Book Review Etiquette

I posted this over on the AIA, but I thought I would post it here as well.

So you’ve done your homework, you’ve found a review site, with a reviewer who is a perfect fit for your book, only it’s  a site with multiple reviewers – and you can’t request a particular reviewer. Still, logic dictates that the one reviewer who would be interested in your book will be the one who takes it or is given it (depending on how the site works). But, what happens when this logical course isn’t followed? In other words, what do you do when the review coordinator sends you a message and says “so and so will be reviewing your book… blah blah blah” and – surprise – it’s not only NOT the reviewer that would probably like it, but, even worse, it’s not a good fit for this new reviewer at all.


Do you go ahead and send the book (paperback, which you paid for and also pay postage) to someone who probably is not going to like it and will probably give it a bad review, on the teeny, tiny off chance that you’re wrong and they really WILL like it?  Or do you send back a polite note that says “sorry, I don’t think I want my book reviewed by so-and so because I really don’t think it’s their cup of tea”? Which of these is the correct thing to do?

I will add to this, that I went with the first option, and it didn’t work out well. But, would the second work any better? Or would it just insult and/or irritate the reviewers and/or review staff? Any feedback on this would be wonderful.

6 thoughts on “Book Review Etiquette

  1. Melanie Walsh April 26, 2010 / 5:33 am

    Joleene, before I made it to you last para, I was going to suggest the latter. There’s really no point having your book reviewed by someone who is not going to like it before they finish the first para. Let’s face it, there are types of books we each won’t read because we simply don’t enjoy them – same goes for a reviewer. You’re paying for the review, so it’s fair enough to suggest a certain reviewer, given their preferences, just won’t like it.

    • joleenenaylor April 28, 2010 / 8:18 am

      Thanks, Melanie! I wish now that I had!

  2. Garry M. Graves April 26, 2010 / 1:19 pm

    …if indeed your paying (even if your not) for the review, you must get the person who you choose. Further, we all know the result of a bad or mediocre review…it sends potential buyers away. I wrote a book about character and virtue with a golf storyline. After a book store owner reviewed my book she said; ‘my Saturday morning book club people don’t enjoy sports books,’ thwarting my attempts to create interest with my newly published book about ‘character.’

    Jolene, prior to sending your book you should have this review process all set with the person you choose, not to a ‘group’ who then chooses a person for you. That’s too risky.

    • joleenenaylor April 28, 2010 / 8:22 am

      Thanks for the advice, Garry. I think in future I’m going to avoid the review groups and stick with dealing with one person.

      Oh no! I hope the rest of her review was good, though?

  3. Ruth Ann Nordin April 26, 2010 / 5:31 pm

    Before I got bad reviews, I would have done the first thing. Had it been me, I would have taken my chances on the reviewer and hoped they would put aside their own preferences to look at my book logically.

    However, since I have gathered some pretty bad and nasty reviews (which stem mostly from people who except historicals to be just like “Jane Austen” and I’m not a good fit for them since I don’t write like she did), I believe that reviews are not logical. People, in general, cannot put aside their prejudices when they read a book. On the surface, they might tell you that they can put aside their preferences to give an honest review, but I don’t buy it. (Now, I say this for the majority of people who review books, not for 100% of them. A reviewer who can be totally objective is like a needle in the haystack, in my opinion.)

    So that being said, I would try option two with being as nice and apologetic as possible and hope there is no backlash. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, it’s that some people are not as reasonable as we hope they would be. But I also learned that most people are pretty forgiving and will let things go if approached nicely.

    That totally sucks that the reviewer couldn’t be objective about your book because it was a good one–and this coming from someone who doesn’t read a lot of vampire books. 😉

    • joleenenaylor April 28, 2010 / 8:26 am

      ha ha, yeah, as you know that’s what I did. The reviewer does like paranormal books, but they’re more in to the buffy/kick-ass woman taking charge/feminist kind of paranormal, and my book isn’t one of those. I wouldn’t say Katelina is a “weak” character, but she’s certainly not the one in charge at this point. As the series progresses, she’ll become more of a “player”, so to speak, but she just can’t realistically be on an even playing field with them after only two weeks! I knew I’d get flack for that, though, because it’s not “feminist” enough, lol! Oh well.

Comments are closed.