Review Policy

Borrowed from Small Review, until I have time to craft my own:

Review Policy

General information

I currently accept select Adult books for review in the areas of General Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery, and Literature.  There are exceptions: I do read an occasional Young Adult title, mostly in tandem with my children.  As a rule I don’t venture into Romance or Horror, as I feel incapable of doing them justice.  If your title doesn’t fall into these genres, you can always ask…

I accept print ARCs, finished copies, audiobooks and select e-books. If the book is a part of a series, then I may need the previous books. If you are requesting an audiobook review, then I may request a print copy of the book as well. In the case of audiobooks, there will be two reviews: one for the story, and another reviewing the reader/audio performance. My current e-book reader is a Kindle, but my smartphone can handle all types (even if it’s hard to read).

I am accepting self-published books, indie press books, or interactive media books on a case-by-case basis at this time. Review requests for these books will receive a reply, but be aware that these books are lowest on my priority list. Exceptions include those already on To Be Reviewed list and written by folks I know personally.

Genres
You can check and see if your book is on my To Be Reviewed list. If it’s there, then you can be sure I want to read it! You can also browse my Reviews to get a feel for my interests.

I accept Adult fiction in the following categories:

  • General Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Historical fiction and select historical non-fiction
  • Speculative Reality/Magical Realism
  • Global Fiction
  • Mystery
  • Literature

I am NOT accepting books in the following genres:

  • Non-fiction (with the exception of select historical books)
  • Memoirs/modern biographies
  • Poetry (sorry, a poet I’m not)
  • “Issues” books (dying mothers, cancer diagnoses, mental illnesses, family drama, etc)
  • Extremely political or “hot button” topics
  • Religion-based fiction (your religion is perfect, so I won’t say a thing about it)
  • “Unreadable” fiction (strange formatting/one long run-on sentence/etc.)
  • Computer-generated prose (yes, it exists, and no, I’m interested in organic fiction)
  • Romance and Horror (can’t finish ’em, can’t review ’em)
Accepting Books

If I accept a book for review, that does not guarantee a review.  It rarely happens, but there have been (less than 10) books I could not finish.  In that case, I’ll let you know what’s up with that and we’ll discuss how I am to proceed.

I will make every effort to read and review in a timely fashion and with regard to (provided) release dates, but life happens and I can’t guarantee in blood that it will be there.  If you haven’t heard from me or seen a review and you’d like an occasional update, zip me an email.  If you want me to feed your book to the dog and send your emails directly to the trash bin, email me daily asking for an update.  Living in the shadow of a giant tower of books makes me peevish, and I am easily annoyed.

I prefer to receive a book three to four months before you need the review.  If you’re in a big hurry, contact me and see if there’s space to shoehorn you in (but don’t expect much of a chance — that bookpile is massive). If you expect nearly instant turnaround, you’d better be my future son-in-law (or daughter-in-law) — otherwise, I can tell you right now the answer is no.

I have a thousand books to read at the moment, so understand from the onset that it will take time to get to yours.  I try to schedule my posts in advance, so if you know you’ll have something for me to read in a few months you can let me know today and I’ll put in a placeholder for you.  Just don’t forget to send the book.  In the meantime I’ll be hacking at that magical beanstalk of a bookpile…

Reviews

I will write a review for almost every book I finish.  In a few rare cases, I have mixed feelings about a book that takes time to sort out, so if you see I’ve finished the book but don’t see a review posted, don’t panic.  I may be re-reading the book to nail down my thoughts. All of my reviews are posted on Goodreads and by extension Amazon (since they now own Goodreads).In the event my review is for paid publication somewhere else, the Goodreads version may be modified somewhat to keep me in the good graces of the lawyers.  While I am an English Literature major, and I use literary terms in my reviews, I am simply writing about my impressions of the work and not preparing a doctoral-level literary critique.

By was of disclosure, I admit up front that I will not review a book by an author I don’t like, whether because of their public antics or because I was exposed to an earlier work and it was so terrible I refuse to go near anything like it again.  Yes, it has happened, and just thinking about it brings forth the word “odious.”  This is a disclosure because I seem to give mostly positive reviews, but for a legitimate statistical reason: if I exclude books I already know I’ll review negatively, the sample is skewed positively somewhat.  That’s not to say I won’t write a negative review; I do, and I have.  As a review is an opinion, I’m entitled to mine, whether you agree or not.  If you find that arrangement intolerable, you should consider a different career because it isn’t going to get any easier.

Someone wrote somewhere that reviewers are frustrated novelists.  I’m not frustrated, but I am a proto-novelist.  I understand the work should stand alone no matter who the author is, and I tend to review books that way.  I’m not snarky or mean.  I don’t live to belittle others; on the contrary, I live to encourage others.  In fact, I encourage you to read a random sample of my reviews to see for yourself.  See?  You’re encouraged.

Review Structure

In the past, my metric for a book was a) was it so good I’ll never lend it out and nobody gets to touch it but me; b) it was okay, and I’ll share it with my fellow readers, but I won’t cry if it never comes home; or c) this is so bad it’s going straight to the thrift store.  I don’t even want it taking up shelf space in the house.  While functional, my rating schema is difficult to standardize, so I’m converting to the 5-Star system.

All reviews from this point forward will include the following:

  • Cover art
  • Book stats: Title, author, publisher, page count, release date, series status
  • Where I received the book
  • My review: What I liked and didn’t, and where possible, include examples
  • Star rating (and maybe the disposition of the book outlined in prior paragraph)

Star Rating:

=  I loved this book and want to own a copy!
= I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t a perfect “Special Shelf” match for me, but I really liked it.
= Probably the most commonly used rating, 3.5 stars is for a book that was “above average,” though not perfect for me. This is a good, solid rating.
= Average.  I liked this book overall, but there were enough things that bothered me to affect my enjoyment.
= Significant issues that negatively impacted my overall enjoyment, though I may still have liked some parts of this book.
= I really didn’t like this book at all.
[no stars]        = This book should never have made it into print.  Only 2 or 3 books have ever received this rating from me, as I usually glean the losers out before beginning, but sometimes (usually on a trusted recommendation) I’ll read it despite myself and then pull out my remaining hair while moaning “why… why….”
Once again, the Star Rating (which mirrors Goodreads/Amazon) is a subjective assignment made me reflecting the impression the book made in my little pea-brain.  I understand you think your book is five and a half stars, but arguing with my impressionable subconscious is tiresome, tedious and a waste of time for us both.  I’m not going to change it.
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Giveaways

I am happy to host a giveaway for you! My criteria for hosting giveaway books is the same as that for review books. Please refer to the the genre, publisher, and book format requirements for review books.

Entries will be compiled using Google Docs and the winner will be chosen using Random.org.

If you would like me to host a giveaway for a book, please be sure to include the following information in your request:

  • Title/Author
  • Format of the book (ARC, hardcover, softcover, audiobook)
  • Shipping requirements (US, US/CA, or International)
  • Run time of the giveaway
  • Any additional information you would like included (photo of prize, blurb, signed?, etc)

Please note: Following my blog will never be a requirement for entry. I will not host giveaways where entrants are required to “like,” follow, tweet, or make any other endorsements. Extra entries will not be given at this time.

Author Guest Posts and Interviews

Please Note: At this time, I will only accept guest posts from authors.

I am honored to host other authors on Just Keep Scribbling! However I only host authors whose books I have either read or are on my To Be Reviewed list. I am not currently accepting “electronic photocopy” guest posts where the content has already been posted on other blogs. Would you want to read boilerplate blog posts?  Neither do my readers.

If you would like to be featured on Just Keep Scribbling!, please email me with the following information:

  • Your name and the name of your book
  • A brief description of your book (or link to Goodreads/Amazon)
  • Do you prefer a guest post or an interview?
  • The month/date you would like to be featured
  • If you would like to include a giveaway

If I have not read your book you can suggest your own guest post topic, but the final decision is mine. I also prefer for you send me a copy of your book, but this isn’t a requirement.  Please understand I can’t post your guest blog item until I read the book, so if it’s a problem to allow fact checking, you shouldn’t be writing in general and guest writing on my blog in particular.

If I have not read your book yet and I am coming up with the guest post topic or interview questions, then I require a copy of your book and minimum three months’ advance time to read your book. If this is not possible for some reason but your book is on the To Be Reviewed list, then we can try to work something out.

Guest posts are a great way to reach a new audience, and while I appreciate the need for them, they do not take the place of my own posts.  I can schedule a guest post for a particular date (and time).  If you’re waiting between galleys, we can do the guest post and delay making it public until a time you pick, with the caveats mentioned above about reading the book etc etc etc…

Requests to Host Me On Your Blog

Thank you for your interest! I am honored, contact me and we’ll see if there’s time to work something out. I do participate in interviews, especially by email, sometimes by fax, rarely by phone and virtually never in person (for health reasons, mostly to preserve yours).

If I’ve Missed A Topic

My email address is in the Contact tab.  Send me a missive and I’ll update this as needed.

 

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