Review Policy Updated – Do’s and Dont’s for authors when submitting

To avoid anyone having to go over to the Review Policy page on my blog, the below text is everything that appears on said page. Do you have any specific do’s and dont’s when it comes to authors sending to you?


Swords & Spectres Review Policy


It’s been a good few years now since I updated my review policy, so I thought it was about time I did so. I have, in the past year, received so many poorly thought out review requests that I thought giving a crystal clear list of what you should and shouldn’t do was in order.

As a writer myself, I hate seeing authors shoot themselves in the foot by making their approach an unappealing one. Reviews are the best way to show people just how good your book is. Do not make the mistake of pushing potential reviewers away by throwing a bad review request e-mail their way. I’m not saying the following do’s and don’ts will work with every blogger. But, if you are requesting a review from me, I’ll have a way more enjoyable time than I have been this past year or so.

What I Accept:Β 

  • Fantasy (Although I am currently suffering through a bit of a fantasy reading slump)
  • Science Fiction
  • Horror
  • Historical Fiction (War/action-based. I am not int interested in romance/period dramas)

I prefer the darker aspects of reading (grim dark, battles etc …) so please keep this in mind when requesting a review.

I do read a variety of other genres such as thrillers, steam punk & the odd non-fiction but I only read those that I have sought out. So I would rather you did not send me review request for these genres. Only those bullet-pointed. If I have read, reviewed and enjoyed your work before, then feel free to offer me some other genres I read as if I like your writing style, chances are I will enjoy other such genres.


Information I want in your query e-mail:

  • Title/series title
  • Blurb
  • Genre
  • Word Count
  • Target audience
  • When you would like/expect a review by
  • Formats you offer your review copy in (Personally, I only accept Mobi, physical or Audible)


What you SHOULD NOT DO in your query e-mail:

  • Do not make your e-mail too wordy. I have lost count of the amount of times someone has gone to the darkest depths of a thesaurus in order to look impressive and appear to have a large vocabulary. If your e-mail is too wordy and reads in a way that no human would actually talk, I will assume your writing skills are just as hard-going and refuse. So please just talk normally. I’m a real person, talk to me like you would one of your friends. I get that you want to sound official and not offend a potential reviewer, but by trying to look like you know every word in the English language, you are hurting your chances with every reviewer you send to.


  • Don’t try to impress me with your name value or how many ‘best sellers’ you have, or your previous Amazon sales ranks. I am a massive fan of Stephen King. He has huge name value and some cracking sales figures. I still think some of his books sound boring and I won’t read them. If you try to sell me the product based on you rather than the book, I’ll assume the book doesn’t have much going for it and refuse.


  • Do not start your e-mail out with, or include in any way, shape or form, such phrases as: ‘This is the best book you’ll read this year.’ ‘My book really is the best of it’s kind.’ ‘I honestly think my writing is way better than the other authors you read’. I have had a good number of authors send me requests with just such phrases (and far worse). If you put something like that in your e-mail, read it back and think ‘how will this look from the point of view of someone that isn’t me’. I get it, I’m a writer, too. You spend months and months, sometimes years, slaving over your manuscript and by the time it’s finished it’s probably closer to you than your own kids. Nobody will feel as passionate about your work as you do, so such phrases as those listed above simply come off as cocky, combative and downright embarrassing. I have no problem refusing most of the authors that I have in the past as, 99% of the time I know that other reviewers will love what they are offering and jump for it. But, for these people, I seriously pity them as they are making it so hard for themselves in an industry that really hard enough already.


  • Do not be disrespectful if I refuse your novel. I have never had an author be disrespectful and I thank every single one of you for being so understanding when I have said I am bogged down with work, or too far behind on my reading, or in a reading slump. I really hate letting other writers down and having people understand and be cordial about it means a lot. It also has the added bonus of you not getting a bad reputation amongst reviewers. Book bloggers talk to each other. Remember that. A lot of us are friends (some in real life, others via the internet) and I can assure you that we would rather stand by one another than by a rude author.


What I Will Not Accept (under any circumstance, even if it falls in my approved genres):

  • Romance/Erotica
  • Young Adult/Middle grade

Please do not think that I simply do not read these genres because I ‘haven’t come across the one to change my mind on the subject’. That is not the case. I can guarantee you that your book certainly is not ‘the book’ to suddenly make me start reading these genres. If you sneak it into my accepted review copies by lying and saying it is not the above genres, your final review will not be a good one.

16 thoughts on “Review Policy Updated – Do’s and Dont’s for authors when submitting

  1. It always baffles me when authors send out poorly worded and all-around terrible review requests. Lots of bloggers like them to use our name or, at least our blog name, I think that they feel that it shows that the author has actually checked out their blog before sending, doesn’t mean they’ve actually read the review policy though.πŸ˜‚

    I’ve had many that have no paragraphs, it is just one long ramble that is a struggle to read as it has the read my book bit, the blurb, etc and other bits all in one.

    Some send broken links too and terrible grammar and they are just a copy and paste job that they send out on bulk.

    The big thing is, a review request is an attempt to get a review, you would think that an author would put in a bit of effort and try to make a good impression. Honestly, you read some review requests that are that badly written that no chance would you consider reading a book by the author.

    One bug bear for me is the ‘I recently saw that you read and reviewed’ and my book is similar…when I haven’t read the book they are claiming that I have.πŸ™„

    It’s also funny, that’s the best word I can think of when they send a request and it has ‘insert blog name’ still in it instead of a blog name.πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha! Yea, the insert blog name isn’t one I have suffered … yet it is something I’ve done when submitting to literary agents merely as an oversight once or twice, so I can see how its easily done. I did it twice out of about 70 submissions … yet you’ll only ever be remembered for those two bad ones.

      My name or blog name isn’t an issue for me in the e-mail. The only thing I really want to see that people have read is my review policy. That’s why I put what bullet-pointed info I want. If an author doesn’t do that then I know they haven’t bothered. I added the ‘target audience’ as that’s more an agent pitch than a blogger pitch. That’s the type of thing that will show who has paid attention. It’s also really going to tell me if I’m interested in the book as there are target markets I won’t touch with a barge pole.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The target audience is a good idea, especially with fantasy pitches as with the blurb and the description it is often hard to tell if the book is YA or adult and then, you have to go and check cos you wouldn’t want to accidentally agree to a YA book when it’s not what you enjoy.

        The name thing used to bother me, it doesn’t as much now as I’d just rather have proof that they have read the policy and checked my blog out.

        Yeah, it’s a case of sh#t happens regarding the ‘insert name’ and as you say, you’ll only be remembered for forgetting it. The couple of times it has happened to me it also happened to a few others with the same request. Bloggers are fallible as to are authors and genuine mistakes are made that can’t be helped. Then there are those who just don’t try.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. After reading this, I just went and checked my own review policy. Still working perfectly well πŸ˜€

    I really do feel bad for indie authors, because of Netgalley. Book bloggers can get all the free books they can read and review and most of it is decently edited, so how do they compete with that machine? Not my problem however, hahhhaaa.

    I just know that any author who approaches me gets an auto-rejection for simply even needing to approach me. Thankfully, being as small as I am, with small numbers, I don’t attract them πŸ˜€ That I am thankful for…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair, some of the most enjoyable books I’ve read have been from indie authors/small publishers approaching me. So I’ll always keep my door open. Hate to miss out on some great stuff.

      But yea, NG has the monopoly. Luckily, the book bloggers like me that are far too lazy to trawl through NG are accessible πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope I wasn’t the cause for that update! πŸ˜‚
    I feel your pain, though, we had one memorable discussion with an author who was not happy with the review and while he stayed more or less polite, he was also angry and condescending – along the lines of “you didn’t understand my book” ;). Since then, we very rarely accept books for review, and from these, only one book had a really good rating. As you know, I’m always a very picky reviewer, so not many writers want to get a review from me πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you weren’t harsh with me, so maybe I got lucky πŸ˜‚

      No, it was the fact that I have had to let authors (around 10 this past fortnight) that I wasn’t reading fantasy at the minute or that my review policy was slightly different. So I thought it was unfair to keep refusing people who may otherwise not have sent a request if my guidelines were up to date.

      I have been very fortunate in that a good portion of the novels & anthologies (high 90% range) that I have accepted have been 4 or 5 stars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your book was fun! And you didn’t ask for a review on the blog – if you did, then I’d probably sit down and dissect your gods and lizards and all πŸ˜„

        Lucky you! Though there is something like a course of overabundance, I think, when you get more than you asked for πŸ˜‰ Hope your new guidelines help!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nothing wrong with my Pantheon πŸ˜‰ nooo, I’d not want a review until I eventually release it.

        I have had three review requests today … two of which tried to offer me romance themes. Not sure my review policy gets read πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. These were the special kind and you surely didn’t know what you were talking about when you wrote you didn’t read romance… πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ That’s the type of reasoning I remember from my worst reviewing experience – though what I didn’t know, apparently, was how to comprehend the subtlety of characters and plot – and the author proceeded to enlighten me 🀣🀣🀣

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I recently had an author tell me that he only supplied pdf format as ‘people prefer that to kindle’ … he also preceded to tell me the best way to get the most enjoyment out of reading the book. Never expected to have a ‘how to’ guide when it came to reading something. Not like I read regularly or anything πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m lucky in that most of the books I have accepted have been really enjoyable. I’m listed on a blogging database somewhere that seems to send a few interested authors my way. I’m usually too lazy to look on Netgalley, so it suits me well enough πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

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