I was wondering if you had any suggestions or proper etiquette tips for turning down review requests. I get a lot of personal requests from authors (oftentimes self-published) and I always feel bad when I have to say no directly to THEM, rather than their publicist or publisher.
I sometimes debate if I should give a kind (albeit only somewhat truthful) reason like “I’m currently backed up with review requests and am afraid I can’t accept your request at this time.” Or should I be more honest and state the real reason: “I’m only mildly interested in reading your book,” “I don’t know if your book is one I’d be able to write a favorable review for,” or “I kinda feel your book is too long.”
Thank you for all the tips! I’ve greatly enjoyed them these past months!
Hiya! 🙂 First of all, I know exactly how you feel. I always feel bad turning down requests as well.
I think it’s always best to be honest, but in a nice way. At first, I found myself going the “kind but only somewhat truthful” route. An author would request that I review their book, but I didn’t like the sound of it at all. But instead of saying that, I’d say:
Sorry but I’m really backed up right now and just don’t have the time!
But I found that this half truth led to the authors replying with something like:
I understand! I’ll just send you a copy and you can read it if you have time. 🙂
And this made me feel even worse! Because now the author thought that I was interested, but I just didn’t have time. So then I had to awkwardly thank the author for the book and go away feeling horrible.
So in my experience, it’s best to just be 100% honest. But you can still be nice about it! Here are some good answers:
Thanks for the offer, but your book isn’t a genre that I review on my blog. But thanks anyway and have a great day!
Unfortunately I don’t think this book would be a good fit for me, but thanks anyway!
Answers like this convey the message that you’re not interested. But they also don’t say, “Your book sounds like shit.” I think it’s a nice way of saying that it’s just not for you.
So be honest, but be nice. In my experience with this, the author either won’t reply at all (fine by me), or they’ll reply thanking me for the response. I’ve never had an author bitch me out for nicely saying I wasn’t interested (phew!).