#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy? #NewBloggers 101 Part 4: Guest Post By Shruti @ This Is Lit

Welcome everyone, today we have another post in our #NewBloggers 101 series, and this time, we’ve got the lovely Shruti @ This Is Lit again! She is taking the steering wheel and writing a full guest post about how to write a proper review policy. But be warned, I (Evelina) shall poke my head in once or twice to check on you all! *chuckles*

If you want to find all the other posts in the #NewBloggers series, expand this list:

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Shruti: So you have a book blog now and would like to start receiving all those advance copies you read about before starting your blog. You open your mailbox, imagining a gazillion emails from authors and publishers, but all you hear are loud cricket noises. Where are the promised review requests? Why is no one contacting you?

You, my friend, are in sore need of a review policy.

A review policy tells publishers and authors what kind of books you read. You need to make it easy for them by both telling them what you’ll read and how to contact you.

*Evelina pokes head in*
Shruti is so right! I made the mistake of not having ANY review policy for, well, my first whole year of blogging. (gasp!) I did receive requests. However, they were in precisely all the genres I don’t read. This is another reason why you need a review policy.

So let’s see what you need to do…

Review policy checklist

Shruti: Here’s all the things your review policy should include:

  1. Accepted formats (print/e-copies/audiobooks).
  2. Country of living (especially if you’re not a US resident and are accepting print copies).
  3. Time you’ll take to finish the book.
  4. Sites you’ll review the book on.
  5. Genres you like reading.
  6. Genres you just will not read.
  7. Email address where you can be reached.

*Evelina pokes head in*
Wow. So remember how I told you about that time when I had no review policy for a year? It seems I STILL have work to do.

Shruti: Haha, actually, I don’t think you do, except for your country of residence, maybe. You have your preferred genres up and details about your blogging communities. That shows publishers that you’re pretty great at this book blogging thing.

Similarly, readers, just write about yourself. You don’t necessarily need to have everything on the checklist. Choose the ones that would work best for you and go for it!

Get inspired by these bloggers’ review policies!

  • Cuddlebuggery book blog: All 6 bloggers handling this site have listed out their preferred genres, the genres they don’t read, and rating systems in a very clear-cut way.
  • Perpetual Page Turner: This site has a detailed review policy and includes information from preferred genres right down to what happens if the blogger doesn’t like the book. Don’t like lists? Follow this blogger’s style and put down everything you want in your review policy.
  • Katie’s book blog: I like this one because it’s no-nonsense. I love no-nonsense and that can be seen in my review policy too.

This isn’t one size fits all, though. Your review policy is about YOUR reading habits. Identify the points you want authors and publishers to be aware of while contacting you and put them down in your review policy. For example, I can be brutally honest in my review, which is why I’ve included this line: “My review will be entirely honest. If it is a bad review, please note that I’m reviewing the book and not the author”.

Similarly, do you want the publisher contacting you to know something? Do you have a different rating system in place? Do you accept only indie books for review? Do you write funny limericks to summarize books in their review? Put it all down!

And finally, if you’re up to your eyeballs in books and don’t want to accept ARCs for a while, update your review policy. It’s also good if you mention a tentative date till when you will not be accepting review requests.

That’s all! You’re all set now to receive the right review requests. Go out there and read more ARCs, you, reviewer, you! xD

You can find Shruti blogging away her days on her blog here:

This Is Lit

Thank you for guest posting, Shruti! Now it seems I need to run off to fix my own review policy. Is yours more or less like this? Or do you have something to add?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

124 thoughts on “How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy? #NewBloggers 101 Part 4: Guest Post By Shruti @ This Is Lit

  1. Thank you both so much for this post! This was really helpful!

    Question – Do you think there is a time frame on when you can put up a review policy? I mean, I doubt I’m at the stage where I would get any anyway, so would there be any point?

    1. And thank you for reading!! 🙂
      I don’t know about a time frame.. It’s just kind of one of those “hygiene” things 🙂 do you have NetGalley or Edelweiss? Cause you could just put up the same text that you have in your profile (time saver!) Or just go easy with it, and write 5 sentences about what kinds of books you like 🙂 starting small is better than not starting at 🙂

  2. This is so helpful because yes, as a book blogger, setting a review policy up on the blog is both a tedious but important job. And I’m glad this got highlighted in the NewBloggers series 😀 I was always confused when starting my blog as to what I should or shouldn’t include in my policy. I must’ve browsed quite a number of book blogs (Jamie’s was one!) to get a gist of what is necessary and finally came up with the things I wanted to include.

    But now I’m wondering why this amazing list wasn’t there with me, haha, it would’ve been super helpful and easier. Thanks, Shruti for this wonderful post and of course, Evelina did a great job with the little guest appearances in between <3

    1. Thanks so much, Fanna! I’m so glad you found this helpful. When I first started blogging, I just googled “good review policy” and saw where to go from there, haha. After going through a gazillion review policies, I had a rough idea about what should go in mine. It’s worked out well so far and I hope it does for new bloggers who use this too.
      Shruti recently posted…The 5 stages of dealing with all your unread books and ARCs.My Profile

    2. Thank you, Fanna 🙂 you know, when I just started out, I didn’t even THINK a review policy was in order, and I didn’t really care about one almost up till now xD just the last thing on my mind, and I think that might happen to more than just me 🙂 so I’m glad Shruti helped bring our attention to this 🙂

  3. One to think about is what you will do about posting a low rated review, some authors may ask you not to post after you’ve read and written the review. It’s good to be clear about your posting policy for these cases.

    1. Yeah, that’s some thing my review policy doesn’t have. But I’ve already said there’s a 100% chance of me reviewing the book on my blog AND I’m brutally honest. I believe we need to be upfront about what will happen when we receive a review request. That’ll give authors a rough idea about what to expect.

      That said, a whole section in the review policy about what happens if you don’t like the book is actually not a bad idea.
      Shruti recently posted…The 5 stages of dealing with all your unread books and ARCs.My Profile

      1. I agree with Rosie… because with me, sometimes I won’t even post it on my blog if a book is 3 stars and below (only on retail and Goodreads). They should know that in advance, definitely. I better go fix that now 🙂

  4. Thank you Evalina, I love your practical posts. I nearly always learn something new – this time it was something as simple as including my whereabouts in my review policy. It just hadn’t entered my scatty head to say I was based in the UK!

    1. Publishers prefer to send print copies to people based in the US and UK! It’s us international bloggers who need to specify their country of residence.

      A number of authors still contact me without reading my review policy and then backtrack when they hear they need to mail print copies to India. xD

      But I believe adding that you’re based in the UK would be more helpful for publishers. 🙂
      Shruti recently posted…The 5 stages of dealing with all your unread books and ARCs.My Profile

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I struggled with writing it and was not clear enough because I keep getting requests to review books that I’d never consider reading 🙁 Will use this advice to improve my review policy 🙂

    1. And thank you so much for reading it 🙂 well, writing a review policy won’t guarantee that people will not randomly mail you with unrelated requests, but at least you’ll have it there and some of the publishers will read it 🙂 it’s always best to have one!

  6. Nice post Evelina and Shruti I am happy that my review page is almost okay And guess what, my inspiration was Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner too I love her blog and all the work she has done in all these years.
    But regarding the review policy, I have noticed that not many publishers/authors actually read it and that makes me really furious

    1. My inspiration was Katie’s review policy, but Jamie’s was definitely helpful!

      Also, hey, you’re based in India. I’m sure you’ve gone through the same problems as me with authors. My review policy clearly states that I accept only print copies and I live in India. Yet, so many authors contact me and then say no once they find out they’ve to mail a copy to India. This pisses me off. ☹️
      Shruti recently posted…The 5 stages of dealing with all your unread books and ARCs.My Profile

      1. Yeah exactly! That’s why I said that most of the authors don’t even trad that policy page.. And with ebooks the problem with me is I tend to just ignore them? I know why but it happens with me a lot. Also, there are a few authors who would ask to send PDF when I have clearly stated that I don’t accept Pdfs.. I wish they read the policy page.

        1. Oh yeah, PDFs are kind of a no-no. Yeah, a lot of the people seem to just ignore the page, but hey, at least if they do, you can skip replying because they clearly didn’t read 😀

    2. Thank you! Well, since you wrote that About page post, I think your review policy was always going to be okay, cause it’s part of the same thing, I feel 😀
      Yeah, not many do. But at least you know you’ve got it there xD some do. And I guess that’s enough 😀

  7. I love this advice! I’ve been thinking of writing a review policy for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it, because I don’t think my following is big enough for review requests. The checklist is SO helpful. Thanks for this post!
    Alyssa recently posted…Book Review: Forever by Judy BlumeMy Profile

    1. Thanks for reading, and glad to help 🙂 I think you should still make at least a short review policy! Even when my following was tiny, I’d receive one or two review requests, and it’s always best to state what you like reading. Plus, if you have a NetGalley account, you can just copy paste the profile (which I talked about in another post, although I’m pretty sure you’ve read that already). Reusing profiles saves time, heh 🙂

  8. I updated mine several weeks ago, and it’s hard without guidance. I’m going to update it with some of your advice. I think it should also be mentioned if it is possible that you would DNF a book, and if it is, do you require yourself to read a certain number of pages or whatever? Thank you for this helpful post.

  9. My review policy has evolved over time; I tweak it periodically. I read a lot of other review policies on different book blogs. My current policy is wordy, it could be trimmed, but I hit all the points you mentioned, so ysy me! Thanks for the refresher, and the advice.

    1. That’s great 🙂 I think it’s fine that it’s wordy, maybe you should just bold the main parts so people in a hurry could skim? That makes it easier to read 🙂 thanks for reading! I’m glad the post was relevant.

  10. This is a great post 🙂
    I have one page on my blog where I state my review policy and ratings system. And since I don’t really accept direct review requests from authors I am not already working with, I have included a line saying that I will not respond to e-mails from authors or publicists I am not working with at the moment. I had a period where I got several review requests every week, and then, follow-up e-mails when I didn’t get back to them within a couple of days…
    I think it’s important to be precise, and that’s what you’ve shown here. Great job!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted…Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #144 – The CharmerMy Profile

    1. Thankfully, I’ve never received a follow up even if I don’t reply for a long time (although I usually take the time to politely decline etc 🙂 ). But yeah, I absolutely agree about stating that you won’t reply if you don’t have the time for that. Smart 🙂
      And thank you!

  11. I’ve been wanting to update my review policy and this is really helpful! I love checking out everyone’s about me page and policy page when I blog hop just so I can see what I incorporate it and make it my own in my own policy. I’m definitely bookmarking this for later when I have time to sit down and write a new one out.
    Tina recently posted…#ReadYourWorld | Johnny Skip 2: The Amazing Adventures of Johnny Skip 2 in Australia (multicultural book series for kids 3-to-6-years old) by Quentin HolmesMy Profile

  12. I got the opposite of loud crickets, which is how I came to realize I needed a review policy, because our inbox would get flooded with review requests. So one extra thing I did have to add to mine was something along the lines of “Please understand we cannot respond to every request because of the volume we receive every day”. I used to reply to request emails, but it just got to be too much.

    In spite of it all though, it’s depressing to see how few even read blogger review policies before sending their pitch. I still get requests for books that are nowhere close to my genres, and some are clearly impersonal email blasts (I once literally got one that started with “Dear ____” complete with the blank space!) And I’ve heard a lot of similar complaints from my fellow bloggers too, about requests that completely disregard their review policy, so I find even if you have one your mileage may vary 🙂
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Book Review: The Lost Plot by by Genevieve CogmanMy Profile

      1. I agree about them not reading – but after I fixed mine, I started receiving stuff like “your policy states that..”, which means, SOMEONE must be reading them, so 😀 that makes me glad, at least.

    1. I guess I don’t get that many requests then? It’s like a few a week, so not that bad to deal with, although sometimes there will be waves of them when there’s more. Haha, I can’t believe the one with the blank space 😀 😀 that’s something else…

  13. Ah ! neat how I got talked about making one the other day !
    However, since i’m pretty slow imma just keep NetGalley for now and maybe add one later – as of which I have this post bookmarked in case.
    Quite an amazing post you two ! I just love Evelina’s poking in .. ahahah

  14. OMG I NEEDED THIS! I have been struggling with writing a review policy, mainly because I didn’t know exactly what to say. And like you, it’s been a full year without one. Thank you for the tips!

  15. This is so helpful. I’ve never received or requested an ARC. I have VERY small readership so I’ve never really felt as though any authors/publishers would be interested. Last year I was a bit all over the place with my schedule, which didn’t help the situation any. I’m trying to get my consistency back now, so maybe in a few months I might start looking into this. Thanks for the advice – it’s all really good stuff to be thinking about.

    1. Readership or size shouldn’t be anything to worry about 🙂 have you read that post of mine about when to request books? Because I requested and received eARCs before I even had a blog at all (and thus, had no readership, so to say.) And indie publishers or authors are interested almost at all times, despite your size 🙂 so really, whether you request or not, depends solely on how you feel about it and whether you want to 🙂

  16. Hi! Thank you for sharing! Your post is really useful and amazing! I love (and really appreciate) that you take the time to write these kinds of posts, so thank you again. I have a lot of work to do, and my lazy self is not so happy at the moment, so I think I would procrastinate a little bit, but now I know what I have to do! 🙂

  17. I just LOVE this post so much, and great advice especially for newbie bloggers just starting out. I really wish I had known this when I first started. I made so many mistakes including not having a good review policy. I used to never get any requests and now I get them all the time. So it does help but key is getting your name and your blog out there.
    Lover Of Romance recently posted…Book Review-How To Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperMy Profile

  18. Thanks so much for another great post! 🙂 I don’t have a Review Policy yet, but I have been thinking about setting one up soon, so this is the perfect post to give me an idea about how best to approach the subject 🙂

  19. I currently don’t have a review policy either (*gasp*), but I am working on it! It’s been a draft for waaaayyy too long so I think I just need to go ahead and do it because I’me receiving some review requests for genres that are just not my cup of tea. Also it was awesome that you guys did the post together! It made it really fun to read!
    Lara @ Words With Lara recently posted…Why I Love Blogging (and you should too)My Profile

    1. Thanks Lara 🙂 yeah, I think it’s better to have a half baked review policy than not have any at all! That’s why I just wrote mine km under ten minutes and called it good 😀 but that’s only after reading Shruti’s post 🙂

  20. I was just tweeting about this the other day when I got a request citing a review of mine the author loved but I had never written such a review. I’m not accepting any review requests but a clear sign that publishers, PAs and authors don’t always read them is the tons of review requests I get despite not accept any per my policy. I hope you get good ones though!
    Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted…Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesMy Profile

    1. An author citing a review of yours that you’d never written? o.o wow! That is serious (and seriously annoying). I’m glad that has never happened to me. How did you deal?
      I do receive a moderate amount of review requests, but I decline most of them. There have been a few really good ones, though 🙂

  21. This post knows what’s up. I think it’s fascinating how few book blogs have review policies! I love my review policy; it’s saved me many times. That said, I am still struggling to figure out how to interact with authors who request reviews when I’m closed for reviews, or when they submit requests for genres I don’t read. I get frustrated with how insignificant it makes me feel… but, well, that’s a different post, right?

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Shruti! I’ll probably tweak my own policy this weekend.
    Jackie B. recently posted…#AnneReadAlong2017 : Rilla of InglesideMy Profile

    1. I actually didn’t have a proper one either, before Shruti guest-wrote this for me 🙂 but that’s now fixed! xD

      I have heard a lot of bloggers say that when they get contacted by someone who just blatantly ignored their review policy, they blatantly ignore the email and the emailer as well 😀 sounds fair, no? 🙂

  22. Great advice here! The review policy is super important and has helped me tremendously. I will occasionally have someone ask me to read something not listed in my accepted genres, so I politely decline, but since adding my review policy, I have not had any major issues.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m glad you liked the post. Yeah, even if you get asked, and it’s in the review policy, it’s just easier to say no, cause they were supposed to look there before they asked, so it’s sort of… Moral ground, lol.

  23. Thank you for the intel Shruti & Evelina! I actually do not have review policy up on my blog ((hides under rock)) and I’ve been blogging for 2 years. Why? No idea, I guess I’ve just never sat down and written one. I do really need to put one up, as it would weed out some of the genres that author’s contact me about reading that I will absolutely not read.

    1. And thank you for reading 🙂 haha, I know, my review policy was also barely existent before Shruti’s post 🙂 I suppose you could just copy paste your NetGalley profile somewhere on your blog and save time? It’s pretty much the same thing as a review policy would be 🙂

  24. For as long as I have been blogging, this is something I have yet to do properly D: I have a brief line on my blog contact page and I’d been meaning to expand it once I got my new site up and running. But thanks for the tips on what to include (and a reminder I didn’t know I needed!)
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Life Lately… [December & January]My Profile

    1. I know right! The review policy is just so easy to NOT bother with, that’s all. I say, if you don’t have time, you should just copy your NetGalley profile for now, or something like that 🙂
      And thanks for reading 🙂

  25. Fabulous post ladies! The only thing we have on ours, that I didn’t see above, was a timeline for when we get back to review requests. And we have ours listed at 2-4 weeks. The reason we had to add that info was because we had a few authors that would send us multiple emails a week asking if we got their previous request *slow blinks* lol. Since then we’ve only had one author who didn’t read that part of our review request page and she sent a follow-up email every three days…….oh my gosh lol. But any who, I could keep rambling about this ha, LOVE this post!
    Jen recently posted…BOOK REVIEW – Return Once More (The Historians #1) by Trisha LeighMy Profile

    1. Thank you! <3 oh, that's a good thing about the timeline. Although I don't know if I'd specify mine, cause I don't think I really have one - it's more like, SHIT HAPPENS. If you know what I mean 😀
      Oh, thankfully, nobody has sent me reminders yet! Ugh, that would suck. Every three days? That would SO be blocked.

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