As of Summer 2012 I became a volunteer book reviewer for Book Tweeting Service. They list my preferences and contact information on their site and authors send their requests to me. I get a free book and they get a free review; everyone wins. This page details my policy for reviews in detail.
What Books I Review
The three main genres are Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction and Historical Non-Fiction (i.e. a school-like textbook). If you send me one of these then there is a good chance that I will accept it. I will never say 'I have too many books' when it comes to this group; I will get to it eventually. It is a first-come-first-served thing. I will not start reading your book immediately after accepting it unless there are no other books in my queue.
What Books I Will Not Review
These are Biographies, general non-fiction, Romance, Mystery/Suspense, and Realistic (non-historical) Fiction. I have nothing against these genres; they simply do not interest me. I've decided to add Dark Fantasy/Science Fiction to this list because too few requestors have demonstrated the ability to do "dark" without "unrelenting angst". There is one exception to this rule.
The setting must be one of the favored or the premise must be one of the favored. For instance, if you want to have a pair of merchants in Ancient Rome that are involved with a senate scandal, then I might read it if the history/economics takes precedence over the mystery/suspense. For another example, if you want to have a knight and a witch on a quest to find a legendary treasure and they fall in love in the process, I might read it if the romance aspect fits within the quest aspect.
The bottom line is if you make a good enough pitch and it's related to one of my interests then I might say yes.
My Rating Scale
I rate books by three criteria: Plot, Characters and Polish. All three must be outstanding to receive the highest grade.
I use an A-F scale for all books. A+ means that I consider the book perfect, highly enjoyable, and that improvement is impossible. F means that I consider the book to be terrible in quality, did not like it in the least, and that improvement requires rebuilding it from the ground up. As long as the book is not fundamentally flawed I will not give your book less than a C.
That is what a C means according to my rating scale; there's nothing wrong with this book. This is where my personal enjoyment becomes a major factor. If a book is rated as 'C+' then I enjoyed it but it's not good enough for a B while a 'C-' means I did not enjoy it but it's not bad enough for a D.
For instance, a book that is structurally sound and does not have a cliffhanger will not be graded as less than a C- even if I hate it. Conversely, a book that is structurally sound and does not have a cliffhanger but doesn't excel in any area, will not be graded any higher than a C+ no matter how much I like it.
-Romantic Plot Tumors
- Contrived Coincidences
-Strong As They Need To Be and related tropes
Special note: books with cliffhangers are automatically docked one full letter grade. I explain my reasoning here in "How to Create Effective cliffhangers".The bottom line is that I don't want to have to read book 2 in order to find out/understand what happens in book 1.
I am nothing if not honest.
What I Offer in Addition to Reviews
1. Facebook Shout and tweet
Just for sending me a request I'll post your name, your book's name, and the premise to my Wall and tweet them to (as of this post) 934 followers. If your book is on the ' no list' then you are disqualified.
2. Daily tweets
While I read you book I might tweet my impressions on a daily or semi-daily basis. For a 200 page novel could mean 7-14 days of tweets.
For those of you that don't know, TvTropes is a wiki that catalogues conventions in story telling, i.e. 'tropes'. I am a troper and tropers are Legion. If I really like your book I'll create a work page for it and crosswick it so the Troper Hive Mind can find it. This can lead to inbound links from other sites in addition to the people reading the page. Thus, greater exposure for your book. For me, it's fun and enlightening and allows me to assimilate you.
Increase Your Chances of Success by Avoiding these Red Flags
1. Claiming to be "original" and other self praise
This is number one because it is the biggest turn off. I can't stand it when writers tell me how 'original' they are. One person even told me their work was going to 'redefine the fantasy genre'. No one is 100 percent original. I'm certainly not. I will gladly tell anyone who asks what my many influences are (a few are on the About the Author page above this post) though I won't say what they influenced because that would be spoilers. Anyway, it bothers me because it's a Suspiciously Specific Denial; why tell me it's 'original' or 'engrossing' or other quality unless you think it's not. The more you praise yourself the less likely I am to read your book. Let the book speak for itself. This leads into number two.
2. Not providing enough information
First of all don't do 'bulk requests'. By this I mean, don't email me a link to your amazon author page or something similar and ask me which book I want to read. I don't want to make that time commitment. Make your pitch for one or several but they have to be individual. They can be in the same email but they all have to be individual requests. The burden of proof, so to speak, is on you. If you email me a link to a list of books, I will delete the email straight out.
You need tell me what's going on for me to be interested in it. I like to know who the protagonist is, what their problem is, and a few things about the setting. I'd also like more details then 'average guy fights evil thing to save the world'. Some have only told me that something is targeting their protagonist but not who or why and very little about the protagonist themselves. Others tell me what their book does, for instance, 'unites the mystical world and the scientific one' but it doesn't say who does the uniting and why. The less you tell me about your book the less likely I am to read it. However, the inverse is not true. The golden mean is a paragraph.
3. Attempting Loophole Abuse with my rules
If you have a novel that is on my 'no list', do not send it to me. I will delete your email without as much as a reply. If you tell me it's not X but Y with an X subplot when that is not the case, I will not read it. I can go to Amazon, GoodReads, and read between the lines.
If you avoid these red flags then I might say 'yes'.
Delivering the Copy
If I say yes, then email a copy of the book to me (Stinkerbw@Hotmail) and I will add it to my queue. My preference is PDF.
Concerning Amazon, if you want my review to appear as a "verified purchase" then you must gift a copy of the book to me. Contacting me during a free promotion will do just as well. If your book is free on day X, then contact me with your request on or before that day so I can download it. I will never purchase your book in order to review it. Reimbursing me for the purchase would be complicated and I don't do "buy swaps". My goal is to keep money out of this process.