Friday, October 16, 2009

Bites Review Policy - Updated

My ARC policy has been updated and my acceptance standards have become stricter. Please read this post before proceeding.

Update: Read this to avoid having your email get deleted unanswered.

What I review -

I tend to lean more towards genre (horror, fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian, etc. with a slant towards YA) however I prefer to keep my options open so if, after reading a few of my reviews, you think that your book could be something I might enjoy, send me an email and I'll check it out. I am okay with contemporary as long as the characters aren't completely screwed up and I'm open to novels of the adult variety that may or may not include sexy times.  I'm good with either.  At this point I need far more variety than what I've been giving myself.  Please keep in mind that I much prefer traditional bound books to eBooks or eGalleys. I do own an eReader so I will less grudgingly accept digital review copies but please, keep in mind I MUCH prefer traditional ARCs. It makes giveaways a lot easier.

I will not review self-published books nor books coming from any vanity press under any circumstances. If your book is from a very small or new indie, I will need to test the waters first before agreeing to review it. In my experience some of those much smaller publishers or eBook publishers are a little lax in what they take on and all it takes is to get burned once. I'm still utilizing ice.

My review style - 

I don't hold back. Period. I substantiate all positive and negative claims I make but receipt of a review copy does not guarantee a positive review. So please, only send me a review copy if 1) you're pretty sure I'm going to like it and/or 2) you can handle the risk of what I might say about it. Remember, I work for the readers, not the publishers.

When I review -

For review copies, I'll read them as I'm able to get to them unless otherwise stated. If a review needs to be posted within a certain time, it'll get done. Deadlines are my friends. Unless I start getting hordes of ARCs (I'm not about to hold my breath on that one), I'll review all ARCs sent to me. I'm just way too OCD not to.

My deal -

Whether you're a publicist, a publisher, an author or anyone else, please keep in mind that, like I said above, I work for the readers and sending me an ARC does not guarantee a favorable review. I am not a shill and I do not give only positive reviews. Please see my review index for the varying types of reviews I give and just how honest I can be.

Also keep in mind that it takes a lot of work to maintain this site and a substantial review is not the easiest thing to write. In that same vein, I expect anyone pushing an ARC to do a little bit of their own research on me before sending me an email offering up a review copy. Please do not waste my time with offers for books in the ilk of Gossip Girl or The Clique or Twilight. It'll just show me that I am nothing more than a free promotions machine to you and you really don't give a shit what I write here. You just want your book seen. Sorry, no. Those emails get deleted unanswered. You can't be bothered to put any effort in, neither can I.

Book Promotions -

And that encompasses anything book-related. This is not a random product review blog. This is a book blog. Now that that's out of the way, I only do book promotions for books that I am familiar with and that I like. I can't, in good conscience, promote something that I wouldn't back, for one reason or another. I understand that this may leave me out of the running for a lot of book promotions, but I really don't care. This blog is not a billboard for any random advertisement and I'm not going to promote something just because someone asked me to. I need to try it out before I can put my Bites seal of approval on it.

(This is a result of trial and error. I have promoted a book prior to reading it and I ended up not liking it however I was already committed to the promotion. That's an awkwardness I'd rather not relive.)

Author Bites -

I only do author interviews and guest posts with those whom I've already read and enjoyed. This goes along with book promotions. I'm not going to have an author on my blog if I don't like their work. How awkward. And artificial.

This is something that normally has me asking the author in question however if I've given favorable reviews to an author's books in the past and/or they've already guest posted, they're more than welcome to come on down and get bitten again.

Anything else -

At the end of the day, I am just a book blogger. I do this because I like it and because I want to. I don't get paid for it and, in fact, I put a hell of a lot of money into this site to make it what it is. I want to get books that I deem good and worthy of reading out there into the world for other people to read. They deserve it, both the books and the people. I also want to make sure people know which books I think suck ass. They have a right to know.

So I'm going to review books how I want. I'm going to promote books how I want. I'm going to function how I want. I may be rather . . . noncompliant than a lot of other book bloggers but I'm not in it for the free stuff or to get on publicists' good sides. It's all about the books and weeding out the good from the bad.

If you want me to take a look at something, just send me an email at litbites @ yahoo dot com. No promises but if you did your homework, chances are I'll say yes and promise to do my own.


Emily said...

I think this is my favorite thing I've read all day. Seriously.

Donna said...

I am nothing if not honest. :)

Maria D'Isidoro said...

I think this is all incredibly reasonable. If people have a problem with this or don't understand it, they are obviously illiterate or a potato disguised as a person.

Mary Ann DeBorde said...

Mary D

Donna, your honestly and forthright style is totally straight on! I respect that, and imagine everybody else will, too.

And, as a reader of your blog, it's refreshing to know that you will and do offer your readers your completely honest opinion. I'd hate to waste my time or harder-than-ever earned cash on a book that was more hype than substance.

I am curious however, what type of reactions has your policy received from authors and publishers?

Donna said...

Mary, I'm not sure. From a business perspective, I'm not the best for business. Publicists would have to be really sure before giving me an ARC if they were looking for only positive reviews. Some might view it as a chance they'd want to take since, I think, a positive review from me carries some weight with it.

I don't get contacted too often but it is picking up. I think some see me as just another blogger that'll double as ad space. Some see me as too much of a risk. Some as great potential. I don't know, at the end of the day. We'll have to wait and see!

CallMeKayla said...

This is a really great idea! I already have a page about advertising on both of my blogs, but this is a really straight forward, to the point, 'this is what I want' kind of policy. And, I like that. I'm glad to see more people feel this way!

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