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How *Not* to Approach a Reviewer (Or, At Least This One)

prohibited-98614_640Yesterday, I received this e-mail via my contact form (pertinent details redacted, because I’m just not going to give them the kind of publicity they want):

Greetings.
Thank you for being an avid reader and book reviewer. We would appreciate it if you could review the work of [Author] most recent work, [Title]! The book takes a real look inside the life of one woman at an unseeingly low place and follows her journey to triumph; it can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you in advance for your support.
C. Dash

[Company Name]

Prologue for [Title]…

Throughout many civilizations, women have endured much in silence. They dare not utter a word about their hardship, discomfort, or even abuse. After all, many would argue that women have no voice as they are inferior beings. Therefore, with lips pressed tight, many women scream within and breathe when told. They stifle tears in the darkness – prisoners by memories they dare not share. So, these women – our mothers, our daughters, and our sisters – walk among us daily. They smile politely when spoken to, parading the outside pages of their existence – those happier moments. Inside however, between the pages, are the darkest lines – lines that should shame society, but rather shames she who endures.

So, there are a few things wrong here before I get to the cherry on top of the sundae.

Ask, don’t assume.  I don’t accept all requests for review.  I have a large stack of books to review.  I accept new ones very occasionally, and it needs to be subject matter in which I am interested.  This e-mail assumed that I would review the work (“Thank you in advance for your support.”)  Also, they didn’t greet me by name, which brings me to my next point.

Personalize it, people.  At least use my name in your salutation.  Give me some indication of why you think I would be a good reviewer for your work. This is obviously a scattershot e-mail going to a bunch of bloggers without any thought as to who would be a good fit.

Give me a choice.  I don’t use a Kindle.  I’m not a member of Kindle Unlimited.  Ergo, telling me I can read the book for free using Kindle Unlimited guarantees I’m not going to read it.  Where is my option to receive a paperback?  To use the eReader of my own choosing?  Nowhere.  Again, the person assumed that I was a member of Kindle Unlimited and would just hop right on it.

When the grammar in your sample sucks, I’m not going to review your book.  Enough said.

And now, the promised cherry on the sundae.  When I wrote back to the contact to explain that I was not presently accepting very many books for review and that I was going to pass, but wished them the best in finding the right reviewer for their work?  It turned out to be a fake e-mail.  I got a bounce notice.  So, my guess is that “C. Dash” is the author trying to look as though they are not self-promoting.  And you know what?  If they were the author, I wouldn’t care.  I review independent books all the time.  What I do care about is that they didn’t bother to give me a genuine way to contact them.

My suspicion is that they were essentially doing a drive-by of every reviewer they could find, without bothering to look at the kind of books people review and whether they were asking someone who would be a good fit for their genre.  They clearly presume that “everyone” is using Kindle Unlimited, which is a mistake.  This kind of “churn and burn” shows a complete lack of forethought and planning, from where I sit.  It’s not the way to interest reviewers (at least, not this one), and it’s not the kind of way to get the word of mouth that you want.  And then, to not leave a legitimate e-mail address so that, perhaps, I could politely pass on the opportunity or even to ask whether it was okay to give the opportunity to a reviewer who might be better suited?  Highly unprofessional and unacceptable.

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