My Experience as A Reviewer

When I sat down and planned this post, I thought it would be pretty easy. Turns out it’s a little harder than I thought. At first, I wanted to do a PSA about my experience with authors reaching out to me. Then I thought I could expand it. Now it’s going to be this mix of the two, but I’m not entirely sure what’s going to end up on this page. If you’re interested, my Review Policy is finally up and functional.

Sad Little Girl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHYI’ve been a reader since I was young. I’ve been a reviewer for a few years – more on the schoolwork/homework, give my friends my thoughts. As for running a blog where I post mainly reviews about everything I read – that’s consistently been for about a year and a half to two years.

Technically, I’m still kind of a baby when it comes to it and I think because of that, I’ve been pretty lucky in my interactions. I hear often about horrible experiences other reviewers have had with authors. Which always leads to the discourse that reviews are for readers, not authors.

I buy, read and review books all the time. More recently I’ve been approved for more and more ARC’s has my blog presence grows, but that’s still not a direct interaction with the authors. Sometimes it results in direct interaction, but it’s only been in the last year that I’ve been reached out to.

So, let’s start there. I won’t be naming names; this is solely my experience and what I think are some Do’s and Do Not’s when reaching out to bloggers/reviewers to read your books.

  1. Avoid Nicknames.

Avoid being overly familiar. The first author to reach out to me was on Instagram. This was prior to me changing my handle – which had been the same since getting my account in 2011. The author DM’d me, calling me “Chazzy” (my handle was @/chazzychuckles – a nickname for my dog). I don’t go by that nickname, and even if I did, a stranger on an app wouldn’t get permission to use it. Only a handful of people use a nickname when talking to/about me, and they have my approval to do so. My name is on my profile, use it. Which leads me to number 2.

  1. Do a bit of research.

Does the blogger/reviewer have a review policy? If yes, follow it, it’s there to help you, help me. Scan my blog to see what I read and review if I don’t have a review policy posted.

  1. Don’t expect me to read your mind.

When reaching out, sending that email, provide all the pertinent info that I may need. Please don’t email me saying you want me to read your book and only provide the title. If I have to scour the internet looking for your book, I’m going to be less likely to want to read it. This stems from a recent encounter, where it took 4 emails before I got a synopsis – a lot of books share similar, if not the same titles! If you write under a different name than the one you email me with, let me know.

  1. Please be courteous.

I’m more than happy to provide an honest review in exchange for a book, or even simply do a feature. If I take my time to read your book, or promote it, please don’t ignore me. Especially, if you request that I email you with a link to the live post. I don’t expect much, but a simple Thank You is all I ask. It feels really crappy to put all this time and effort into a post, for the work to be ignored. This stems from an author who reached out, rather insistently that I spotlight their book and then couldn’t acknowledge that I did. To be completely honest, I felt a little used, and I’m highly not likely to promote the author again.

  1. Please don’t reach out via DMs.

If we’re friends, this doesn’t apply. But please don’t reach out in those spaces asking me to post my reviews to sites of your choosing. I’ve had a few authors do this, and it feels like an invasion of my space. If my review isn’t on Goodreads yet, it’s because I usually do them in batches, and I try and do them every 2 weeks. If we’re friends and you would like me to post my reviews to sites, let me know, especially if it wasn’t worked out prior. If we’re not, please email my blog email listed in my review policy.

Also, if you’re reaching out via DM’s, please no audio messages. There is nothing weirder than listening to a stranger talk to you about their book.

I’m sure there are other things I could mention, but these are the ones that comes directly to my mind. My biggest pet peeve is the over familiarity aspect. You can be friendly without being too personal. Being addressed by my old Insta handle, and not my actual name was one of the weirdest and most uncomfortable encounters I’ve ever had on the internet. I didn’t feel like I was being seen, but rather as someone who can just promote your book.

I don’t tag authors in reviews if the review is lower than a 4.5 and glowing or, if the author has specified that they don’t want to be tagged in any kind of review. I try my hardest to find the latter info, but if I can’t, I make sure my reviews are positive and urging people to read the book. I will never tag an author in anything lower, unless asked to, or I’ll send them a link to said review. I’m not here to make anyone upset or mad.

That being said, if I do tag an author, and they reach out, asking me to take the tweet down, I will.

I will include the authors name in the tweet, usually with a hashtag, but I won’t directly tag their accounts with anything lower than a glowing 4.5 review.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging and reviewing. When I first started this blog back in 2018, I honestly never expected to have over 400 followers and almost 1000 views a month. I never thought that people would actually be interested in my thoughts and opinions. I never expected to make friends doing this, go to ALA, or be approved for ARCs. I had my first publisher approved physical ARC sent to my house earlier this year…which I still get excited about. I didn’t expect to have someone in publishing reach out to use my quote for an ad campaign. I definitely didn’t expect to be able to moderate a signing for Brigid Kemmerer and Breeana Shields. I didn’t expect to become friends with a bunch of authors. I didn’t expect any of those things and they happened because 2 years ago, I decided to start my blog back up.

My experience as a reviewer has honestly been pretty fantastic. I love it. I love the opportunities that I’ve had because of it, and I cannot wait to see what’s next. For now, I’m going to keep reading and keep reviewing…while working on my own WIP. I’ve hit 400 followers, I’m possibly on track to hit 1000 views this month, I have over an 80% reviewer rating on NetGalley and there are so many really good books waiting for me to read.

What are some of your experiences as a reviewer?


15 thoughts on “My Experience as A Reviewer

  1. We love having you in the community Alexa! And also as my friend 🙂

    I haven’t had too many bad experiences so far since I’m still a baby blog too. But when I ran the Instagram with Emma, we got some weird requests. One request was for us to send them various photos with our feet in them. I had posted a cute photo with some books and fuzzy socks and someone reached out asking for more. They ran a whole page dedicated to bookish feet pics and tried to focus around socks, but we were both pretty weirded out. Safe to say, we didn’t send them anything.

    So far any requests for reviews have been very pleasant and polite. I’m very grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! We love having you too Sammy! and as my friend!

      Ooof, yikes. Big Yikes. that’s so weird and uncomfortable. Though, at least they were consistent on their page? lol

      Yay! I’m glad all your review requests have been nice! That’s so great to hear!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw thanks! And yeah, it was – uhhh – strange, to say the least. But I’m glad that’s been my only strange/bad experience so far

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Honestly, besides the random “join us and post a guest blog on our platform” emails, the one that rubbed me the weirdest was the Instagram DM one, who addressed me as Chazzy. Like, that still just makes me go, wtf.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, doing just a tiny bit of research is a HUGE thing for me!!! I’ve had people reach out and start the email with, ‘Hi The Writing Finch’. That’s not my name? My name is SO easy to find on my blog, especially if you managed to find my email. Baffling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh, it’s so annoying and like, not hard? At all?
      Like, if I’m going to spend time reading and promoting your book, then the LEAST you can do is give me a little respect – give bloggers a little bit of respect. The only reason you should be using a blog title, is if the blogger is anonymous on their blog – if that’s the case, then I understand. But my real name is on all my accounts, even if my handles don’t reflect my real name. If you address me by my real name, I at least know you looked at my page before jumping into my DMs or email.
      It truly is baffling, and I hope any new requests/emails you get address YOU!


  3. This is a great post! These are all so common! Especially the nickname one. I often get “Hi the bookish linguist” and it is very clear whether a person has read or not read my review policy from the content of their email!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you liked it!
      Oof. It’s definitely annoying. Like, I understand that they’re just trying to be friendly, but if full names are in profiles, or review policies, USE THEM. Please. Agreeing to read an authors book is more along the lines of a business transaction, than asking a friend to read it and provide feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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