Book Blogger Confessions (7): Pitches

Welcome back to another Book Blogger Confessions!
Basically we're here to "confess" and vent about topics that are unique to bloggers. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions. Just keep it respectful – no bashing authors or other bloggers!
Check out the introductory post for more information.
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This week's question:

Review/Guest post requests: Do you have a review request policy? Has it changed over time? How do you handle requests that don’t meet your criteria?
In the past, what types of "pitches" have caught your attention? Are there any (non-specific) examples of requests that are off-putting to you as a blogger.

When I first started book blogging I did not have a review policy. I only reviewed books that I had borrowed from the library or owned so there really was no need for it. It wasn’t until I started to receive review requests (and many for books in genres that I never read) that I thought it might be a good idea to post one.  

My review policy hasn’t really changed except for the fact that it now says that I am not currently accepting review requests. I have fallen behind on my review reading and spent much of 2011 reading books for review rather than those books that were sitting at the top of my own wish list.

So what do I do when a review request doesn’t fall within my review criteria? I usually respond with a “thanks but no thanks” or an “as per my review policy” kind of email. Occasionally I ignore the request but that is usually unintentional as I am not always the greatest with keeping up on emails.

As far as pitches go – “pitches” on their own don’t catch my attention – what does catch my attention is an interesting sounding book that falls into one of the genre’s that I mentioned enjoying to read. I can tell you one thing that is an immediate turn off though – spelling and serious grammar errors in a “pitch” email. Also I find overly pushy or forceful requests off-putting. I have had a few requestors who have followed up nearly daily on their request or on the status of their review. That type of pressure drops my interest in a book down to nearly nothing. But usually if an author actually reads my review policy (and it shows because a) they are pitching a book that falls within it and b) they are sending their request at a time where I am actually accepting review requests) I am receptive to reading their book.

What about you? Don't forget to leave your link to your BBC post in the comments!


15 Responses to “Book Blogger Confessions (7): Pitches”

  • Right now I am really bad at responding to all requests.  My email is so backed up.  I'm ashamed.

    • Bonnie says:

      It happens though right? You can’t help being busy and you can’t do everything all at once. At least that is what I’m trying to tell myself! ;)

  • Karen says:

    Those really aggresive pitches are a turn off. I'm sure you believe in your book (you have to!) but when authors are that pushy about it I get uncomfortable for a few reasons. One – don't tell me what to read! (lol) and two- what if I don't agree that this book will change the world. Can you handle that? I steer clear of those even though they mean well.

    • Bonnie says:

      Exactly! When they are aggressive with the original pitch it does worry me for what is to come later. I have one author who requested a specific date, then proceeded to email me a “reminder” every month until his book launch. And I am still hearing from him a month after his review was posted about adding promotional stuff to my post etc. It is tiresome! ;)

  • I agree if they have read my contact me and adress me right then I will repond back quicker about interested or not. 

    • Bonnie says:

      I am also always appreciative when I know that someone has taking the time to find out if their book is going to be a fit with me and my blog before pitching it. :)

  • Kat B says:

    Oh pushy people!  Sure, we are getting a 'free' book, but we also invest our time, heart, soul (and sometimes mental health) in reading and reviewing those books.  Luckily it's not something I've ever experienced (or they may feel my Kat-wrath mwhahaha!).
    And like you, if I can see that people have read my policy, I'm much more receptive to their request!

    • Bonnie says:

      True, yes the free book is a nice bonus but like you said we do invest a lot into the reading/reviewing part. Like I was saying in my reply to Kristin, authors and bloggers are coming from different angles. On the one hand this is their career, on the other this is our hobby…

  • Kristin T. says:

    It seems like we are on the same page on this topic. I just created a review policy during the last Bloggiesta – it had been on my to-do list for a while, but it just wasn't something I was excited to do. Now it's done and I hope it gets read!
    I also don't like when pitches are pushy or have errors in them! I even go crazy when published books have errors in them. It seems like I go in spurts with lots of requests that I take on and then nothing. I have a bunch planned for the next few months – nothing too crazy which is allowing me do get to my own books/library books. A good balance seems to keep me motivated!

    • Kristin T. says:

      I forgot to leave my link:

    • Bonnie says:

      I’m having one of those dry spurts right now but I’m trying to get ready for a *huge* event that I’m cohosting in June and I’m taking on A LOT for that one.

      I guess the tricky thing is that blogging for most of us is a hobby – something that we do because we love to read and share our love of books. But for authors this is their LIFE and career, so we are all going to approach things differently…

  • Nicola says:

    Great answer! Honestly, I rarely respond to requests I'm not interested in because well, there are a LOT of them (because people seem to ignore my review policy…) and I don't have the time. I'd rather spend the time reading! 
    I hate when I feel pressure to read a book. Lately, a lot of authors have been attaching the file of their book with their request email. I can't stand that! 

    • Bonnie says:

      I guess I can understand the sending a file part, it saves the back and forth emailing – I had one author who kept forgetting to send her file and finally sent it possibly on the 5th try. It got old fast! ;) But I know what you mean, I would also rather spend my time reading!

  • I am really bad about responding to requests for books that fall outside of my review policy.  I usually don't take the time to email back, because they didn't take time to read my policy!
    I have seriously considered not accepting review requests for a while, just so that I can read the books on my wishlist….

    • Bonnie says:

      It totally makes sense – if they are just sending out generic emails and obviously not taking into consideration what you review why spend your time emailing back? I usually do anyways though – unless I forget which I am known to do! ;)

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