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I Can’t Read Your Book

I can’t read your book.

At some point during the last year, I started getting a lot of book review requests.

I’m honored that people want me to read their novel and use my small platform to tell others about it. But here’s the thing: I don’t have the time.

And here’s the other thing: I don’t just review random books. I review books from a specific list that’s already been created. Your book ain’t on that list, I bet.

I’ve been asked to review memoirs, non-fictional biographies, and vampire-werewolf fiction. Not just once or twice, but dozens and dozens of times. I kid you not.

My first instinct is to respond by saying “HAVE YOU READ THE HEADER AT THE TOP OF MY BLOG? AND HAVE YOU SPENT MORE THAN 10 SECONDS AT MY BLOG?”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like the theme and focus of 101 Books is really easy to understand. It’s on the header. It’s on my about page, my the list page, my rankings page. It’s all over the place, right?

So my feeling here is that you’re just attempting to solicit a book review from someone you perceive to be a popular blogger. Marketing and such.

These are the things that drive editors crazy. It’s like submitting a gardening article to a sports magazine, or your granddad’s Civil War memoir to a young adult book publisher. Read the guidelines! Know who you are submitting to!

So, dear authors, thank you for googling book blogs, clicking on my about page, and asking me to review your book. But I won’t be reviewing it.

On a related and, hopefully, much friendlier note, I also won’t be reading anything you recommend to me right now. Maybe later, when I’m finished with 101 Books, but not right now.

Again, I simply don’t have time. Between my real job, my family, two kids, writing my blog posts, and reading the books that go with it, I simply don’t have time to read anything else unless you want me to just start posting random cat videos on here every day. I hope you don’t want that, though I’d quickly oblige and probably get more traffic.

Anyway, that’s off my chest now.

I’m sure your book is great, and I’m doubly sure there’s someone out there willing to review it, but that someone isn’t me.

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brandon #

    And here I was just about to ask you to review my latest work, “Living in Your Car Instead of a House Even Though You’re a Gainfully Employed, Mostly Respectable Adult: Tips and Tricks”

    You, sir, have lost a reader.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  2. Just a big Heh for making me smile ;o)

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  3. You haven’t lost me as a reader…I’d never ask. I get your guidelines, Sir! This IS a blog about 101 Books…

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  4. This has happened to me once and I’m a bit like yourself in that my blog is about reading specific books (the ones I currently own) and not acquiring any new ones so it seemed a bit odd to me….

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  5. “My first instinct is to respond by saying “HAVE YOU READ THE HEADER AT THE TOP OF MY BLOG? AND HAVE YOU SPENT MORE THAN 10 SECONDS AT MY BLOG?””

    Obviously you should! It shouldn’t even take 10 seconds to figure that out!

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  6. J.R.Barker #

    Now all you have to do is copy and paste this response to the next person who asks you to read their book.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  7. Bahaha! I am also trying to read through 100 books, but i am using the BBC list. I am not sure if it is exactly the same as the TIme Magazine one, but i imagine the majority of the books are the same. Plus the BBC cheated. They named The entire works of shakespeare, the complete chronicles of Narnia, and the whole set of Harry Potters as just one book each. Thats cheating BBC!

    Anyway, i just wanted to let you know that my reaction to reading the headline to this article, before actually reading it was “Well, dur! you have 100 other books to read.” after reading the whole post, i am glad to find my reaction appropriate.

    Btw, i’ve written this book….. Just kidding.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
    • Thankfully, Time didn’t list the Narnia series as one book. The Dance To The Music of Time and Lord of the Rings will about kill me to finish.

      Like

      March 17, 2014
  8. There will never be enough time to read the best books in the world, let alone every book out there. I hope reading just 101 books is not a literal thing…

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  9. Sadly, there’s a lot of spammy, unthoughtful, impersonal attempts at “marketing” in the independent publishing community. Finding readers/reviewers is tough, but desperate random efforts such as the ones you are experiencing rarely pay off, for many of the reasons you’ve mentioned.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  10. purplepr #

    I have some sympathy, it must be frustrating to know people aren’t taking the time to even read the About page before contacting you. However, I would love to be receiving tons of requests to read more books… maybe someday!

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  11. I hope this post works, but I doubt that those who don’t bother reading the blog header will ever read the rest. Some people just pull the trigger of the shotgun, hoping that they’ll hit something in the dark. I think no response is the best approach. That way, you won’t waste any more of your time.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
    • True. I think I’ll be linking to this post from my about page. But, still, doubtful they even read that.

      Like

      March 18, 2014
  12. I hope I have not asked, I cant be sure. I read the header and I understood the meaning. However, I am from that “independent community” that was mentioned earlier (not by you). I would imaging that if I was with a publishing company then I would not need to market myself. Anyway, Dear Sir, you have not lost a reader in me. We cannot do it all. I respect your position. Thank you for reminding me to investigate a little deeper when promoting/marketing my work. See you at the next post. Happy Monday.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
    • No worries. I honestly don’t have anyone specific in mind. I don’t remember names. I just noticed a trend.

      Like

      March 18, 2014
  13. Out of curiosity, what happens when you have read all of the books on the list? Do you choose a new list, or start taking requests, or what?

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  14. Your words have been very inspirational Robert. Thanks for taking more time than needed to research these books. The history behind them makes them even better 😉

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  15. Great posts. If this was called 101 Cat Videos, you would probably get requests from dog owners, don’t you think? Here’s my suggestion for a response to that request: When I am finished with the list of current books I am reading, I will only be reviewing dead writers. Please feel free to submit your request when you are six feet under. Your cooperation in this matter will be much appreciated.

    Like

    March 17, 2014
    • Haha. That’s probably close to the truth.

      Like

      March 18, 2014
  16. Absolutely! I wish there was a way we could somehow remotely zap such people.

    Reminds me of a troll follower I’ve picked up, who I doubt has even viewed my site. I think he just used sime kind of automatic search and target data mining software.

    Keep posting, Robert, and don’t let the trolls get you down. 🙂

    Like

    March 17, 2014
  17. I’m sure that mine was number 102…foiled again!! People who randomly ask perturb me almost as much as people who say they will be reviewing your work(s) and then just…don’t. Thank you for being up front in the fact that you just won’t.
    http://alaynabellesmom.wordpress.com

    Like

    March 17, 2014
    • No problem. Maybe one day, but not now.

      Like

      March 18, 2014
  18. I feel your pain! I’m not even a book reviewer, and yet I often get asked to read and then review books by “regular people,” people like me who are just trying to get their work out there. Right now there are probably ten extra books in my queue, and I know that it will be weeks or months before I get to them. Heck, I don’t even want to read most of them. It’s hard enough to find time to find the ones I really really really want to read. I’m a softie and need to start saying, “No can do.”

    Like

    March 19, 2014
    • Jayne you should not feel guilty at all. I often send requests to bloggers and writers. Some times I hear back, sometimes it is a no and sometimes it is a yes. It does not bother me in the least when someone says no to me. Everyone can’t do everything and that’s okay too.

      Like

      March 19, 2014
  19. I do accept review copies from traditional publishers, but I get so many emails from self-published authors asking me to review. Some are littered with spelling and grammar errors which is a real turn off, and I don’t accept the others because I’ve had a bad experience with a really unpleasant self-published author. The emails that really confuse me are the copywriters who want to write content for my blog and ask me to pay for it, they just don’t seem to get that it’s a personal blog :S

    Like

    March 19, 2014
  20. hls #

    If you are being overwhelmed with ‘read my book’ requests, you can always send them to my blog! bound2books.wordpress.com

    Like

    March 23, 2014
    • Actually, no. If a writer has so little ambition about getting published that he expects one blogger to take the time to mail numerous manuscripts onward to another blogger who will actually review them, the writer does not deserve to be published. Sorry to be harsh, but everyone has to do their own homework. If you exist to review novels, they should do the research and find you themselves. If our 100 Books reviewer doesn’t have the time to review new writers, he also probably does not have the time to serve as their mail clerk/agent.

      Like

      March 23, 2014
      • hls #

        That was harsh. And we have enough negativity in the world. My comment was a friendly open invitation to anyone who is looking for a book reviewer.

        Like

        March 23, 2014
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    Like

    July 23, 2014

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