Though I am a professional critic, bear in mind that I am not a professional journalist, nor even an amateur journalist. Most of the books I review here at vestige.org are paid for from my own pocket. In the past I have accepted review copies directly from authors, publishers, and publicists, and am perfectly willing to do so now. In fact, I’m enthusiastically accepting review copies. If you fall into one of those categories and have a book that you would like reviewed, this page is where you can learn what you can expect from me, and what I expect from you. I’ve done my best below to anticipate your questions, but if there’s something you want to know that I haven’t covered here, or need something clarified, drop me a line. If you have a book you think I should review, send a query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What sort of books do you accept?
- Do you review self-published work?
- Do you accept unsolicited review copies?
- Do you guarantee a review of every book you receive?
- What can you guarantee about the review?
- When will the review be posted?
- Can I see the review before you post it?
- What if I don’t like the review?
- I’ve sent you a book to review. Can I send you other promotional materials (aside from books), or give your contact information to others with things to promote?
1. What sort of books do you accept?
I review fiction almost exclusively. I accept literary fiction, science fiction, crime/mystery writing, a very small amount of horror, and a very small amount of non-fiction, mostly about subjects like urban planning or the gig/sharing economy. Under no circumstances will I accept poetry for review. I enjoy poetry, but do not feel qualified to review it. Sending me a book of poetry will be pleasant for me, but a waste of a review copy for you.
2. Do you review self-published work?
I do not. I will read self-published books from time to time, but I will not review them here.
3. Do you accept unsolicited review copies?
If you have sent me books to review in the past, either at my request or yours, then feel free to send me as many unsolicited books as you like. I do not, however, guarantee a timely review (or indeed, any review at all) of books that arrive at my door unsolicited. See my next answer for details.
4. Do you guarantee a review of every book you receive?
Yes and no. I guarantee that I will review every book that I have specifically requested from you, or that I have accepted based on a query from you. If you send me unsolicited review copies (i.e. books that I have not specifically agreed to accept), I cannot guarantee that I will review it. I have my own writing to do, alongside freelance editing and other personal and professional obligations. I also have a lot of books that I have paid for and want to read; they are a higher priority for me than books I did not ask for or agree to review in advance. I may review such books, I simply reserve the right not to.
5. What can you guarantee about the review?
I guarantee only that the review will be fair, honest, and of a reasonable length. Reviews are normally longer than two hundred and fifty words, but I don’t guarantee a word count. I will link to either the publisher’s or author’s website (but not both). I will post a small image of the book’s cover along with the review. The review will be posted to the vestige.org index page and remain there for a reasonable period of time. The review will also remain in the site’s archives for a resonable period of time. What constitues “a resonable period of time” is solely at my discretion. Under no circumstances will I guarantee a positive review.
6. When will the review be posted?
This can vary greatly. Any book that I requested or agreed to review will be added to my stack (the books I own but have yet to read, with books I plan to read soon on the top, and books I plan to read much later at the bottom) on or near the top, depending on when it arrives and how many other review copies arrived ahead of it. If your review copy is the only one I have, then it will be the next book reviewed. Any books I am being paid to review for a publication like Quill & Quire will take precedence, though those reviews will not be posted here.
7. Can I see or get approval for the review before you post it?
8. What if I don’t like the review?
As I said before, I do not guarantee positive reviews. I do my best to be fair and honest. This should go without saying, but my inbox tells me otherwise: a negative review should not be looked at as a personal slight. Not all books are for all people, and I wish you the best of luck with other critics and with whatever projects are ahead of you. If you still feel strongly about it, you’re welcome to leave a comment on the site (though I don’t recommend it), or yell at me in a private email (you wouldn’t be the first). It won’t alter my opinion, but I suppose it might make you feel better.
9. I’ve sent you a book to review. Can I send you other promotional materials (aside from books), or give your contact information to others with things to promote?
Absolutely not. I don’t care what your particular boilerplate might say, by accepting review copies of books from you I in no way authorize you to send me promotional materials other than review copies of books (or queries for same). Under no circumstances are you authorized to release my contact details to anyone, for any reason, ever.