Frequently Asked Questions:

Budget Ads

What Size Art Should I submit?

Your ad art file must be 400 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. We do not resize art, and your the art size must be exact to fit into our system!

What kind of art file should I submit?

Your art file should be a JPG or GIF. Budget Ads display at 200 pixels wide by 300 pixels high, so please plan your ad layout for those dimensions in terms of readability. However, you should design and save out your art at 400×600 (this will allow them to display optimally on all screens, including very high resolution Retina screens). See the ad art submission standards for more details on aspect ratio, size, and how to save our your art files.

How do I pay for my Budget Ad?

After you fill out the form a PayPal button will appear, which will redirect you to PayPal to make your payment.

When will my ad run?

For-Every-Budget ads on SBTB go live within 14 days of submission, and run for one month following the day they go live.

Top Questions

What is with all these acronyms? HEA? STL? What do they mean?

Some of these terms are used in conversation about the romance genre and certainly aren’t exclusive to this site. Some are abbreviations we use for categories or features here. But if you’ve ever wondered what the heck something means, hopefully this list will help.


GS vs STA: Good Shit vs Shit To Avoid – used for developing lists of books by type or characteristic, both of books folks loved and books folks didn’t like too much. Or, in some cases, hated with the passion of a thousand burning suns filled with hateration (or, as my computer tried to correct, “hate rations.”)

HaBO: Help a Bitch Out – you remember the plot, the character’s strange hair color, the fuchsia eyeshadow on the cover, the fact that the villain was gay, abused his horse and ate endangered species. Do you remember the title? Nope. But nearly every time, someone here knows exactly what book you’re talking about.

TSTL: Too Stupid to Live (often used to describe heroines who are really freaking dim, and run down alleys in a nightgown, and NOT because they’re about to shift into hungry, flesh-tearing wolves) **

HEA – Happily Ever After **

HFN – Happy for Now **

DNF – “Did Not Finish” – a review of a book I could not or did not want to finish, and the reasons I didn’t want to complete it. A few people have argued with me that a “DNF” is not a review, but I think any reader’s reasons for not wanting to continue reading a book are valuable commentary about the book and what didn’t work for that reader (and what may work really well for another reader). So I include DNF reviews here.

SBTN: Sometimes you’ll see people refer to the site as “SBTN” which stands for “Smart Bitches Trashy Novels.” This is because when Candy and I started the site, I bought the URL and installed Expression Engine. She did the design. Her original design had a header that read “Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels” while the URL was…SmartBitchesTrashyBooks. Yeah. Oops.

UST: Unresolved Sexual Tension (read more at TVTropes)

WTF: You know this one, right? Sometimes it’s WTF, sometimes WTFery, but the meaning is pretty clear.


Plot Moppet: a small child who has no purpose or development except to drive the plot forward. (Coined and defined by Red Headed Girl).

Potato Rage: The rage that overtakes the reader when a blatant and easily researchable anachronism pops up out of nowhere.  Like potatoes (a New World food) being served to a Viking. (Possibly coined and defined by Red Headed Girl in her review for Season in the Sun).

Mary Sue Character: see Wikipedia definition. A Mary Sue is the bestest most specialest sparkliest wonderfulest character in the world, who does no wrong, is adored by all, has no flaws, and gives you a somewhat twisted, uncomfortable feeling that the character exists as wish fulfillment for the author or reader because no person is that perfect. Ever. **

Purple Prose: see Wikipedia definition. Purple prose in romance is most commonly found in the sex scenes, where the writing may become incredibly florid, overwrought and laden with ridiculous euphemisms, such as “heaving stallion,” “thrusting soldier,” and Sarah’s favorite, “he burst like a ripe melon within her.” **

Mighty Wang: shorthand for the many illustrious powers of the male member in romances. From obfuscation (once deployed, unless mentioned in the cover copy as a story of social ruin, the humpy couple will likely not get caught) to healing (many a Mighty Wang has restored the heroine to orgasm or fertility, or possibly both), the Mighty Wang is a thing of wonder. It’s most recognizable power is that of a divining rod of destiny: to quote the Bosoms, “the Mighty Wang often offers the Key to True Love. Though he may not expect it, the Mighty Wang reveals that the heroine is his One and Only. He must have the orgasm to end all orgasms, a moment of jizztastic glory that will communicate to his brain from the depths of his man part that This Is the Woman For Him….” (pg 84.)

Magic Hoo-Hoo: AKA “Glittery Hoo-Hah,” “Magic Hoo-Hah” shorthand for the equally illustrious and many powers of the female sex organ, specifically the vagina. The Magic Hoo-Hoo tames the Mighty Wang, and becomes the magnetized true north for the hero’s trouser compass from the point of their first sexual coupling. The Magic Hoo-Hoo brings the hero to monogamous attachment, because after experiencing it, the hero will not be satisfied with anything or anyone else. **

** – these terms are certainly not exclusive to this site, and are common in discussions of romance in many online communities.

Any other abbreviations or terms you’ve always wanted to ask about? Terms you think are unique and might need explanation? Bring it on!

I need a book recommendation. Can you help?

That’s literally why we’re here. Or part of why we’re here. And we have a bunch of options.

Can I purchase a review?

No. Reviews are not available for purchase. Moreover, booking advertisement with us does not guarantee or include a review.

How do I submit a cover for Cover Snark?

Oh, we absolutely do NOT want to miss that submission. It’s one of our favorite features, and we love it when you send us covers!

The easiest way is to email Sarah, but we also have this handy form, too.

    * Name:

    * Email:

    * Message:

    Link to cover if you have one:

    Please help us combat spam. This helps prove that you are a real person and not a spam bot:

    Thank you in advance!

    Can I submit a guest review?

    Sure! If you’ve written a review for a romance that you think might interest the community or you’d like to rant and/or squee about a book, and you haven’t published it elsewhere, please email Sarah. She’d love to hear from you!

    Can I be a staff writer?

    Thanks for asking! That’s awesome of you. We’re not looking for staff writers at present.

    How do I advertise on your site?

    Please email Sarah! She’d be happy to help you! There is also some handy information on our Advertise page.

    How can I get reviewed on

    You can submit your book for review with our handy Review Requests Form. We get a lot of submissions, so there’s no guarantee a book, once submitted, will be reviewed.

    For some insight into how we decide what books to review, please see: How do you pick which books to review?

    How do you pick which books to review?

    Each of us picks books that we’re interested in reading, and the reason for that interest varies widely. We have moods like any other reader, and chase after books that we are curious about.

    We each have our favorite genres, though. For example, Sarah and Elyse love historicals, while Amanda loves contemporaries, with a super-size serving of angst if you have it. Elyse loves mysteries and thrillers with a high creepy factor and sometimes a higher body count, and Carrie adores science fiction and fantasy romance.


    How long is the queue for Help a Bitch Out?

    This question is from Tam:  How big a queue is there for the Help A Bitch Out? I often think of submitting a request but also wonder if there is a huge backlog of them. It would be nice to know if there is a waitlist.

    Help a Bitch Out!

    Thank you for asking! Help a Bitch Out is one of our most popular features, and so we receive a metrique crappe tonne of requests each week. Currently we are operating at a three to four-month backlog, so requests we received three months ago or thereabouts are running currently.

    When we run your submission, we will let you know prior to its being published, so you’ll hear from us. Please feel free to email us to confirm we received your submission.

    I need a book recommendation. Can you help?

    That’s literally why we’re here. Or part of why we’re here. And we have a bunch of options.

    How do I submit a cover for Cover Snark?

    Oh, we absolutely do NOT want to miss that submission. It’s one of our favorite features, and we love it when you send us covers!

    The easiest way is to email Sarah, but we also have this handy form, too.

      * Name:

      * Email:

      * Message:

      Link to cover if you have one:

      Please help us combat spam. This helps prove that you are a real person and not a spam bot:

      Thank you in advance!

      What Happened to AllRomance?

      On December 28, 2016, AllRomance Ebooks, also known as ARe, announced they were closing effective December 31, 2016. Alas, they are gone.

      But! If you’re looking to purchase ebooks and would like to send a percentage of your sales back to us at no additional cost to you, here are some retailer links:

      BN Logo Kobo Ibookstore



      Affiliate revenue helps us tremendously, so thank you for your support!

      What is the RITA Reader Challenge?

      Ah the RITAs—for those of you who do not know, the RITAs are the annual award given by the Romance Writers of America. Every year romance novels published over the previous year are judged, and some become finalists in a bunch of categories. Our RITA Reader Challenge was an attempt reach the SBTB community with reviews of as many of those finalists we can.

      There are always far too many finalists for the regular contributors here at SBTB to cover them all, so these reviews came in from our many readers (thank you!). We no longer coordinate the RITA Reader Challenge. You can find the RITA Reader Challenge reviews from past years here.

      What are Special Features?

      Here at SBTB we have a lot of interests! In addition to our reviews and podcasts, we also posts on topics from Kickass Women in History, to Knitting. We even have our own book-related cocktail hour.

      These posts appear on a somewhat regular schedule amongst our other regularly scheduled programming, or you can find them all on the Special Features archive. Each feature has an archive of its own as well! Just click on the graphics at the top of the Special Features Archive.

      Can I get a list of only A+ (or F+) Reviews?

      Sometimes you just want to know what’s good. Sometimes you just want to read a bunch of rants. We can provide! We have a handy list of all of our reviews conveniently sorted by grade, which you can find from the Reviews dropdown in the main site nav, or you can just go here.

      You can click through to individual grade archives to see all the reviews that earned that grade. You can also click on the grade when you’re in any given review, and it will take you to the appropriate grade archive.

      The Podcast

      I’d like to be a guest on your podcast. How can I contact you?

      Well, that’s cool! All you need to do is email Sarah. She’s the producer, editor, host, and publisher of the podcast, and she books the guests, too.

      Here is some information she’ll need:

      • Who are you, and why would you be a great guest?
      • What subjects are you passionate about that are related to your primary reason for pitching? Why do we ask? Because ‘Hey, I wrote a book’ is a very short conversation, and topics that a guest is excited to talk about always make for an interesting episode. And you don’t have to have written a romance to be a great podcast guest – many of our guests have not been romance authors.
      • What is your reason for wanting to be on the podcast?
      • What time zone are you in, for potential scheduling purposes?

      And if you’ve got other components of your pitch, add ’em to your email! We’d love to hear from you.

      How can I sponsor the Podcast?

      There are three main ways that you can be a sponsor:

      1. Contact Sarah to purchase the “Podcast Sponsor” spot in our weekly post that goes out with the Podcast.
      2. Contact Sarah to sponsor the transcript! This sponsorship option also has a promotional spot on each weekly Podcast post.
      3. Contribute through the SBTB Patreon page.

      Where can I find transcripts for the Podcast?

      It’s important to us here at that our Podcast can be enjoyed by everyone, so each episode is transcribed. We post the transcripts usually by the Sunday following the Friday Podcast.

      Each transcript can be found at the bottom of the respective Podcast post, and a special announcement post will go up on the main blog feed when the Transcript is ready.

      What is Patreon?

      Patreon is a service that helps fans contribute to things they like, in order to keep those things going:

      You can go to the SBTB Patreon page to contribute to keep our Podcast running, and find out what sponsorship earns you (in addition to helping to keep our Podcast going)!


      Why can’t I see my ad?

      First, do you have an ad blocker on?

      Next, is your ad in a one-of-several ad location? Refresh the page a few times, and your ad will appear, too!

      All About SBTB

      Who designed the bespectacled ladies featured on the site?

      This question is from Wingednike. Thank you!

      We have a few different quadrants of ladies. The original group of Ladies were originally advertisements for American Optical, a company founded in the 1800s. (Their history is some neat reading.) The designer is unknown. If you know who illustrated The Ladies, please tell us!

      We have since developed additional quadrants with the help of Wax Creative to add Ladies of Color to the original four. You can read about the process for our first Lady and how it worked. I then found a stock image of a model who would be a perfect addition to the Ladies, and after some art design work, we added her to our group a year later.

      The ladies rotate in appearance in the masthead of the site so you’ll see them all at some point while you’re hanging out with us.




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