Armchair BEA: Approaching Publishers and Authors

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In honour of Armchair BEA and the Book Blogger Convention that I wasn’t able to go to, I present a post on approaching publishers and authors yourself when you see a book or a bunch of books you’d like to review.

I review for a LOT of different publishers, authors and publicists and not all of them contacted me first. I approached more publishers than approached me. It can be a little scary at first, especially if you haven’t been reviewing for others that much yet. My first few times I felt like I was sending an email to the Prime Minister/President, especially for the bigger publishers.

First of all realize you will not be corresponding with the head of the company. Requests for book reviews go to publicity/public relations.

To Approach Publishers

Step 1: Find the website for the publisher you want to approach. (NOTE: For some of the bigger publishers, make sure you are contacting the proper one for where you live. If you live in Canada, you should be contacting Random House Canada or Harper Collins Canada.)

Step 2: Look around, usually near the bottom of the page, but not always, for a contact section, or Media section.

Step 3: Usually there are different emails for many different people in the company. If one says for book review requests (media only) than that’s the one you want. If nothing says that, then look for the title of Publicity or Public Relations (PR.) If there is only one contact email, use that one. If you still can’t figure it out, try the most basic email such as or
NOTE: It may say for media only or accredited only or something similar. Don’t let this scare you away. Most publishers work with bloggers and you are going to clearly state that you are such. If they don’t want to work with you, they will say so, no harm done. 

Step 4: Open up your email and make the subject line something like these:

If you are requesting a certain book
“Review Request: Book Title and Book Author (ISBN)”

If you are requesting to work with them in general
“Interested in a possible blogger-publisher relationship”
“Book Reviewer looking to work with [Publisher name]”

Step 5: Make your email fairly professional and to the point. Don’t ramble. If possible, address the PR person by name. Try one of these:

Dear [PR Name],
To the Publicity Department (use if being sent to generic email address)
To Whom it May Concern (last resort)

I usually open my email by saying:

“I am an Independent Book Reviewer at and I often review books for other publishers, publicists and authors.”

Obviously if you are new to reviewing, you will have to word yours a little differently.

Then say something nice about the publisher and why you want to review for them (but keep it truthful) such as:

“Looking through your catalogues I see many books I own/have read and enjoyed in the past.”
“Some of my favourite books are from [Publisher Name]”
“I’m always looking to support publishers from [Country Name]”
“I just came across your website but already see quite a few books that catch my eye.”

Continue stating something about how you would love to review some of their books which would help generate public interest. Direct them to your review policy and state why your blog would be a good fit.

End with something like:

“Thank you for taking the time to consider this matter”
“Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you.”
“I realize you are very busy but when you get a chance, I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

Step 6: Read over your message again, check for spelling and grammar and check AGAIN. Make sure it sounds right and it’s to the correct email. If you are requesting a specific book, include your mailing address so that if they decide to send it to you, they don’t have to email you back and wait again for your address. If you are requesting to work with them in general, I wouldn’t include your address. Send!

I’ve received a response in as little as the next day and as long as 3 months later and some never responded at all so you may want to send a message to a bunch of different publishers. The ones that didn’t respond were smaller publishers and this was when working with bloggers was new so they may have said to themselves, “A blogger is not media and not eligible for review copies” and ignored me. Things may change if I approached them again now.

To Approach Authors

First of all realize that very few authors have enough copies of their book to send to you. Most authors I’ve approached forwarded my email to their publisher who sent me the book. I have received books straight from authors too though. I usually approach authors after seeing their book on TV or in a magazine and it spikes my interest. If I can easily find the publisher, I contact them but sometimes it’s a small publisher or I can’t find a way to contact them.  Also the author is usually more gung ho at the idea of having me review their book and it’s usually a yes when I approach them.

The Following ADDED June 1, 2010
For Twitter Users

Ruth reminded me in the comments about contacting publishers or publicists through twitter.I’ve done this a few times. One time the publisher was offering a review copy to any book blogger who followed them, just be DMing your address. Another time I saw a conversation between a publisher and another book blogger, offering her a review copy. So I contacted and said I’ve love to review the book too and they said yes. One or two other times I saw a publisher tweeting about a new book so I replied back saying I’d love to review said book on my blog. I got a review copy each time I contacted someone on twitter. Take a chance!

This post is Copyright 2001-2012 SMS Book Reviews. Do not reproduce anything without permission.
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.