Author Tips from a Reviewer

Writing A Query Letter to a Reviewer–Yes, You Need to Take This Seriously! {Sample Letter Included}

You are a professional writer! You have created a masterpiece novel and though it is available for purchase, it’s not selling like a true bestseller should. It’s still classified as that “hidden gem” because it’s undiscovered. You know that you need reviews because you read my last post, but now, you need to know how to approach reviewers. Is there a right or wrong way to contact reviewers? Should you be aware of anything that typically turns reviewers away?

Of course! Just like querying to a Literary Agent, there are dos and don’ts to emailing or messaging reviewers, and while there are certainly some instances which my advice may not apply, for the majority of the time these are great tips to keep in mind while you’re typing up that letter. Here are the most common things that I’ve encountered during my 7 years of reviewing.

Dos:

  1. DO-Prepare your letter on a document that can be copy & pasted. This will save you from HOURS of writing the same thing over and over and will allow you to zip through those requests efficiently! Plus, it keeps you from submitting a request and then thinking “Oh no! I forgot to include the Amazon link”!
  2. DO- Include your name, email, and website (or social media if you don’t have a website). Include these in your letter, even if you are submitting the request through a reviewer’s contact form that requires you to type those in the fields. Many contact forms (mine especially) do not allow for a quick “reply to email” option so including your email in the letter allows the reviewer to copy and paste your email address quickly. (IF YOU PUBLISH UNDER A PEN NAME: Use the name you published the book under! If your links don’t work and they have to look you up, it may be hard for them to find your book if they are using your real name.)
  3. DO-Mention how you found them. Name dropping is crucial to grabbing a reviewer’s attention. Did another author refer you? Did you discover them on a book blogging site? Have you been following their blog? Mentioning how you came across their reviewing site is a great way to make your letter a bit more personal. In your copy and paste letter, you can write a generic mention (I’d suggest using the most common way you plan to find reviewers, e.g. “I discovered you on Reedsy“), and plan on personalizing the letter to each reviewer as you go.
  4. DO-Include a brief bio (optional). BRIEF. IF you feel like you need to include a bio, 3 or 4 lines is all you need. You want them to know a little about you, but you really want to save the majority of your letter for information about your book. If they want to learn more about you, they will follow the link to your website, that’s why you included it 😉
  5. DO-Include the book title, synopsis, genre, word count, and whether or not it is in a series. You want to include the word count because a lot of times, the length of the book will be a determining factor of whether or not the reviewer will have time to review it. Some authors have included a content guide (does your books have explicit romance, cursing, gore etc) as well, and while I certainly do appreciate this, I would consider that as optional.
  6. DO-Add your Amazon and/or Goodreads links. If your book isn’t listed on either of those yet, stop right now and go add your book on Goodreads!! Seriously, it’s free, easy, and Goodreads will be one of your biggest allies for finding reviewers. If your book isn’t available through Amazon, include the link to wherever the book is sold.
  7. DO- Clarify if you are looking for reviewers for a TOUR or just in general. I will talk more about Book Tours in a later post, but the main reason for mentioning this is to let the reviewer know if you’re needing a review by a certain date.
  8. DO- List the formats available for review. Remember, your primary ARC format should be ebooks! Save those hard copies for the reviewers who only review physical copies (if they are really good reviewers and you are confident your book is a good match) and as “thank you”s to the reviewers who gave you glowing reviews!
  9. DO- Thank them for their time and consideration. You certainly want to be nice and polite!

Don’t forget to personalize your query submissions before you submit them to the reviewers! You don’t want to address them by the wrong name!

Don’ts

  1. DON’T-Forget to personalize each submission! I cannot emphasize this enough. As someone who often forgets to do this myself, it is embarrassing to realize that you called Karen “Allyson” and told her that you found her blog from Joe Overhere when it was actually Mike Overthere who told you about her. So, just give your submission a good read-over before you hit “send”.
  2. DON’T-Mention any of your other books! If you’re looking for reviews for The Cow Jumped Over the Moon, do not tell the reviewer all about how successful Piggies Go Oink was last year, they’ll want to review that book instead! If you have a “bestseller” under your belt, mention that in your bio as “I am the author of the bestselling novel Piggies Go Oink“, but leave it at that! (Unless you are looking for a review for a sequel in a series, then mention how successful the first book(s) in that series were)
  3. DON’T-Include what “other reviewers are saying”. This is strongly a personal preference I think, but I have found several other reviewers who agree with me on this. You included the links to Goodreads and Amazon, which means that if they want to know what other reviewers are saying about your book, they’ll visit those links and scroll down to the reviews. I often won’t even read “what others are saying” in the submissions because those “others” aren’t me and they likely have a different taste in books than I do.

Whew. Think you got all that? Don’t worry, it’s a lot of information but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your email will be terribly long. Below, you can see a sample review query letter that I typed up just for y’all.


What if I’m contacting a reviewer via Facebook Messenger or the Insta DMs?

If they posted on social media that they are open for requests, reply to that post with a very brief (1 or 2 lines) overview of your book and ask them how (and if) they’d prefer to receive more information (e.g. email, PM, or via their contact form etc). If you just come across them on social media and know that they are reviewers, I would suggest locating their website information and submitting your request via their website preferences as opposed to contacting them directly on social media.


Sample Letter

Dear Karen,

My name is Rae Leigh and I am seeking a review for my Dystopian novel, Program MIRA. I came across your site on Reedsy and thought that my novel might be a good fit for you and your site. This book is not part of a series and a review at any time convenient for you will be appreciated. I have PDF and MOBI ebooks available to send. Thank you in advance for your consideration and I look forward to your response.

Book Title: Program MIRA

Genre: Dystopian

Word Count: 65k

Synopsis:

The Coterie was once a godsend; a group of high-esteemed intellectuals who looked out for the people of Dyvercity. Lead by Sorren and Scarlett Black to protect and organize the citizens of Dyvercity, The Coterie had the utmost power, but they were not a brutal government. Until Scarlett died during childbirth and Sorren was forced to remarry Estrella to remain on the board. Shortly after his remarriage, his daughter, Neve, disappears with all fingers pointing to Estrella, though nothing could be proved. With Sorren fallen deep into depression, Estrella easily assumed full control of The Coterie and quickly plunged it into darkness.

Neve Black is supposed to one day take control of The Coterie, because she is the only child of Sorren, but she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t even know that her name is Neve. Believing that she herself is an orphan known simply by Wynter, she accepts living amongst 4, also orphaned, boys, in Division 1812—The Apple Pickers, as a normal part of life.  

But when the orphans’ care-taker, Dyanna, is ordered to kill Wynter, she suddenly discovers things about herself, and Estrella, that she never thought possible. Accompanied by her 4 fellow orphans, Wynter decides to take on the daring task of reclaiming her identity. But Estrella seeks the aid of MIRA, a government-banned AI that seems to have unchecked power, to stop Wynter.

Will Wynter and the 4 boys succeed in their plan to broadcast Estrella’s lies all over Dyversity, or will Wynter succumb to the beauty of Program MIRA and join her?

You can contact me at thisismyemail@email.com. My website is ThisIsMyBlog.Blog.com. Here is the link to Amazon. And here is the link to GoodReads.

Again, thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Rae Leigh

Thank you so much for reading! Now that you know how to approach reviewers, come back next week when I share my Reviewer-Finding resources!

Did you learn anything new today or did I just confirm that you are a freakin’ awesome person and know exactly what you’re doing in life?! Let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Writing A Query Letter to a Reviewer–Yes, You Need to Take This Seriously! {Sample Letter Included}”

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