This week I have for you guys an insider’s guide into what publishers expect from bloggers and it was definitely a relief to hear their answers! I got to ask some of the publishers on the Aussie YA Bloggers Group on Goodreads (please join if you are an Aussie YA blogger!) some questions I have been wondering about. I’ve gotten permission from these publishers to post this and I think it provides an honest and valuable insight for us bloggers and reviewers.
The round up: Felicity from Penguin Teen Australia, Stephanie from Text Publishing, Amanda from HarperCollins, and Polina from Harlequin Australia
1. Would you prefer to receive a negative critical review on a book or no review at all? As they say, any publicity is good publicity, does that ring true here?
PenguinTeenAus: We prefer an honest review, whatever that review is. Obviously trashing books with no real reasoning isn’t our favourite thing but if the review is honest, offers reasonable critiques, then fair play to you. There is no way possible, you’ll love every book we ever do 🙂
Harlequin Australia: We understand that not all the books we send over will be to your liking. You do not have to write a review if you don’t want to – a simple email letting us know is enough. But if you still want to write an honest review as you feel that’s what’s right by your followers / readers, then that is up to each individual blogger.
HarperCollins:If you have requested a book for review and you’ve read it, we appreciate you taking the time to post the review – even if it isn’t a rave. That being said, if it’s a choice between no review at all and a complete trashing that’s nastier than it is constructive – we prefer the former.
2. Similarly, how are negative reviews taken, are they passed on as constructive criticism or as mindless ranting? Are they passed onto the authors?
Text Publishing: Depends on the author! I don’t pass on bad reviews but they often read them anyway. Whether they’re passed off as mindless ranting depends on whether they are, in fact, mindless ranting. We don’t get many of those thankfully! I don’t think reviewers should censor themselves, I just ask that your reviews are informed. I’ve read things that might be said offhand but are insulting to the author because they are factually inaccurate. That is just a shame, if you ask me.
Penguin Teen Australia: Most of our authors are aware of their reviews, sometimes even before we send them. As above, if it’s a fair and honest review then everyone, from author, to publicist, to sales rep should accept it. You are a reader who is very much entitled to their opinion. If there are errors in the review such as mistaken plot points or books being mixed up (we’ve seen it happen) we can and do contact bloggers to amend. We also don’t condone reviews that contain hateful or racists comments or any such things.
3. What is your ideal turn around time for a book review? Is it just before release, on release day or a week/month after release? Also, do you do ARCs on release or after release?
Harlequin Australia:An ideal review would be in the month of the book’s release (no earlier than a month prior). However, we also understand the ever-looming TBR pile and that sometimes it all gets overwhelming with life and non-bookish things (yes they exist), so we’re flexible. With ARCs we try get them sent over a month before the release date – eARCs can be sent earlier.
HarperCollins: No earlier than a month before (a week before really, if you want to get picky), with the ideal timing being the week of release. We understand reading schedules can be tricky though. We prefer to send review copies out in the month prior to release. If you request after the book is out in stores, I’m less inclined to send a copy to you (because now you can buy it), so get in early.
4. Do you expect to receive reviews on unsolicited review copies?
Text Publishing: I send you things unsolicited hoping you’ll enjoy and review but not expecting anything. No obligation. I don’t send unsolicited copies that don’t make sense, like if you’re an SF/fantasy reader I won’t send you our new contemporary and visa versa. If you don’t want to receive things you didn’t request, you should let me know. In an interesting point, I send out unsolicited copies all the time. I get relatively few requests from bloggers, even the ones I have sent stuff to before, but often get reviews of unsolicited books.
HarperCollins: I have only sent unsolicited review copies if I know the blogger has enjoyed previous books in that series OR by accident. A review would be great (why else send the book if you’re not hoping for one?) but it’s not expected.
5. How do you pick who receives a review copy or not?
Penguin Teen Australia: It wildly varies from book to book. It includes available number of copies, level of release, embargo status and so much more. We do try and match reviewers to their genres, authors and also give up and coming bloggers a chance at books. Every day our list changes and alters.
HarperCollins: Firstly, you have to request it! Secondly, you have to have a blog you update frequently and a social media platform from which to promote it. After that it depends on how many review copies we have allocated to the title in question. If a book is popular and you request too late, it can be a no. Similarly, if there’s a track record of you requesting and not reviewing, it can decrease your chances of receiving review books.
Harlequin Australia: It really depends, with eARCs there isn’t really a limitation if a blogger matches our criteria. However with print books, we do sometimes run out of copies, so it is at times a first-come basis. But we try our best to scout a copy (sometimes steal from other departments), so do still send over your request even if you think it’s too late.
6. Do you personally follow any blogs?
Penguin Teen Australia: YYYYEEEEEEESSSS!!!!!!!!!! It’s one of the reasons #PTAChat has recommendation night, so we can talk about all sorts of books. Before any of PTA, I was (and still am) a MAJOR YA fan so I love seeing any and all conversations around the topic.
HarperCollins: Sure do. I actually used to read YA blogs before I worked in publishing – but I wasn’t aware of just how many there are (particularly locally) – so it’s great to be properly in the community now.
Text Publishing: I check out several blogs somewhat regularly. I also wish I had more time to read everything that’s coming out. It’s easy to only read for work but like…someone said…I’m a bookish type at heart. I’m quite often as excited to read the new INSERT EXCITING TITLE HERE as you are!
- Honesty is the best policy when it comes to reviews (provided they are constructive).
- Best time to post your review is a month within release date, but any time after is still fine.
- If the book isn’t to your liking, you can notify the publisher if you won’t be posting a review.
- Unsolicited review copies don’t necessarily need to be reviewed.
- To receive review copies, you need to register your details with your local publishers.
Publishers love to follow us!
Thank you to the participating publishers for taking part in this Q&A!
I hope you guys find their insight to be of value for your own blogging, reading and reviewing.
What would you like to ask a publisher?
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