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How Not To Pitch A Book Blogger (In 9 Steps)

A photo of the delete key on a keyboard

I’ve thought of writing a ‘how to pitch a book blogger’ post for some time, but others have done it better. Then, just recently, I received a pitch that rather irritated me. I have to say that by and large, those who contact me are polite, knowledgeable that bloggers can be very busy people, and cautious if they are new to pitching. Indeed just before the irritating pitch came one from an author who sent their book with the initial contact but said outright that they didn’t know if that was ‘correct’ or not. This was good in a way because it gave me (and I expect anyone else who received an email from them) the chance to give them a heads up as to what bloggers ‘expect’. And the email was polite and friendly.

The email that irritated me started out as an okay pitch, simply with a poor attitude. I emailed back to state what I was and wasn’t okay with in regards to their ‘rules’ and received a very long condescending email that was written as though I was a brand new blogger with no knowledge or experience of how to blog.

It was just that bit too much.

I know that this email was likely a one off but all the same the occasion made me realise that it might be prudent to write some guidelines. Lists of dos and don’ts may have been written before, but it seems there isn’t such a thing as one too many in this regard.

Here’s what you shouldn’t do when pitching a blogger with addition pieces of information to keep in mind:

  1. The blogger you’re pitching likely knows how to blog. They will also have their own way of going about it. Do not tell them what to do, and do not tell them how they can help you.)
  2. The favour being done is by the blogger for you. If you are asking for coverage you must accept that they might want to change a few things to better fit their blog and readership. See this as a positive – they are happy to give you coverage, and want to write the post they know will work best for their blog and their readers. Remember that unless you’re paying them in currency, they are giving you their time for free.
  3. If a blogger does not reply then they are either not interested or do not have the time required to cover your book. Likewise, they only have time to respond to requests they can accept. By all means try another pitch for another book at another time, but don’t keep emailing them about that present request.
  4. Don’t send mass emails that are not at all personalised. You might find success with some bloggers, but by and large bloggers like to know you took the time to read their site and their policies – this intimates the book you’re pitching is likely a good fit. If you’ve read their blog, let them know. Tell them why your book is a good fit.
  5. Don’t make bloggers jump through hoops to get your book. If you’re offering an ebook don’t send them to a page they have to sign up to for access to it. Exceptions to this are NetGalley and Edelweiss which are well-known sites for review copies.
  6. If you offer a certain ebook format and the blogger asks for it, supply it. Don’t say later that you don’t have that format. Some ereaders only accept certain formats and therefore it’s important you offer what you actually have available. Preferably you’ll have all the major formats available.
  7. Don’t pitch close to the time you want the review to be published. Pitch it a good amount of time beforehand. Bloggers read a lot of books and often schedules are created months in advance. As an example, I wrote this post late November, and was booking reviews for late February.
  8. Don’t pitch a blogger whose country you can’t or won’t send a book to. This is a waste of time for both of you and shows you didn’t research the blog beforehand. You can generally find the blogger’s location on their ‘contact’ or ‘about’ page.
  9. An infamous one, again regarding research – don’t say ‘Hi’ without the blogger’s name, or ‘Hi blogger,’ if this is the first email you’ve sent them. It’s not so bad when a person sends mass emails to bloggers they already have a working relationship with, but if you’re a new contact you want to be sociable and personal. You want to strike up a relationship – the blogger is not a robot.

Lastly, life happens. Know that in pitching, even if you’re accepted the blogger may still not be able to work to a deadline or may indeed end up not being able to cover your book at all.

What points have I missed that you’d include?


Brooke Bumgardner

January 8, 2014, 7:11 am

Ah, this is great. Thanks for posting. I’m a book blogger too, and I especially agree with 1 & 2!


January 8, 2014, 9:14 am

Nice post, Charlie. Very informative list of do’s and don’ts.


January 8, 2014, 9:33 am

Love this post, I don’t get emailed pitches often, but I can imagine that if I did these would be the tips I would want to send back to the frustrating ones.

I once had an author pitch to me their ebook – which was about travel and therefore not relevant to my blog – I was polite because they seemed nice and said that if they fancied pitching for a guest post in the future feel free. They then instantly – and I mean instantly – emailed me the post they originally wanted me to post about their travel book and their travelling experience. I sat back and just thought, ‘really? Did you read my email?’


January 8, 2014, 1:22 pm

Excellent points. I can’t believe how far ahead you schedule your posts! I might add that the person pitching a book should see if the blogger has a “contact me” page. Since I usually write my blog posts the week they post (sometimes the day they post!) and I’m a fast reader, my page says I’m open to working with anyone who has a tight deadline request.


January 8, 2014, 3:10 pm

I think you’ve covered everything that has ever bothered me in review requests.

Literary Feline

January 8, 2014, 3:42 pm

I do not receive a lot of e-mail pitches, but the majority of the ones I do get tend to go straight to the trash bin for some of the reasons specified. Particularly the ones that are clearly mass e-mails that do not address me at all. And it’s clear many don’t bother to read my review policy. I also think it’s funny some of the ways I am addressed when I am addressed. If the pitches are friendly and it is obvious the person has at least looked at my blog, I am more likely to send an e-mail back and saying I’m not interested (unless I am–and then I say so).

I think one of my biggest pet peeves are the pressure e-mails to review a book I’ve agreed to review. I am upfront about my time frame and the fact that I can’t get to certain books right away, but I think the person nagging me forgets that or doesn’t actually read my policy or e-mail stating my intent. Luckily that doesn’t happen much anymore. It was more a problem when I accepted books directly from authors, which I rarely do anymore.

Audra (Unabridged Chick)

January 8, 2014, 3:57 pm

Yes, yes, and yes!

My most rage inducing pitch came from someone who had only published on Amazon. When I declined, I mentioned I didn’t have a Kindle. The person wrote back and told me I should download the Kindle app for my phone and read it that way!

Katie @ Doing Dewey

January 8, 2014, 5:00 pm

You make some great points here! I’ve started deleting anything where the person e-mailing me clearly didn’t take the time to find out my name or anything about my blog. I’ll also ignore e-mails with typos – if the author can’t write an e-mail without typos, why should I expect their book to be any better? And I definitely give bonus points if the author provides a summary of their book and a link to goodreads. I’m just going to go search it myself if they don’t :)

Beth F

January 8, 2014, 6:36 pm

You’ve covered the major points! Great post.

Belle Wong

January 8, 2014, 9:52 pm

Great list. I think you’ve covered it all. Out of all of them, my pet peeves are the mass mailings/generic dear blogger emails.


January 16, 2014, 7:26 pm

Great post, Charlie.
Look: recently a Spanish author contacted some blogs asking if they wanted to review his book and some of them said yes. Do you know what he replied? He told them that his book was available for X € on Amazon!!
Can you believe it? I was astonished when I heard about it.


January 26, 2014, 12:53 pm

Brooke: Thanks! It was essentially #2 that saw me write this. I personally find publishers are good at it, but non-publisher pitches are terrible.

Vishy: Thanks!

Alice: This is a general list from what I’ve picked up, yes. That sounds a frustrating situation, what is it, ‘headdesk’. Really not the way to go about gaining interest. If you link, they’d get a link, but I dare say there was nothing considered to be there for you :(

Jeanne: Oh those are review copies, my posts are a week, maybe two at the most :) That’s a very good point to add, and again it’s all about showing you care about the blog you’re pitching to rather than just emailing everyone.

Jessica: It’s a list that had unconciously been in the making for a while now ;)

Literary Feline: It is hard to get excited about a set-up (because I think you can be excited about the book but the communication puts you off) that’s a mass email like that. I’ve been addressed as ‘Brit’ a few times – I can see where that’s from, “I’m a Brit”, but I would’ve thought most would realise referring to oneself that way isn’t usual, read my about page, and work out it means “I’m British”… Yes, when it’s friendly, well-written, and the like, I think you do want to respond even if to say ‘no’.

I’ve been lucky with that – until recently I gave a rough estimate which very recently I haven’t been able to keep, and I’ve had little pressure. Those nagging need to remember that blogging isn’t the sole responsibility a person has. Authors emailing are likely going to be more anxious, they’re marketing themselves, but it is difficult when you’ve lots to read.

Audra: I had that once. It was difficult trying to explain that I wanted to read it but I literally couldn’t. And the Kindle apps aren’t great. In that case the author was at least polite and accepting so now that I can read the book I’m hoping to get to it sometime despite that it’s officially ‘over’. That’s one of the *many* reasons I dislike the Amazon-only thing.

Katie: You’re strict, I admire you for it as I think I’m *too* nice sometimes – it means I end up wasting time. Typos – brilliant point, I feel silly for having forgotten it. Links and summaries, especially summaries, are so important. I’ll look up the book too, regardless – it’s important to get an overview of reader opinions first, I say – but the links being there make things a lot easier and ultimately add to your inclination to respond.

Beth: Thanks, Beth!

Belle: Yes. I personally don’t mind ones from publishers who have contacted me previously, others may disagree, but yes, mass emailings from the word ‘go’ aren’t nice.

Isi: That’s awful! Sounds like the author wanted to get two positives at once – reviews and sales. I hope no one agreed to do it!



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