#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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2018 (15)

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.

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Matilda's Library
Guest

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?

Fanna
Guest
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… Read more »
Shruti
Guest

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.

Rosie Amber
Guest

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.

Shruti
Guest

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.

Paula Bardell-Hedley
Guest

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!

Shruti
Guest

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. 🙂

Katie
Guest

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 🙂

Shruti
Guest

I hope our advice works out well for you! A “genres I don’t read” section might help you out. xD

JJ @ This Dark Material
Guest

Thank you Shruti and Evelina—this was so helpful! I have my location in the sidebar of my blog, but now I think I’ll copy it over into my review policy as well 🙂

Shruti
Guest

Glad you liked this, JJ! (From both Evelina and me xD ). Country of residence would be great, especially if authors/publishers frequently backtrack when they hear where you’re based in.

flippingthruthepages
Guest

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

Shruti
Guest

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. ☹️

flippingthruthepages
Guest

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.

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
Guest

I haven’t looked at mine in a while, I will definitely take a look soon, I’m sure there are things I need to change:-)

Shruti
Guest

A rule of thumb would be to look at the review requests you’ve received so far. Are authors always contacting you about the wrong books? Are they not okay with sending you print copies after hearing where you live? Edit your review policy to answer more of their questions.

Alyssa
Guest

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!

Shruti
Guest

I’m glad you found this helpful, Alyssa! And do write a review policy! Every blog is big enough for a review policy. Add one and then see how many requests start piling up! You can also enter your name in several book blogger lists to make it easier for authors to find you. 🙂

Anna @ The Bibliotaph
Guest

I love that you’re putting this at the beginning of your new blogging series – it isn’t something I’d really considered, but maybe it would have helped a lot right from the beginning! Thanks for all the tips!

Courtney Garrison
Guest

This is incredibly helpful. I wish this series would have been around wen i first started, it would have been so helpful.

Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf
Guest

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.

Bea
Guest

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.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest
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… Read more »
Shruti
Guest

Thanks so much, Lexxie! You’re right. A review policy needs to be very precise in order to not waste both the blogger’s and the author/publicist’s time.

Tina
Guest

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.

Shruti
Guest

This is exactly what I do! I always check out bloggers’ About and Review Policy pages! I’m happy with my review policy but I constantly update my About page, haha. xD

Bethan
Guest

Excellent post, thank you so much for your advice Shruti!

Shruti
Guest

Thanks so much, Bethan! xD

Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
Guest
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… Read more »
Shruti
Guest

Review policies streamline what you’re looking for from authors! And you’re right about them not reading our policies part. I’ve received so many generic review requests. I still respond to them to say no, though. Haha. Just so that they’ll learn and be better with the next blogger.

Laura Thomas
Guest

Such a great post. And you reminded me I need to dust off my review policy and update it. LOL

Shruti
Guest

Haha, thanks so much!

Shruti
Guest

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Evelina! ❤️❤️

Kristina
Guest

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

Shruti
Guest

I hope this helps when you do get around to writing a review policy! And I loved the bits where Evelina pokes in too!

Hana Bilqisthi
Guest

I made review policy since I started book blogging but my review policy has not contained all things on Shruti’s Review policy checklist 🙂 Thank you for sharing Avalina 😀 I think I need to update my review policy 😀

suckerforcoffe
Guest

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!

Aimee (Aimee, Always)
Guest

Awesome tips, Shruti and Evelina! I used to have a pretty messed up review policy on my old blog, but have decided not to put one up YET for my current blog since I’m not all that open to accepting requests as of the moment (school sucks and all). Will bookmark this and use it as a checklist. <3

Lydia Tewkesbury
Guest

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.

Aj @ Read All The Things!
Guest

Great post! I have a detailed review policy, but I still constantly get offered books in genres that I don’t read. I guess writing the review policy is easy, but getting authors to read it is hard.

Susy
Guest

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! 🙂

Lily
Guest

this is an awesome explanation I think for both beginners and more established bloggers as well! thank you for writing this out

Jenn
Guest

Thanks for such a great informative post! I had almost all of this in my review policy, but it’s nice to know that I have it right. Another great article! I’ll tell anyone who is looking how to set up a review policy to come here!

Lover Of Romance
Guest

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.

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Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest

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 🙂

Karen Blue
Guest

This is great information! I will definitely be sharing this post. I don’t have much of a review policy written up. I do have a bit on my “contact me” page and from what I can tell, no author read it before writing leaving a comment. Sad!

Lara @ Words With Lara
Guest

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!

Haniya Qamar
Guest

Just recently updated my review policy!! It has so much importance!! LOVED YOUR POST! So informative :)♡

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[…] @ Avalinahs Books shares another New Blogger 101 post this time it’s a guest post by Shruti on Review […]

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[…] I posted only two times last week, due to all of the half-hiatus stuff that is currently going on. Have you forgotten me yet? I hope not. I can truly recommend The King of Bones and Ashes though! Dark and witchy. There’s more about it to come next week! And I will thank Shruti @ This Is Lit again, for writing a guest post on how to write a proper review policy. […]

Sophie Eloy
Guest

You reminded me that I have to update my policy!!!!!!! Thank you ladies for another amazing post 😉

Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews
Guest

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!

Jackie B.
Guest

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.

Kristin @ AddictedtoHEA
Guest

Thanks, ladies! This is a great reminder to go look at my policy. It’s kind of old and is probably outdated. 🙁 Great post!!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Such a helpful post! Newbie bloggers should be aware they’ll probably STILL receive review requests that don’t match their policy (not all authors read them!), but they can say no (or just delete them) with a completely guilt-free conscience knowing they did their part to inform.

Lashaan Balasingam
Guest

Very thorough and awesome guide! Love the checklist. This is sure to help folks make sure they get the right emails in their inboxes! 😀

Darque Dreamer
Guest

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.

Erica
Guest

This is so helpful ! Thanks !

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[…] to make a good Edelweiss/Netgalley profile – write a proper review policy – get comments (Evelina @ […]

Amanda @Cover2CoverMom
Guest

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.

Olivia Roach
Guest

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!)

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[…] guest posts on @Avalinah’s Books about how to write a review policy for your book blog → How Do I Write a Proper Review Policy? & Evelina also shares some blogging organization tips → What Tools Can Help Me Be An […]

Jen
Guest
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… Read more »
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