Authors, don’t ask me to review your books … Please!

I was planning on writing this post when another by M T McGuire (previously featured on Reading Recommendations) popped up this morning. I reblogged Forget selling. Focus on #writing. here and recommend that, if you have not already read this, you go and do so now.

Okay, you’re back? Here’s the thoughts I want to add to that post …

As you know, I create and run Giveaways of my novel on a certain book and reading site, and these have been quite successful in getting the word out about me and my writing. One of the directives in the author agreement with this site is that we will not contact entrants or winners directly, because to do so might be considered harassment and we could be deleted from the site, if we don’t play by the rules. Fair enough, and I’ve stuck by that agreement, even though I’m itching to chat with those who have won copies of my book.

I also enter a lot of contests on this site offered by other authors. I’ve won quite a number of books, too – some very good, some bad, some indifferent. I haven’t read every book I’ve won … yet, but I do plan to get around to reading them, in good time – and when I actually have time! Currently, if all the books I have to read that are loaded on my eBook were suddenly to become print copies, and those books were added to that tower of already-in-print books stacked by my bedside, I’d run the risk of being crushed, if that stack were ever to topple over. I’ll be lucky to get through all the books I want to read in my lifetime, let alone before the end of this year. I have also been beta-reading and editing for a number of friends – reading that takes a special kind of deeper concentration for me than pleasure-reading. Since I’m writing and sending these author-friends my thoughts on their books, and suggestions as to how I think they might be able to make their books better, the last thing I want to do is write a review-on-demand, especially when the book I’ve been asked to review doesn’t really thrill me, in the end. (I make an exception in reviewing books and authors who I really, really enjoy. But I write those reviews, wanting to share these books with other readers, because THE BOOKS ARE SO GOOD!!)

So, imagine my dismay last night when I received a private message on this site from the author of a book I had recently won, asking me to review his book when I finished reading it. Not only did he not follow the prime directives from the site, but he didn’t even look at my profile to see that I, too, am an author with a book or two to promote. I might not have become as incensed by his message had he bothered to say something like, “I see you, too, are an author. When you’ve had a chance to read my book, I’d appreciate it if you’d send me your thoughts. In the meantime, is there any way I can help you to promote your books to my readers?”

In a perfect world, right?

Now, as it stands, I’m not really sure I want to read his book at all, tainted as my opinion is of this author.

You may be thinking, “Aw, give the guy a break. He’s new at this and is just trying to get his book out there.” The thing is, though, that this author is not the only one who has written, published, and is trying to promote his book. There are tens of thousands of them every day who are trying to get someone, anyone, to review their precious words. But, as I’ve said previously on this blog – and many, many times, actually – Dear Writer … it’s not all about you, ya know!.

I have done my fair share of promoting fellow authors over the decades (because that was my job), but have especially concentrated on promoting others since I first ePublished my own novel in Feb., 2012. I even created the blog, Reading Recommendations, to further promote those fellow authors. Some have promoted me and the blog in return, some have favourably reviewed my books or posted an interview with me on their blogs, many have become very good friends – albeit, virtual friends. What I’m trying to say is that it’s been equally as good for me as my promotion has been for them. For some of them. Not all have paid me back in kind, but those who have are still receiving continuing promotion from me. And, throughout this time, the readership has been building for ALL of us, so we have no need to ask each other to read and review books – the reviews are coming in from those readers who are discovering our work through our promotions of each other.

So what this author who asked me to read and review his book doesn’t realize is that, as well as not really wanting to read the book at all now, I also won’t be asking him to join us on my promotion blog. How can I seriously promote an author who hasn’t shown any interest in becoming part of this writing community?

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy … Ask not what Readers and Authors can do for you, ask what you can do for Readers and Authors!

By the way, I deleted his private message without replying and I won’t report him to the powers-that-be at the site. I hope that he, and any other authors who have been guilty of doing the same in requesting reviews, will see this blog post and recognize themselves in it – AND STOP ASKING FOR REVIEWS!!!

Unless they’re willing to read-to-review my books, in which case, let’s talk about promo possibilities, shall we? Otherwise, as M T suggests, Get back to writing! And write a great book that readers will want to read. Which is where I’m heading back to right now, Tim Baker! (previously featured on Reading Recommendations)

See how I slyly slid a little promotion into this post for my fellow authors…

8 responses

  1. excellent post! found you through Tricia Drammeh!You have very helpful information!

    1. Thank you, yamulculturaljunkie! You are very welcome here. I hope you continue to find posts that interest you!

  2. Author Rebecca Heishman

    A lot of this has to do with common courtesy and professionalism. If you need to have your car tuned, you get in line behind all the rest of the drivers who are waiting in line for attention, the same as you were. Everyone in the book business is busy. Keep your cool. Hang onto your professionalism and your common sense. Your book is important, but so is everyone else’s. If your book is truly good, your time will come. Excellence isn’t ignored, and once you receive the attention you need to move ahead, you life will move ahead as it should, the powers-that-be will notice, and you will go to that place where you are meant to go to excel and to be noticed. Patience…it isn’t easy when you’re searching for the gold ring that will catapult you to success. The gold ring is there for you. You simply must be patient until that sucker comes ’round to you, then you grab it and hang on for dear life. Just feel strong in your faith that your time will come. We don’t chase fate and success. Fate and success chase us.

    1. Very well said, Becky! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  3. Author Rebecca Heishman

    Reblogged this on Dancing With The MS MonSter and commented:
    Wise words for writers…it’s not all about you, you know.

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Becky!

  4. Oh, there’s so much of this behavior! The author who contacted you is not unique. There are many out there who behave as if they are the only author in the world. They take without giving. It’s very sad because they are missing out on the opportunity to make friends in the author community.

    I’ve finally learned to do exactly what you have done. I used to respond to every author who contacted me (even those who were rude and ungrateful), but not any more. If an author doesn’t bother to read my “about” page to find out whether or not I’m accepting review requests, I ignore them. I stopped accepting unsolicited review requests months ago, yet I still receive a steady stream of emails from authors.

    You and MT are absolutely right about going back to writing. As writers, that’s what we do best!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tricia! And I’m very pleased to tell my readers that you are one of the very good authors previously featured on my Reading Recommendations blog who has given back ten-fold, both to me and to other authors I’ve promoted. So I urge readers to check out Tricia’s writing by first looking at my promotion of her and her work.

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