I get approached by lots of authors and publishers for reviews on a regular basis and I have recently had some messages that are... wel...

How to Approach a Book Blogger for a Review: Do's and Don'ts

Monday, June 24, 2019 BookBairn 6 Comments

I get approached by lots of authors and publishers for reviews on a regular basis and I have recently had some messages that are... well politely put, sub-par. I am not often keen to criticise but quite frankly, they are down-right rude.

To put in context, I like many other book bloggers, do this as a hobby (in fact I don't know anyone who professionally blogs for a living by reviewing books) and it takes up a lot of time. An awful lot of time. And we do it for free because we are passionate about picture books and children's books and grown-up reads too. Basically we are bookworms with an outlet. But I spend over an hour a week just answering messages and emails. And I answer every single one.

So when you get a message from a writer which simply says "book review?" - literally that's all it said - it's quite frankly guaranteeing a straight-out "no". In fact it's the only message that I didn't reply to. For one - it doesn't say much about their writing skills that they managed a punctuation-stunted two-word sentence and nor does it say that they appreciate my time or anything that I do. So I asked a few other book bloggers to share what they like/and don't like to put together a guide for writers, illustrators, publishers for some Do's and Don'ts for how to approach a book blogger.

My current book review stack. You'll see why we have to be selective about what we review.

1. Check their review policy. Most bloggers will have one on their website and whilst they vary in content they will often say what their submission process is.

2. Personally I prefer an email rather than a social media message. And from my research this is generally the case - direct messages on social media are ok but I find that I get so many in a day that yours could easily slip down the list and off my radar. This doesn't happen with email. If a blogger shares their email on their website or on their social media profile it's a good indication that they would prefer email.

3. Don't send a generic email if you can avoid it. Bare in mind that you are asking a blogger to spend time reading your book (which for novels is a considerable length of time) and then spend time writing a review and sharing on social media, which takes a lot longer than you might think. So take the time to find out the name of the blogger - it's usually right there on their profile.

4. Tell us why you think your book is a good fit for our blog. Link to something we've said in our review policy. Discuss something we've shared in a recent post. Show that you follow our blog. This always makes me smile and therefore way more likely to accept your book for review.

5. It's essential to me, as I review picture books, that you send an image (or a link to an image) of the cover of the book. I know they say don't judge a book by it's cover but when illustrations are as important to storytelling as the words, which they are in picture books then it's essential I see a sample of the illustrations before deciding whether to review or not.

6. Do not send a follow-up email. I know that not everyone replies - I'm not one of those people, I will always reply to emails that land in my inbox- but if you don't receive a reply from me, it's just because I haven't replied to anyone's emails. I try to respond to my inbox once a week but sometimes life gets in the way. I do always reply though so don't flood my inbox - that doesn't help your case.

7. Don't tag a blogger in photos, or Tweets on social media unless you have shared a conversation. I find myself de-tagging my name from lots of Instagram photos - if you've never taken the time to speak to me, then yes tagging me in your photo will get me too look at your view but it will also make me more likely to say "no thank you". 

8. But do build up a relationship with bloggers on social media by engaging in conversation about books - you can drop your book in that way too! We are a very friendly bunch!

A special note to self-published authors and illustrators: whilst I personally accept books by published writers and illustrators, not all bloggers do. Check their review policy and if they say they don't accept self-published, don't waste your time or theirs. Also for people like myself who don't want to miss out on a gem of a book by excluding all self-published titles, do be aware that, in my experience the acceptance rate is far lower for self-published books.

So there you have it! A few tips. Each blogger is individual and will want and accept different things but having asked around for tips and ideas from my colleagues these were common factors in the process of accepting a book for review.

If you are interested in organising a blog tour, my lovely friend Emma has written an Author's Guide to Blog Tours which is very insightful on that topic.

And most of all good luck with your book(s)! We all love books and want to see them do well and get into the hands of readers who love them. Hope yours find their way into those hands!

Best of book luck,


  1. Now that’s how to keep a book blogger happy.

    1. Yup! It's all about working together and respecting everybody's time.

  2. Thank you for posting this. What a great reminder on the basics, not just the etiquette. The one that drives me crazy is when they ask for something that is very clearly a "no" in our book review policy.

    1. Absolutely - if you've said you don't review 'digital copies' for example then you don't want a whole bunch of emails to reply to offering them!