Why I Don’t Accept Review Requests as a Book Blogger

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.

32 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Accept Review Requests as a Book Blogger

  1. Krysta July 4, 2022 / 4:46 pm

    We semi-closed our review requests years ago because we were getting so many requests from indie authors, and there is really no way to keep up. We still get these requests all the time, though, even though our policy states that we aren’t accepting them. I particularly love when they don’t realize I am a part of the blog and only address my co-blogger. Or when they spell my name wrong. I know they’re likely trying to send out as many emails as possible, but, if they expect me to read several hundred pages of their book and write a thoughtful review, I think it seems fair to expect them to read a few paragraphs of my review policy?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Celeste | A Literary Escape July 5, 2022 / 5:32 pm

      I agree with this. I don’t get a lot of review requests, but usually when I receive one the author hasn’t taken the time to see what genres I prefer and/or take care to note that my review requests are closed. The most recent one I got a week ago was just a link to a book with a short, unclear message…I didn’t even know if the person who sent it to me was the author or a publisher, nor did I take the time to find out. In summary, yes, if an author/publishers expects/hopes a blogger will read and review their book, they should take the time to take note of the blogger’s review policy and reading preferences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mint July 6, 2022 / 12:23 am

        I absolutely agree. If the author doesn’t seem to have taken the time to read your preferences, that may say something about their attention to detail in their book and about their professionalism as an author.

        Also, a link without much else could be an attempt at phishing so that makes me even more suspicious.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Krysta July 7, 2022 / 5:12 pm

        Yeah, we used to get a surprising number of review requests for romance and erotica, even though we had written we don’t prefer those genres. And I don’t get it. If it’s not my preferred genre, I’m probably not going to be the best, most enthusiastic reviewer?

        Oh, and yes! Sometimes I truly cannot tell if a request is from a legitimate person. I usually try to research the person on the email and see if they are listed on a company website or something. But some emails look really confusing/shady and I just delete them. Strangely, though, I think some of the shady ones might be legitimate.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mint July 7, 2022 / 6:58 pm

        Someone contacted me from Reedsy Discovery and their contact definitely looked shady (even though the company is legitimate). So it’s happened to me before! Always better to be safe rather than sorry and to do some extra research though.

        And I don’t get it either… I’d think the author would want a blogger that fits their book to give the most informed review possible, but I also think some authors just don’t do their research or put enough thought into the marketing aspect.

        Like

    • Mint July 5, 2022 / 9:21 pm

      I think it’s more than fair! If they can’t read a few paragraphs of your policy, if they can’t tell that there are two bloggers, if they can’t spell your name right… I think it may point to some er, issues in the book or in their professional conduct as an author.

      Like

      • Krysta July 7, 2022 / 5:07 pm

        I imagine that they are going for quantity over quality, but then I think they should realize that not tailoring the email to, at the very least, have the correct name, might result in my not wanting to work with them.

        Interestingly, I used to try to respond politely to all requests and say that I didn’t have time to read their book, but I wished them well in their endeavors. So many authors wouldn’t stop emailing me to ask me to read it anyway, or to read their other book, or whatever, that I ended up blocking a few emails and now I only respond if I want to read a book. Because apparently if you say you don’t want to read a book, people interpret it as an opening for a debate.

        Like

  2. Anoushka July 4, 2022 / 10:33 pm

    AHHHH this was such an interesting post to read AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Davida Chazan July 5, 2022 / 4:11 am

    On my blog, I say that no, I’m not accepting books for review BUT if the author/publisher truly believes that their book would be perfect for me, I will allow them to try to convince me to make an exception in their case. Many have tried, very few have succeeded! Some were SO anxious they even shipped physical copies of their books abroad! Of those, they’ve all ended up on the DNF list so… If they’re that desperate, their books probably aren’t for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 5, 2022 / 9:26 pm

      Oh my goodness! That is some um…. commitment, to ship physical copies of their book without even knowing if the person will read them. And a little creepy if I’m being quite honest.

      I like the idea of allowing authors/publishers to plead their case. I always wonder if I’m missing out on some gems if I don’t take any review requests.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Davida Chazan July 6, 2022 / 10:41 pm

        I’ve written a whole discussion post on this for my blog, inspired by this one! Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mint July 7, 2022 / 1:55 am

        Excited to see your take, Davida!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta July 7, 2022 / 5:13 pm

      There’s something kind of endearing about the thought of someone earnestly trying to convince you that you’ll love a book. But, I agree with Mint, that at the same time it seems over the top to ship you books you said you didn’t want, just in case. Like it’s the book version of a rom com and you’ll change your mind once you see the box there on the front stoop with a note saying how perfect you are for each other? Lol!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Celeste | A Literary Escape July 5, 2022 / 5:34 pm

    Mint, I’m with you–I also run my blog purely as a hobby. And I also started off with an open review policy, but I think I closed it after just a few months once I discovered NetGalley. It is nice to have the freedom to request an ARC that you’re truly interested in. And also to allocate time to read other books that aren’t ARCs. I’m still working on that last part as I have some ARCs on NG I’m trying to “clear out.” Once I get down to less than five I’ll focus more on my own purchased copies of books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 6, 2022 / 12:24 am

      Yes! I stopped reading ARCs too because I felt like I wasn’t reading the stuff that I found fun. I’ll review ARCs if it’s the right fit for me, but I love the freedom of being able to say yes or no when I want. Whereas you don’t really have that with review requests.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. abookowlscorner July 6, 2022 / 2:24 pm

    Great discussion, Mint! I definitely feel where you’re coming from when you say you prefer to look for ARCs yourself – I actually don’t review ARCs at all, but I do think that mindset applies to my reading in general. There are so many books out there that I’m excited about that I’m usually just not that interested in reviewing something else…

    I had my review requests open for a pretty long time, though. I didn’t accept the majority of the requests I got, but every once in a while, when something sounded interesting, I would give it a go. After all, I do want to do my part in promoting indie authors!

    Unfortunately, though, I’ve had pretty mediocre experiences with almost all of my review books thus far πŸ˜… There were so many times where I just wasn’t a fan and then felt kind of guilty for posting all of these scathing reviews when the authors of the books had been so kind as to send them to me πŸ™ˆ And then there was the added pressure of knowing I’d have to review the book even if I didn’t have much to say on it, which kind of took some of the joy out of reading these books for me πŸ˜…

    So yeah… now that I have an insanely busy schedule and barely any reading time as it is, I’ve decided to close my review requests completely and simply focus on what I want to read!

    Will I stick with this? Who knows! 🀣 But it’s definitely working well for me at the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 6, 2022 / 11:40 pm

      Oh no! I can see how it could be awkward to post a review knowing that an author has contacted you personally! That removes a barrier that isn’t really in place with an ARC website.

      The nice thing about blogs is that we can change our style when it’s not suiting us, so you could always open them in the future if you’re wanting to try that again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators July 7, 2022 / 9:31 am

    This is such an interesting post! Technically I’m open to reviews, but I have yet to come across any that I’ve been interested in (for sure not recently). I keep them open though in case I find something I am interested in. Since I have no issue saying no and since I don’t get that many requests anyways, keeping my requests open works for me.

    However, I much prefer specific blogger influencer programs where publishers have my email and send out monthly or quarterly emails where I can request any of the specific books they list with no pressure. This method works so well, because I only fill out the form if I’m interested in a specific book. Plus, I’m only on email lists for specific publishers that I enjoy.

    Fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 7, 2022 / 1:35 pm

      I’ve not tried blogger influencer programs before, but that sounds like a fantastic option! You can curate your publisher list and select your books accordingly. Monthly or quarterly also sounds great because they’re not so frequent they’d seem spammy.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ann July 10, 2022 / 12:36 pm

    I can’t keep up with all the new releases and I don’t like having a time limit to finish reading a book. There are so many backlit books out there that I like to promote. That I leave the new releases and ARCs to those who can keep up with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 10, 2022 / 11:20 pm

      Fair enough! Promoting backlists are important too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction July 20, 2022 / 5:52 pm

    I still accept review requests from publishers, but not from self-pubbed authors. It just got too overwhelming. But even just with publishers, I find it hard to keep up sometimes and occasionally I feel guilty when I leave the requests languishing in my inbox. I try to just let it go, though – honestly, the worst thing that would happen is that they would stop sending me requests, and then I guess I wouldn’t have to worry about my etiquette for not replying. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 20, 2022 / 11:09 pm

      Yeah, that wouldn’t be a worry anymore! I think also, they know that people on the other end are busy and a no reply after awhile is just as good as no.

      I’ve seen many people who do requests from publishers and not self-pubbed authors and I think it really helps reduce the request load, since it’s mostly self-pubbed authors making requests.

      Like

  9. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus July 22, 2022 / 4:13 am

    The same happened to me. I had an open review policy because I saw so many book-bloggers had on their webpages such detailed and well-crafted review policies and I was tempted. I had to delete my review policy altogether because the volume of request became overwhelming for me and the “quality” of those requests let alone indie authors’ books left much to be desired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 23, 2022 / 3:36 am

      I’ve thought about getting rid of the review policy page as well, just to prevent authors from contacting me even after I’ve clearly said no to requests.

      If I do start getting overwhelmed, that sounds like a great way to stop more requests from coming in – in theory at least? I know some authors can be overly persistent.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jess C July 23, 2022 / 1:18 pm

    I have all the exact same feelings. When I started I felt like I had to take requests but along the way I realized that my blog was mostly for me. I like what you said about ARCS not being needed to drive traffic. !

    I occasionally do a Netgalley review or send an ARC request if it’s a series/author I know I enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint July 25, 2022 / 3:09 pm

      I think that’s the way to go honestly, just sending ARC requests when you feel like it. It takes some pressure off you, you can enjoy yourself, and the author/publisher would benefit from getting a request from someone who’s truly interested in the book and not just interested in driving traffic for themselves.

      Like

  11. Beth W August 2, 2022 / 4:13 pm

    Hard same, about not wanting the pressure of book reviewing! I’m curious which ARC request sites you prefer, though. I’ve heard of Netgalley and Edelweiss, but I don’t even know the difference between those two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mint August 3, 2022 / 12:23 am

      I’ve never used Edelweiss myself so I can’t speak to how good it is, so I’d have to to with NetGalley between those too. In general, I find that NetGalley has the best selection for traditionally published works. BookSprout is good for some self-published genres like romance.

      Like

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