The Mail I Get – Review Bot Edition

I have been getting a lot of  book review requests that I assume are generated by some kind of "review bot" that has mined my name from Amazon. Here's an example:

Dear Lee Goldberg:

I got your name from the list of Amazon Top Reviewers. I’ve written a book, “When The Shadows Began To Dance.” I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review spiritual fantasy books. If you think you might be interested in reading my book and posting an honest review of it on Amazon, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy if you’ll reply with your postal mailing address. There is no obligation, of course.

Best Regards,

Yamaya Cruz

I have never reviewed a spiritual fantasy book in my life, Yamaya Cruz. So I don't know why you think I would like to read your book, Yamaya Cruz. I hope, Yamaya Cruz, that you didn't spend a lot of money on this ineffective mailing campaign.

I also don't review get-rich-quick books, though that didn't stop me from getting this:


Hello Lee:

I got your name from Amazon's list of Top Reviewers. I've written a book, "1-800-Awesome: Tactics for Making $10,000 an Hour" and I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review a variety of book genres. I have read some of your reviews and found them to be thoughtful and well written and I value your opinion.

If you are interested in reviewing my book, please email back and I will send you a free PDF version.  I sincerely appreciate your help.

Thank you!

Chris Rugh

I'm sure Chris has never read one of my reviews. If he had, he'd know this is not a book that would ever appeal to me.  I would much rather read "1-800-Awesome:  Tactics For Not Getting Spammed for Reviews by Dimwit Authors."

Speaking of bots…

My brother Tod, who has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and has many published novels to his credit, recently got a solicitation from Kyle Oakeson, who is trying to raise money to fund a publishing  outfit called CentsPress. The email read, in part:


I found your information from your website/blog. I like your writing, and I thought I would inform you about an upcoming publishing company that I will be starting this year that can help you to make a little change for your work.

[…]CentsPress will be an online marketplace for hobby and novice writers, and it bridges the gap between unpublished or self-published authors and professional authors. Essentially, authors will be able to list an ebook on the website of either a short-story, poetry, or short drama–anything less than 32pgs. Once listed, the work becomes available for purchase by the world. But that's not the cool thing about what CentsPress does. CentsPress is designed around socializing with, tracking, and gathering important input from audiences. 

Right now I'm in the fundraising/financing business stage. I've started a crowd funding campaign online […]  I encourage you to go check it out. 

To which my brother replied:

Hi Kyle, 

I'm really glad you like my writing. What's your favorite part of my writing? Is it my hobby writing or my novice writing? It's important for me to know before I send you some money.
To which Kyle responded:
Sorry about that, maybe you know of some writers who would take an interest in this project. Obviously it isn't for everyone–anyone who has already been published, like yourself, probably wouldn't take an interest in it…
Then why the hell did you send him your lame solicitation, Kyle? If this is any indication of your attention to detail, and how you will be running your publishing company, you are doomed to failure (but, having seen his pitch, I think he's pretty much doomed anyway).
It never ceases to amaze me how lazy and inept aspiring authors and publishers can be when trying to whip up attention for themselves. There isn't anything quite as lazy and inept as sending a solicitation to someone you claim to be familiar with and yet clearly know nothing about…  



7 thoughts on “The Mail I Get – Review Bot Edition”

  1. I got the spiritual fantasy one as well. It was so obviously targetted to me since I read so many books like that.
    (End sarcasm)
    I often shake my head at the e-mails like that I get. It’s obvious they have never read one of my reviews or paid any attention to what I review or how frequently or anything.

  2. Deer Mr Coldborg,,,
    i saw n ur mister Munk books that U like things cleen an i sell ambway stuff. Do a refew ov my stuff, plse contct me!
    Ur nummer won fan w’ much hugs,,,
    Annie Wilkes
    sidewinder,,, color ado

  3. Lee — The one that irritates me is the one promising to get me radio/TV interviews, for a fee. To help me, they will also provide training in how to sound good on the radio, for a fee. *Being familiar with my work,* they believe this could really put me over the top. I asked if they could get me on TRUE CRIME UNCENSORED, and they said “Yes,” for a fee. Damned if I’m going to pay them to get me on my own show!

  4. Lee,
    I’m laughing so hard I can’t see the keys to respond. (Never did learn touch typing) Some days those are the only kinds of messages in my in-box, except for the offers of billions and billions of dollars from those kind folks in Nigeria.

  5. I occasionally get calls from companies who claim they can assist me with clients that are past due. Sometimes, I listen to their whole spiel; how much they can help me, what services they offer, etc. etc. etc. Then I ask THE question: “What kind of business am I in?”
    Without exception, the next response is the ‘Click!’ of a phone being disconnected…..


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