- Books, Literature, and Writing
Book Review Policy
Table of Contents
Hello. My name is Becki and I write book reviews here on Hubpages. I review a wide range of material. You can read my personal introduction and a brief summary of the content of this file by clicking here.
The purpose of this guide to my policies is to help readers (of the reviews) to understand how I review books and also to help authors to decide if they really want to request a book review from me. All the good reviewers have a posted policy. I'd go so far as to recommend not trusting a book blogger who doesn't have a review policy. What you consider a 2 star book might be a 5 star book on her scale and things could get very messy from there.
You should find a block to the right which includes a table of contents. This should help you to find your way around the page and to determine what you want to read first, last, or at all. Clicking on the links in the table of contents will take you to the correct part of the page so that you can read only what you wish to read.
A list of reviews is not included on this page but may be found on my About Becki page.
All of my reviews are spoiler-free!
What Goes Into a Book Review
If you've already read my about me page, then you've seen a version of this. I'm hoping to give you a bit more detail here so that you can determine whether or not you believe my reviews are worth following. This is an extensive description, so please feel free to skip through it to see if what you want is covered here.
My reviews are generally quite lengthy and for good reason. If you prefer shorter reviews, each review does include a link to a brief review of the book on my blog. The Hubpages reviews are extensive!
The following things go into one of my Hubpages book reviews, while the reviews on my blog are under 300 words of review space and intended to be quite brief. Different people have different preferences. If you prefer the shorter reviews (as do most publishers), then please check out my blog. If you're an author looking for hard-core feedback on your book, the please stick to the Hubpages book reviews.
How long do you prefer Book Reviews to be?
"If you wouldn't read science fiction and the book is a science fiction book, what's the point in reading the review?"
I Start With a Spoiler-Free Summary of the Book
This summary is written in my own words and is unique to my personal review of the book. It isn't taken from the publisher's summary nor do I use a summary written by another reviewer. My goal is to give you an idea of what the book is about so that you know -- instantly -- whether this is the type of book you would read. My opinion is that this gives a foundation for the review and allows the reader to decide whether or not to continue moving forward with the review. If you wouldn't read science fiction and the book is a science fiction book, what's the point in reading the review?
An Example of a Star Rating
I Then Continue with My Thoughts on the Book
This section is similar to what you'll find for the reviews on my blog. I try to keep my thoughts to less than 3 paragraphs of text (between 200 and 300 words for each review) because this section really only covers the way that I felt about the book. Did I enjoy it, or was it boring to me? Was the story any good or did the author lose me within the first few pages? How long did it take me to finish the book, and was it an easy read? These are the sorts of questions that I want answered when I read a book review, so I answer them for you, regarding my own thoughts on the books that I've read.
The goal is to give you a quick idea of whether or not this might be something you want to read. Most readers can stop here and be relatively satisfied with the results. I include a star rating with this section of the review, which will be displayed to the right of the review section, as illustrated here.
My star rating system is explained below.
I Include a Thoughtful Analysis of the Author's Style
This is for serious readers and for the author him or herself more than it is for the more casual readers of book reviews. For those who read a lot of independent or self-published fiction, this section can be helpful, given the number of independent authors who self-edit their work. For authors, this can be helpful in that it will provide them with some style tips that should help them to improve their writing and subsequently their opportunities to succeed as a writer.
Please understand that I'm not perfect, and that when I write in this section I'm writing from my point of view as a reader. Some things come down to personal preference. I've read reviews of books I loved only to find that people thought the character development was flat and that the story was terrible.
Parents Can Count on My Reviews to Let Them Know What Their Children Shouldn't Read
After I've discussed the author's style, I include a section about whether or not the book would be suitable for children or teenagers under the age of eighteen. This is in order to help parents to decide whether or not the book needs to be passed by their son or daughter or whether they wish to pre-read it before giving it to their youngster to read. The goal here is to make sure that books with explicit sexuality or issues relating to drug use and abuse won't make it into the hands of the children of unsuspecting parents.
Parents are encouraged to know what their children are reading!
I'll Give Suggestions for Who Might Like This Book
Most of the time I'm able to give suggestions for what type of person may enjoy a certain type of book. While I can't do this with all books (in which case I generally say so or point out that I don't think the book should be ready by anybody), I try to make suggestions for the types of people who would enjoy a book based on what I found when reading it. This is somewhat based on the section of a Goodreads book review that asks who you'd recommend the book to, and is intended to be helpful to readers.
If You Like Book Suggestions, I'll Give Those Too
Although it won't always be possible, most of the time I'll try to give you a list of books that I recommend to people who enjoyed the book that I just finished reviewing or, when necessary, books that readers may enjoy more, based on the genre of the book that I've just reviewed. I try to include between 1-3 of these in every review, though usually there will only be one.
Finally, a User Driven Buy, Borrow or Bypass Poll
At the end of every review you'll find a poll which allows users to vote on whether or not they think that the reader (of the review) should buy the book, take the book out of the library or borrow from a friend, or should bypass by not reading the book at all. I'll be voting in these polls so that there's an established start to each of them. Please don't vote in these polls if you haven't read the book!
Guide to My Star Ratings
This is, perhaps, the most important part of any book review policy, because it can be confusing to follow a number of reviewers who each review books differently. In the past, I starred books higher on Amazon than I did in my person reviews in order to avoid dragging a rating down, but I've changed that now and will be reviewing books and rating them with the same star rating on every site on which I review them.
I use a five star rating system which is fairly detailed. This is good for showing authors where they could improve their writing and for letting readers know what makes a book good or bad in my opinion. I do not rate books based on how much I "liked" them. Some books I enjoy are poorly written. I rate books based on what I believe the quality of the book to be, and my rating system is my own. Unlike some reviewers, I don't use the rating systems from Amazon or Goodreads.
This is my system.
1-Star - The book was so poorly written that it's almost impossible to read. In some cases, the book may be incomplete. Typos are abundant and the book isn't edited either by the author or a third-party editor. Book may be partial with whole pages missing or repeated pages. This happens sometimes.
2-Star - The book was very tedious and didn't flow well. Author clearly struggled with sentence structure and needs work on using a wider vocabulary and better sentence structure. Characterization is poor or nonexistent. The author didn't give any reason to enjoy the book with poor quality writing. Little to no description is used and the reader has a hard time finding her place in the story.
3-Star - The book was alright and lacked any serious problems with typos or vocabulary, but may have clearly lacked a third party editor. Author uses tedious techniques such as "filtering" the reader from the character or writing from several perspectives at the same time. Descriptions may be used in a way that separates the reader from the character instead of enhancing the story.
4-Star - The book was enjoyable and the author knows what s/he is doing. Characters are mostly developed but may occasionally appear flat. Story development is good, but the book may be too long or too short for the story being told. Some readers may feel that the story doesn't carry them all the way through the book. Descriptions may be a bit tedious.
5-Star - The book was well-edited with few or no typos, strong vocabulary and solid character development. Author chose to keep to the perspective of one or a very small group of characters and the reader has the opportunity to know the story and its characters. The length is appropriate for the book and descriptions are pertinent and interesting.
The Buy, Borrow, Bypass System
At the end of every review, I give readers the opportunity to share their feelings on the book using a Buy, Borrow or Bypass system. But what does this mean?
Buy - indicates that the reader believes others will want this book added to their personal library so that they can lend it to friends and be proud to own it, or because they'll read it again in the future.
Borrow - indicates that the reader should consider borrowing the book from the library or from a friend since it's worth reading, but not so incredible that it will be read and re-read. Some readers may wish to buy books that are on the "borrow" list.
Bypass - indicates that the reader should probably skip this book and choose something else to read instead. This book wasn't good enough to warrant reading at all. Readers who vote "bypass" probably would have given the book a 1 or 2 star rating on a like-based system.
Favorite Genres to Review
- Western Romance
- Gay Romance
What I Review
I read and review in almost any genre, including various non-fiction genres, but there are those I particularly like. This section of my review policy primarily pertains to those authors who may wish to have their book reviewed here on Hubpages or on my blog (or both).
Authors should note that I post the long review here on Hubpages, a brief review on my blog, and then a third review on both Amazon and Goodreads. You get a total package if I review your book.
Genres I Enjoy Reviewing
- Young Adult
You'll find boxes to the right with a list of the genres I prefer to read and review, along with a short list of genres that I prefer not to review and which you should probably avoid pitching to me (because you may get rejected if you do). If your book fits into one of these genres and I'm currently taking books for review, you have a better chance of getting the review you want if your book falls into one of these genres.
Genres I Won't Review
- None at present!
Please don't send me requests to review books that are mentioned on the will not review list. I'll ignore these requests as they seem rather silly to me and indicate that you didn't read my book review policy before sending me a book. It's important to me to know that authors have read the policy before sending their request, as I can be a harsh reviewer who doesn't mince words if I didn't enjoy your book. Authors are sometimes offended or get their feelings hurt when reviews are particularly harsh.
If you have a book that doesn't fall into one of these genres, inquire. I will reply to your honest inquiry.
The Thing About Honest Reviews
Alright, I'm going to have to cover this because I realize that there are authors whose hope is to pump up their Amazon rating. I'm not a professional book reviewer. I write these reviews based on my understanding and appreciation of the books that I read, and I write them for readers, not for authors. The purpose of putting together these detailed reviews is not so that you can get more sales: It's so that the reader has something to go on, and so that she understands whether or not this book will be a good fit for her. If you get a sale out of that, that's fantastic! I'm really happy for you because that means that I got a sale out of it through Amazon Associates. But at the end of the day, I want the readers to be happy.
My reviews are always harsh. I'll tell you exactly what I thought about your book and why. The reviews will have sections that will explain my rating and why I enjoyed or didn't enjoy the book, with ideas for what you can do to improve the reader's experience the next time around. These are all good things. If you want feedback from me, see below.
Am I Currently Taking Requests?
Yes. I am currently accepting books to review!
How to Request a Review
If you would like me to review your book, I will need you to submit a request to me, in writing, via my e-mail address. Provided that you include the following information in your request, I will read through it, review it, and will probably reply, unless it's obvious you haven't read my policies.
- Your Name
- Book's Title
- Publication Date
- Number of Pages
- Name of Third Party Editor
- Personal, Written Request
What If You Don't Like the Review?
If you're an author who doesn't like the review I wrote of your book, please take the time to contact me to request further feedback. I'm happy to talk to you about where I think improvements can be made. I write as well as read, and I've spent years honing a writing craft. My articles (and short stories) may not be the best in the world, but I know good writing and how to do it -- even if I don't always succeed at it myself!
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti