November 23, 2011

Tips and Tricks: How to Write A Book Review Policy

It's the most wonderful time of the week: Tips and Tricks Time!!

Now, I know I kinda slammed authors back in October about how they should format their book review request (if you didn't catch that, then look at it here) so I thought it would only be fair if I flipped the switch.

So here we go!

Start writing your Review Policy NOW!
I know this sounds kinda weird, but trust me. One of the first things you should do as soon as you start to get some followers is to write up a Review Policy.

I wish I could have written mine earlier, and I hate seeing young blogs with one or two or eight followers who would really benefit from having a review policy. That could help them boost their page views and help them put them on the map.

Either way, writing a book review policy is just a win win: Free books and some more exposure.

Make sure your Review Policy is visible

I cannot tell you how many times book bloggers have missed out on a prime opportunity to review my books (and many others) because I simply couldn't find their review policy. 

Not only does it take extra time and effort on my end to find it, but then if I search and search and all I find is your email address, then I have to ask what your book review policy is.

All of this hassle could have been easily avoided if you just posted your book review policy on your blog at the top of your blog or at least on the side near the top. 

Now let's say you've written it. Don't put it in the weirdest place possible.

I cannot begin to tell you how hard some bloggers make it to find the darn book review policy. Here I am, trying to do the right thing by following the specifics of the blogger and somehow someway the book review policy is on the bottom of the page, or under contact me section but you have to click like four times to actually get there. 

Or when I click ON the darn review policy, there's nothing there.

All of this to say: PLEASE, for God's sake, make your review policy easy to find and I'm sure we will thank you.

And if you're trying to secretly tell us that you don't want to have book review requests, then just say so in your contact me section. Simple, right? Just say: I'm not open to book review request at this moment or time. Done and done. 

List specifics

In my experience and preference, I like strict book review policies. That way I have a checklist, I have what the blogger needs to know, and the blogger doesn't have to put up with some of the crap that authors try to pull. 

It's a win win.

Additionally, if you're super formulaic then you'll know what to expect in the email just based on the subject  line. It won't be a surprise: OMG! I didn't think this was a book review request! Ugh. 

And you can complain or explain (whichever you prefer) to the author to read your Review Policy which is listed oh-so-conveniently at the top. 

However, don't complain if someone doesn't follow your loose review policy. If you say you are open to any genre, but then get a request in a genre you are not comfortable with then don't get mad at the author for sending it.

If you have certain topics or books you don't like, then list them. Don't be afraid that by shutting out then you won't get any request.

Trust me, if you get enough attention to your blog, you will def get PLENTY of book review request.

And even if you don't then you can always network and review books that are on LibraryThing and Goodreads. I'm sure the author will appreciate it and you might meet some other reviewers on the way. 

List your preferences or dislikes in BOLD

Yes, I have found out that if I list my dislikes in bold that less authors send me the stuff I don't review.

I know, a miracle.

And as an author, when I see the bold stuff, I know, woah this blogger means business. I cannot send her/him my book if she/he def doesn't like poetry.

It gets the message across clearly and effectively. Not to mention it makes it easier on us authors to look at your review policy and see directly what you don't like.

Win win.

Please don't use color fonts!

It's bad enough that I've been looking at a computer screen for hours, but then writing in weird colors or fonts make my eyes hurt and search for another book blogger. I cannot stand it when people use cutsey little colors. Drives me insane.

Just do us all a big favor and don't do it.

I understand using red when it's an emergency or you especially don't like a certain genre. I will excuse that, but don't use it excessively and don't do it to the point where you drive people mad.

How do you know when you drive people mad? When authors are sending you their stuff that's not on your genre list.

That's a huge clue that some communication is lost. So it's time to fix it.

If you are not willing to review at this time (for whatever reason), make it VISIBLE

The most annoying thing to me is when a book blogger puts at the very end, after I read over their entire review policy (often more then once to make sure I understand everything correctly), that they are not reviewing books at this time.

Seriously? You couldn't post that at the very top?

Granted, it's their blog. Granted, they put it on their review policy tab. Granted, it's in bold with exclamation points.

However, it still wastes time. Put it on your homepage and on the review policy page at the VERY TOP.

Why? To save time and wasted effort. 

If I would have known you weren't taking reviews or you're on hiatus (which I didn't even know until I emailed the reviewer) then I wouldn't waste our time. 

Time is money and every second counts. 

Therefore, if you don't want to review books at this time (and it doesn't matter what the reason, if you don't want to do it, then that's completely up to you) then make sure that any author stopping by your blog knows that.

If you are on a temporary hiatus, make sure it's clear enough to both the followers and the readers.

If your blog has moved, then post it.

If you just don't feel like reviewing, then state it in bold and with exclamation points that you are not taking review requests at this time.

If you have a date for when you'll be available again, even better. Then I can write down your name for later.

Main point: Make sure we ALL know you are off the review circuit. It'll make your life and my life a WHOLE lot easier.

Be FLEXIBLE with your Review Policy

Don't think that once you write it you're done. You might change it later on to include or exclude certain genres.

Or if you're like me, you'll notice that authors will send you stuff that you didn't ask for or even like that genre.

You'll go back and go, "Hmm, I don't think the message is getting across. How can I make this Review Policy make sense?"

Then you'll go back to fix it.

Then you'll probably bump into another problem. 

"Hmm, the authors don't seem to get the format. How can I make this clearer?"
Main point: This is a constant learning process. Don't be so inflexible and so, "Ugh, why don't they read my review policy?" Maybe, just maybe, your review policy may be confusing or too long (yes, review policies can be too long) for authors.

Maybe, a miracle happens: You make a mistake. It happens to the best of us. Just make sure you don't get so uppity or superior that you forget. 

Well, I hoped that helped with writing better Review Policies. Until next time, I bid you good writing! :)


  1. Wow I'm so putting up my review policy like right now! (Runs away sheepishly).

  2. Hey Primrose! I'm glad I got you writing your book review policy! Get to work!


    Besides, you know that authors will send you request for books either way. Why not make it easier on yourself by putting a book review policy and telling them what types of books you want and what you don't?

    Anyway, I'm glad you're writing it. I may submit my book for a review at your website, lol. You never know!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

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