Self-Pub Etiquette

on June 28, 2016

I am a published author. I WRITE books for a living. I love my job, I love writing, I love working from home in my pajamas with a caffeine drip in my veins. Other than my kids, there is nothing I love more than writing.

I am NOT a reviewer. I have NEVER reviewed a book on this blog. I have on occasion recommended books that I have read and enjoyed, but I have never reviewed them.

“I love your blog, you review so many great books on your blog, I’m hoping you’ll take a look at TITLE. Here’s a bit more about my book: SYNOPSIS. Email me and I’ll be happy to send you a complimentary copy for your review.”

Really? You’ve been to my blog? You see that I review a lot of books and want me to review yours?

I DO NOT REVIEW BOOKS. I never have.


I’m the she, and I write about murder. End of story.

I wouldn’t even bring this up except that over the last month I’ve received nearly a dozen emails through the contact form on this blog asking me to review their book. ALL of these requests came from self-published authors who claim to LOVE my blog and think that I should add their book to my review pile. So I’m not picking on self-published authors. Really. Only that EVERY ONE of these requests come from self-published authors.

What frustrates me is that they clearly have never read my blog. Did Murder She Writes find itself on some site that says I review books? Did people click through to the contact form and just write “please review my book” without actually checking the blog or the blog guidelines?

If you are an author–self-published or traditional–let me make this clear. I DO NOT REVIEW BOOKS. However, I DO often offer a quote for a book that I love. If you would like a pre-publication quote, you MAY email me and offer to send me an advanced reading copy for possible endorsement. If I have time, I will read it. If I like it, I’ll give you a quote. If I don’t have time, I won’t read it and that doesn’t mean it’s not good or that I don’t like you, it just means that I have five kids and write 3 books a year and don’t have time to read and endorse a book in your timeframe.

If your book is a debut novel, TELL ME. I will always try to make the time to read debut novels because I know how hard it is in this business, and I’ve always found that debut novels, even when a little rough around the edges, are fantastic because they are the first love of the author.

For endorsements, I read romantic suspense, mysteries, thrillers, and anything in those general genres. Why? Because that’s what I write, and my endorsement isn’t going to help sell your epic high fantasy or historical romance.

I primarily read traditionally published books, but I have read and endorsed a few self-published books by people I personally know. I’m not opposed to self-publishing, but I’ve found that most of the people who contact me aren’t ready to be published. I don’t believe that you’ve read all my books. Telling me that your character is a better Jack Reacher makes me laugh. Telling me that your book has been professionally edited doesn’t inspire confidence … why? Because it’s PRESUMED that your book would be professionally edited. And attaching the book to the email? Not cool. Hit delete, don’t reply.

Yes, I’m a little irritated right now. I haven’t been consistent in writing for this blog because, well, those five kids and three books. But it’s still my blog that I talk about things that interest me: reading, television, kids, writing. That’s pretty much it.

So let me repeat. I write books. I do not review books. Do not ask me to review your book. If you have a book that you want a pre-publication quote, I’m happy to consider it if I can fit the read into my schedule.

Clear? I hope so!

But I suspect I’ll still get those emails … “I notice you review books, here’s mine …”