Open Letter to Indie Authors and Indie Book Reviewers

Indie Authors

When contacting a reviewer, read the REVIEW POLICY. If you can’t pay attention to their writing, why should they pay attention to yours?

If the reviewer states they only accept genre of the A/B/C variety, don’t try to make your X book sound otherwise. False pretenses. You might get the review you deserve.

When sending your review request, address the reviewer by name. It’s on their website. You know how to research you little Sherlock you.

If you discover the blogger has no name, refer to them by their site name. They’re in the witness protection program don’t you know.

If the reviewer does not take the time to personally respond, that means “no thank you”. No means no. Drop it and move on.

If the reviewer states you can send a courtesy reminder after a certain time frame, by all means do so. Once.

If the reviewer responds with a thanks but no thanks, DO NOT respond. Not even with a thank you even though they were very nice about saying no. They don’t have the time. Thirty seconds after they announced they were a book reviewer several servers crashed in a twenty mile radius from their current location from email overload. I am not kidding. The government would confirm this if it weren’t top secret. *Sssssshhh*

If the reviewer says they’d like to review your book, curb your enthusiasm (little internal YAYS are acceptable) and respond with what they asked for. Refer to my first point. Then, immediately go to the reviewer’s blog and sign up for their newsletter. Immediately. Like them or Google + them. This is a courtesy, NOT a guarantee of a good review. You’re a nice person, remember?

If you get a less than stellar review, man or woman up and learn from it. You are a W.R.I.T.E.R. Toughen that skin. DO NOT RESPOND WITH A WORD EVISCERATION HANNIBAL. The ONLY correct response is “Thank you for your time, I’m sorry you did not like my work.” Imagine your grandmother is standing next to you the whole time. With a bat.

If you get a good review, WRITE a thank you email, THEN; share that reviewer’s blog with your buds. Ones and zeros pal. This doesn’t involve taking one of two colored pills. Do it.

Wake up! These folks have real lives and real jobs, just like you. Have patience.  They do this because they like doing it and like readers. WE LIKE READERS!! They gave up their most precious resource for you. For you! Always. Be. Nice. Karma, dude and dude-ette.

Be aware that out of every 100 blogs perused, you’ll find 50 that might qualify for your book and aren’t closed to submissions. Out of those 50 review requests you’ll get back 7 of which 5 will be positive responses. No one said this was easy.

DON’T. GIVE. UP. That one glowing review makes up for a lot of dead ends.


Book Reviewers

Make your website easy to navigate. We don’t publish without an editor (well okay some slip through the cracks) so neither should you publish a website without the same forethought. Don’t facilitate crack slipping. Okay, that didn’t sound right. Forget I said that last part. STILL: Ask no less than two friends to navigate your site and fix what needs fixin’ you hot little blogger you.

State clearly your review policy and instructions. You and writers have words in common. We’s is good at followin’ those there direckshuns. Use them wisely, grasshopper. And watch where you point them.

Don’t put your paid-for-reviews site on lists intended for unpaid review sites. C’mon. Don’t be sleazy, dopey.

By all means be specific with your genre of choice. It’s your blog. Literary/Sci-Fi gender-bending werewolves in Contemporary/Urbanistic/Dystopian suburbias involving sexy a transmugulated vampiress for grades K through 7+the summer between heights of 3 foot 6 inches to 5 feet tall has an actual fan base. Really. And you’re it. Put on a looser shirt maybe. Heaven forbid you just state ‘fiction’. *Gasp!*

I know, I know, we’re a needy bunch. Self worth and confirmation and all that. Don’t feel bad about giving an honest bad review. Someone has to cut the chaff. Besides, any writer of worth will learn from it. And not quit. Just to be safe don’t put your address on your website.

If you’re a cheesy I’ll-look-at-your-book-if-you’ll-look-at-mine type, just say-so from the get-go. Some of us like that. Not me though. *Chestire Cat grin*


Do not, I repeat, do not have your website set up as one long running script that goes on and on and on and on and on and on after you said to click the link at the bottom of the page. Unless you think you’re funny. Please don’t. Leave funny to the writers.

Did I mention make your site easy to navigate? Don’t be an amateur. I know this is only a hobby BUT - you do want to turn this into a multi-million conglomerate so you can buy a yacht with the Princess Cruise Liner for a dinghy, don't you? Bill Gates started small you know. He walked uphill in snow both ways carrying his horse and he was proud! Humble but proud and . . . Yeah okay whatever you know what I mean.

Check your auto-responding email. Twice. Then again from another device, Mr. and Mrs. Belt & Suspenders. That way the weird wacky emails the gremlins in your electronics send out to poor unassuming writers won’t make them think you’ve been taken hostage and are sending them a secret, coded message from the shadow group’s underground lair where they plot to destroy all books. Writers are an imaginative group. Prone to strange ideas. DON’T FEED THE WILDLIFE.

So you’re in the witness protection program. I get that. Do us a favor in your review policy and state “send in care of” or even “to the attention of”. If you don’t want your identity known, great! I wouldn’t trust us either, but instead of making us search all over your site for something nonexistent (remember writer/only/funny from above), let us know how you like to be referred to so we can use that in our email. I prefer Master. With a ‘the’ before it, lowercase t. *Chestire Cat grin*  * again*

Check your website settings. If it’s private we can’t get to it. Unless that’s what you want . . . “I understand completely . . .” He said as he backed slowly away, facing you the whole time. *Mad dash for the door*. SLAM! You crazy bloggers, you.

Be nice. Honest, but nice. Writers have egos made of glass and cinnamon puffs suspended on cotton candy scaffolding precariously perched on a hollow crystal ball on a slanted surface. Well, not all of us. Some of us have egos of reinforced concrete threaded with a Kevlar matrix. Wait, maybe that’s our heads.

If you do get a really nasty writer (happens), don’t lower yourself to their level. Karma will get ‘em, sooner or later. Remember; you can send away more bees . . . Umm, with honey . . . Smeared on your vinegar. . . Wait, okay forget that bit. Just bee nice with your stinger.

For all those writers who didn’t say thank you or sign up for your newsletter or share the love I apologize. DON’T STOP READING! You are the reason why we do what we do. Thank you!!