Hi folks, todays blog is just to clear up a few things in regards to the reviews I am doing. As most of you will probably know, I stopped accepting reviews for my blog about a month or so back. This was because I was inundated with TONS of authors asking for a review of their work. In actual fact I never expected to get such a huge response - but I was quite flattered by this in a way. Unforunately, this also meant that I had a lot of books to read and review. Not that I'm complaining - I love discovering new authors after all.
Problem is that, since I stop accepting reviews, I've had a few emails from other authors that have tried some "back door" methods to try and get a review from me, even using threats in some cases! I decided to address some of the issues raised in these emails in this blog and try to answer some questions. NOTE: This is not intended to be an attack on any particular author or person who has contacted me, I just feel that a few things need to be clarified and explained.
When will you be accepting reviews again?
Sadly, at this moment, I can't say for sure. Whilst I did recommend a time, please be advised that this can change. Remember, I am reading these books in my spare time and I can't always guarantee I'll have lots of spare time (baring in mind I'm also writing and promoting my own work). So at present I cannot guarantee a time of when I'll be able to accept books for review again - but I am aiming to get through my current backlog at least before the year is out. I do try and read at least two books at once so I will hopefully get my backlog done quicker this way.
Can you contact me when you're reviewing again?
Unfortunately not. My time is limited enough as it is so I cannot really advise each author indivdually to let them know when I'm reviewing again. I'll make an announcement on my blog when I am.
I know your not accepting reviews, but here's my book anyway...
It never ceases to amaze me how many authors try this even though I clearly say I'm not accepting books for review. So if I say that I am not accepting books for review, don't bother trying to pitch your book to me. You'll just be wasting your time.
In actual fact, I got some grief from a publisher that contacted me recently (who shall remain nameless) asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their up coming book by some author I've never heard of. When I told them no, they got really angry with me and made out that this book was going to be the next Harry Potter or whatever!
Here's the thing - I don't care if I get contacted by a first time author, a colleage graduate, or J.K Rowling herself - I treat ALL authors the same, regardless of their popularity. This means that I will NOT drop everything just to review the latest big hit. Sure, I might miss out some great publicity, but what about those other books that are waiting to be reviewed? Do I just forget them? Sorry, I don't work that way. Bottom line, if I am not accepting reviews - don't email me asking for a review!
is only a short story (20 pages long), surely you can review that in just a few minutes? Why don't I submit that to you?
I've had at least three authors try this out on me whilst I'm in my "no submission" period. And I say the same to all of them. I review the books I get sent in the order that I receive them, not by their length. If I were to review all the "short" books first, then it means those with a longer novel may feel victimised. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, I review all books in the order I receive them. This means that some authors may be waiting a few months for a review of a ten page story - but that's the way I (and indeed most reviewers) do things. I won't let any book jump the que. So sorry, but everyone will just have to be patient and wait.
Why don't you review non-fiction?
Even when I was accepting reviews, I always turned down any book that was non-fiction (or at least what I considered as non-fiction). One guy got quite upset about this and thought I was being "racist to non-ficiton". His words, not mine (how can you be racist to books anyway?)
Maybe I should explain. See, with a fiction book, I have plenty I can review. Characters, story, writing style, pace, etc. In a fiction novel, everyone has their own ideas of what makes a good story and I can use this to make my own mind up as to whether I like a book or not. With non-fiction, well, I can't really do that. It's hard to explain, but I'll try to use a couple of examples.
Supposing someone asked me to review a cook book for example, detailling recepies for a healthy new diet. How do I review that? I know nothing about diety advice (in fact I'm probably one of the unhealthiest people you'll meet in terms of food), so I can't exactly say "no this is wrong?" Or what if it was a non-fiction history book talking about the rise of the Roman Empire. It's historical fact - I can't exactly argue with that. At the best, all I could do is talk about the spelling and typo issues - and no one wants to read a review about that?
So really, the only reason I don't review non-fiction is that I don't think I'd be able to give it a fair review. It's not that I have anything against non-fiction, I just don't really think I can review it. That's not to say I won't review a fiction novel based on a historical event (as that is still a story in its own way), but non-fiction isn't something that I can't review at the moment.
Why are you taking so long to review my book?
Thankfully, most authors that have submitted a book for me to review are aware of my backlog and have been very patient. But a few authors (again I won't name anyone in particular) have been on my case, asking when the review is going to come.
Let me just reiterate something - I review these books by MYSELF! Unlike some review sites, I don't have a dedicated team to help me review my books - it's just me. And I don't get paid for this, so this is something that I do in my leisure time. I am only just one man and I can only review so many books at once. Also, when I review a book, I don't just read it - I try and analyse it and take it in as I go along. This means that I can take a little longer to read a book than normal. Of course, I also enjoy reading them (and have done so far), but I have two minds when I'm reviewing - a reviewer and a reader.
Also, don't forget, I myself am an author and have submitted my books to a number of reviewers - many of which are taking ages to do a review for me. Do I constantly harrass them? No, because I know that they will get round to me when they are ready and don't need me pressuring them every five minutes.
So I ask politely - PLEASE don't send me constant emails asking when the review is going to be done as all that will do is just delay me getting back to my reading if I have to answer them. Please bare with me and I will get to you when I can. However, if you really can't afford to wait, please just email me and I'll cancel your review. I don't like cancelling reviews, but if you really cannot afford to wait then please let me know.
To those authors who have been patient with me, I appreciate your support and apologise for the delay. I promise that I will get to all of you guys in turn.
If you don't have the resources, then you shouldn't be reviewing to begin with
This was an actual response from a guy that I turned a review down, after explaining to him the backlog. Well, thanks a lot for your kind words - you can rest assured that I will NEVER read or review any of your books again, Jackass!
I decided to review books to help promote indie authors. I'm not doing this for money, nor for fame. I'm doing my reviews so that authors can have a place to go for their books to be reviewed and it will be fair and honest. I would think that any writer would be glad of an opportunity to have a review at no charge. So for this guy to say this to me, I find that incredibly insulting. Maybe HE should try becoming a book reviewer and seeing how far he gets before he's swamped with requests!
Maybe in the future, I could find some more reviewers to help me - but for the moment I don't think that is something I can do without offering payment. I know that I could charge for reviews - but I made a choice not to because, frankly, I don't believe that you should pay someone for a review. Maybe there are special services that I could offer in the future, but for the time being, I will not charge any author that seeks a review from me.
I do what I do to help fellow authors - not for financial gain. I can make money from my books sales (or my job), this is a little something that I do on the side. I also do it for the love of reviewing books and discovering new authors, as I'm sure that any author does. So there!
Hopefully this blog didn't come across as a rant - I just had to get a few things off my chest. I hope that helps and let me assure you, I do intend to accept reviews in the future and I am currently looking into ideas to get a review for each book I have as soon as possible. I don't want to keep any author waiting for longer than they have to and I promise that all of you that have a book with me WILL get a review one way or the other.
Oh, and just to clear things up - I'm not moaning about the backlog in any way - in fact I am looking forward to reading EVERY book that has been submitted to me and will be sure to have a review for it asap.
Thanks for reading guys. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments.
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