Friday, May 22, 2015

Review Request Guidelines

Ever since I started writing book reviews, I have had several difficult situations arise with authors and publishers. Some of these situations happen so often, I had to write a set of guidelines. I've been using these guidelines for years, and, yet, I am still dealing with some of the same issues. It makes me feel like I have to explain to someone why water doesn't roll uphill - it's very frustrating.

So, PLEASE, read these guidelines before you contact me about a book review!

  1. Your book needs to be available for purchase. It doesn't matter if your book is in paper form, or an's pointless for me to write a review about the book, especially 5-stars, if readers can't buy it. It doesn't have to be on Amazon, but it helps if your book is for sale at a site that allows me to post a review. This would seem obvious, but I've lost count of how many times someone has asked me to write a review about a book/story that wasn't even published yet.
  2. I need to know the following details before I decide whether or not to do a review:
    a) genre
    b) number of pages
    c) if it is a stand alone or part of a series
    If I feel I can’t read a book/story with an open mind for any reason, I won’t do a review. In order to be fair to the author, I need to be genuinely interested. If I turn down a request, don’t take it personally. It may be as simple as having a huge workload...not to mention the fact that I have a life offline.
  3. Although I rarely write reviews with less than a three-star rating, it does happen. If this is a problem for you, please do not request a review from me. No one is guaranteed anything other than honesty, and a promise that I will finish every story before I write a review. Authors from the same publishers are not guaranteed the same review ratings; reviews are based on the individual's work, not the name of their mutual publisher. Even if I am a fan of your work, you are not guaranteed a great review...if anything, I will have higher expectations.
  4. A review won’t help your sales, even if it’s a 5-star review, if you don’t share the link in your networks/sites/blogs. The reason I review books is because I want to share my finds with others. If I love a story, I want other readers to know about it. I take it offense to authors that hound me for a review & then don’t bother to link back to the review, even when the review praises the writing. There are plenty of hungry authors who would love the free publicity.
  5. I only review final book versions. Even if I've read a beta version, I need to make sure that the version I review is the same one that customers will be buying. I am NOT referring to editing for typos, or polishing up a few sentences here and there; I am talking about taking out entire sections, adding new chapters, and/or other massive changes. Let me make this perfectly clear: if I review something & you make massive changes, then my original review is no longer valid, and I don't want to be accused of writing fake reviews because you couldn't be bothered to give me a heads up first!!
  6. I am more than happy to provide blurbs, etc. I do not have a problem with any part of my reviews being quoted, as long as the quote is attributed to “Ursula K Raphael” …I don’t like being plagiarized anymore than you do.
  7. Please do not abuse my contact information. If I connect with you on a social network, or give you my email, please don’t send duplicate messages. Do not send me multiple messages. If I don’t get back to you right away, I guarantee you that I am busy - not ignoring you. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Please do not add me to mailing lists for your personal websites, pages, etc.
  8. If you choose not to follow my guidelines, I will not be able to work with you. Even if you write the most amazing story in the history of the human race, I can’t work with someone who is disruptive. It’s not fair to the other people that I work with. Consider it practice for following submission guidelines to publishers. 
  9. Keep your personal drama to yourself. If you have a beef with another author or publisher that I have worked with, do not involve me or expect me to take a side. If you make a habit of bad-mouthing others in the literary community, especially the horror community, I will probably choose not to work with you. If you have a significant other causing drama, I will hold you responsible...and not work with you. The only thing I really care about is whether or not your story/writing is entertaining.
  10. If I do happen to work on a project with you, please don’t expect me to hold your hand through the rest of your writing career. Keep in mind that I am not an editor, agent or publisher, so please do not make other requests that are unrelated to the review process. Beta-reading is the only exception.
If you have any questions, just ask. You can message me through Facebook (I do check my "Other" folder whenever I'm online). You can also contact me through Twitter. (I rarely use my account on Google+, but I 'm there too.) Or you can just leave a comment here.
Ursula K Raphael
aka AstraDaemon

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