Chat Between Chapters: Do you contact authors after reviewing their book?

March 9, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 27


  What etiquette do you follow on contacting an author after posting review of their work? Is it different if they gave you a complimentary copy for review?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

When I publish a 5 star review of a book I’ll tweet @ the author in case they want to share. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But for 5 star books I do that regardless of where I got the copy of the book. But, I always wonder what is expected when an author gives you a complimentary copy for review. After posting the review on your blog, etc, do you contact the author to let them know their review is up? Do you provide a direct link? I especially struggle with this topic when I gave the book a less than stellar review. I don’t want to go up to an author (even online) and tell them hey, I didn’t really think your book was that great, and here are all the places that I published my “this book was meh” review. I mean, doesn’t that suck? Wouldn’t that upset the author? If I’ve posted 4 star reviews or better, especially if they were fairly soon after receiving the book, I’ve emailed the author (or publisher, or PR person, whatever the case may be) and told them the review was posted. But I haven’t contacted authors if I didn’t post a positive review, or if I chose to DNF the book. Do you awesome followers think I should be doing that? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Rose review avatar Rose:

I like to contact authors after I have written a 5 star review. I will usually tweet the review to the author and I will also email them telling them briefly what I liked about their book and provide a link to the review post should the author find the time to read it. If I am given a book for review directly from the author, I will email them back after I have finished the book review and give them the link to the review. If I was provided with an arc from Netgalley or any other online source, I will only email the author if the review is 5 stars, otherwise, I will simply post my review.  I feel awkward if the author provides me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review and I honestly did not like it. I think that is something that we can all relate to, though.  I never wish to tell any author that I did not like his/her book. If I am provided with a review copy of a book and I do not end up reading the book until quite a while later, I will usually not contact the author after reviewing the book. I am curious what others do.

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27 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Do you contact authors after reviewing their book?”

  1. Stefani

    Same as you. If my review is 4 or 5 stars I email the author with the direct link to my review. If it’s 3 or less I don’t do that. I just post the review.
    I feel kinda bad when I have received a complimentary copy and cannot rate it above 3 stars, but I still tell them what I thought of it. Feedback is feedback after all.
    Stefani recently posted…My thoughts on: L’appel de l’ange by Guillaume Musso

    • Rose

      Stefani, I have the same issue! I only contact them if I loved their book!

  2. Tina at Mommynificent

    This is a fascinating discussion! I’m so glad you shared it at Booknificent Thursday this week. I’ve never actually contacted an author, but I do usually link to their personal blog in my review. Several of them seem to receive notifications when their blogs are linked to and have come over and commented on my reviews. I totally agree – when that happens, it’s better than meeting a celebrity!!! 🙂
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Learning and Growing and Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #37

    • Rose

      yes it is! I really don’t care about celebrities that aren’t book related in some accept. Authors are the coolest!

    • Rose

      I would never have thought to do it either if not for Julie. Heck I would never tweet if not for Julie. LOL.

  3. Christina Morley

    I usually say nice things when I review a book (my book reviews are on children’s books and YA) and keep the negative things to a minimum. If there are many things (constructive criticism) that I feel need to be said, then I send those comments privately to the author. I’m lucky, since the authors that I have direct contact with are always nice people and I’ve made a few friends. I always let them know once I’ve posted my review, and I apologize if the post goes up later than intended. I’m visiting from Booknificent Thursdays.
    Tina – American mom raising 4 kids in South Africa

    • Rose

      I think it is always wise to err on the side of the “positive” review. I think honesty is important too, but 9 times out of 10 there is a nice way to say the truth. I have thought about privately messaging an author with the more “constructive” comments, but so far I have not done that as I have not really ever been asked for that. I try to just say what I need in my review. I am afraid of sounding like I am giving unsolicited advice??? I probably overthink it. Thanks for stopping by and sounding off!

  4. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    If someone has contacted me personally (as opposed to just getting a copy on NetGalley or whatever) when I accept the request I let them know my ‘procedure’. I write a ‘rough draft’ review on Goodreads and then once I’ve scheduled an actual post for the blog I send them the permalink as well as the review itself. This actually worked really well in my favor once when I accidentally referred to the author by her middle name instead of her first name four separate times in my review.

    I generally always use the author’s Twitter handle (if they have one) when posting a link to the review on Twitter no matter where I got it or no matter how bad the review is. I once had an author who I wrote the meanest review about retweet to her fans which got me a ton of traffic (and weirdly, no mean comments). I was a little sheepish when the author was super nice to me about it. (this was a book I had purchased).

    As always, great topic you guys!

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Top Ten Beach Reads

    • Rose

      So the author retweeted your bad review? Hmmm did she even read the review or did the author think she was retweeted a good review? I have heard a lot of authors comment that good or bad a review generates traffic/talk and that gets readers to purchase and read the book for themselves. I like your “procedure” you sound very organized, April.

  5. Pary Moppins

    It has never even occurred to me to let an author know I reviewed their book. I must remember to tweet the author the next time I give a good review.

    • Rose

      I think you should! Who knows, maybe they will even respond! It is awesome when they do. One of the best “highs” of book blogging!

  6. Michelle

    Really interesting discussion! It’s definitely an awkward situation to navigate and I don’t really have any best practices of my own yet. I tend to go the way of least resistance, which is usually silence…
    Michelle recently posted…The Weekly Word: Swart

    • Rose

      I can understand that Michelle. I tend to not contact authors as much as perhaps I could because I always feel like they are too busy to be bothered with me. lol. I mostly blog simply because I love reading. However, whenever an author does read your review or comment on your blog or something, it is better than meeting any A list celebrity!

  7. Jennine G.

    So far I’ve always emailed the author with a direct link to the review on my blog. NetGalley reviews I usually just post to NetGalley, unless the publisher or author sent a separate email about sharing my review with them. I don’t know what I’ll do the day I get a book I don’t like and it was a personal request with free copy!
    Jennine G. recently posted…Zombie Gardening

    • Julie

      So you always email the author the link to the post if the book was given to you by the author directly? Would you still do that if it took you say 4-5 months to finally post the review? Or, what is the longest time you’ve had between being given a book for review and then posting the review? Thanks for your input 🙂

      • Jennine G.

        Yes, I’ve always sent the link if the author or the author’s representative directly contact me. I have a folder on my gmail account called Writing and that’s where I save the email where I’ve corresponded with the author. So when I review the book, I just pull it up and reply with the link. The books that typically have months between getting the galley and the review are NetGalley books, so I’ve not had to worry too much about sending links to any authors that way. But I’d do it the same way, save the email until it was reviewed and then send the link.
        Jennine G. recently posted…Zombie Gardening

    • Rose

      Sometimes it is actually such a hassle. Being anti-social is usually my answer as well, but Julie gets after me. She is such a social media butterfly. I mean, lookit, its May now and I am just now replying to you….

  8. Chanpreet

    I’ve never thought of doing that before. I will always contact an author if they’ve sent me a copy to review. I’ve never had a bad review from this method. I’ve never contacted an author I reviewed for netgalley even if I loved it, but now I’m thinking I should.

  9. Terri M. LeBlanc

    I’m new to the book blogging world, but I did have one author reach out to me regarding a low-rated review. She had noted in my review that the e-book version had some odd formatting issues. Her reason for reaching out to me was because she wanted to know what I was seeing in case she could correct them. We exchanged a few messages back and forth, and she ended up giving me one of her other books for free.

    I need to get better at checking to see if the author is on twitter when I post a review. I schedule my posts and tweets so it is something I could definitely do. Thanks for the food for thought!
    Terri M. LeBlanc recently posted…The Sunday Post: Week of March 3, 2014

    • Julie

      I really haven’t been doing that much either. I guess I should though for positive reviews. Even 4 star reviews might be something the author might want to share, so why not tweet their handle when mentioning the book. I just feel awkward turtle when I have to share a negative review.

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