Thoughts on Thursday: Review Policies


Review Policies

We’ve all had it happen before. And we are polite.

A mass email, not even addressed to us.

A review request that clearly does not fit into the genres we read.

A review request that states this book is “different” than other books in the genre.

And my absolute all-time favorite, a review request that is not a genre we read with the author’s plaintive “I know this is [insert genre type], but I know you will enjoy it” type of comment.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No, it is not.

Don’t make us mad. Even though it may be “behind closed doors,” reviewers and bloggers do talk.

I have had people contact me on Facebook, no less, bombarding me with poorly-written review requests. Mind you, these folks don’t even follow me on Facebook. If you can’t take the time to click one button, let alone fine-tune your review request, you should not be submitting requests. On top of that, they have no idea what types of books I review or do not review.

But here is the kicker: I have been closed to review requests for over a year. It has been stated clearly at the top of my Review Policy page. And yet I still received requests emailed to me, and messaged to me on Facebook.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not message reviewers on Facebook with review requests. Instead, contact the reviewer directly through email so she has a record for reference.

Click on a link that takes you directly to their blog. Check it out. Is their blog suitable to your needs as an author? Read the review policy. Is your book a genre that the reviewer will read? If not, move on.

Recently a fellow blogger had some serious grief with this. She promoted a period of open review requests. When closing time came, she was still receiving review requests weeks later.  Some authors have become bullies in pushing their books off on reviewers, like my friend.

What does it matter if authors break all of our rules? So what?

We have to make a statement. If we want our policies followed, there must be a draw-back, just like there are consequences for law-breakers.

Here is what I have instated on my blog, and I have updated my review policy page with more specific details about my policies.

I feel a few statements need to be laid out before even getting to anything else.

  1. Please read all information on this page or linked to this page prior to emailing me.
  2. Please read my policies regarding what is acceptable and not acceptable to submit to me for review. If your book does not fall into the acceptable genres, do not send it. If you submit a book that is clearly not within my acceptable genres, you will be blacklisted.
  3. If you submit a request to me while I am not accepting review requests, you will be blacklisted.

What does “blacklisted” mean?

If you violate the review request policy in any way, as mentioned specifically above, your name will go on a list forever. I will never review a book of yours. You don’t get a re-do.  You won’t have an opportunity for me to review your book ever if you don’t follow these rules.

I am hoping this helps my friend, as she also has a blacklist policy. There are too many authors out there and way too many books that we would love to read, but receiving unwanted requests is not something I want to continue. Quite honestly, after only two years, it makes me not want to ever open review requests up again, but for now this is what my policy will be to stave off the unwanted.

What is your review policy?

Do you accept open review request? Why or why not?

How often do you allow open periods for review requests? 

How do you handle review requests that clearly do not follow your policies?

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thursday: Review Policies

  1. Interesting post. Even though my review policy says that I’m not taking review requests, I still get review requests every day. I don’t blacklist the requester, but I do delete the email without reading it. I don’t have time to send a hundred emails that say “I’m not currently taking review requests.” That information is written in bold letters at the top of my review policy.

  2. I really like your take on this. I’ve been closed for reviews for some time and am STILL getting emails or even comments on old reviews to review new books. The one thing that has bothered me the most though is a request that was sent to me and they kept misnaming my blog (like 4 times) in the email. If they don’t take the time to care, then why should we? I definitely think this is a two-way street sort of situation. Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  3. I don’t take review requests from self-published authors. Unless I’ve already reviewed a book of theirs and gave it 4 or 5 stars. Mostly because 9 times out of 10, if I actually accept the book for review, it’s been a slog-fest and ended up rated super low or DNF’d.

    This is stated in the very first sentence or two of my review policy. And still a few times a week I’ll not only get a review request that is for a self-published book, but is specifically in a genre I say I don’t read. Or a genre that is not in the short list of what I do want to read.

    I haven’t set up a black list, because they’ve all been very polite when I said no, and not bothered me again. But it does get annoying since it makes them look like they can’t read (or can’t be bothered to read!).

  4. I’ve received very few review requests and until recently, wasn’t open to receiving requests directly from authors. Since my In the Spotlight feature is taking off, I was getting requests from featured authors to do reviews in conjunction with their feature. As a result, I put a pretty hefty review policy in place that includes some required homework on behalf of the requestee.

    I hate random requests via FB. It’s hard to find those messages to respond and it also means that the author didn’t take the time to visit my site.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

  5. If I am contacted on facebook, twitter, etc I will not answer. Like you said, they need to at least take the energy to look into my email. Right now I am not accepting ebooks but I get requests constantly to review them. It can be frustrating that they want you to take hours of your time to read and review their book but they can’t spend 60 seconds to look at our review policies.

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