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Book Blogging 101 - Review Policy

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com

There really wasn't a question for this post, this actually came up because of a few emails I received, a few comments and a few stories others have shared along the way. I also enlisted the aid of Tina from to help me out. Tina has a great blog and is one of my BBB (Best Bloggy Buddies - corny I know) so please check out her blog.

Q. What is a Review Policy?

A review policy is the way you let the world (i.e. publishers, authors, publicists, etc.) know your guidelines when it comes to reviewing books. This is the way you can hopefully weed out the amount of review requests that you have to turn down.

Q. What should I include in my review policy?

Put on there exactly what kind of books you will accept and will not accept.  Some good things to include in your review policy:

  • What genres you read, or what genres you do not read.
  • What formats you take, like if you do not accept eBooks this is a good place to mention that.
  • If you accept self-published authors this is a good place to state that.
  • Your contact information should be on there, where do you want them to send the review inquiries?
  • If you have a time frame that you review a book, or if you can't guarantee a time frame this is a good place to state that.
  • Where you publish the reviews besides your blog {amazon, goodreads, etc.}.

Also you might want to include some "assurance" blurbs, like:

  • I will not giveaway or resell your ARC
  • If you have provided me with an ARC I will publish no earlier than 1 month before the release date.
  • If you provide me with a digital galley, I will delete the copy after I have read it.
  • Piracy is for suckers, and I am extremely conscious of how I treat your ARCs… etc.

This is a big deal sometimes, especially now that we are seeing more and more ARCs pop up on eBay for sale. Even though big as day is NOT FOR RESALE on the cover.

But even a diminished version of that is a simple ARC giveaway. The author might have entrusted you with the copy - but doesn't want that ARC to just go out there again. So, having a giveaway of that ARC you might want to think first about that also - and ask the authors permission. After the release date should be fine, it is just before the release date that things get iffy.

Then there are the digital galleys. Which is a whole noter horrible thing that can go wrong.

Authors send me PDFs a lot. They are the digital galleys or ARCs of their work. Easy to send over, no shipping and they get a review. I make sure that after I read these I delete them, just so they are not floating around my computer or something for someone to pick up.

The horror story of mine was that I was given a PDF of a short story that was being digitally published from Samhain Publishing. My review went out a few days before the release date and almost that same day I heard that the PDF was on a pirate site, right there ready for download. Now, I wasn't privy to how many people the author sent her PDF to, or how many people with her publisher had a PDF copy - but something like this really looks bad for reviewers. I mean it could have been me for all she knew…and on top of this, it is an eBook  - so why would unscrupulous people purchase her eBook when they could download it for free on this site?

So, things like this make author a little leery about sending out ARCs and their PDF galleys. Reassurance statements might make them a little more apt to send their books your way.

Q. Ok, I wrote a review policy, but I'm still getting queries to review stuff that I specifically said I would not in my review policy. What is that about?

Like many scenarios in life, certain people don't pay attention. It is going to happen. Don't sweat it. Just turn them down with a polite, "No Thank You." You are more concerned with the ones that do pay attention and that is who you wrote that review policy for.

Does anyone have anything to add? Some more features or statements they have on their Review Policy?? Let me hear about it. Also if you want to show off your review policy… link em up.


Mrs. DeRaps said...

This is good info. I need to write a review policy ASAP. I've gotten quite a few requests lately that are not really aligned with my reading preferences. Thanks!

April (BooksandWine) said...

In my review policy, I state that I may giveaway the ARC. Most of my ARCs come from publicists, I try not to deal with the author. The publicists usually don't mind.

Janet Johnson said...

Very informative. I don't do book reviews, but it's interesting to see how it all works. :)

Savannah said...

This is veri informative. Thanks for the info

Tiger Holland said...

Thank you! I've re-tweaking my review policy for a few weeks, and I think it's been helpful--I'm getting fewer misunderstandings from authors. :-)

Twimom227 said...

Thank you for the bit about ARCs... I'm going to add that to mine right now!

Enbrethiliel said...


I once saw a giveaway for an ARC in which one of the rules was that only book bloggers who would commit to reading and reviewing the ARC themselves were eligible for the draw. The blogger said that ARCs aren't primarily for someone's pleasure, but for the book's promotion; so she wanted to reflect that in her contest. Not a bad policy, I think.

hotcha12 said...


Joy Tamsin David said...

Great article. Even though we read totally different genres, this is becoming one of my favorite book blogs...chock full of bookie goodness.


YA Book Lover said...

Thank you for the info. I never thought about putting the reassurances up. I am going to have to tweek my policy.

Anonymous said...

Great always....when are we going to do a book bloggin 101 how to make some fat cash...haha just kidding.....because we all do this for the love... <3

VampAngel said...

Great post! Very informative. I do have a review policy but after reading this I might include some more statements there. Thanks!

VampAngel's Reviews: To Read or Not To Read It?

Anonymous said...

As always, very helpful information. This answers a few questions I've had about what should be in our review policy. This has helped iron out a lot of the issues I was having with it.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Riv Re said...

Thanks! This really helped me tweak my policy! Here's mine. It's on my sidebar.

If you would like me to review your book, I accept young adult and possibly Middle Grade. I take any genre, except erotica.
At present, I take no e-books.
I accept audio-book CDs, and audiobook downloads.
I will not re-sell any ARCs for personal gain. If I give any away, and will make an effort to get the winner to write a review.
No audio-books will be uploaded for piracy.
All reviews are posted on here, Goodreads, Shelfari, and possibly Amazon.
I can be contacted at rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com

I have a question: Do publishers ever give out audio-books, or is that a waste of space? If so, are you allowed to host a contest in which the winner receives a COPY of the audio-book? (IE, uploaded and e-mailed.) Thanks.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

We're putting one together right now. So timely for us and always good information from you! Thanks!

Kah Woei said...

Thanks for the helpful tip. There's a few things in there that I didn't think of. Got to rethink my Review Policy.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Thanks for the tips! I just looked at your policy and it's great, very simple and straightforward and polite. I need to work on one for my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great article! I might have to re-do my policy now. I am a new follower and looking forward to follow my blog fridays :) Happy reading!
Danielle @

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post - I've been thinking about writing up a review policy, so this is incredibly helpful!

Kate the Book Buff said...

Great advice, I added the reassurance part to mine :)

Missie said...

I really appreciate this post! It is so helpful! Before this, I didn't have a policy on my blog because I don't think it is likey that anyone will contact me for a review, but I thought I should put one up just in case!

nymfaux said...

Thanks!!! I just redid my review policy the other day, so this is great info!!!

I hadn't known about the ARC thing, either--I mean, I definitely knew not to resell, or re-distribute digital copies--but I've seen a lot of ARC giveaways, and kind of got the feeling it was kosher to share--I definitely think it's fair to request ARC winners to review the copies--Normally I'm a book hoarder, and wouldn't dream of giving away my winnings, but as I now own a Nook, it feels nice to spread the love (and clear my desk).

Penelope Lolohea said...

Awesome post! It was so helpful, and I was able to make a great review policy because of it. Thank you!

Kaitlyn said...

All of this information is SO helpful. It's great that you're helping up and coming bloggers. Thank you!

Kaitlyn @ Nocturnal Readings

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