A Few Notes on Submitting for Review

Yay! Reading! 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.


Ranty McRant

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    You’d better deliver on that man-titty promise. Or else.

  2. 2

    “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.”
    so freaking true!!!

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    Have mercy you are demanding. FINE. HERE.


  4. 4
    Ros Clarke says:

    I am still waiting for the pics of Hugh Jackman on a unicorn.

  5. 5
    Barbara W. says:

    A million times yes.  I’m pretty liberal since I don’t get a ton of unsolicited requests but one thing I do like is a website or the book to be listed someplace so I can get a look at it.  I asked for that after a recent review request and was just sent the book with the note that it wasn’t very big, it wouldn’t take much of my time to read.

    I won’t have a stroke if you call me Basia even though my name’s Barbara, since it’s the nickname my ex’s Czech grandmother gave me, but I have Barbara all over my site, including the contact area.  Please, please look?!

  6. 6
    SB Sarah says:

    This is the closest I have found: http://bit.ly/K1InbC

  7. 7
    Erica says:

    Ros, I found this on google..

  8. 8
  9. 9
    RebeccaJ says:

    Come on, Sarah, don’t you realize these people are doing you a favor ALLOWING you to review their books? LOL…

  10. 10
    Lindleepw says:

    Am I the only one who thinks “unsuck yourself” sounds dirty?

  11. 11
    Darlynne says:

    Whoa. What IS that? Never mind …

  12. 12
    MissB2U says:

    It seems to me that someone claiming to be “smarter” would have a less limited vocabulary than “unsuck yourself.”  What say you bitches?

  13. 13
    SB Sarah says:

    Oh yeah… I forgot. Oops and darn.

  14. 14

    Y’know, every time I think I’ve heard it all, you manage to astound me. Don’t you wish sometimes you had a Dr. Evil laser-type weapon you could aim at the stupidity out there?

  15. 15

    I kinda hope 3.5 is the author’s fault. It’s got to suck to have fans sabotage your career that way.

  16. 16
    LG says:

    I don’t get many review requests, but then I haven’t really sought them out, in part because of some of the things listed here. #3.5 is just…gah. I’m even more shocked if it was just some random fan, and not someone connected to the author, because, well, there are tons of opportunities for people to post reviews of their own. Why badger someone else to review something?

  17. 17
    Jenny Lyn says:

    Ha! I would probably have that same expression on my face too if Hugh Jackman was petting me on the head! Nirvana.

  18. 18
    Jenny Lyn says:

    I really shouldn’t be surprised that people can be so rude and presumptious in their emails to you after all the years I’ve worked with the public, but still…the mind boggles. What is so hard to grasp about being polite, professional and succinct?

  19. 19
    Bnbsrose says:

    I never underestimate the general publics ability to sabatoge themselves. When did cute, clever, insulting become the norm in a professional relationship? That’s what a review is afterall. Critiquing someone’s work should be taken seriously – even when said work is a craptastic bundle of… crap. 

    And thanks for the unicorn. No day is complete without a little unicorn.

  20. 20
    Robyn Bachar says:

    “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.”


  21. 21
    Sveta says:

    Nobody ever asks me to review books. Barely anyone even comments on my reviews. I do wonder why.


  22. 22
    SB Sarah says:


  23. 23
    LG says:

    I wonder, does that mean Bruce Banner would have to do the reviews for books that even the Hulk can’t hate?

  24. 24
    Robyn Bachar says:

    Now my brain’s gone off on an Avengers as book reviewers tangent. Like, Tony Stark thinks your hero needs more swagger. Hawkeye thinks the story lacks focus. Bruce Banner found a they’re/their/there confusion and HULK SMASH PUNY AUTHOR! And BFF Diana added: “Hawkeye needs some distance to properly review your book.” “Captain America is downgrading your book for every popcult reference he doesn’t get.”

  25. 25
    Diana Baxter says:

    Black Widow will give everyone good reviews, but only to lull authors into a false sense of complacency. (Robyn posted faster than I typed to her!)

  26. 26
    Bnbsrose says:

    Oh, how I love you people. First a unicorn and now Avenger’s reviews. My day is so much better for having y’all in it.

  27. 27
    Beggar1015 says:

    After just seeing the Time magazine cover of the mother breastfeeding and now this image, I’m probably going to have nightmares tonight.

  28. 28


    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!


    This…this really happened?

  29. 29

    those are big man boobs.  What is that…a C?

  30. 30
    CarrieS says:



    And yes, I did see Avengers twice in two days, why do you ask?

    My first thought re Hugh Jackman pic was that the woman looked like aliens were sucking out her brain – my second thought was that I would have exactly the same facial expression.

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