Querying A Book Reviewer – A How-To

I realize I am picky and opinionated. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t maintain this blog, but in the past couple of days I’ve received some truly heinous queries, which prompted this post.

Now, that said, let’s talk about querying for reviews. Querying is a particularly vexing activity. None of us like doing it; it’s hard. But it’s part of the gig, so let’s get better at it!

Oh, you thought you wouldn’t have to know how to query since you’re an indie author? My friend, you couldn’t be more wrong.

couldn't be more wrong cat meme

Seriously though, I love cat memes. #grumpycatforever

Because you have decided to forego the traditional route of getting an agent, or going straight to a publishing company with your book, you must do ALL of the legwork to get your little slice of wonderful out to the world. That means querying book bloggers, professional reviewers, and probably all 1,000+ of your friends and extended family.

A lot is riding on your ability to sell the heck out of your book (or comic, or graphic novel, or what-have-you).

sell all the books


To provide a little perspective, I receive roughly five queries every day. I’m sure some other book reviewers who have been in the business longer receive even more; I’m still a relative newbie. And there is a reason we book review bloggers shut down our submissions periodically — our inboxes are overflowing and we can’t keep up.

This is amazing! It means there are tons of indie authors out there writing wonderful things. And I want to help you share those wonderful things with the world, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors by not querying well (or with grammatically correct Standard English).

Now, rather than try to put together my own rules, I’m going to point you in the direction of a literary agent in New York. She maintains two wonderful blogs. One about being an agent, and one specifically geared toward writing queries. Yes, she’s talking about querying agents, but I’m here to tell you that querying an agent and querying a reviewer require the same set of skills.

Please, please, please, my loves, take some time to read through these suggestions. They can only help.

Please also take some time to pat yourselves on the back, breathe deeply, and smile. If you’re querying, that means you completed your manuscript, and that is a HUGE accomplishment. So bully for you!

bully for you

–Ron Swanson, Director of Parks & Recreation, Pawnee, Indiana


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