A lot of book bloggers are open to receiving requests from authors or publishers to read and review their books. However, I don’t take review requests and I’m very happy about this decision
When I first started my blog, I put on my review policy that I was interested in accepting review requests. I’d noticed a lot of other bloggers mentioned this on their policies and getting requests from authors sounded really cool.
However, the more I blogged, the more I realized that leaving review requests open wasn’t for me. So, I decided to close them. Sure, authors and publishers might not read my review policy and send me a request anyways, but I think it’s still important to clearly state my boundaries on my policy.
I wasn’t able to find a lot of advice about crafting a review policy and the potential cons of accepting review requests when I started, so I hope this post is helpful to any book bloggers out there that might need it.
It’s important to set your boundaries as a book blogger
People blog for all sorts of reasons. Some people want to grow a platform and hopefully monetize their blog. Some people use their blog as a writing portfolio of sorts. Some people see their blog as a fun hobby and nothing more.
Personally, I fall into the last category. I want to make sure that reading stays fun for me. Having to manage my email inbox for review requests and figure out how to turn down authors and publishers I’m not interested doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun.
When the academic year starts, I don’t have a lot of time for non-college activities. I didn’t think it would be fair to keep authors waiting for my reviews when I’m super busy.
Do what works for you as a blogger. If you decide later that you want to turn your review requests on or off, don’t be afraid to do that. And if you do decide to have your review requests open, don’t feel like you have to say yes to every author that contacts you either. Your blog is yours, and you get to decide what to do with it.
Accepting review requests isn’t necessary to drive engagement
I thought that bloggers had to accept review requests to grow their blogs when I first started, but I soon realized that this wasn’t really the case.
In general, ARCs don’t tend to drive a lot of traffic to book blogs. I wrote more about this in a previous discussion post if you’re interested in learning more about this.
I prefer to look for ARCs myself
ARCs might not drive a lot of traffic to my blog but I do find it fun to read them from time to time and to support authors in this way. You don’t need to wait for review requests to access ARCs; you can use one of the many ARC websites out there. You don’t need to be an established or big blogger to use any of these sites either.
I prefer looking for ARCs through these sites because they give me more control. I can look through all the genres and books they have on offer. I can compare the deadlines for reviews and pick the ARCs I can manage. And all the interactions between me and the author are handled through their website, which feels a little more secure to me in case something goes wrong between me, the ARC, and the author.
Do you keep your review requests open? Why or why not? I’d love to know more about your thoughts, and what your experience with review requests has been like.