Monday, September 22, 2014

Policy change

Because the publishing landscape has changed, my reviewing policies have also changed. I’m getting more requests from all quarters, and my available time is shrinking. I still want to be very supportive of authors, but that support may not come in the form of a review. All authors are welcome to play Thousand Word Thursday. We've had readers so inspired by a pic they've become writers. I post those too.

Before, if an author asked for a review and I couldn’t in good conscience give it a three or better, I’d consult before posting, unless it’s a self-pubbed author who’s acting as publisher, because the rules for publisher-requested reviews were different. There are more and more self-pubbed authors, with different degrees of professionalism, and there aren’t any more hours in my day, there’s less. Who publishes is not now and has never been a criterion for what I read, only for choices on posting.

That’s too complicated. Time for new, simpler rules.

Triage on low reviews is mine.

Every novel I read and review is 5 or so hours, sometimes more. Those hours can’t be replaced. A review is actually a pretty big commitment. If I spend the time to read to the end and write down my opinions, that’s a piece of my life.

So I may DNF. If a book quietly disappears from the coming soon carousel, that’s why. If it’s something I’m truly not interested in, it won’t make it to the carousel. I’m not good at DNFing, if I start, I usually finish, it bothers me to leave something in the middle. I may or may not write a DNF review, that depends on the specific book. If I write down a review, I’ll post it. You’ll get feedback and exposure, but no puff. If I love it, you’ll know why, and if I don’t, you’ll also know why.

The occasional blog tour comes through here, in which case a low review, should it happen, will be delayed as a courtesy. Blog tour book reviews still need 5 hours.

Here’s the part that hasn’t changed—

A story that pleases me will have a couple of well developed characters, a relationship, and something plotwise outside the relationship. I like plot, that's the point of a book. I like sex, too, but sex has to drive the plot. The daily drivel of the characters' lives in between sex scenes is not plot -- plot has conflict and resolution, and it needs to make sense. Logic fail will get noticed out loud and if I can't find the plot beyond "hawt guys fuck" you can call me Cryssy Crankypants.

Things that stop me in my tracks:
• Rape, unless it's a past trauma and offstage. Especially no "rape him til he likes it."
• Incest, especially twincest. A survivor is fine, but current relationship -- NO
• Non-con -- don't kid yourself, the right name is rape.
• All the squicky stuff that epublishers put in their 'don't submit to us' list
• Most BDSM. Personal preference, no apologies. Please don't offer it. Absolutely no pain play, blood play, flogging, bondage, humiliation, gagging, CBT. If it requires implements, I don't want to read it.
• Het.

Iffy stuff:

• Dub-con. We might not agree about where the line is. I'm likely to be more restrictive in my definition than you are.

• Soul mates -- this one hits the gag reflex, no matter what the writing looks like, 99 times out of a hundred, and the hundredth one is probably involving a non-human. A deep bonding after personalities get explored is fine, just no "only one personnnnnn in the universssssse for meeeeeeeee!"
• BDSM of the non-implement variety. Psychological aspects might be okay, but know you're taking a risk.

There have been exceptions, but I choose them.
This may end up looking like grade inflation, I don’t know. I’ll take another look in six months. What it looks like to me right now is the buffet rules I worked with at Jessewave's or Dark Divas: I touch it, I take it, I review it.

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