If you are thinking of requesting a review from us, and especially if you are a self-published author, please read this from beginning to end.
As you know if you’ve followed this blog for long enough, I don’t get paid for the time and effort I put into running this blog. My reviewers are also volunteers– that means they don’t get paid for the time and effort they put in to reading and reviewing here. They are an awesome group of people who really, truly, love the horror genre and want to share it and make it available to readers, not just by recommending them to individuals, but by recommending them to libraries.
Committed, knowledgeable, reviewers don’t appear out of thin air. I can’t summon them from a demon dimension. Sometimes I get lucky and they find me. And recently, my mom recruited her next door neighbor (no, that is not a joke). The first book he offered to review was so poorly formatted that there were actual pages missing. The second had so many spelling and grammar errors that it was hard for him to finish reading it. This is the kind of thing that makes reviewers want to quit before they even really get started. Remember, we’re not getting paid to do this. It is embarrassing to the author to send out work that hasn’t been edited. Spellcheck is not enough. Do you really want to put out less than your best? Here we are honest about what we review, and if you haven’t put the effort in, please don’t waste our time. We are not an editing service.
Let’s take this a step further. Do you know what happens when one of your reviewers lives next door to your parents? He talks to them about it, and tells them how poorly it was edited. Then I get to listen to my dad tell me how poorly written horror fiction is and how it’s all written by hacks, and how unfathomable it is that I would waste my time promoting such crappy writing by someone who can’t even bother to do more than run their book through spellcheck. It gives the genre a black eye, and his impression now is that what I’m doing here is not worth respect.
When I worked in a public library, customer service training was a big thing. One thing I learned at that time is that every person who has a negative experience tells approximately 10 other people, and those people are likely to repeat it as well. That was way before social media existed. Now if someone has a crummy experience, they can put it on Facebook, or write about it on their blog, or share it on Twitter. With a click of a button, someone can share an opinion with an awful lot of people. Be glad my dad is not on social media or active in the horror community.
Perhaps you’re thinking that my writing isn’t perfect, either. Well, right now, nobody is paying me to do it. And I do mean nobody. The site has made a total of $11 this year– not even enough to cover hosting fees.
When someone asks us to review their book, they are asking for me not just to give them free publicity, but actually to pay to publicize their book (since obviously nobody else is contributing, and I am still paying for postage and hosting fees and WORKING FOR NOTHING).
So, authors, if you plan to request a review, please do everyone a favor and show some respect to yourself, your work, reviewers, review sites, me, and the horror genre. Get your book edited, preferably by a professional. I am personally putting myself on the line to promote the genre to your potential readers, and I would prefer NOT to hear negativity about something I spend a lot of time doing FOR OTHER PEOPLE at family Sunday dinners.
I know there are authors out there who work and work and work on editing, and go back and fix mistakes when those are pointed out. I have the utmost respect for them. If you aren’t one of those people who is willing to spend the time fixing errors and tightening your writing, get an editor. In our Author FAQ we say “an objective third party”. If you aren’t willing to do either of those things, you’re not ready to publish your book, and you’re not ready to submit it for review.
Read our Author FAQ if you have any additional questions about what you can submit and what information we need for me to send on your request for review. Thank you for taking the time and effort with your writing to show your respect for yourself, horror reviewers, and horror readers.