As I’ve gained more followers here on my blog and on my YouTube channel, I’ve noticed more authors have been requesting me to review their books. It is definitely wonderful to get that kind of recognition, but it has also made me wonder whether you should accept every review copy you are offered.
I recently got into a discussion with a friend about whether or not to accept a review copy we were both sent. Because, although it is a great compliment, if the story doesn’t appeal to you, it means you’ll spend time reading a book you do not enjoy.
When you still have a small channel such as myself the big publishers are not interested in you just yet. That’s simply the way it is. Hitting 10,000 subscribers gives you a good chance of getting physical review copies from established publishers. 230 subscribers, not so much. And that’s alright. I’m not expecting anything just yet. However, a group of authors that are really keen on getting their books reviewed as much as possible are self publishers. And to get a good amount of reviews that also means contacting smaller channels.
It’s a smart strategy and I cannot disagree it’s a good way to get people familiar with your book. Especially since you can send the book without spending any money as the self published author (most often) sends an ebook. Now, even getting an offer like that is great (it’s a free book after all!), but there are some things to consider before accepting a review copy.
First of all, the story really should appeal to you in some way. I personally really like to pick up something unexpected and unknown. So, often, I feel like accepting a review copy, just to read something different for a change. However, that means running the risk of absolutely hating the book and still having to finish it since you did promise a review.
Secondly, you should be able to separate the fact the author was so generous to send you the book from the actual review. No matter how bad you feel for the author if you awarded her book a one-star rating, you should not refrain from giving an honest review.
And finally, picking up a review copy means having less time to pick up those books you have really been looking forward to reading. Granted, a review copy can mean that you’ve just found a new fantastic author, but that isn’t a guarantee. Especially with self published authors, who haven’t undergone the editing process at a publisher, there’s a real chance you won’t become a big fan. It’s something to realise and think about before blindly accepting every review thrown your way.
It’s odd, because not accepting a review copy may seem like being ungrateful, but I personally feel you should be confident about the review copies you accept. After all, if you have the feeling you are not going to enjoy the book, resulting into a bad review, you are not helping the author by accepting it.