5 Ways to Make a Blogger Want to Stab Us in the Face

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Lately, I have been getting a ton of emails from hopeful writers wanting me to write reviews of their books on my blog. Somehow, somewhere I ended up on some marketing guru’s “list” and if I find out who it is, it will not be a good day for that person since they are charging hopeful writers for incorrect information.

Caveat emptor, my kiddos.

I know none of you—beloved followers—are guilty of these mistakes, but I will say that making that shift from unpublished newbie to “pro” is harrowing and we all do some really stupid stuff. It’s part of why I write these posts because none of us has this information embedded in our DNA. We have to learn some time, so maybe this can save you or someone you know some embarrassment.

So five ways to make a blogger want to stab us in the face.

#1—Send a Request Via Form Letter

It’s funny, I blog on certain things and time passes and I think “Whoa! Everyone knows not to do that! I don’t even need to talk about—*brakes screeching*—SERIOUSLY????”

First of all, let me emphasize that requesting a book review is no small thing, which is one of the many, many reasons I almost never do them. In over a thousand blog posts, I have done ONE. Count it. ONE book review on my blog.


Here are some basic reasons why I almost never, ever do book reviews (other than the fairly obvious reason that I am NOT a book blogger). The blogger has to secure a copy, take time to read the book (12-15 HOURS of undivided attention). Then she has to analyze the book and then craft an intelligent post…for FREE.

We are asking for about a 20 hour time commitment. Again…for FREE.

This means that if you meet a book blogger or reviewer, you should just hug them or make a small large burnt offering of coffee and chocolate. Reviewing books is a really tough and often thankless job.

Meaning, the very least a writer can do when asking for such leviathan effort, is to address the BLOGGER BY HER FREAKING NAME.

When I see this crap in my In Box? It makes me see red.

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And lately I’ve been getting far too many of these kinds of e-mails.

#2—Fail to DYH

Do your homework! DYH is actually a two-pronged deal. First of all, any a$$hat with a web site and a shopping cart can claim to be a “guru” with a list of reviewers/book bloggers for sale. I’m not exactly certain how these folks do what they do, but I imagine it involves combing the internet for popular blogs then finding our contact e-mail and selling that list. The problem is that these folks may or may not have done any kind of research.

They are simply looking for popular blogs then charging writers for that list.

The e-mail pictured above? This person apparently got my name off a list he’d paid for. A list of bloggers who review literary fiction.


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#3—Fail to Make the Match

To reiterate, I am not a book reviewer and even if I were? I would rather be water boarded than read self-published literary fiction. Yes, I am a troglodyte—judge me all you want—because I’d rather be water boarded than read most traditionally published literary fiction.

I know! I am uncouth and horrible and plebeian and I will totally own it. I read all kinds of fiction, but like most literate humans, I have my ranking of favorite genres…literary being dead last and about ten slots below instructions on how to update to Windows 10.

But while you might be horrified to find out that I don’t care for literary fiction, it IS useful information.

If we are looking for someone to review our books, we need to make sure we are finding reviewers who are passionate about the genre.

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Do not try to get an expert in literary reviews to look at an epic high fantasy. It wastes your time, the reviewer’s time and it’s just a bad plan.

First of all, it highlights we didn’t do the research to see what kind of books the reviewer specializes in. Secondly, the reviewer might not possess the right set of eyes for judging our work. This is like taking our BMW sedan in to a mechanic who works on BMW motorcycles. Sure, he works on BMWs but the skill set is completely different.

If someone who doesn’t like your genre reviews your book, that already stacks odds against the reviewer having an enjoyable experience which bodes ill for your work. Also, if that person hasn’t read a lot of the genre, he will be ill-equipped to give a solid review. All genres have expectations and a good reviewer understands what those are.

#4—Fail to Even Get Eyes on the Blog

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What I’ve found particularly unsettling about this barrage of messages from hopeful writers is that not ONE of them took time to even stop by and look at my blog. All of my archives are available. In fact, google my name with book reviews and not a single book review.

Getting a book review should be approached the same way as looking for an agent or publisher. Do the research. Look at their site. Who are they? What do they do? Double-check everything, especially any paid lists. We need to make sure that the information is even accurate, but more specifically? We need to make sure it is a good fit.

Check the blog to make sure you want that reviewer getting hands on your work. Is the reviewer any good? Is he professional? Is she kind? And I don’t mean kind as in using kid gloves on the work, but we don’t want to just hand our stuff to a reviewer who gets hits from crushing authors’ will to live.

My expertise is in content editing. I have earned the nickname The Death Star and for good reasons. In fact, I’ve been killed in at least five novels that I know of from authors who were grateful for my Red Pen of Doom…but who also wanted the joy of legally murdering me.

NOT book reviewer material.

Not. Just don’t.

#5—Make Zero Effort to Engage Ahead of Time

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Granted, I don’t do book reviews. I am, however, generous with other stuff. I have had folks who regularly comment on my blogs and after a few months might say something like, “Ugh, I wish I could win your contest. I am just so stuck!” And guess what? I will message and say, “Hey, send me ten pages.” Why?


This commenter has taken valuable time to be supportive of me and my blog.

I don’t imagine book bloggers are much different. If we find book bloggers we like, take time to engage, share their posts and form even a loose connection, this can go a LONG way toward making it to the top of their list for a review. Those who “cold call” will rarely be made a priority by any reviewer worth his or her salt.

In the end, manners and kindness go a LONG way. What are your thoughts? For the book bloggers and book reviewers out there, would you have anything else to add?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Check out NEW classes below! 

Upcoming Classes

All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.

 Character & Plotting (NEW CLASS!) July 8th

July 8th, 2015 7:00-9:00 P.M. EST. Cost is $35

All great plots are birthed from character. The core plot problem should be the crucible that eventually reveals a hero in Act III. This means that characterization and plot are inextricably linked. Weak plot, weak character. Blasé character, blasé plot.

This class will teach you how to create dimensional characters and then how to plot from inner demons and flaws. Get inside the heads and hearts of your characters in a way that drives and tightens dramatic tension.

This is an excellent class for anyone who wants to learn how to plot faster and to add layers to their characters.

We are doing ANOTHER round of Battle of the First Pages!!! July 15th

The first time we did this we had some tech issues doing this new format and we’ve since worked those out, but for now I am still keeping the price low ($25) until we get this streamlined to my tastes.

LIMITED SEATS. This is an open workshop where each person will submit his or her first page of the manuscript for critique. I will read the page aloud and “gong” where I would have stopped reading and explain why. This is an interactive workshop designed to see what works or what doesn’t. Are you ready to test your page in the fire?

Hooking the Reader—Your First Five Pages July 22nd

The first five pages are the most essential part of the novel, your single most powerful selling tool. It’s how you will hook agents, editors and readers. This class will cover the most common blunders and also teach you how to hook hard and hook early. This class is 90 minutes long, 60 minutes of instruction and 30 minutes for Q&A.

Your First Five Pages Gold Level

This includes the webinar and a detailed critique your first five pages.

Your First Five Pages Platinum Level

This includes the webinar and a detailed critique of your first twenty pages.

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist July 29th

All fiction must have a core antagonist. The antagonist is the reason for the story problem, but the term “antagonist” can be highly confusing. Without a proper grasp of how to use antagonists, the plot can become a wandering nightmare for the author and the reader.

This class will help you understand how to create solid story problems (even those writing literary fiction) and then give you the skills to layer conflict internally and externally.

Bullies & Baddies—Understanding the Antagonist Gold

This is a personal workshop to make sure you have a clear story problem. And, if you don’t? I’ll help you create one and tell the story you want to tell. This is done by phone/virtual classroom and by appointment. Expect to block off at least a couple hours.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook



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  1. Totally agree! It can’t be hard to find reviewers. If close friends want to read the book after it’s been reviewed great but only getting reviews from people who don’t even read much whether they like the book or not is not the best way to go.

    1. It’s hard to find reviewers, but what Kristen described is not the way to go about it.

  2. Dear LORD, I love you. This is WONDERFUL information, as usual. And an extra cookie for using “plebeian” in a full sentence. Awesomeness!

  3. Dear Blogger,
    Your site is ranked top 10 for best book reviews! Congratul – haha, I’m kidding. I recently stumbled across your blog and am loving it so far. Don’t worry – once I actually have a complete novel, I’ll make sure you send you my book review request with your name at the top! And it’s totally not literary fiction, so I’m good to go, right? …RIGHT?!?

  4. Hey Ms Blog person

    I see you do book reviews. I am very literary, and have read all of your blogs twice, this one three times. Where should I send my manuscript? Thank you in advance.

  5. Great post.

    When I worked as an editor, I was amazed at the number of people who, using nothing more than a short cover letter, could make me hate them. Rabidly, well beyond the bounds of rationality hate them. I once had to hand an essay to a colleague and ask her if there was anything in it worth reading, because I hated the author so totally I didn’t trust my judgment. (She reported that there wasn’t. No real surprise, but I was happy to have it from a more objective source.)

    So yes, we’re human–reviewers, editors, our fellow bloggers. And should be approached with caution.

  6. I’m having trouble typing this response because I’m on the floor bowing to your post up on my monitor. Bless you! I want to copy and email back your post to the roughly ten or so [clueless, and often ungrammatical] doorknobs who send me review requests every day. Don’t get me wrong…I actually do review books. I like it. But I’ve clearly posted my preferences and requirements. I have a lot of reviews they can look at.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while because I’m also a writer. And your posts are pure, free, writing gold. So even though I don’t post comments often enough or give you the thanks you deserve, I’m so SO grateful for the many things you’ve taught me.

    Oh, and that’s just in preparation for blatantly copying the link to this post and sending it in place of my usual review request response. Thanks for that too.

  7. My thanks to those requesting book reviews from you for making me feel smart. After years following this blog it’s obvious you don’t review books. It’s also obvious you don’t have the time. Therefore, 0 + 0 = 0. Unfortunately, for some, that’s higher mathematics.

    1. OH YES! I will also start sending a link to this post in addition to my usual “Read my guest post guidelines” advice. Thank you Kristen. I also find your posts pure gold.

      1. Oops. This reply did not link to the intended post. Hmm.

  8. Hi Kristen, I frequently share your posts because as a new writer they are utterly great…insights, titbits, whatnot and well, just damn funny most of the time. I’m curious though how someone could confuse you with a blogger…I’m not sure how I found you (glad I did and glad I follow) but your not a book blogger…hope you get off that list! xdee

  9. Oh, wonderful, Kristen! I love that you’ve been killed off in a few books! (Someday I’ll get help from your Red Pen of Doom and then I’ll feel free to kill you off too.) And ditto to the commenter above thanking idiot review-requesters because that makes us feel smart. 🙂

    I’m occasionally on the reviewer hunt, but mostly try to check in with a couple of particular blogs and leave a comment – partly because I appreciate their efforts and opinions, and partly to prime the pump for when I ask for a review.

    And see, I know your name. Kristen. Kristen. KRISTEN!

  10. From my days as a bookseller, I’d like to emphasize that a writer is NEVER the only one asking for that twenty-hour commitment. One town, one bookstore, and we never ran out of galley and walk-in manuscripts. I can’t even imagine on the world-wide-web!
    Back then, I never committed to reading anything people gave me–and sometimes, not even to looking. Just not enough time on earth.

    • angelaackerman1 on June 27, 2016 at 11:33 am
    • Reply

    I am so glad you posted on this. If I had a dime for ever writer and publicist who has contacted me without reading my guidelines or bothering to follow them, I’d be sleeping on a four poster king size bed made of platinum.

    Writers, I love you. You know I do! But there are no shortcuts. Not in writing, not in publishing, not in marketing, and certainly not in relationship-building and connection.

    If everyone could bend their head around this universal factoid, they would stop burning money on services that promise shortcuts. 😉

    • annerallen on June 27, 2016 at 11:37 am
    • Reply

    Kristen–I feel your pain. Literally. I’m on the same %&*! list. I get dozens of these in my inbox every week, along with all the people wanting to guest blog on our writing blog with subjects like dating in Tokyo and how to build birdhouses. I used to send a polite form rejection, but now I just send one sentence. DO NOT QUERY A BLOGGER UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE BLOG!!

    But I think I’ll have to stop that, too. Last week I got several responses from these morons, saying they had read the blog, which is how they got my email address. So I’d have to say “READ THE WORDS ON THE BLOG”, which is obviously way, way above their skills. Grrrrr. So now it’s time to delete, delete, delete.

    And I feel like screaming when the email starts “Dear Blogger, I am a regular reader of Anne R. Allen’s Blog.” No, you’re obviously not. And you’re also obviously dumb as a rock.

      • angelaackerman1 on June 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm
      • Reply

      I have stopped responding to people who contact me through email (I have a form as my preferred method). The directions are right there in the guest post guidelines, int he menu. It can’t possibly be missed. Unless I have a personal relationship with the person and that’s why they are using email, I won’t waste any more time on authors and publicists that either haven’t bothered to do their homework, or think they are above it.

      And don’t even get me started on the the typos and poor grammar…good grief. If you want to post with someone, send your best work in all that you do, including that first point of contact. personalize your email. Show the person that you spent time understanding their blog and what the brand is.

      Here’s the takeaway for people though…if you actually do respect the blogger by doing your homework and presenting a well crafted request, you are in the top 5% as far as a yes goes. I guess this is why I don’t understand why so many don’t put in the work…isn’t the yes a door that opens to a valuable relationship…and that’s the whole point?

        • annerallen on July 5, 2016 at 11:33 am
        • Reply

        Angela–Wise words. Why not put yourself in the top 5% and follow directions? What a concept! Haha.

  11. What IS Literary Fiction anyway?? I don’t think anyone knows. I love you 10 reasons why you’re lazy…just to lazy to list ’em, huh? Yeah,me too….***sigh*** Nice non book blogger post. xo

  12. Excellent blog! For Xander’s series I look for pet blogs (he is a feline 007), which also do book reviews. However, the Chatterre trilogy doesn’t quite fit a niche, so I have Star Bridge, Thunder Moon and Fire Island scheduled on Kindle Select for free July 1st thru 5th and am telling followers that honest reviews are appreciated.
    Kristen, do you have a better idea where to find reviewers for clashing cultures in a sci-fantasy setting?

  13. The people who write those awful requests seem to have suffered from some truly horrible advice. I feel so lucky to have found blogs like yours, where you take the time to spell everything out for us newcomers. Hopefully I will not make such BONER mistakes when I’m trying to pitch my novel, get reviews, etc. — thanks to you!

    And I am 1000% behind you on the manners thing. People who don’t bother to comment or reply to my comments, or who respond to my lengthy critique of their short story or chapter with no more than a “thanks” (if that)? They’re not getting a lot of love from me in the future. Those who respond in kind? Yep, bending over backwards for those folks.

  14. Wonderful advice! As a newish book reviewer/blogger (less than a year) I’ve so far been lucky enough not to encounter completely generic letters but I do review things on amazon too and sellers sometimes can’t even get my gender right, saying ‘dear sir’!!
    As for book reviews it really shows when someone’s taken the time to call me by my name and even more so give me all the info I ask for on my submissions page.
    I can only hope that I don’t get added to one of those lists (I didn’t know they existed) but who knows what’ll happen 😮
    Oh I love that ‘Someday I will murder you’ meme! Is it a dog?

  15. Oh my goodness! Thank you for your blog posts, they are always funny and informative.

  16. I should send you an email exchange I have from an author who cold emailed me about reviewing her book. She did her homework, but with caveats. Essentially if someone is going email me asking me to review their book and say they think I would like their book, they need to be specific as to why!

    A few suggested phrases that would show me that they did their homework:

    * Hey I read your review over on Amazon for these books, I think my book is similar.
    * I really like how you write your reviews, going into specifics about x, y and/or z.

    Essentially butter me up, make your review pitch about me, not you. That shows me you spent a little effort in finding out why I would be a good fit.

    Things that piss me right off is when an author takes no consideration for my time and it is obvious they are using me as a self promotion tool to try and sell more books.

    So if I were to win from the hat drawing, could I work something out to get promo for my review blog instead? Like a tweet with a link to it? I don’t have 10 pages of anything that I am working on, but I love your site. I love learning how writers should write, because I find it helpful of things to look for when I review. And your blog is one of the best I have found.

  17. You are absolutely right. And it’s the same with all aspects of writing. If we don’t take the time to research who we query, which contests are suited for our submission, misspell the agent or editor’s names, send a blanket e-mail to a bunch of people all at once, etc., we’re only shooting ourselves in the foot. And probably burning a bridge with someone who might someday have wanted to help us. Thanks for reminding us NOT to be our own worst enemies (and lazy slugs at that!).

  18. How about: Have the same bloggers who all follow each other send out the same thing all at once…to each other. Yes, there is definitely some overlap in a lot of our worlds, but at least try to share it out more strategically.

    (I know Thunderclap and other such services build on volume and visibility at once; that’s not what I am referring to above.)

    1. I write romance…and I know that there are many clusters of romance bloggers who have done exactly this. They have wonderful networks with each other, and everyone is aware of the tastes/likes/dislikes of the others. When authors release certain kinds of books, those release notifications are sent to the people on loop who are most likely to love that stuff, and post about it. I pay a wonderful marketing expert in my specific genre of romances, who does this for me. Helpful hint: the posts are also already set up in HTML format, so all the other bloggers have to do is drop the coding onto their page. It is WELL worth her price.

  19. The irony is that search engines will see this post, and put the two together (“She does reviews! It’s mentioned 67 times on the page. And Literary Fiction, too! mentioned 8 times. Including in this comment.”). Then the search engine will get on its SuperSecretGoogleBatPhone and immediately call the spammers in their batcaves with the news. A large, cartoonish clear plastic phone will glow red and a troglodyte list-spammer will pick it up.

    “Kristin Lamb? Yeah. Reviews books for free? Literary Fiction! We’re more backed up on that than an 87 year old without prune juice. Yeah. Gimme her email. I’ll pay you good money for that. I’ve got thirty-three desperate suckers who’ve already paid for reviews. I’ll bet this chick will, hahaha, work for free. Maybe I can get her work on the Huffington Post with all the rest of the idiots who send them free stuff! Suckers!”

    Perhaps we can say rev1ew5 instead, cleverly using the 1 and 5 in place of real letters. For LF, you can say 1iterary f1ct10n. That’ll fool the search engines so you don’t end up on more lists. Though I think it’s too late.

    Now I will google LF.

    1. ?

  20. Ooooooh! Literary Fiction!!!! It’s the stuff people buy at airport bookstores that compels them to poke plastic forks in their eyeballs. It’s the stuff that appears on Oprah. It’s the books people take to the beach to look ostentatious.

    No one actually -reads- those books. Even when they’re protesting white male writers and that’s all you can find to read, we know folks are secretly dealing some Neil Gaimen novels on the side.

    The Dealer: “Psssssst. You don’t have to read that scratchy Mary McClusky novel! Try this… American Gods… it’ll mess you up! Get you some Neil, yeah.”
    Hypocrite: “I’ll take it. But don’t tell anyone.”

    1. Could someone please explain to me why it’s uncool to bash romance, sci-fi, mysteries, etc. (not that I would want to), but totes legit cool to bash literary.

      1. Hi Lanette!

        Because literary fiction is ostentatious. It strives for the Tolstoyness of noveldom. It desires to be the Great American Novel. It wants to be the 8th grade forced reading material in English class. Instead of actually just saying something, it wraps everything in, like, simile, or metaphors.

        It’s the priggish prat of a kid who wants to demonstrate he’s so much smarter than you. And he is smarter. We know. Consider these comments to be playground bullying and payback. Think you’re better than sci-fi, kid? Lording it over us with your #5 placement in the Ralphs end-cap? That’s why you get beat up on the way home from school every day by Rysa Walker and A.G. Riddle. GRR Martin would come, too, but he’s too slow.

      2. Usually because literary writers act like pretentious jerks and they snub their noses at other authors/genres for not being “real” writers/fiction. Often they are crappy writers who defend breaking rules as “being literary” when in fact they are just being annoying and unreadable. I am not bashing literary, I just don’t care for it. It makes me think too much and I want to read a novel to NOT think, to have fun. I think all day with my job. At the end of the day I just want body count.

        Now I DO like genres that have a literary element. Like Dennis LeHane books might be suspense, but they are literary suspense. But pure literary fiction? Most of the time just stab me.

        1. Kristen, I love you, glad we’re friends, and if I ever act pretentious you can stab me in the face with a fork, but understand when us literary writers get irritated over being discriminated against by our genre brothers and sisters.

          1. Can’t speak for others, but I don’t know if I discriminate against literary any more than other genres. I have my preferences. And all writers get irritated being discriminated against. Just be a suspense thriller writer who has a literary writer roll their eyes at your “low-brow” story and yeah…

          2. Then you understand.

          3. Or a romance writer… I can’t even admit to some friends and family that what I’m doing is romance. So what if it ends up being a Harlequin read? Harlequins get *read*, for God’s sake.

            I’m not aiming to make a statement or deliver a message. I just want to create a story that readers will enjoy, and maybe that they can go back to on occasion, like I do with some of my favorite romance writers’ stories.

            And my not having a message to deliver does not make the story much easier to write. If I’m writing to entertain, then I can’t really be very self-indulgent, can I? I’ve got to eliminate things that a literary writer might just let pass, even if I think “that view is kind of important to the world.” If it doesn’t work as part of the story, it doesn’t work.

            Anyway. I guess I’m probably a literary-basher too. It’s that whole thing of pointing to others and having 3 fingers pointing back at myself. Yes, I shouldn’t bash. But it does get tiring to have to “feel ashamed” that I’m writing romance and hope to get it published. (Not that I actually do feel ashamed… I’m really enjoying myself with the story… but it’s that I know the reactions of certain people will be belittling.)

          4. You’re right. Romance unfortunately gets bashed a lot, too. I don’t typically read romance as a matter of personal taste, but I’ve worked with romance writers and know the talent and skill that goes into it. Romance writers have my respect.

          5. I really do have respect for literary writers who can tell a good story, too, btw. I don’t avoid all literary stuff. 🙂 I do however reserve the right to throw books against the wall when the author gets too damned full of himself. LOL

          6. LOL! We all reserve that right. *Fist bump*

          7. Write away!Sincerely, a hater of romance. 🙂

      3. I blame literary fiction for the trend of putting “A Novel” on the front of books in case anyone mistakes them for Gouda Cheese, or a Chevy Impala.
        And I think bashing a genre is fine if you’ve read it. Since I work in a library, I pick up my share of literary fic, and I am ALMOST always disappointed. But I could say the same for Sci-Fi and Fantasy : more disappointing than not. Because I am fussy and inconsistent in my needs.

  21. I’ve got the opposite problem, at the moment… I think my submission based on taking your First Five Pages class back in May, may have ended up in lost in your in-box, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to get out of the weeds. I think my emails following up on that have also gotten lost in the in-boxes… maybe with the assumption that I’m looking for a free review, or something.

    Feel free to PM me, but I am curious… if I’ve done the submission correctly (all caps, etc) but it’s been nearly a month since, and I haven’t heard anything… even a “yep, got it… running way behind” or something… what’s the next best step?

    I don’t mind waiting for the edits… I really don’t. I am starting to wonder if I’ve done something truly offensive though, and am just not aware of where I went wrong. I did use different email accounts for my class registration and the submission, and I’m wondering if that had something to do with it.

    1. No your email for some strange reason ended up in my gmail which I rarely check. I’m finishing edits in the next two days so no you didn’t offend me at all ?

      1. The strange reason… well, that’d be me. 😉 Sorry about that.

        I’m afraid I was trying to figure out the best path, so I sent the follow-up to that one. (I might have got the gmail address off this page… I think. Can’t really remember now.) (You’ll also find an inquiry in your wana box. I’ll be off in this corner over here, with a bag on my head, feeling a little sheepish now.)

        And I am glad to know I didn’t offend you. 🙂 Thank you.

    2. Yeah I got home and searched and it appears to have been eaten. The only one I found I can’t manipulate your document :/ . Can you resend to kristen @ wana intl dot com and in a regular Word document and then I will jump on it asap.

      1. .doc or .docx format? I’m using Word 2016, but I can save it to be backwards compatible if I need to.

        1. .docx And I’m on 2011 software. Lazy ?

          1. Okey doke.

            Just sent it again, and hopefully The Cloud (dun dun Dunnnn…) has not decided to interfere this time. 😉 Praying this one works. LOL It’s .docx, and stored on my local hard drive, then attached. So. Fingers crossed.

  22. THANK YOU from a book blogger!

  23. Okay, I laughed and snorted my way though the post today. My favorite part — “Hi Dear Blogger”. If you didn’t have a screen shot, I would have doubted it.

  24. I HATE the random authors from Amazon that somehow get my e-mail and send me random requests for book reviews because I left a review for ____ on Amazon (usually a non-fic book because I rarely review fiction on Amazon because, DUH, I’m a fiction writer).

    Then the persistent one who sent me three requests in the span of a few weeks, none of which I replied to. The third time, I marked their e-mail as spam and sent it to the virtual shredder.

    I know this isn’t exactly related, but can we add wanting to face-stab people on Facebook who add me to groups without asking first?? UGH.

    1. Yes. Please face stab people who add you to FB groups without asking, or even those who fill up your notifications with 20 political group requests in a week.

  25. Oh, your article makes me want to cheer. I put it to my students this way: “Don’t wake up the sleeping dog.” 🙂

    I used to think that a reader’s cost to buy my books was out paid in money–ha, because I’m usually broke, right? But as you point out, it’s paid in TIME, the most precious commodity of all. Our job as writers is to make that investment of time worth it.

    Moreover, there is an old “cyberspace etiquette” rule that we would do well to remember: “Remember the human.” Behind every book review blog (and publisher’s slush pile) is one very weary human.

  26. excellent post… personally I am half afraid to ask even the people I know if they will review my novels… the thought of throwing out blanket requests??? well look at that, my heart just stopped and then started racing for the nearest exit…. lol… I think that if the people that I know, and the few that offer that I don’t know, still haven’t written a review (even though they have read and told me personally what they thought) why in the world would I think a stranger (and I will guess busy because it is impossible to be anything else when even remotely connected to the writer world) would have the time/inclination/or motivation to do so… yep… any type of request should go out through your own personal media (a blog post would work) but remember not to count your reviews before they are written… there is a reason that a short paragraph from a reader is like gold to an author… they are bloody hard to get… 😛 alright… not this topic has my willingness to edit and hide from all other writer duties high on my list… and man, oh man, edit are evil… happy wordage, peeps

  27. Great post, Kristen. Book bloggers need to be appreciated more, that’s for sure! 🙂 I’ve gotten great feedback from them and I appreciate their time and efforts. 🙂 I wish there was a way to show Book Bloggers some love. Any ideas?

  28. Good points. It is nice to know you dislike literary fiction. That gives me some clues as to why I see some things differently but I agree on many things. I love literary fiction. 😀 I feel the way you do about manuals for Windows 10 in relation to anything erotic. Not against it with any sort of prudish issues. Just bored stiff. I do occasionally review books on my blogs but I only do a couple of genres and the only time I ever read an erotic book was a reciprocal edit for an author I owed BIG time. It was sheer hell. Just imagine editing some super literary literary fiction and you’ll have the general idea. You probably already don’t want me to win your contest, but this is even a bigger reason not to pick me, though I’m sure you’re a great death-leads-to-rebirth-as-an-angel editor and if I had the money I’d hire you (for something as unliterary as possible). Best wishes.

    1. Yay! A literary reader. I love you, random citizen!

  29. I am getting ready to put out my next book in The Locket Saga and will soon be contacting reviewers. Sorry, you didn’t make the list, lol. Not really, sorry, I mean. You really aren’t on my list!

    I do however look forward to your posts. They are always informative and entertaining.

  30. Trouble is, in the quest for visibility in an ocean of books, authors are desperate for reviews. And whenever enough people are desperate for something, there are sharks circling ready to prey on that desperation. Sad world.

    Never mind, at least the email didn’t read: “Dear blogger, I have done you the great honor of selecting you to review my book. I hope you are suitably thankful. You can find the “buy” link here…”

    *Ducks and runs from Death Star laser glare*

  31. Love it! I am reposting. This will go up on my site Thursday. I want to add to it:) http://www.lynnthomsonbooks.com. Nice to see you’re up on WordPress now.

  32. As I reviews and general book pimp, I totally agree. Nothing makes me madder than when I get cut/paste review requests or someone just saying my book is on sale, please spread the word or worst yet, I get a copy/paste from their PA…..ugggggg. You want me to take time out of my day and stop working for the job that does pay me, so I can spend my free time to help you make money and you can’t bother to even learn my name, my blog name or godforbid you “phone it in” by having a PA do it. As a publishing house once cautioned me, “don’t be part of the publicity machine, be unique”. And I have taken it to heart. If someone can’t bother to be personable, I will hit that delete button on your request faster than my dog eats cookies. You gotta give me a reason or the willingness to work for you for free because that’s what we’re dong, as bloggers we work for free. We do it because we love the industry, the authors and the books. Don’t get me wrong though, we LOVE getting free books and that’s the majority of why we do it. It’s pushing crack to support our own crack habit but you’re totally correct, it’s a minimum of 20 hours for a review and don’t get me started on blog tours. Those bitches can be vicious! If we’re not reviewing, simply doing a tour post, it still is hours of time. I have a 60+ hour job when I travel each week and I would say I spend as much time on the blog with creating posts, social networking and blogging about books and I don’t get a dime unless I review where I’ll get the book for free. It’s a thankless job.

    1. Blog Tours. I hear you, Carey. As an author, I can appreciate how helpful those can be, but at the same time I don’t think tours are fair to the reviewer. She gives so much time and effort to craft an article, and yet her review gets lost in the tidal wave of the “tour.” I’d rather have the spotlight be on each individual reviewer.

  33. This is hilarious AND informative! Thank you so much for making me laugh and making me learn at the same time!

  34. I can’t imagine having the nerve to just ask someone to do that much work for free. Unless they’re related to me by ties of blood, marriage or blackmail.
    Of course, in order to ask for reviews, you have to have something to review, which is where I am at the moment – plodding through the rewrites with what may turn out to be tendonitis (in my non-writing hand, though alas! I do need it for typing). I’m like a tortoise stampeding through peanut butter. A tortoise fighting the urge to hibernate.

    • peggylampman on June 27, 2016 at 6:05 pm
    • Reply

    Hi. Love your blog. Can you review my book? (-:

  35. About “embedded in your DNA.” Fun Sci-Fi, such as Orphan Black, aside, there is a fringe theory that the ‘unused encoding’ in the DNA strings are in reality encoded memory from generation to generation. It would help explain why some extended family groups share emotional and ‘knowledge’ traits.

  36. I hate having to beg, but sometimes there is no other choice.

  37. Literary fiction: The genre all writers believe they write, until they take the time to learn what Literary fiction is.

  38. Hello, Kristen. I love your blog. You share do l such great information, and in a fun and easy to follow way. I’m looking forward to taking more of your classes.

  39. Kristen, I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed listening to you rave about why it isn’t such a good idea to be a book reviewer. I’m a book reviewing blogger 🙂 . You’re right. Each book takes considerable time and lots of effort. I try to write an engaging blog review. I’m also interested in supporting the author community.

    Yes, it would be nice to see my posted blog links, shared around FB. I would think that would be the minimum an author would be willing to do for me. I know some bloggers who are willing to share. I even share their reviews on my page, Booktalk with Eileen.

    I’m seriously planning on working over my manuscript this year. I’ve just got to crawl out of the hole of commitments for reviews. I’ve read so much and reviewed to help me as well. I ask myself why I like a particular story versus another when both are in the same genre. So it is a learning experience.

    Your blogs are extremely informative and I do enjoy learning from you.

  40. Hi Kristen..do you know what I love nearly as much as your blog???? Reading the comments..ha aaaaa..someone should write a book on blog comments mmmmmm maybe I should????? Then maybe I can get you Miss Kristen to review it?????? Just saying…Have a great day…..I love your blog 🙂

  41. Yesterday I politely informed a reviewer that I didn’t feel his sci-fi novel was a good fit for my Christian romance blog (DYH, dude).

    Today he emailed back that he’d hoped I would be interested in his book because it is “very strong on our Constitution and Freedom of Religion”.

    I’m from New Zealand.

    DYH indeed.

    1. Comment #67 said she loved reading the comments as much as the blog. This comment? Priceless. Thank you for the giggle; much appreciated!

  42. Good manners never go out of style and can offend no one. You remind me I had promised a review to someone and have not even managed to read her book yet. Ooops!

    • PATRICIA HARTOG on June 28, 2016 at 6:14 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen. Your email indicates the Character & Plotting Class is both July 7th and July 6th. I know you’ve been having some glitches with these class emails so just confirming it’s the 6th, yes?

    Thanks, Trish

    Character & Plotting (NEW CLASS!) July 7th July 6th, 2015 7:00-9:00 P.M. EST. Cost is $35

    All great plots are birthed from character. The core plot problem should be the crucible that eventually reveals a hero in Act III. This means that characterization and plot are inextricably linked. Weak plot, weak character. Blasé character, blasé plot.

    This class will teach you how to create dimensional characters and then how to plot from inner demons and flaws. Get inside the heads and hearts of your characters in a way that drives and tightens dramatic tension.

    This is an excellent class for anyone who wants to learn how to plot faster and to add layers to their characters.

    “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” William Shakespeare


    1. It’s the 7th. We have been working around some REALLY weird glitches with Event Espresso.

      1. Actually it’s the 8th. I lost my voice and had to move the class. When it moved, we got the dates all screwed up.

  43. Kristen, I’m right there with you on literary works. I’m sure many are well-written, and tell a good story, but If I want to be depressed, I’ll watch the news.

  44. It never would have occurred to me to buy a list of bloggers and send a blanket email. If I had been talked into buying a list, I would have, at the very least, stayed up all night personalizing every email I sent. Somewhere around 3AM I would have started looking at the blogs to make sure they were a good fit and then I wouldn’t have slept for two days while I combed through them.

    I’m glad I stumbled across your blog. I think that interaction is a much better approach than cold calling. However, though I follow it regularly, my comments are generally #54,623 by the time I read each post, 1.5 days after you post them. Someday I will get a response from you. My need for external validation overrides my desire to give up and lay in bed all afternoon rereading Agatha Christie novels after the first failed attempt.

    1. #74 today. You’re doing much better, Earnie, than #54,623. Sorry, this isn’t Kristen validation, but it’s something. Plus, I don’t want you to be in bed with Agatha all day…

        • ratherearnestpainter on June 28, 2016 at 9:15 pm
        • Reply

        It’s me again, with a brand new WordPress account, so it won’t look like the same person. But, it’s Earnie, and I appreciate the validation, Kristentatious or otherwise.

  45. Great post. I’ve reviewed books for book tours, but I’ve recently learned it’s not my cup of tea. I have received requests to review, but the email wasn’t even proofread first, which made me wonder what the book would be like. I had to say no. :-/

    • R. A. Meenan on June 28, 2016 at 10:02 am
    • Reply

    This is definitely good advice, but the part that really caught my attention was the dislike of literary fiction. Sorry literary writers, but I got my fill of that stuff while earning my English degree and I haven’t read a literary book on purpose since. Give me dragons, spaceships, and epic teenage battles to the death!

    But no, seriously, it doesn’t take much to do your research. Do that, and you might just get some good reviewers. Or, better yet, build an audience of people who already blog and they might just review your book without prompting, because HEY, they LIKED it. That’s generally the reason why I’ve done any of my own book reviews. I LIKED the books and voluntarily chose to review them to help out the readers. =D

      • ratherearnestpainter on June 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm
      • Reply

      And, it’s easy to delude ourselves that writing reviews will lead to more readers of our blogs. (Perhaps this just applies to greenhorns like myself.

        • R. A. Meenan on June 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm
        • Reply

        I really don’t write book reviews intending to get readers coming to my blog. I write book reviews so that way if people DO get to my blog, maybe they’ll find more than one author to enjoy.

  46. Lots of really good advice. And I’m really sorry you got on whatever list you did.

    Although, I have to admit, I am *SO* glad I’m not alone on literary fiction. I don’t like it. I just don’t. When it comes time to use my precious hobby time to read, I will never, ever pick up literary fiction. Not happening.

    I am actually super glad for the Kindle app. It lets me read whatever I want with no one the wiser for my “trashy” tastes!

  47. Love your posts and look forward to them dropping into my inbox. Thank for your generosity and taking the time to help people you don’t know with humor, insight and the best pictures ever! Again, thank you.

  48. Kristen, just wanted to say, love your blogs – feet on the ground, tell it as it is stuff that you don’t see that much of, as a general rule. You made me laugh out loud on the literary fiction. I hate that phrase too – pretty meaningless.

  49. Hello Kristin. I’m terrified of you – but in a good way – because you will tell me the truth. So I was looking at the synopsis for my WiP and thinking ‘I know! I’ll pay Kristin to shred it (your words) for me.’

    But I can’t do that, it would appear. I have to get picked out of a hat? Really? There are 80 comments here!

    Please tell me there is another way?

    yours in terror,

    Stella HB

    1. I would probably get on better in life if I used the correct spelling of your name. This is going well so far…

      1. LOL. I am so used to the other variation of my name I really don’t see it. At least you tried so no worries and yes I can look at a synopsis. Just email me kristen at wana intl dot com.

      2. You are brave, atinylife140

    • Ayman Teaman on June 29, 2016 at 8:55 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen!

    Great post, and I love your spontaneous style, been meaning to comment on your blog posts since…forever!

    I agree; it is mind-boggling how people can be totally thoughtless.

    • mcm0704 on June 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks for another fun, yet very helpful blog post. If only more writers would get the “professional” part of being an author. That means doing the homework before contacting a blog owner for anything.

    Since I do reviews on my blog, it doesn’t bother me to get a request from an author. However, it does make me want to scream when they have not even checked out my blog, checked my guidelines for guest posts, or taken the time to note the genres I will review. Or I get a note, “I know you don’t review science fiction, but because my book is so different from normal science fiction, I hoped you’d consider it.”

    Not a chance, buddy.

  50. I had an author reach out to me out of the blue for a review. Granted, he was polite about it, and I can’t fault him for wanting to get his book in front of a few eyes. Even though I do review books, I had to turn him down for a few reasons:

    1) The books I review are off of my personal reading lists, so if I didn’t like the book, it’s on me for choosing poorly. Lately, most of my reviews have been for short stories published in professional magazines.
    2) In this age of self-publishing and internet trolling in which anyone can and will say whatever they please, I didn’t want to get embroiled in any potential crazy/hurt feelings if I didn’t like the book and said so honestly.
    3) His book didn’t look spectacularly interesting to me.
    4) I was in the middle of a transcontinental move and didn’t have the time to read and review the book in a timely manner.

    Again, he was very polite during our communications. He thanked me for my time, and I wished him the best with his launch. I feel bad if he paid for a list with my name on it. Nowhere on my blog does it say that I accept unsolicited review requests.

  51. The core problem is expecting something for nothing. It shows a lack of dedication to the craft and is often downright insulting. I am also suspicious of the “Review Me! Review Me!” culture as it can tend to be promoted by those who expect to be buttered up. If you want something out, you’d better put something back in.

  52. I’m in the process of putting together a review list for my forthcoming novel, so your post is very timely. I am prepared to put in a lot of blood sweat and tears to find a small list of appropriate reviewers. It starts with looking at who has reviewed books similar to mine, researching their sites, and–gasp–reading the page (there almost always is one) labeled “How to contact” or “How to get reviewed.” You’re right. It seems like common sense, but, as they say, it ain’t so common.

  53. Totally agree. I think it’s a combination of laziness and overwhelming need for reviews. Unfortunately, anyone reading your blog will probably not need to hear this. Maybe you can have an auto responder with a link to this article. “If you need a review, click on this link to get your answer…”

    Question: Even though I have an outline of my novel, lots of times I get stuck in the middle, and I stress about word count for some weird reason. Would your class about character and plotting help with that?

  54. I enter, never win, BUT I am ok with that. Why? Because I want to earn my fame and glory the hard way!
    Seriously, I am not ready to send 10 pages to anyone, I am still honing my craft and self publishing my obligations to my grandchildren. (Get it? Writing stories and pubbing for my grandchildren.) Why? Because that promise to them, was a promise, a contract I could keep. What do I want to write? That, that will come after and trust me, I am not there, yet.

    Thanks for this post, and here is a reason to not worry about those of us who have either caught your cautionary tales more than once, or were smart enough on our own to figure things out – go ahead, remind us every now and then as well as catch up the newbies. Why? Because some times our poor worn out, torn down writerly soul needs something positive to reflect upon, even if it is – HEY! At least I figured out numbers 1, 3 – whatever on my own, or yeah, I remember reading that and haven’t done that! I know it’s a positive out of comparison and puts someone else down, but the honest truth is there are moments when our ego/spirit/soul just needs something to lift us up.


    Thanks for the inadvertent, unintentional pat on the head. This puppy needed that good girl.

  55. Hi Kristen! I just spent all day reading and finishing Rise of the Machines. It’s a life-changing book for any new author. It’s taught me all the things I’ve been doing wrong and how to fix them. How to be more proactive (in the right way) on social media…how to engage and not inundate fans with ad copy…all these valuable insights I will forever take to heart. And as usual, I love reading your blog posts. You rock!!

    1. Awww, THANK YOU! I really appreciate hearing that ((HUGS))

  56. Great advice, Kristen. You always have good things to share with your readers, and a most engaging way of wording it. At church yesterday we heard a lot about honoring others, and I think this whole thing about asking people to review a book without doing the necessary homework shows a lack of honor to those people. They appear to be only self-serving, not caring how inconvenient it may be for others. I am not a book reviewer though I have done a few reviews, mostly on Amazon and mostly for books written by people I have been introduced to online, sometimes at their personal request (sometimes by phone). I have no published books as yet, though I am close to uploading my novel on CreateSpace, but I would hope that readers would volunteer to do reviews on the basis of what they think about the book, not because I have attempted to coerce them.

  57. Kristen, I truly appreciate your posts. In particular, I agree with you about the paramount importance of reciprocity. It should be a given, yet…

  58. I keep getting review requests randomly too. I don’t review on my blog (I think I’ve done maybe 3 in ten years and none recently), but people email me from my site. Maybe I ended on some list too? IDK. One in particular irritated me. He asked if we could exchange books and we’d both get a nice review and sell a book at the same time from the deal.

    He went on to explain how it would work. I would go to (link provided) and purchase his $6 book, THEN let him know I did, so he could go purchase mine.

    Three major things wrong here.
    1. I had no guarantee he’d go buy my $2.99 novel AFTER I got his–and why should he, after all?
    2. His was pure sci-fi… I write pure sensual contemporary romance– and don’t even read or watch sci-fi if I can get out of it. (No need to get the rope folks. It’s not that I dislike it, I just don’t ‘get’ the genre so it usually loses me two words in every time. 😉 )
    3. I don’t blog reviews.

    Other things wrong with this?
    *He had no clue I write romance until I asked if he reads the genre! How could he not guess that just by my website header???
    *He said he’d never read a romance, but “was sure he’d like mine anyway.”
    *When I asked out right how I could be certain he would actually buy, read AND review MY book (remember-a genre he admitted he’d never read) even if I got his…he stopped replying.

    Just. No.

    So the main reason I read through the comments, besides for the laughs, was to see how many would request a win after you said, ““Ugh, I wish I could win your contest. I am just so stuck!” And guess what? I will message and say, “Hey, send me ten pages.”!”

    LOL Let me know when to send you those pages, will ya, Blogger Lady?
    Sorry! Couldn’t resist. 😉

  59. Thanks for blogging on this topic Kristen! I am a new writer and it is so easy to believe that mass form emails will solve a laborious task.

    (Tech observation: this blog page crashes on iOS 9.3.2 after about one minute in both Twitter app web view and opened directly in Safari. I had to type this up and quickly copy-paste it to post.)

  60. I love your distaste for literary fiction! Just another reason to love your blog.

  61. I’d also add that a writer requesting a review have a freaking media kit ready, just in case a blogger decides to take a chance. I may decide to read the book and/or just do a spotlight but I don’t have time to search the net, find your bio, get your links and so on……just to help you sell your book when I get nothing in return. Do us all a favor and put a packet together.

  62. Hi Kristen. Yours is the only blog I read on a regular basis….why? Because you are funny and clever and honest. If you ever want to come to Utah and ski or whatever, let me know and I will host you.
    That’s all. Have a great day.

  63. I might post a paragraph in here hoping you’ll spot something I haven’t—last time you did! <3—but to be so rude as to send an email without even using your name? Wow.

    And I feel bad posting a snippet! (I know it's called something else when you take a part of your book and share it but my brain is mush, it's been a long day.) *Cough.*

    I wish more people had better manners. I feel it's really imported to be kind to others not because we should but because that's the kind of person you are. *End mush session. If asked in person I admit nothing.* 😉

  1. […] via 5 Ways to Make a Blogger Want to Stab Us in the Face — Kristen Lamb’s Blog […]

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