We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions.
Since we started this collaboration in February we’ve been taking note of what YOU, our readers, have commented and some of the questions that you have asked us to explore.
Danya from Fine Print asked us a few weeks ago about our approach to requesting books from publishers so we thought we would expand that into a ‘How To’ guide, with each of us discussing our individual experiences.
Amy’s been blogging for about seven months, and during that time she’s accepted books from authors and requested books from publishers. She’ll be discussing how to request physical books from publishers, and how to handle requests from authors. In addition, she’ll share some resources specifically for South African bloggers.
For the past 5 months, Uma has received as well as requested books from various sources - authors, publishers, review programs and more. She will be discussing about all these sources with a special focus on requesting physical books from Publishers.
Di will be discussing the ins and outs of NetGalley and how to successfully request books there.
I’ve been blogging for about seven months, so I still consider myself very much of a newbie. Although I’ve requested a lot of books, I still get terrified at the thought of emailing a publisher to request a book. It’s seriously scary, and I always end up thinking “why me? Why should they send me a book when they could send one to a blogger with about a 100 more followers?!”
It’s definitely daunting. But if it helps, remember it’s all over email. They aren’t gonna come knocking at your door and start humiliating you for daring to request a book.(Although technically, since they have your address….)
I’m going to talk about requesting and accepting physical books for review. Since I don’t read digital copies or use Netgalley, this is what I do to acquire books. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful!
Requesting Physical Books From Publishers
One of the first books I requested was Heartless, by Marissa Meyer. But before I could send the email, I needed to know who to send it to.
Here’s what I suggest doing when you’re requesting a physical book from a publisher (I’m using Heartless as an example):
1: Look for the book on Amazon or Goodreads. (I’m going with Amazon.) Scroll down till you come to the book info, and find out who the publisher is. In this case, it was Macmillan Children's Books.
2: Google that publisher and go to their website. If the publisher you found on Amazon was an imprint, then make sure you’re at the main publisher’s website. Since Macmillan Children's Books is an imprint of Pan Macmillan, I went to the Pan Macmillan website.
3: On the main website, look for Contact or FAQ; that’s where you’ll find details regarding bloggers requesting review copies, etc. If the book was published from a certain imprint, look for that imprint’s email address and contact details. VERY important.
4: BUT. If on the main website, there are links to the different imprints, definitely go to those imprint’s websites. And consider your country. Since I’m in South Africa, and Pan Mac has a SA website, I went to the Pan Macmillan SA website. Always check for your country, and even if they don’t have a country specific branch, just make sure you’ve got the right email for the right imprint .
5: If you followed step 4 and are now on the country specific website, search for the book you want; just to check it’s there. (Maybe an unnecessary step, but it won’t hurt).
6: Back at Step 3, look for contact details via the FAQ (there are often blogger related questions there) or Contact. Get the right email address, and TA DA! Almost there ;)
What to include in your request email:
- Introduce yourself. I just say “Hi, my name’s Amy Wannenburgh and I’m a book blogger”.
- State your request, and add the book’s details (you find these on Amazon next to the publisher name or on the publisher website on the book’s page):
For Heartless, it was:
Author(s): Marissa Meyer.
Pages: 320 Format:
- Add all your social media links, and stats: Twitter followers, Blog followers, etc.
- Add the links to any posts on your blog where you’ve mentioned the book.
- Add a little bit about why you want the book and why you think you’ll love it.
- Always say thank you and be polite, although that goes without saying.
- Your postal address. Publishers don’t always reply but still send you the books, so giving them all the information they need upfront is a good idea.
- If you get the book, then always send the publisher an email to let them know when your review’s up.
South African bloggers…
Readerswarehouse has an awesome review program on their website. You sign up for their “Review Crew” and for every review you post on their site, they’ll give you R2 towards a Readerswarehouse voucher at the end of the month! They’ll also occasionally send you free physical books :)
At the moment, however, their site is under reconstruction, so they’re asking if reviewers can hold off posting their reviews till things are finished getting revamped. But it won’t hurt to join their Review Crew in the meantime and wait till they give you the go-ahead to post your reviews:) Find more information HERE.
When Authors Email You To Request A Review:
*stands on roof and screams from rooftop* Don’t accept every book you’re offered!! It piles up FAST!! I currently have that problem. One of my first offers was a book I wasn’t too keen on reading, but because I wanted to “get out there” and start accepting, I said yes to the request. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had been more fussy right from the start. Now I have a pile of books waiting to be read, and that particular one that I’m dreading. It’s not even a genre I like! But I got carried away by the enthusiasm of accepting and just said yes.
Don’t just accept anything you’re offered! Be fussy! If you wish to decline a request, say so politely. If you wish to accept, again be polite, and don’t type all in caps because you’re so excited - I had to resist doing that when I was offered my first book. And it’s hard! Because it’s so exciting! But it kinda looks unprofessional.
On Your Blog
Having a review policy is a must. You can have a contact form (Requesting and receiving books from various sources ) or you can just give your email and the genres you accept, etc: My Review Policy
If you want to be offered books, then your policy will make it easy for author and publishers to contact you, and the requests should start rolling in. If you receive a book for review, it’s a good idea to mention that in your review; as a sort of disclaimer. Make sure you say that you got the book in exchange for an honest review (if that’s what happened).
We hope you’ve enjoyed this “Special”! Please share your thoughts in the comments and let us know what your policies are regarding review copies, Netgalley, and requesting from publishers. Stay tuned for Part 4 next week!