A friend of mine recently asked me to act as a beta-reader for her new novel. (Newsflash: it’s awesome!) And I’ve been given the odd book to review that’s not through NetGalley. So I thought I’d better set out a proper policy for reviews and critiques:
- Ask me first. I’m normally pretty busy, and I have a hectic reading schedule between reading for my book club, other advance reviews of books and just plain books I’ve picked for myself that I’d quite like to read. The more flexible you can be on dates, and the more notice you can give, the better. That way I’ve more chance of fitting you in. But don’t be afraid to ask me – I’ll be incredibly flattered and will strenuously try to fit you in. There’s a contact form on the About page of this blog.
- Be clear what you want. If it’s a critique, are there particular things you want me to look out for? If it’s a review, are there particular time constraints you want me to operate within (eg embargos)?
- If it’s a critique, I’ll come at it as a reader, and try my best to be constructive. That means I’ll point out the bits I like and that I think work, as well as pointing out areas that I think could be tightened, or things that drag the reader out of the story. But I won’t do a copy-edit for you, and I’m no substitute for getting a proper editor’s opinion. I will not expect you to heed my opinion. Like all advice that is freely given it’s up to you what you do with it. And I won’t be offended if you ignore it.
- If it’s a review, I’ll commit to reading it and giving your book a fair review. That means that if I don’t like it, I will publish a review, and I’ll point out (hopefully in a constructive way) the things that I think don’t work for me. And as you’ll see from this blog, I’m clear when I’ve received a free copy for review purposes. My post on how I rate and review books will be helpful to you.
- Check out whether I’m the right fit for you before you contact me. You’ll get a sense from my opinions about various books on this blog of the things I like and the stuff that pushes my buttons. I may not be the best advocate for your YA novel about a white boy who saves the world with some homespun wisdom and receives the the prize of the love of a ‘feisty’ or ‘strong’ girl. (I have good intentions of writing a post about what I like/don’t like in fiction, but it hasn’t happened yet. Watch this space.)