Articles & Discussions

Dear Authors…An Open Letter To All Authors This Year

dear-authors

Dear Authors,

Please make it easy for me to review for you this year, by remembering all these things:

Please get my name right, it’s not hard to learn, it appears all over the web.  Either call me by my name, or just say ‘hi’.  But please don’t call me something else.  Would you want me to mix up your name with someone else’s, to say your book was written by another person?  I don’t think you would, so why would you want me to review for you if you can’t even call me the right name?

Please read all my submissions guidelines.  I know that many of you do not.  I know that you may think you’re too busy, or can’t be bothered, or just want to mass email all reviewers at once.  But it doesn’t take being smart to see when someone hasn’t read my submissions, when someone emails the wrong address, or asks me to review a genre I won’t touch.  It makes you look lazy and uncaring.  And I won’t review for you if that’s the impression you give.

Please don’t send a generic email.  Though I know some of you prefer to do it that way.  But after all the requests I’ve received in the past, I know which are generic and which aren’t.  Sometimes a generic request works, if the book is one I’d really love.  But most of the time it just reads like spam, and it just shows you couldn’t care less about who I am or who reviews your work.  So if you don’t really care about who reads your work, then I won’t really care about reading it myself.

Please understand I can’t always accept your book for review and I have my many reasons.  Sometimes your book just doesn’t interest me, it’s not in a genre I care about, or maybe I just don’t like the sound or look of it, but that doesn’t mean your book is bad.  You wouldn’t want to read a book if you were forced to read it, if you felt like you ‘had to’ read it, so sometimes I just don’t feel like reading your work, but it’s nothing against you.

Sometimes I can’t review a book because I’ve just got too many, and I can’t keep saying yes to everyone who asks.  Sometimes I just don’t want to feel overwhelmed, so I just have to say no but it’s nothing against you.  And sometimes on a rare occasion I just don’t like a book, I can see it’s not something I’d like.  I know I’d give it a bad rating before I’ve even read it, so isn’t it better I say no rather than saying yes and disappointing you later?

Please understand that I’m picky when it comes to English.  I shouldn’t have to apologise for being good with grammar, for hating typos and bad spelling, for disliking a badly formatted book.  So please make sure you’ve had your book proofread – several times if necessary.  And if you can’t find anyone else to do it, make sure it’s flawless before sending it to me.  I don’t like to pick out holes in work, and I won’t unless it happens too often.  But I won’t enjoy your book, no matter how good the story is, if I have to rearrange the words and punctuation in my head so they make sense.  Besides, if you’re an indie author, surely you want to be on a par with the traditionally published books, so why wouldn’t you want your work to be flawless?

Please really edit your work, proofreading is not always enough.  Get someone else to read your work and make them pick flaws in it not me.  And don’t hate me for what I say next…If everyone says your writing is perfect, if you don’t see many flaws in your own work, if all you get is good praise, then you’re either a highly talented and exceptionally brilliant writer, or maybe no-one is willing to hurt your feelings or they themselves may not be good at seeing flaws.  So please find someone who is good, someone to edit your work before you send it to me.   Trust me when I say I’ll be really grateful, and believe me it shows when somebody hasn’t edited their book.

Please understand I’m sometimes late with reviews, real life often gets in the way.  I’ve had personal health issues that have stopped me reading in the past and it’s made me get behind.  Sometimes I don’t like to read digital books, they give me headaches, so they fall behind in my reading pile.  But it doesn’t mean I won’t get to your book, it just might be later than I had planned.

Please understand that sometimes I see negative things about your book, I won’t always enjoy everything I read.  If something doesn’t sound right, or didn’t feel right while reading it, I’ll tell everyone in my review.  But the review’s about your work, your book, it is not about you.  Nothing I say is ever personal and you don’t have to agree with it at all.  But even if you don’t agree you shouldn’t just dismiss, I’m not always alone in what I say.  Sometimes a flaw I spot is something that only bothers me, but sometimes it bothers others too.  So don’t blame me for pointing out what I think is bad, you can choose to ignore if you wish, but sometimes if it’s more than just me pointing it out…Maybe it’s worth reading and thinking about.

Please don’t befriend me unless you really want to be friends, I don’t mind people being nice.  But don’t pretend to be a my friend and then ignore me when I give a bad review, it’s just a bad reflection on you.  Don’t attack me on social media or leave weird comments on my reviews.  Don’t ‘go off’ me when you’re confused over what I say, especially when you asked for an honest review.  Such behaviour looks unprofessional and silly and you could end up making yourself look bad instead.

Please understand that sometimes I feel bad and find it hard to tell you the truth.  It’s not happened often but sometimes I’ve read a book that was so ‘terrible’ that I couldn’t tell you why.  I’m human too, I don’t like to make people feel bad, so sometimes I won’t tell you the real reason why I won’t review your book.  Sometimes it’s true, I just didn’t like your book, but sometimes it’s more than that.  Sometimes a book is flawed in grammar, spelling and story….And sometimes I’m just too ‘scared’ to tell you the truth.  Too ‘scared’ of you attacking me through social media, or maybe I just don’t want to break your heart.  Your book is your baby afterall, and who wants to be told their baby’s ugly?  Or who wants to tell that to a parent?

Please remember I’m a human too.  I have feelings and emotions just like you.  I don’t get paid for doing this ‘job’ so I deserve to be paid with respect instead.  I’m no better or worse than you, though some of you may think you are better.  Some of you may believe you are better than me, better than all reviewers.  But we are both human beings, we both write, just not the same things, it doesn’t make me any worse than you.

Please make it easier for me this year.  Make it easy to review you book for you.  If I’ve agreed I’ll do it, don’t bug me or ask me if I’ve done it yet, I won’t feel like reading it after that.  Please treat me with equal respect, even if you don’t like what I have to say…If things were reversed and I was the author, you the reviewer, I’d expect no less of you.  Please let me enjoy reviewing for you and make it easier for yourself.  Let us both have a positive experience from our interaction.  Let this year be a good one for both of us.  Thank you.

-Your Reviewer


‘Dear Authors…’ written by thehappymeerkat of Happymeerkatreviews.  In relation to the daily prompt word: capable

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26 thoughts on “Dear Authors…An Open Letter To All Authors This Year

  1. First time to your blog and I feel like a novice! I have been reviewing books for years but never even thought of writing down guidelines. I am going to have to take a look around your aite to see how you do things. I feel like I have been doing everything wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for visiting. Don’t worry, there’s no needed rules, but guidelines can help make it easier to get requests for books that you want and to avoid any odd requests. There’s nothing wrong with the way anybody reviews though, nothing wrong at all 🙂 ❤

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  2. Entertaining stuff, I would have expected nothing less. The literary world is hard on both sides of the coin. But there is always the chance surely that an excellent writer will be ignored simply because of a lack of funds for proofreading which in itself is NOT cheap. My book WAS proofread, I still write but can no longer afford the services of an editor for my work…I fully appreciate your stance on this and realise that there is NO solution but it is a sad day when those without will always be…without

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is always a solution to the problem. I know two writers who are successful in sales and they both met in a critique group. They edit each others work and it works very well for them. If an author’s own editing skills are not good there’s always an option to find a good friend who’s English and observation skills are brilliant to help edit the work. There’s also the option that an author with really good editing skills could in theory edit their own work perfectly but the key is to leave the manuscript for long enough to come back to it with fresh eyes. this could mean leaving it for a matter of months but I’ve managed to edit things myself in this way, patience being the key here :). Apart from that it depends on where you find an editor. Although I admit some editors are highly useless out there (a friend used a random editor who didn’t know proper grammar) there are plenty of editor and proofreading services that are not very expensive. I have a friend here on wordpress who is a writer herself and does freelance editing and proofreading. She actually charges far to little (in my opinion) for her services so there’s always someone out there who can be cheap enough to afford and who will perfect your manuscript to be error free.
      The overall point being that work published from a traditional publisher would be (usually) flawless in errors and don’t you as an indie author want your books to be as flawless as trad published ones so that people consider them on an equal par? The way you phrased your comment suggested that you would be happy for an author to release a book with mistakesfor lack of having a proofreader? Forgive me if I read it wrong but I do believe there’s always a solution to the problem and I sure want all indies to be treated with equal respect and kind as a trad book 🙂 :). Afterall a reviewer is the end person – a reader, and I’ve seen many reviews by people who didn’t get a book free who actually bought it and point out all the proofreading errors in them – I tend not to but wow some reviews on amazon lol. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate all views and hope my post didn’t upset. There is always a solution 😀 ❤ !

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  3. It’s not easy being a reviewer but thanks for all you do. Thanks for the valid points and next time I do sent out my work for reviews, I’ll try to not to send a generic request. Also, I’m an advocate for at least getting a person’s name right when you’re submitting to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read :). The name thing is probably my biggest gripe, lol. I’ve been called Kent by an author, not only is the name wrong but the wrong gender too. Hope all goes well for you in getting reviews 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My name has always been a “thing”. My parents spelled it Jerri, but pronounced it jera. I do like my name because it’s unique. I’ve had many people tell me how my name should be pronounced. All during school I was too shy to correct people. Sometimes, later, I did, but it didn’t take. Sometimes people type Jerry. (Funny, the first boy I ever kissed was named Jerry.) I don’t dislike the name Jerry, but cringe when people call me that. It’s almost like I know who my true friends are if they actually know my name. Now, a lot of people call me Chris, my husband’s name. I totally understand that. We are kind of joined at the hip in real life and online as well. So, when I first published I decided to use J. Schlenker. As, you can probably guess my last name is a problem, too. Sometimes I see people’s author’s names and think, aw, so easy to identify and remember….and pronounce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you told me how your name is pronounced, I’ll know not to pronounce it’ Jerry’ in future (even if I’m just pronouncing it in my own head 🙂 ). I grew up with a surname that’s complicated for most to say as it’s quite unique and Polish and rather than saying my surname people only ever called me by my first name so I understand the name problems. It’s so silly though, an author once called me Kent after reading my submissions page. I’m not listed as Kent anywhere at all on this site so goodness knows where he got that name from lol. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 🙂 ❤

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  5. urgh, ones that don’t read the guidelines are the worst. I receive a lot that tell me their book is available on NetGalley, and if I don’t have an account with them it is easy to get one and etc. As much as I love getting books slung my way , a little bit of politeness never goes amiss!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I don’t know why they can’t just send you their book rather than going through NetGalley. Unfortunately there’s two kinds of authors, ones who are nice and polite and others who aren’t and worse, don’t know how to be! :/

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very valid points, and they need to be told and repeated over and over again.
    Sometimes, it does not hurt we ourselves read it as well, and get reminded of the points you mentioned like that the reviewer is a person as well, with their own life, time, hardships or joys. Sometimes, it feels to me like some authors are trying to treat reviewers so impersonal, while expecting their books liked on a too deep level. We came to a time where the two are very very connected ( and I think it should be a good thing!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤ 🙂 I'm glad you picked up on the bit about reviewers being people too. All to often some authros treat reviewers like a service rather than a person and just like authors have to go through ups and downs in life, so do reviewers :).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Besides that, its about the fact that we are basicly walking marketing boards, the people I mean. Whatever we do, it is how people see us that determines if they will be passionate and believe in what we do. This is why authors should I always try to look their best, but at the same time, not unrealistic and perfect.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perfectly put :). We’re all people, let’s try to do and be our best, I don’t think it’s so hard for people to be honest and be themselves. But nobody has to act an ass just because of their perceived status :).

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This! I have tried addressing this myself but thus far it has not helped much.

    My name is easy, yet it is often misspelled, and the grammar in the generic email I sometimes receive is horrible.

    I also have a pinned post on my blog that says I am currently not accepting review requests until my backlog dwindles a bit- which is not happening very quickly because I cannot seem to stop checking NetGalley. So, if that is not addressed I will not say yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely very annoying if the generic email can’t even have decent spelling! It doesn’t say much for the book they ask you to read. Lol, I have to agree with NetGalley, I’ve taken a few books from there which have lengthened my review time, but I don’t think we should apologise for wanting to read a book ahead of others. There’s no point in reading a book if you just don’t feel like it and want to read another :). Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post!😀 I remember reading a while ago when you posted about an author had gotten your name wrong.

    Agree with everything you wrote, I’m not open to review requests but am open to guest posts/spotlights/etc and I’ve always had on my page to make it more personal than generic when I’m contacted, there’s just something about reading a request that has a personal touch to it as it shows some effort on the authors part that they have bothered to look at the blog and about page.

    True about life getting in the way to, sometimes I just don’t feel like reading either and also on occasion have headaches to and when I have a headache the last thing I want to do is read.

    We all have feelings to, very true, once again, great post.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you agree :D! I kinda wrote it generic (although there are some personal points there too) so it could apply to all us reviewers and book bloggers :). Yeah, I remember that author who got my name wrong…Kent! Got the gender wrong too :p lol!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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