make use of book blogger databases. They will list book bloggers willing to receive review copies, and will have a list of the genres they accept. Here are a few:

.

Good luck with your new book!

.

What other tips do YOU have for authors?

.

*** Thanks to Shelleyrae of Book’d Out for her invaluable input to this post! ***

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

84 Responses to Authors: How to Pitch Your Book to Bloggers

  1. Love this post, also helpful to bloggers as it gives ideas on what we need to attract authors, such as an up to date review policy etc. Thanks.

  2. Birgit says:

    Great post, Judith! Now let’s hope that authors also read it before sending off a review request!!

    Personally I have long given up on replying to each and every request I get. At first I felt it was good manners to do just that, but one day I decided that if authors are incapable of reading my review policy and send me requests for books that don’t even get near the genres I do review, then my silence will hopefully be a learning experience for them.

    Right now I am not even accepting review requests, as I have pointed out in my review policy, and what do you know … requests for the strangest books (strange in combination with my blog, at least) keep on rolling in *sigh*.

    Oh and I hate it too when authors simply attach their book (I mean, an excerpt, ok, but the whole book?). I don’t want to be pressured into reading something and sending the book along is just that in my opinion.

    • Birgit says:

      Me again. Guess what? Yet another review request in my inbox … a Young Adult Multicultural Romantic Comedy … seems as though I haven’t made it clear enough that I mostly review non fiction and only a little bit of speculative fiction thrown in every now and then. Apart from the tiny fact that I’m not accepting any requests at the moment … and the whole e-mail screams “I’ve been sent to all 1.457 book bloggers I managed to find”.
      *drops head on desk*

    • Leeswammes says:

      Birgit, I still believe it’s good manners to reply, but it depends a bit on what my opinion is of the manners of the email-writer. Sometimes it’s two lines plus a link to the book-page, and that doesn’t inspire me to reply.

      Regarding review policies, it’s clear that many authors don’t read them or are not aware of them (or read and ignore them – “I know you say in your review policy that you don’t accept e-books, but…”). I don’t know. We can’t force people to read these things. I would like them to read it, but what can you do?

  3. Wow, that is a long list but it makes sense to me. I never really thought about this, but then again I am not a book blogger. I would love to do that, but it would cost me time i don’t have. So every now and then I do mention a book on my blog because i think it should be mentioned for some reason, but that is it…

    The idea of free books sounds tempting… but the other side for me would be that I probably could not read the books on my wish list because of lack of time. How do you keep up with that? Do you sometimes just pick a book yourself, do you make time for that? I figure you also need that if you want to keep up with reading this much.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Roxanne, it’s very easy to get many, many free books and I have become very strict in accepting or requesting books only if I really, really think I will like them loads. The advantage is that I’m reading mainly great books, but the disadvantage is that I have to say “no” so very often.

      As I say, I have a spreadsheet with review books but I also have a spreadsheet by month, where I enter the review books I promised to review and I leave a number of spaces free for books that I want to read for (online or real life) book clubs, challenges, just for fun, etc. I read about half review books, half “my own”.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    What a wonderful post…. So informative for authors AND bloggers.

    Question…..you say you write back if you want to read the book. What are your recommendations about replying if you don’t want to read the book? Do you write back with a decline or not write back at all?

    Thanks.

    Elizabeth

    • Leeswammes says:

      Elizabeth, I usually write back but not always. If the author email was very impersonal and clearly spam-like I don’t bother.

      If the letter is quite personal, I think it’s nice to reply because that author probably hopes to hear back from you in any case (the “spammy” author only wants to hear from people who want to read the book).

      But it’s hard to write a nice “no thanks” email. You don’t want to imply the book isn’t any good, but you want to say the book is not for you. In case they clearly flout your review policy it’s easy. “Sorry, but I don’t read paranormal romance so I will have to decline your offer of a review copy. Good luck with the book!”. 🙂

      • I used to try to respond to every offer, even if it was a polite, thank you for thinking of me but I am going to have to pass…. but life has become so busy I just can not keep up with it, especially like you said – the mass emailed ones or a genre that I do not even read.

      • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

        I have a standard ‘decline’ message, that I copy and paste

        Dear ****,
        Thank you for approaching me regarding a review for your book, ****. Unfortunately I must decline the opportunity at this time. I do appreciate your consideration and wish you the best of luck with your work.

        Regards,
        Shelleyrae
        http://www.bookdout.wordpress.com

      • Leeswammes says:

        Shelleyrae, that is a very good decline-email. I always feel I should say why I can’t review the book, but yes, why should I? A good letter that I may use (in my own words). Thanks. And thanks for your input when preparing this post!

      • Elizabeth says:

        THANKS…that is sort of what I do. I do get genres that I will not read. I usually direct the to another place they could request reviews.

      • Leeswammes says:

        Ellizabeth, me too. If the author seems really nice I sometimes refer them to other bloggers who read in their genre.

  5. Suzanne says:

    What a great post, Judith. This belongs in an Authors 101 textbook.

  6. I agree with all the points you made – especially the part about making it personal. Some authors try to do this, but fail. eg. ‘I’ve been following your blog for years and love xxx and yyy’ (naming the last 2 posts I wrote) It is then obvious that they have only just discovered my blog (which I don’t mind) and are lying about following it for years (which I don’t like) I hope a few authors read and follow your rules🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jackie, yes, that’s so unnecessary. It’s fine if an author hasn’t followed my blog. They’re writing as someone who wrote a book, not as a fan.🙂

  7. Judith – fantastic post! I am so glad you posted about this. I agree, give us emails that are personal, not “Dear Blogger”… honestly I dont even know if I like Dear “Book Journey”, as I feel if they looked at my review policy at all or my about me page they would know my name.

    My biggest pet peave (ok… no there are two….) but the one I started thinking here is the picture of the book. I see you mention that here too. I want to see what the book looks like while I read the synopsis. If there is no book cover, if I am remotely interested I will try to look it up – but if I have to work to hard to know what the book is, I usually pass because I have 10 other requests in my email as well for that day and I need to move on.🙂

    The other peave is my policy clearly states that I can not guarantee a time frame when I can read a book (unless it is for a tour) and if I do accept your book I want that understood. Often I will get the emails that follow up that are “Did you receive the book and when do you think you will have it read?” At this point I remind them on my review policy and explaining that I do have other books to read as well as a job, and a life.

    Ok… done ranting.🙂 Many (most) of the book offers I receive by email are perfectly lovely.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Book Journey, I sometimes get called “Dear Leeswammes” which I think it’s funny but it does show they didn’t pay much attention when looking at my blog. The picture is very important for me, too. Surprising, a lot of authors don’t add it to their email.

  8. Leslie says:

    Wonderful post. Anyone soliciting bloggers for reviews should have to read it.

    I receive many nice emails and just as many from authors who obviously have not read my review policy. And while I try to answer the inquiries, there are only so many hours in a day. If they can’t be bothered to see what type of books I like, or the offer me an e-copy, or worse just attach it, when I clearly state I don’t do ebooks, I consider it spam.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Leslie, some days I agree with you, and other days, I just write back a quick email anyway. But yes, the very spammy ones are discarded straight away.

  9. Shan says:

    Fantastic! It frustrates me to receive so many requests where they obviously haven’t read my review policy. I always feel they just assume because I’m a book blogger I’ll review any book I can get for free. And I would really like to help lesser known writers get the word out there about their books but what’s the point in reviewing a book I probably won’t give a great review because I don’t connect to the subject matter?

    I’m pretty easy when it comes to the email pitch. Sell me the book the way you would sell it to me in the bookstore. Show me the cover, give me the cover blurb, tell me about yourself and let me know how long the book is. There is no need for flash in the pitch.

  10. Kristi says:

    Interesting. I haven’t given this much thought, but I don’t really get author pitches. I have a really tiny blog, but I’m okay with that. I don’t know if I would really accept books anyway. I have a difficult time telling if a book is something I’ll enjoy just by the summary. I prefer to select my books based off recommendations from people who share my taste in books.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Kristi, I do get a lot of author pitches, that’s why I wrote the post, but of course, not all bloggers come across these kinds of emails. Some bloggers actually state that they don’t review books on request, and it’s all up to you – it’s your blog and your reading life!🙂

  11. Erika says:

    This post is awesome! It’s even more important to me for author’s to mention my blog name because I have two book blogs. How am I supposed to know where they want their book reviewed? Like you said, do they even care where their book ends up? It makes it seem even more like spam.

    And those links! I’m like you, I need a visualization and I need to see how much effort went into it. I hate searching for a cover image, especially wading through author blogs and websites. Amazon or goodreads links are a must. Plus they have the added benifit of pointing to reviews so I can see what others thought before making my decision.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Erika, yes, if you have *two* blogs, it’s even more important that they mention your blog’s name.

      I think when they’re links, we’re more likely to have a look for more information. I used to sometimes google a book if it sounded interesting (and still do sometimes), but usually I don’t want to spend the time on it. I want to know quickly whether it’s a book for me or not.

  12. Laura says:

    I don’t get an awful lot of book review requests, BUT basically all the ones I’ve gotten could have benefitted from reading this post! Especially not sending the e-book thing, because I got one of those recently, and I was just like ‘really? REALLY?’ I just found it sort of presumptuous and weird!

    • Leeswammes says:

      I agree, Laura, it’s presumptuous to send along an ebook. I even had emails with the book three times: as a .mobi, .ePub, and .pdf file. No, authors, this is *not* a great idea.🙂

  13. Oh Judith, I think I love you! This is a fabulous post! I absolutely agree that authors need to approach bloggers professionally, and with enough personalisation to suggest they’ve engaged at least nominally with the blogs they’re pitching to. They don’t need to be familiar with my entire archive, but getting my name right is a good start. I also 100% agree that a badly written email rings major alarm bells. If you can’t write a pleasant and coherent message of twenty lines, I’m going to run a mile from accepting an entire book! Think of it as a job application letter, only even more fundamental since YOU’RE A WRITER!

    • Judith says:

      Ellie, thanks for your compliments. Indeed, how can someone who can’t write an email, write a whole book without (many) errors? I can handle a few errors in a book (up to 5 or so), but after that, the author quickly loses his/her credibility.

  14. Book Nympho says:

    This is a great post! I don’t really review new books that I’ve been sent or ARCs or anything, but I have been emailed a few times by authors and their approach wasn’t successful. If they had a personalized approach and their book was intriguing (i.e. they know what I like to read), then I’d definitely be open to it. I also get a ton of authors randomly following on Twitter and that’s not a good approach either, especially when most are authors of books I don’t typically read.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Jae, I don’t understand all these authors following on Twitter either. Do they think we’ll check out their website because they’re following us, and because of that, we’ll buy their book? No. Usually the description in the twitter profile tells me enough.🙂

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I have just been addressed as Lady Elizabeth in a review request. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Now that would make me definitely review the book, but it is out of my genre.

    Have a great day, everyone.

    Elizabeth…aka…Lady Elizabeth 🙂
    Silver’s Reviews
    http://silversolara.blogspot.com

  16. Trish says:

    Dear Leeswammes. Ha!🙂 This is a wonderful post Judith and I love how you’ve even given the examples. I don’t receive many pitches anymore but everyone once in a while I get some that make me scratch my head.

    On the other hand, something that truly irritates me is when bloggers (there are at least two that immediately come to mind) complain about authors and publishers pitches openly on twitter. Unfortunately these folks are “big” bloggers and so probably feel the right to do so but I think that respect should be shown both ways. Part of me almost thinks that they are so vocal about it to make them seem bigger than they are. Anyway, I think it makes book bloggers look bad so I truly appreciate your respectful and informative post (both for bloggers AND pitchers).

    • Elizabeth says:

      I totally agree. We have to be respectful to authors and publishers just as they are to us.

      We are a wonderful asset to each group and we need to be professional in all aspects.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I think it’s not nice when they do that but I think they want to make an example of it and/or they’re so p*ssed off that they feel the need to vent.

      The most I ever said about it on Twitter was something like – “Such a pity, had to decline another author review request. Don’t have the time!”

  17. Great post. I agree with every respons. Textbook post.

  18. Spot on Judith, on every point. I try to respond to every review request I am sent, and a lot of those emails have to start with “unfortunately…” these days given the quantum, but it’s hard to make that effort when some of the requests are so impersonal and lack any evidence of passion or energy to begin with. And yes, while none of us are perfect, spelling or grammatical errors in a pitch for a novel is truly the poorest impression you can give to a reviewer.

    • Judith says:

      Thanks, Jo. I also try harder with a nice reply if the pitch email is more personal. If I’m short on time I will not even answer the impersonal ones.

  19. Absolutely fantastic post! I feel uncomfortable when I’m sent a spammy email with ebook attached on a genre that I’ve mentioned that I don’t read. I’m more than happy to read most things and a nice email that starts, “Dear Sam” shows that the sender might actually be thinking of me!
    The best pitch I received was from a publisher who had taken some time to read my blog and write things like, ‘I saw you enjoyed X by A Author, so I thought you’d like to review B by B Author’. Always very happy to work with them after that!
    Authors and publishers still need to pitch, and I enjoy working with them in that respect. I’m Gen Y, I need that constant new thing happening🙂

    • Judith says:

      Sam, I have had one or two pitches like that, where some one had find a similar book on my blog and suggesting I might like theirs, too. It’s personal. it works.🙂

  20. This is a wonderful post. May I just add: 1) Don’t pitch a book in a PM on Twitter or Goodreads, it is a dead giveaway that you are not familiar with my blog and that you have not read my review policy. 2) Don’t write me a letter thanking me for my interest in your book when I have never expressed interest. All reputable bloggers keep records of such things.

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  22. Lisa says:

    Great post, Judith! I absolutely agree with everything you’ve said.

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  26. Dollycas says:

    Great Post!!!! I totally agree!!

  27. Ife Oshun says:

    Thanks Judith for this helpful, informative post. And thanks to all the helpful tips and replies posted in its wake!

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  29. Becki says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to help my husband promote his series of books, and it’s been an uphill battle (especially as we live in a very small community and don’t have the outlets a decent-sized city would provide). I’m always looking for ways to reach his audience. As a librarian at a public library, I know every book has its readers; the challenge is trying to find them! I’m bookmarking this post to help me in the future. 🙂

  30. cebubookclub says:

    Thank you. This is really a big help for fairly new book bloggers like me. I will have to update my review policy already.

  31. Lori Howell says:

    Dear Judith, I love your blog and your professionalism. You are geniune, warm, and honest. Most of all, you display how special you are within your blog and that all authors are special to you as well. It’s important for authors to establish any relationship with mutual respect from the beginning. There are so many review bloggers that come across that reviewing a book is a chore. Respectfully, I do understand how that can be for some reviewers and with authors not following review policies that are in place. Thank you for putting your heart into the reviews for the authors.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lori, I’m glad to read that you found my post useful! Sometimes we reviewers are overwhelmed with the amount of books we get for review. We try to be nice and say “yes” to a review request, then find we don’t like the book or just have too many to do them justice. So, with this post I hope authors will be more careful who they pitch to (and accept that sometimes a blogger will not accept their book because they are “booked full”) so that there isn’t much room left for disappointment for both the author and the reviewer.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    This is a wonderful, informative post both for bloggers and authors requesting reviews.

    THANK YOU.

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

  33. What a great post! Do you mind if I link to this post? I struggle with all these requests coming in and I try as best as I can to respond to them all, but honestly, there are many that do seem spammish …

    • Leeswammes says:

      Sure you can, Guiltlessreader! If you refer to “Leeswammes Blog” or “Judith” that would be great.

      I know, all these spammy requests! I don’t always reply if I think it’s obvious they sent it out to 100s of people at the same time. If they write my name/blog name at the top of the email, I o respond.

  34. Thank you … My first book was released last week …this is great info.

    Bob Fiacco

    • Leeswammes says:

      Good luck with your book, Bob. I hope these tips will help you to create a great pitch that will interest the most suitable bloggers.

  35. This is great, Judith! Is it OK if I link to it in my Thursday “This and That” post? It’s just a somewhat weekly post where I list bookish items that I’ve discovered on the web the past week.

  36. I review books on my blog, and though it isn’t about whether I want to review a book or not, I always appreciate it when authors send an email after the review is published to say thank you. I’ve ended up having some enjoyable discussions about the books this way!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Laura. I certainly appreciate that too. I also love it when an author says something nice in the comments of the post – that doesn’t happen very often, though.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I love it when the author replies, and I agree. It leads to enjoyable discussions.

      Elizabeth
      Silver’s Reviews

  37. funygirl38 says:

    Very good advice indeed. I’ve requested a few reviews myself and it’s very important to make sure you don’t send the request to someone who doesn’t care for your genre. I mean why bother. Takes up your time to write the request and if it’s a book the reviewer won’t bother with, you’ve wasted five minutes of their time too. Well said.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks for your comment, funygirl! Not only is it a waste of time but also, some people DO accept any kind of book. Upon receiving it, they may decide they don’t find it interesting enough to read it, or when they DO read it, they find it’s not their kind of thing and write a negative review of it.

  38. Murray says:

    Hellow Judith,

    What a shame YA with a hint of fantasy is not your thing! However, this article is really very helpful, so I just wanted to say thank you.

    [remainder removed by admin]

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  41. Fantastic post! I’ve just recently self-published my novel and am embarking on this journey … so thanks for providing the roadmap!

  42. Deb McEwan says:

    Thanks for this really helpful article Judith. A lot of what you say is common sense and simple courtesy and also a good reminder that there’s a real person at the other end of the computer!

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