Review Policy–Or, Please Go Away.

You’re a brand new author, and you want someone to review your book. Do I want your “free book?”

In a word, no.

Like most reviewers, I receive no financial benefit from this blog. What I get out of it, apart from a never-ending supply of free literature, is control of what I read. Now that I’m six years into this project, I’ve paid my dues. The big majority of the titles I review come to me from Net Galley or Edelweiss, and I like it that way. I serve my readers, not publishers or authors. When I don’t like a book, I say so, and although I try to be specific, I won’t sugarcoat a review for anybody ever, so I like having a buffer between the writer and me.

But I am not here to be a hatchet woman; I’m here to share excellent books whenever possible. Self-published books, in my experience, are almost never excellent. If they were excellent, they’d have found a publisher. And yes, perhaps yours is one of those rare exceptions, but I’d rather risk missing a good book, than finding myself saddled with a book I no longer want to read but have committed myself to. Since I can almost always get the books I want most, those that usually come from the largest publishing houses, that’s exactly what I do.

There are rare exceptions to this policy, and here’s what they look like: they are books being independently published by authors I have read and reviewed previously and just love; or they are brought to me by a close friend or family member who’s too persuasive to turn away.

I speak bluntly now because my personal email, one which is deliberately not published on this blog or anywhere else with my permission, has been inundated by authors seeking reviews. After some research I learned that at least two websites have acquired my email address and published it in a list that is sold to authors and others for a fee. Can you tell that I’m angry about this? I am. I am pissed. Feedspot has done this, along with, I am told, 40,000 other bloggers’ information. Another, Storiad, has published my information also. When I wake up in the morning and check my inbox for bills, notes from family and friends, and information from Net Galley, I have to sift through lengthy letters bragging or begging or whatever. Some of these letters are poorly enough written that I cringe to imagine what the hell the book looks like. If you can’t write a decent blogger-appeal letter, that might be a sign you should heed. Yet, amazingly, some of these authors believe that I welcome these entreaties. Go figure.

If you’ve been with me for awhile, you know that I will knock myself out to publicize a book that I love. The snark you see in the present post is reserved for the books I wish I hadn’t signed on for. The obvious lesson is for me to choose carefully before committing myself. So, new author without publisher, sooner or later someone will read your book and either lie or tell the truth about what they find, but it won’t be me. Give up on me and my blog. Run along now.