Sunday, July 5, 2015

How I review

Read this first if you are interested in offering me a review copy of a book.

As more and more writers and publicists contact me about reviewing their books I thought it might be prudent to put the steps of my reviewing process in writing.

1. When I accept or request review books it is based on two things: the book's description and my availability. There are a few authors and publicists I will make an exception for, but basically the description has to intrigue me and I have to have open dates near the publication date. I have turned down review copies of books even though I wanted to read them based on the description but I knew I already had, for example, 7 books to review being published on that same date. I am human, have an active, busy life, a demanding  job, and I really do read everything I review. It takes time for even a fluent reader to read a book and write a review.

2. Yes, I do keep a calendar on which I schedule every review. I can have some weeks/months booked months in advance. Since often several books are all being released on the same day the reviews are often spread out for a week before and after the publication date, but I always try to publish the review near the publication date. If a book really interests me, but I'm too busy to read it right away, I have been known to work with authors on scheduling a review date when I am available. Since I make so few exceptions for last minute reviews, it is better to contact me and ask about a review well before the publication date. 

3. I keep track of the date when I accepted the review copy. If I accepted it 4 months before publication and subsequently added 3 other books after that, the first book in is normally the first I'll review. Again, I will make very few exceptions for authors I know I enjoy.

4. Since I only try to spend time reading books I am sure I will enjoy, many of my reviews are quite favorable. What you don't see, behind the scenes, are the books I've started and have decided I do not want to spend my limited time reading. For those few books my current policy is to send a polite note explaining why I am now declining to review the book. This decision is usually made fairly early, certainly well before I could write any meaningful review based on my limited exposure to the book. This very rarely happens because I am careful to accept review books I am sure I will enjoy.

5. I really do try to review each book on what the author wished to do and how I feel the target audience will view the book. Of course, personal experiences can always come into play, but, as much as possible, I do try to be more objective rather than subjective.

6. If you do contact me about reviewing your client's novel or your novel, please know the genres I review. Just because I am a woman does not mean I will review your latest steamy romance novel. While I do read a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction there are some genres I never read. The chances of me accepting a review copy of any book are much higher if you are offering a book I might be interested in reading.

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