This is the second installment of my unsolicited advice column for authors, check out my first one here, which includes the reasons why I believe I’m qualified to give this advice. My rule this week may seem obvious to some, but I’m upset to discover that many new authors have fallen into this trap, so I’m here to set y’all straight. DO NOT PAY PEOPLE TO REVIEW YOUR BOOKS. For the love of Christ, there are a billion book bloggers out there who review books for free (including myself!), the only thing we ask for in return is a free copy of your book (including postage), and in some cases the blogger will review your e-book, so it shouldn’t cost you anything to send it to them.

I’ve noticed a few blogs charging for reviews, and when I do, I promptly close their website and never return. Sound harsh? It should, those people are scamming you, and you’re a fool for falling for it. And don’t get this mixed up with people who get paid to write book reviews-those people (typically professional journalists or writers) are getting paid by a legitimate secondary media source, i.e. a newspaper, online journal etc. for their work. I personally write book reviews for sources other than my own blog and get paid for it. But if I’m writing a post for my own blog? I don’t get paid for it because it’s my own damn website!

So what’s an author to do if they want to get their book reviewed? Follow this easy, step-by-step list:

  1. Research book blogs that review books similar to yours
  2. Check out the review policy of that blog
  3. If they are currently accepting review requests for books like yours, send them an email 
  4. In said email, include: your name, your applicable background and writing history, info about your book and the format you have available to send it in
  5. For god’s sakes include hyperlinks in said email
  6. Address the actual email to the person or the name of their blog! Think of it as a cover letter and resume, and your book is the interview 
  7. And if you’ve learned anything from my past advice column, you better have a goddamn website
  8. If the reviewer accepts your book for review but then asks for payment, don’t respond and find someone else to review your book

If the reviewer doesn’t respond to you at all, don’t sweat it, just try a few others. And PLEASE don’t pitch your book to a blogger until you’ve made sure they review your genre, there is nothing worse than getting unsolicited emails from an author who clearly hasn’t looked at your blog closely.

Sorry this article was so ranty, I just get really worked up about this stuff.

Questions, comments, hate mail, please send it my way!