Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ethics & Preferences: or, How I Review Books

I'm strongly in favor of transparency in all kinds of reviews. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but I like that the FTC is urging bloggers to disclose how/where they obtained the products they review.

This is a writing blog, so I'll occasionally review books I like. Here are my personal guidelines for receiving and reviewing books.

Obtaining books
I'm approached occasionally by writers, publicists and publishers asking if I'd like a free review copy or ARC of a book. If I accept the ARC/free copy I will only do so with the understanding that my acceptance in no way obligates me to review the book - and I am certainly not obligated to give it a positive review.

I also post reviews of books I purchased myself, or that I won from a contest.

Positive reviews
Since I'm not in the business of trashing other writers, in nearly every case I'll only post a review on this blog if I genuinely enjoyed the book. Which means my book reviews will be positive. If I didn't enjoy the book, I won't review it. It doesn't mean the book was poorly written; all it means is that the book wasn't for me and I'd rather not draw negative attention to an author or book. Besides, if the book is that bad, I firmly believe the worst kind of publicity is none at all.

If I do review the book, I will clearly state how I obtained the book. For example:

I loved Sheep From the 5th Dimension by Bruce Woolen -
it was a fantastic read! (Full disclosure: I recieved a free copy of
this book from the author with no obligation to review it.) As the book opens, Farmer Fred is working in his field...

I will post a disclosure on every single review I write, clearly citing how I obtained the book: whether it's a free ARC, won through a contest, purchased myself, or any other way.

For authors and publishing people
I love supporting great authors because 1) I love reading and 2) I hope one day kind bloggers will be willing to review book(s) I write.

If you would like to contact me about sending a review copy (and you are OK with the above guidelines) please send an e-mail to acvollers (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you are interested in asking me to review a book (thank you!), you should know the following:
Genres I especially like, in no particular order: Historical fiction, literary fiction, YA, mysteries (all kinds except ones with really graphic violence), thrillers, suspense, women's fiction (including chick lit), Southern lit, anything about or involving the British, true crime nonfiction.

Genres I don't usually like and you wouldn't want me reviewing because I don't read them: sci-fi, high fantasy (dragons and quests etc), horror, most memoirs, poetry, most nonfiction (unless it's true crime).

Extras & Giveaways
I like posting Q&As and/or guest blogs with authors or publishing professionals and literary agents. I don't necessarily have to review an author's book to do a Q&A, but of course a good Q&A is much harder if I haven't read the book in question. Also, I won't give an opinion on any book I haven't read.

If we do a Q&A or guest post, I'd love to be able to hold a giveaway contest for a free (and signed, if possible) copy of the book. I believe it drums up extra interest - and blog visits - for the book. I'm willing to communicate with the author/professional to iron out contest specifics or to explain how I've run contests in the past.

Whether you're a blog reader, author or publishing professional, I appreciate your interest and your visit to my blog. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me with your questions.

Anna Claire
acvollers (at) gmail (dot) com.

1 comment:

jmberrygirl said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm getting a bit freaked out by our similarities. I am a fan of your genres. I love, love, love Southern lit. Southern anything, really. Looking forward to reading more reviews in the days to come! =)