Blogging Tip: You need a review policy, so make one already.

Everyone needs a review policy, even if you’re not accepting books for review (or you’re so new you think nobody’s going to send you anything anyway). Why? Everyone looks for one and if you don’t have one, it could annoy lots of people. Spread good vibes! Have a review policy.

Also, it’ll save you a ton of hassle later on when people DO start sending you review requests– because they’ve read your policy and will (hopefully, ideally) only send you things you’d like to read! As an example, here’s my review policy.

Okay, so, TIPS ABOUT REVIEW POLICIES:
1. Make your policy a whole page. No, not just a widget in your sidebar. That’s too easy to skip over and people probably won’t even see it. Make it a big fancy page and stick it in your navigation bar where it’s easy to find.

2. A review policy is kinda like an agreement between you and whoever’s sending you books. They’ll agree to (hopefully) read it and only send you stuff you’d like, and YOU’ll agree to do your best to actually review the book if it falls within your guidelines. This means that your review policy has to be both honest and comprehensive. For example! If you hate every scifi romance book you’ve ever read, probably you should leave “scifi romance” off your list of genres you like. Likewise, stick it in the genres you hate list.

3. What to include on your page: genres you like to read, book formats you’d accept (ebooks, paper, etc.), if you have NetGalley/Edelweiss accounts, genres you DON’T like to read, and how to contact you.

Really, that’s just the minimum. You can add lots of more stuff like: how long it’ll take you to review something once you’ve got it, where you post your reviews, your blog stats (RSS subscribers, views per day, etc.), what you’ll do with a book once you’re done with it, if you respond to every review request even if it’s just to say no, and if you’re going to be nice in your review if you DON’T like a book.

4. If you’re not accepting books for review, all you have to do is put that in! People’ll probably still email you, but not as much.

5. The idea is to give the person sending you the review book some hints at what’ll happen once they DO send you the book. It’s also a short intro to what’s on your blog: if someone’s never read your blog before, but all they see in your recent reviews is kidlit fantasy books (for instance), they might not know that you ALSO read space operas and nonfiction memoirs. A review policy will give them a map so they’ll know they’re in the right country, and that maybe this blog is the right blog to send that murder mystery alien abduction book to.

That’s it! A review policy isn’t actually all that big of a deal, right? So make one already.

Jim Carrey typing gif

For more blogging tips, be sure to check out the tips page!

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4 Comments

  1. I know, I know! I should do this already! Inexcusable that I have not. I keep intending to, and then instead I go off and read about inciting religious warfare in the Middle East and Southeast Asia in World War I. (At least, that’s what’s going to happen this time. I’d like to say that this is the time that I just go make the review policy already, but I know me.)

  2. Thanks for this! I am new to blogging, and even though I had seen these on many book blogs I had visited, I worried that if i did my own so soon it would look presumptuous or like I only got into blogging to get free books (not the case). It’s good to know they are expected and I’ll work on one soon. I also am glad I found your blog and will be makin my way through the rest of your tips! Thanks!

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