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Is it bad business to decline book review requests?

I've read that you should send out books for review to those who are familiar with or done other reviews within your book genre. But what if you get a request for a review from someone whose past reviews have been for books outside your genre and you don't feel like they will 'grasp' or relate to the theme of your book, thus may give you a 'bad' review. Do you send them a book anyway?

I hate to be picky, being that I'm a first-time self published author. But on the other hand, I don't want to just give out free books to people who will totally miss the message in my novel. So, is it bad business to decline a book review? And if not, what is the easiest way to turn one down?

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Good question, one that vexes many people. Yes, you can always turn down any requests for reviews, just tell them that you no longer have any review copies available, but on the next print run you would be happy to send them a copy (or some such other thing). This way they don't feel ignored or that you did not want them to review your book.

On the other hand, as they say, any press is good press. Even if the overall review is not positive, usually there is a sentence or two you can snip out and put on your website that makes the review look positive.

Also, if you want a free blurb of your book with links to be posted on the New Great Books blog I'd be happy to put something up. Just send me what you want me to say and I'll put it up (this way you get positive blurbs but you control the content). It's a simple service I do for us emerging authors...
Hmm. Hard to say. I'm only reviewing books that seem of interest to me.. not so much genre but books I can relate to and that I'm willing to give at LEAST a 4 or 5 star rating on Amazon (IF I could get them on there!). I'm not sure why a reviewer would do otherwise.

Personally, I would be honest with this person(s) and say: well, I see you tend to review this or that type of book.. why are you interested in mine? It doesn't seem to fit your usual type (genre, etc.) That way you may be able to start up a dialogue with them about what they are looking for and see if you wish to send them a book or not.

Hi Alicia,
Sometimes 'bad' reviews cause a stir and create an interest. Isn't it true that when we are told not to do something or not to go somewhere, our curiousity gets the better of us? Be open to criticism. I always try to learn from it.

Best to you as you get the word out about your book.

Here is my most recent article in my column-The Look and Smell of Success
I think any book review is a good thing but if a person has no experience in the topic or genre of your book it may not give your book proper credit and evaluation. Individual reviewers are great if you know the reviewer or the organization to which they may be associated. There are several organizations that offer the opportunity to obtain book reviews. If they do all types of genre there is a good chance that it would be assigned to a reviewer you has an interest in your subject or genre. It is important that any reviewer have an interest in your book and want to read it for the topic. It was also mentioned that if you are providing personal copies of your book to reviewers you may be limited in how many you can furnish. If you turn someone down try to explain that you appreciate their interest in your book but at the present time you have none available to send at this time. If they continue to contact you I would consider sending a copy as it would appear that they have a true interest in your topic.

Another point to check is that some publishers furnish review copies to recognized organizations that do book reviews. My publisher furnished a copy for one of the reviews that was done on my book. Check with your publisher to see if they will furnish a review copy. In this way it would not be necessary to send all the copies for review yourself.
Thank you all for your feedback! It has helped me with this dilemma :-)


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