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June 9, 2011

Tips on Thursday - Review Policy

Tips on Thursday is a weekly series that I started to help bloggers share tips and tricks about book blogging. I conceived the idea after having several chats with fellow bloggers and forming #bookbloghelp on Twitter. Please take the time to look at the other blogs linked here and share your own tips (doesn't have to have to be on Thursday).

Today's topic for Tips on Thursday is REVIEW POLICY. I probably have a little different perspective on book bloggers' review policy than the average book blogger as one of my duties at my job for the publishing house is to contact bloggers about reviewing our books and participating in blog tours. I find concise, well written reviews to be extremely helpful in matching our books to bloggers. You might not think you need one (the author/publisher/etc. can just look at my reviews and tell, right?), but it will increase the number of requests you receive. Authors, marketers, etc. do not have the time to sift through hundreds of blogs looking at reviews. Have a clear (and easily found) review policy will aid them in finding the right match. It will also keep you from having to deal with as many mismatched review requests.

So what should be included in a Review Policy?

  • The genres you read and any you will not read. For most of us, we will read in a variety of genres, but have a few we prefer and perhaps a few we detest. 
  • Age specifics: Children, Middle Grades, Young Adult, Adult, Mature Adult. This criteria is especially important if you solely review non-adult books.
  • The format you will accept. Due to the cost of publishing, postage, etc. many publishers and authors are turning to ebooks for their review copies stating whether or not you accept ebooks (and which format) will keep everyone involved from wasting time.
  • How to contact you. Even if you have your contact information listed somewhere else on your blog make sure it is in your Review Policy as well. I have also seen a few people use Google docs forms to set up a request submission form. Note: to cut down on spam don't list your email as instead write it out you at email dot com. Bots can't pick up the email address when written in this form.
  • Any requests particulars. How do you want publishers/authors/etc. requesting reviews from you? Do you want them to send the ebook file with their initial email or just a summary? Do you want them to include other information links (where to buy, website, etc.)? Do you allow author interviews and guest posts on your blog?
  • Timing. Roughly how quickly you turn around reviews or what is your back log. If you give a time frame it will also help decrease the number of follow-up emails asking "when will you get to my book?"

Make sure you post your review policy in a conspicuous place on your blog. If authors/markerters/etc. have to scroll have way down your page or click through a dozen pages to find it. they are likely to move on to the next blogger on their list. I have a page tab for my review policy, but others will post it in the header or at the top of a column.

I hope you found this post helpful. Do you have a review policy? Anything I left off the list of should haves? Please leave a comment and if you have a blogging tip or trick you would like share link your post below. I'm off to see if my own policy follows my advice.

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  1. This was very helpful. I have a pretty detailed review policy, and I often wonder what publishers even need to know. Thanks so much!!

  2. I think that your position means you have a great perspective into what needs to go into a review policy (which I still need). Thanks for this post!

  3. I am glad you found this tip helpful. I think having a review policy posted benefits the reviewer and the reviewee. (If you get a book you don't want to review, you can always cite your review policy as a reason).

  4. How important are stats? And what stats should we be sharing? This is something that always confuses me.

  5. Teresa - that's a good question and a topic I recently discussed with the person who assists me with review requests. I don't look at how many friends are following the blog (I regularly get 3 - 4x more views than I have followers). I think it is because many of my Twitter followers read my blog, but do not necessarily follow it.

    If you want to provide a stat the most meaningful stat is the number of unique visitors per month, followed by the number of hits a new post receives. Some publishers with require a visitors/month stat.