My New Review Request Policy

As anyone who’s been on my blog for the past three days knows, I had a bit of a nasty incident when an author reacted badly to my refusal to review his book.  Even though in my review policy it says in bold letters I am closed for business.  The fact that he wanted a review despite this policy is not unusual, but his over-the-top reaction was definitely unusual.  For that I’m thankful.

However, this incident and the drama that has resulted because of it (partly my own fault, but still) has made me re-examine how and when I accept book review requests.  Do I really want this kind of drama anytime soon when my health is getting worse and I’m working six day weeks?  The short answer: No.

That’s why I’m going to do one thing for sure and see how it works and depending on the results I may do one of several things:

I AM COMPLETELY CLOSING THE DOORS TO ANY UNSOLICITED REVIEW REQUESTS (BOTH PUBLISHERS AND AUTHORS) UNTIL 2014.

Yes, this can be perceived as letting the bad authors win and letting good authors suffer.  The latter will certainly happen as I know I’m one of the more self-publishing friendly book blogs out there.  Yes, good authors will suffer because of my policy and I will be limiting myself because I will not be finding good books that I otherwise may have stumbled upon.  At this point, I frankly don’t care.  Book blogging has always been and likely will always be a hobby for me and when a hobby stops being fun it quickly becomes work.

Now, depending on how fast I get through my backlog and whether any further drama results out of this recent incident or future incidents, I may do one of several things:

1.  Reopen submissions once I clear my backlog and write a disclaimer on my review policy that I reserve the right to refuse or accept requests for any reasons, not limited to my level of interest, how busy I am, book length, the phase of the moon, etc.

2.  Finally take Mark Lee up on his offer to work as part of The Masquerade Crew and have someone else handle all author book review requests and any attached drama.  This means that I won’t be dealing with authors firsthand which can be a blessing in certain circumstances, but also a pitfall because I love most authors.

3.  Steal The Masquerade Crew’s idea and have open submission weeks where only one genre is able to submit.  After I’ve finished reading all the books submitted in that limited period of time, I’ll have a submissions call for books of another genre and so on and so forth.  Either that or have one week every quarter where anyone within my review criteria can submit.  The idea here is to limit the number of submissions.

4.  Permanently close review requests and only seek out authors whose books I feel I will like or old authors whose books I’m pretty certain I will like.  This appeals to me because of the level of control I have, but I know I’ll be missing out on a lot of good books out there.

5.  Reopen requests in the fall like I had planned but write a pillar post in which I politely explain why ignoring review policy criteria is a great way to get rejected and that it’s the author’s fault for such a rejection.

In truth, I may do one of these to the letter or combine several of them to create a strategy that works for me.  But until then, my review requests are completely closed.

3 comments

  1. Jemima Pett

    Well, I am hanging on your every word, but I totally understand your approach. Whatever you decide, good luck. After what happened, I think getting someone else to handle the requests sounds great. I just hope you don’t opt for #4!

  2. Rebecca Vance

    I also completely understand and wish you the best. I am also closed for reviews due to queue backlog and I am considering not opening requests again and only reviewing those that I choose on Net Galley. That way I don’t feel pressured to do any review. Since I am working on my own debut novel, this would free up a lot of time I need for my own project. It’s true what you say about it going from a hobby to a job. I really enjoy doing it, but my job is my own writing..or at least I hope so. Whatever you decide, you have my support. Best of luck! 🙂

  3. Mark Lee

    You know you are more than welcome to use us to find new authors, and if you want to be in contact with the authors you find through us, I’m sure that can be arranged. Besides, it’s not usually hard to find authors these days, even though we do shield you the best we can.

    What’s nice about our system is that an author doesn’t know he/she’s being reviewed until the review goes up. There’s little chance of author backlash. If they do lash out, it’s on us, and Diantha takes no prisoners.

    Which brings up another solution for you. When you get these unsolicited review requests, ignore them. They don’t necessarily deserve a response since they didn’t read your policies first.

    And “steal” is a harsh word for option 3. It’s more like borrowing. 😉

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