Call Out for Reviewers

An idea – wondering if writers would be interested in taking on books to review.  I could send each writer an ebook and he/she could write a review while offering a place to plug a book.  As it stands, this site has more books coming in than can possibly be reviewed by the current staff, with more coming in daily.  With Lulu boasting on its site, “Over 1000 New Titles a Day,” it’s no surprise that this site might be overwhelmed with books.

A representative from Outskirts Press recently offered to send the site 2 books a week to review.  I laughed.  No way the site can take on that additional workload.  Sure everything could be reviewed by the current in-house reviewers, but that would mean some books not being reviewed for a couple of years.  I’d rather those people have some kind of outlet than be totally passed over.  Plainly put, I feel guilty leaving all these people hanging.

Or…is this is a terrible idea? By throwing out a call like this, whatever cache there is about being reviewed on this site might be lessened.  Frankly, I don’t think it matters that much.  Some writers might not like having their book re-submitted to an unknown third party.  But which is worse, never being reviewed or finally having a venue from an unknown reviewer?  And the site still reserves the right to edit reviews and/or ask someone to bulk it up a bit.  The main criteria is at least 400 words for the review with a footer of 100-200 words about your own book.

Another criteria is to be honest.  My own criteria for reviewing if I don’t like something is to criticize without totally trying to demolish someone. No point in that.  This plan has been criticized somewhat because some are concerned that writers won’t be honest if they’re also trying to sell a book in the process – they’ll want to come off as “nice.”  From Twitter: “As reader, not sure I would trust the review. Writers are too close to the community to be honest if book is bad (or good).”  I’m not so sure about that. For one, many reviewers on litblogs are also writers, so that shouldn’t be a problem.  But also, readers respect honesty and if you write a glossed-over review, people will be less likely to buy your book.

So contact the site if you’re interested in receiving a book to be reviewed – mostly ebooks, but some printed books as well.  It doesn’t seem a lot to ask: read a book and have a venue where you can plug your book in a paragraph or two at the bottom.  If you’re a reader and/or other publishing professional, you could link to your site or blog as well. Let me know if you’re interested or if this whole plan is another example of the world of self-publishing being entirely unserious.

  • As someone who has practically begged and pleaded to be reviewed, I have to admit I really want to be reviewed by one of your in-house people. As a writer, there is more satisfaction knowing the review is coming from a qualified group of people than someone else just trying to plug their own work.

    And while it’s too bad you can’t review EVERY book that comes your way…doesn’t that make it a little sweeter for the people that do get reviewed? Maybe that’s just part of the game. In the same way that books on a bookstore shelf fight for your attention, it’s up to you who gets reviewed. If a writer can make it to that stage where their cover/blurb/first glances inside the book hook you, then that’s half the battle.

    Though I guess if you have a pile of books that you know for a fact you don’t want to bother with…I guess passing those on to other reviewers is better than throwing them in the trash, right? Whatever you do, don’t let it take away from the quality reviews that get posted on your front page.