A few weeks ago, maybe more, I received an email from a book promoter asking me to review a new book being released soon. I read the attached blurb and it sounded quite interesting. Not necessarily a book I would have automatically been drawn to had I been browsing Amazon for a good read, but the book was written by a new English author based in London, so I felt I wanted to help promote it.
I wrote back accepting the request to review, stating I review books and post my review here on my blog, Amazon US, UK, Goodreads and Smashwords as appropriate. I received a rather perplexing reply from the author himself where he queried my credentials for review. Was I a journalist, a professional writer? If not, the offer for review was not meant for me but as a boon he would post me a copy of the book on release.
Well, actually I’m like the thousands you hope will buy your book and read it. No I don’t hold a degree in journalism and I don’t write for the national newspapers but I have reviewed over 50 books this year and am frequently asked to review books by authors. I actually do have a loyal following of blog readers in the triple figure area and I have published enough reviews and gained enough votes to be in the top 2500 amazon reviewers. Not that these figures necessarily make my opinion any more valid than any other reader and nor should they, but I have devoted time to promote and feedback on books. I do so with no financial gain in mind, my intention is just to spread the word, albeit in the little whisper I generate.
I wrote back stating I was not a professional journalist just one of the masses who may like to read his book and that I frequently give my time for free to independently published authors or anyone who has written a book and wants an honest review and feedback. Obviously his publishers would be promoting his books through the usual channels and I don’t want a free paper copy thank you, I only review ebooks. I don’t do this because I’m too cheap to buy books, I do actually buy a lot of books too but the quid pro quo for an honest review seems to be something a lot of authors appreciate.
What I didn’t like about this encounter was yet again coming across arrogance in an author. I was too small time to promote his epic book. I have made a note of the title so I don’t accidentally buy and review the book that I am too amateurish to review. I have written this before but I write it once again: The average reader has a huge amount of choice when it comes to browsing for their next read, competition for their reading time is fierce. Of course if you only want the elite to read your book that marketplace is a lot smaller and you won’t need as much publicity to put your book out there.
So in summary, choose your able reviewers before sending out promotional material to potential reviewers to avoid giving offence when promoting your obvious blockbuster reads.