Sunday, February 26, 2012
Why I will not review your book
I get occasional emails from writers requesting reviews. Although I read nearly all of these, my time for the past few months has been very limited. Even now that school and placement are officially over, I'm catching up on a lot of things, including a TBR pile, so I'm extremely picky about what I request.
Fortunately (for me, that is) the vast majority of the emails make this an easy decision.
So I came up with a checklist of things I've seen that mean I won't be requesting the book. Several of the examples, by the way, are from actual review requests. If any writers hopeful for a review are reading this, please ask yourself if your email contains
___ an attachment?
___ a copy-and-paste of a press release?
___ something that shows you haven’t read my blog, e.g. “Since you enjoy reviewing political thrillers…”?
___ white text on a black background?
___ several errors, e.g. “Set in , this book tells the story of a serial killer and his murderous rampage through this sleepy country town”? I scrolled down to see who had released this and read “Publisher: Press”.
___ anything that suggests the book was rushed into print, e.g. “I decided to self-publish my book so I didn't need to wait for anyone else to like it or shop it around"?
___ grandiose prophesies, e.g. “This book will be a bestseller”?
___ a claim that your book was top in its sub-sub-genre on Amazon’s free Kindle best-selling list both yesterday and today?
___ a bit too much information upfront? A recent email began: “Marian, Raped at the age of seven, I was a lost and lonely child.”
___ any suggestion that the author is a little too close to the book for me to risk providing an objective review? In the email referred to above, the novel was about a seven-year-old who was raped. I'm very hesitant to comment on anything which seems like self-therapy for the author. Plus, I’ve already had the experience of pointing out something that seems unrealistic, only to have the author claiming it was possible because it happened to her.
___ requests for something I can’t provide, e.g. “I need your help to make my dream become a reality”? I just run a blog here.
___ too many rhetorical questions? One email concluded with, “Will Rod be able to save his family from the clutches of the evil Terry and his own greedy sister-in-law? Will Rod be able to save himself?” Given that the rest of the book description barely even mentioned Rod, I had no idea (or interest).
___ claims that something which is common to most books of this type is unusual about your book, e.g. “The story is developed through several intertwining plot lines that unfold through the actions of multidimensional characters”? Well, that certainly sets it apart from the novels with a single plot line which is uninfluenced by the actions of one-dimensional characters.
___ a description of your book as straddling three or more genres, e.g.. “New Science Fiction Novel Is Part Mystery, Part Thriller, And All Adventure”? This is the literary equivalent of turducken.
___ cover quotes without names appended to them? I have to assume you called your own book “a work of dark genius”.