I receive many requests for review daily. This is probably not a surprise. It increases with each review we do, particularly if I review a self published romance. I've begun to notice a pattern with the requests, and so I put together this list of tips to address them.
Here are a few hints on submitting for review here:
1. I don't accept every book pitched to me, nor do I guarantee a review.
1.5. We review romance fiction, with the occasional, and I mean occasional, diversion into novels with a strong romantic element, or nonfiction that might appeal to romance readers. I am partial to most sub-genres of romance with the exception of romantic suspense. Carrie S is all about fantasy and science fiction romance, and we both make the occasional foray into nonfiction. RedHeadedGirl reads the old skool classics, both awesome and crazysauce. But the majority of what we review here is romance. Not thrillers, spy comedies, books about investing, or nonfiction biographies of slain world leaders.
2. Attempts at humor/fear don't often work. Phrases like “I know you're going to tear me apart but I can take it” are factually incorrect and don't convince me at all that you can handle frank criticism.
First, we do negative reviews here. I know that's not earth-cracking news, but let me explain further what that means.
If we do not like your book, we will probably go into great detail about why we didn't like that book. Why so much detail? Many reasons. That detail could include supporting and further explaining the reason for a negative grade, expressing anger or disappointment with a book, or providing examples of why the book was graded so low.
But presuming that our goal here is to grab books by the covers and rip them in half by the seams, or that we wish to grab you and rip your arms off, is inaccurate. We, all of us who write and read here, are looking for books that we enjoy, books that we want to read – or books so full of the effervescent crazysauce that we can't help but enjoy them while we laugh our asses off.
Presuming our goal is to be mean makes a number of assumptions about our motivation. Labeling our reviews in such a way presumes we wish to harm with our reviews. We're here to have honest conversations about romance novels – conversations that many readers have trouble finding elsewhere in their “real lives.” I have blunt opinions and so do many, MANY readers.
An author might have a ferocious critique partner but she is NOTHING compared to the reader who paid $9 (or $22AUS or $25NZ) for a book.
Bottom line: leading off with jokes that assign us both labels, one as offender and one as a victim, is insulting to us both and isn't going to endear you to a reviewer.
3. The best thing to do is be (OHNOES) professional. There is no need to be super-formal, but addressing email to ordinary people who read romance as opposed to “OMG UR SO MEAN WANT TO READ MY BOOK?” goes a lot farther in my daily attempt to manage my email inbox. Introduce yourself, introduce your book, explain the genre or sub-genre it is, and ask for a review. Attach a synopsis or a sample (not the whole book, please – huge PDFs in the inbox that I am not expecting are too often redirected to spam and I never see them). That's the best option.
3.5 Insulting directly isn't going to work, either. Here's a sample of what arrived in my inbox recently:
From: Smarter Bitch
How could this review site have skipped over [Name Redacted]? I cannot find
a single review of any of her books on your site!?!
Unsuck yourselves by at least reviewing her upcoming book!
First, if you're smarter, then you go on ahead and review it. I have no interest now.
Second, way to tie an author's name to an insult. That doesn't help. Now I'll see that author's name and think, “Oh, yeah. Someone told me to unsuck myself by reviewing her book.”
Probably not the outcome that person was looking for.
4. Please don't email to announce that a review would help you promote your book. There are hundreds of romances published each month, and that doesn't count self-published titles. I am aware that it is difficult to publish and promote books, and I empathize with the challenge facing any author. I select books that I think I would like or find interesting (or completely guano loco) to read and review.
Announcing that you've decided this site would be a great place for a review doesn't mean I'm going to review your book. You haven't asked. You've told me to do so. Not going to happen.
I hope this clarifies reviewing and submitting for review. And now, back to your regularly scheduled mantitty.