Criteria for Review Books
I have a question for all of you: what are your criteria for review books? By this I mean, what do you think about when an author or publisher emails you asking you to review a book? Do you care what other people have thought about it before? Do you care what age group it is for or the genre? Do you care how perfectly the requester followed your request policy? What are your criteria, and how far are you willing to bend on them?
Other People’s Opinions
I’ve often found myself going to check Goodreads and even Amazon to see what a book has been rated already. I’m not sure if I actually like myself doing this or not. Doesn’t this bias my opinion of the book? On the other hand, if the reviews are all negative, I could be saving my time or if the reviews point out things that specifically bother me, I could be saving the author money, since I know it’s not cheap to ship physical books around, and even to purchase copies of e-books. That being said, sometimes with very new books, there aren’t very many reviews up yet. I’ve run into a couple books where only the author and one or two other people have rated a book. I don’t really feel that this is a solid base to go on, but is that a reason not to review a book? No, not really, since then I could really contribute by writing a review, but it also means I’m going in completely blind to what quality this book will be. Sometimes, I’m just not sure I want to risk it, but is that really the best thing for the community?
Age Group and Genre
This one I’m sure is important to most of us as far as the criteria for review books go. If a book is outside of my genre, I’m puzzled as to why I was even sent the request in the first place, and typically ignore it. That being said, I have run into a number of books that are outside of my stated age range, which I don’t realize until I get the book, and that’s just frustrating. What’s surprising though, is that I still found I could enjoy the book, despite the fact that I probably would have turned it down if I had known it was outside of my normal criteria for review books. Does this mean that my criteria are too strict? Or just that there was an exception? However, genres have become fuzzy things these days. Some books simply don’t fit neatly into one genre or another, so a book may fit one of your genres, but not perfectly. Are you willing to give a cross-genre book a try?
Following the Policy
As bloggers we all have request policies listing our criteria for review books to some extent (and if not check out Parajunkee’s guide to setting one up), but sometimes requesters stumble in following it. Sometimes they send a request for a book you are flat out not interested in, which I assume you just ignore? Or do you respond informing them of their mistake? Sometimes they don’t include all the information you want them to, which can lead to multiple emails back and forth. This obviously takes extra time on our part, and we are already very busy people. If a requester doesn’t follow your policy, do you take the time to get the extra information you need? Or do you miss out on a book you might like because it isn’t worth it?
I’m still small enough that I don’t get too many requests for reviews over the course of a week and can pay a fair amount of attention deciding which books to read. But I’m curious what you do when you are getting more requests than you can handle. Or if you are also small and are getting the variable quality requests that you just don’t know how the book will fair. What are your criteria for review books? How do you decide which books to spend your limited reading time on?
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