Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review Requests, Netgalley, and Peeves

I can be a rather laid back person. I don't think I'm that demanding. And usually, I'm just still thrilled I can get books early and that people want me to talk about their books. It's nice to feel that important! But there are some major turn offs. Major. Turn. Offs.

Netgalley

Netgalley's great. Or it used to be. I have some issues with Netgalley now.

1.) Sort Your Damn Books

Netgalley has categories based on genre/age group. Except too many people just...don't use them. There are HUNDREDS of books on Netgalley and sorting them into categories - the RIGHT categories - is a HUGE help. Another reason I appreciate it is that not all books show up in the main page, or they're easy to skip. I've noticed before that I couldn't find a book on Netgalley until I specifically searched or went to the publisher. Seriously, sort your books. And remember that YA is YA, not children's on Netgalley. And vice versa. Definitely vice versa.


2.) Too. Many. Books.

For me, Netgalley became 500% less pleasant with the addition of self-pub/indie pub. Because it feels like half of them don't know what they're doing. I swear I've seen at least a couple books labeled "draft." DRAFT???? You don't put a DRAFT on Netgalley. You put something that's mostly, if not entirely, edited. It's also lead to a HUGE overload. It shouldn't take me 20 minutes to see all the books posted in a 24 hour period. That's TOO MUCH and God knows I'm still gonna miss all the books I actually want.

3.) Weird Request Approval Times

Recently, I was approved for a request for a book that came out the NEXT DAY. This is an actual thing that seems to be happening more and more often. If I request a book months in advance, maybe you shouldn't be putting out approvals less than two weeks before release? Or even after release? Because I'm not going to read it in time if it's just before and it sinks down the consideration list considerably after it's out. I'm not saying all requests should be responded to within hours, but if you're going to put a book out as an egalley 4 months in advance...maybe approve it at least 2 months in advance?

Review Requests

1.) Not Including a Summary

You're asking me to do something for you. Yes, you're offering something in return, but you're still asking me to dedicate several hours to read a book, format a post, probably write a review, share the review, etc. Don't also make me go see what the book is about. All your praise and telling me what you'd like done is nice and all, but I'm not gonna accept a book I know nothing about. Just copy and paste the summary into the email. It's not hard. A link is OKAY, but really. Copy. Paste. It's not like you shouldn't have this handy anyway.

2.) GRAMMAR

I don't know why I need to even say this. You should be able to properly capitalize our blog name. "Book Blog" doesn't need to be capitalized, neither do genres. You shouldn't use words like "whilst" because this is an email, not Shakespeare. Casual is cool, but this is till a professional thing. Check what you're writing. Especially if you're an author/freelance publicist. If you're an author and can't do basic grammar in an email, what does that say about your book? And freelance publicist? Why would I want to work with you? You now look like a scam.

3.) Don't Ignore the Review Policy

I don't generally know how people pitching me found my blog. NO idea. But my general assumption is that if I've never worked with you, you had to have visited my blog before pitching me. If you're on the blog, my review policy is pretty easy to find. Take an extra 30 seconds to read it before wasting an email on me by pitching a book that's not in my genre/category. Because now I'm just annoyed and don't want to help you and there are better people you could pitch.

4.) Use My Name

I get it, you've got a lot of people to email and you're trying to make this quick. But I find it irritating if you can't get my name/my blog's name in the email SOMEWHERE. Especially if you're someone I've never worked with before. And I think this is true with a lot of bloggers. I can forgive publicists I know for it because I can still trust them. But you, a new person, I've got NO idea what to expect from you. The least you can do is attempt to make this personalized. Because personalized emails have like a 50% better chance of me accepting them. 

5.) Give Me Time

Look, I got a lotta books. And I'm very much a mood reader. One week isn't enough time. Three weeks is not a long lead time. It's really best to approach 3-4 months in advance to get a better chance at a review by release. And that's STILL not a guarantee. I can't guarantee you'll ever get a review. But the less time you give me for that, the less likely it is to happen.

So, those are the peeves I can come up with off the top of my head. Do these seem unreasonable to you? Any that you share? Any peeves I didn't bring up? 

--Julie

3 comments:

  1. The review policy thing is one of my biggest pet peeves. Especially considering there is two of us and we quite clearly state that you are in the US and I'm in the UK, so I shouldn't be getting emails from US authors/publicists if they don't/can't do the international thing.

    Also, I don't like when I get emails from self-published authors who talk about their own books as if someone else wrote them/as if they're publicists...I get they're trying to be professional, but it just irritates me.

    Giving me a ridiculous time limit (especially in a demanding sort of tone). Like, giving someone a week to read a book doesn't sound too insane, but when you consider the fact that there's already a queue of books waiting to be read and this person is expecting theirs to just be put ahead of all the others... No.

    When they ask for positive reviews instead of honest ones.

    Quotes from other reviews doesn't do anything for me. In emails from publicists I've worked with for a while, I've learned to trust their judgement so if they gush about a book, I trust that. Quoting some strangers praise which may or may not be genuine for all I know, I don't trust that and it won't sway me, all it does it make the email longer than it needs to be (plus, for all I know, those few quotes could be the only positive praise in a sea of negative reviews--they tell me nothing).

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  2. This was awesome! 1) I completely agree that it is ridiculous I can request a book and get approved the week before it archives and then I get penalized because I haven't reviewed it on Net Galley. Um, I just got it! 2) I will say they have enabled a feature now where you can look for requests by publishing house, which might help some. I've had some luck with it. 3) I got a request this last week from an author who literally said "Provide some evaluations of my book! Thanks!" and that was the end of it. Like I was working for him and this was a reasonable thing to say to me. I'd never heard of the guy and he's telling me to review it for him. No thanks! I will wait for someone who has manners. And humility.

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  3. I hate having to sort through all the titles on NG these days. I really don't like having self pub and indie pub titles available there. There are just so many of them!

    Also, couldn't agree more with your peeves about review requests. I hate when people don't use my name. Especially since it's right in my blog title. Not hard to figure out.

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