Last Wednesday, I promised you that I’ll give you tips on writing a review policy. Every book blogger who’d like to get review copies from authors and publishers NEEDS to have a review policy up on their blog.
Don’t know what exactly goes in a review policy? Confused about what’s important and what’s not? Don’t worry, I’m going to explain it all in this post.
But before that, full disclosure: A year back, I wrote a guest post on my friend Evelina’s book blog, Avalinah’s books, about review policies. While the checklist I made last year is neat, I feel like it could do with a few additions. And I also wanted to add it to my database of Wednesday Wisdom, so here goes.
How to write a review policy for your book blog.
A review policy is very essential for a book blog because it tells authors and publishers everything about your likes and dislikes, preferred medium of reading, and more. This way, they just need to look at your review policy to decide if you’d like their book or not.
So here are a few musts for your review policy.
1. Add a separate page/tab on your site for your review policy.
Your review policy needs to be on the top bar of your website so authors and publishers can easily navigate to it. You don’t want it to be hidden in a drop-down menu somewhere and miss out on amazing advance copies.
2. List your preferred book formats.
Do you read just print copies? Or do you use only your trusted Kindle? Or are you cool with audiobooks? Write it all clearly in your review policy.
3. Mention your country of residence.
This is particularly important for international bloggers who accept only print review copies. If you don’t live in the US or UK, you NEED to specify it in your review policy. That way, you don’t have to field requests from authors who immediately backtrack once they find out you don’t live in either of these countries.
4. Specify the time period you’ll take to review the book.
Will you review the book right before publication (to time your review to go up then)? Or do you read review copies as soon as you get them? Mention the tentative time period you take to finish each book. For example, I’ve promised to finish any review copy I receive within a month of receiving it.
5. List the places you’ll review the book on.
In addition to your blog, where do you review books? Goodreads? Amazon? A third-party review site? Reveal them all upfront. You can also list the social platforms where you’ll promote your review once it’s up.
6. Mention your preferred genres.
Much like preferred formats, listing your preferred genres is also important. You don’t want to turn someone away because you don’t like their book’s genre after they’ve emailed you. It’s a waste of both your times and it can easily be avoided by just listing your favourite genres on your review policy.
7. Add a contact form and your email address.
Why go through all the trouble of setting up a review policy if you haven’t added a means to be contacted? Add a contact form or link to one to ensure this doesn’t happen. You can also add your email address to your review policy, just in case.
8. Provide your rating system.
If your rating system is different from the usual score-on-five system, do mention it in your review policy! It’s not a must, but it’s always good for a publisher to know how you’ll be rating their books.
9. Add a note if you don’t guarantee to review the book.
Will you review the book you receive for sure? Or are you flexible enough to not share negative reviews? How does this change for DNF-ed books? Make it all clear in your review policy!
10. Update your reviewing availability.
If you’re fully booked for reviews, or if you just aren’t accepting review copies till the next full moon, mention it in your review policy! It’s not very nice when someone sends a request and you say you’re booked for reviews. They wouldn’t have reached out to you if your review policy said you weren’t accepting books.
But you do get emails even after saying you aren’t available to review books. This is when you can get all sassy when you reply to these emails. 😛
Remember, this list is not set in stone! I myself have made a few additions to it since last year. Book blogging is all about learning as you grow, so find out what works for you and go with it.
My review policy never looked like this initially. The more you interact with authors and publishers, the more you’ll know what they’re looking for. Be flexible enough to make multiple edits to your review policy each year!
There you go. These are a few pointers I could think of with regards to writing a review policy.