frequently asked questions
Here is what I do, how I do it and who I do it for, as well as some answers to the most asked questions by authors.
How do I request a review?
If you are new to this review blog, you can fill out a form on the Request Page .
If you are a repeat author (meaning I've read your work before), you can email me directly with your latest book (digital and print copies accepted). Please read the guidelines on the Requests and Policies page, and make sure you fill out the correct form.
My review policies are subject to change and exceptions, so read the policy carefully, and even if you are a repeat author, read it before submitting a new request. I always add the last updated date at the top of the page. There is also a PDF that can be downloaded, which is always up to date, with my review policies and procedures.
Where do you Post your reviews?
The sites that I post my reviews to (if the book is listed on that site) are amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com, Goodreads.com, Smashwords, Kobo, and other sites if specifically requested). I post all reviews on THIS blog. I now share my reviews on my Bookshelf Review Facebook page, directly from the blog post on this blog. I tweet the review link on my blog and use the #ABSR every time, and my twitter account is @amyshan_author
If you have a profile on Bookbub, and your book is listed there, give me the link and I'll post the review there as well.
I now have the option to share the review from this blog on my LINKEDIN profile. Updates have been made to the spreadsheet.
I am unable to post reviews on Amazon International Sites. However, Amazon.com Reviews do appear on the titles international site.
What is an ARC and what kind do you accept?
An ARC usually stand soft Advanced Review Copy, but in this case, it refers to Author Review Copy since it is not necessarily presented to me before release date. I accept digital versions of ARC such as mobi, PDF, Nook, direct "gifts" from amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, and even a print copy (sent by snail mail). If you wish to send a print copy to me, I will provide the address when requested. I also accept donations via PayPal, Cash App, or Amazon.com (US) Gift card, and when books are published in that method, the purchase is listed as verified on Amazon.com.
What is the FEE for the Review?
All my reviews are done FREE of charge and I only require that I receive a FREE ARC. However, there are other options for reviews (see next question).
There is a "donation" or "gratuity" option that allows authors to donate to an account that I use ONLY for purchasing other author's books on amazon so they can be listed as verified copies, as there is an unlimited amount of reviews that can be posted for verified purchases on amazon.
There also "donation" options for positions on the bookshelves or for express releases or priority reviews. See Requests and Policies page for more details.
Do you do review or purchase swaps?
As an author, I could always use reviews, but I don't do swaps. If an author that I do a review for, wants to read my work and write a review, I will welcome it. Review swaps usually have a stipulation for both reviews to be good reviews, but I don't agree to what type of review I will do, and I expected all reviews of my work are also honest and unbiased. All reviews I post are honest and unbiased. Swaps are not allowed on amazon, so any offer to review a book of mine would be considered a thank you, and the reader is not under any obligation to write a review.
Do you review a specific Genre?
As a writer, poet, and storyteller. I know how important reviews are. I review books with ANY genre (I've written reviews for children's books, self help, thrillers, erotica, paranormals ... you name it, I read and it review it). I am just offering other authors the opportunity to get an unbiased review.
Do you respond to all requests?
I respond to all emails and review requests that I get within 72 hours, so if you send me a note, expect a response. I also let the author that the review is finished, and where it is posted. If for some reason, I do not respond in that time, feel free to contact me again.
Do you ever help promote an author's work?
On this blog, I post my book reviews and I have a Featured Author Section (author interviews).
However, if you are an author and are promoting your book or books with a cover reveal or release date, you can contact me at my other blog's request form. I am an author and have another blog at http://writeramyshannon.wix.com/amyshannonblog where I promote my own work as well as work of other authors. I have custom services and promotion packages for any author who needs it.
Are all your reviews solicited from other authors?
No. Where all my reviews are unbiased, I also read for entertainment and if I love the book, I definitely write a review on the site where I bought it, as well as post it here on my blog.
I also get requests from publicists, editors, publishing companies, and other author representatives.
What is your review rating system?
My system is the same as most sites:
5 Stars: (Exceptional or Excellent Read) I loved it and would read it again. A book that could not be put down! Strong characters, intriguing and entertaining plot, well-written and a writing style that fits the story.
4 Stars: (Great/Grand Read). I loved the book and highly recommend it. Good characters, great plot, well-written, and grand writing style)
3 Stars: (Good Read). I liked the book and most of the story plots were enjoyable. Characters may need more depth, plot may have some pitfalls, well put together story, and good writing style).
Anything less than 3 stars would not be posted. If I do not like a book, i will inform the author that I cannot review the book. I do not post bad reviews.
3 STARS IS NOT A BAD REVIEW.
Some criteria for each star rating may vary depending on the genre of the book.
Do authors ever request other reviews?
Yes, I am requested to reviews for "repeat" authors all of the time. Here is a complete list of authors that I've received requests from and have reviewed their work. I also link the author's website to his/her name. I keep track of all authors I review for, and have a database for my personal use. All authors' names are on the list, including those I've read for entertainment or research.
How will I know when my review has been posted?
After I finish reading the book, I immediately write my review. The review gets posted when it is the proper time for it to be posted. It is then posted to the sites (listed above). I send an email to the author with a copy of the review the sites it has been posted on, and the direct link to the review on my blog.
What is your review turnaround time?
The turnaround time may vary depending how many books that I have to review, and of course, how long the books are. If i had a pile of children's books, it may be less time then a pile of full length novels. I also have my own writing projects, so the time varies. Once I received the ARC, I give a more definitely time frame. It may end up being less time for the review.
All the titles of books that I have yet to review are listed on my Bookshelf. I have four lists, which include VIP Bookshelf, PRIMARY Bookshelf, PERSONAL Bookshelf and QUICK RESPONSE Calendar. Authors can keep track of their title's position.
Do you participate in blog tours?
I do participate in Blog Tours on my "author" blog (http://writeramyshannon.wixsite.com/amyshannonblog). (I do not turn over my blog to others, but I will participate in up to 2 blog tours per month, and those tours are listed on both of my sites.) Amy's Bookshelf Reviews will only participate by posting the review for the book that is being promoted on the date that is assigned for the tour on my other blog.
Blog tour requests can be sent to me via email.
How do you write your reviews?
When I read a book specifically to write a review (author requested), I look for several things when I read it. Writing style, content/plot, plot closure, characters (connection and depth) and backstory. If the book is part of a series, is it necessary to read the entire series? If it is, then I request that I read all of the stories, even if the author is only sending me books in the middle of the series. If I don't read the series, and I should, I write that in my reviews.
I don't write about formatting (or lack of) since some ARC files are not perfectly formatted, but if it's not formatted and it's a purchase, I inform the author. If it has editing or proofreading errors, I don't point them out in the review, but mention them to the author. If it's riddled with errors, which makes it unreadable, I don't review it, and inform the author, giving them a change to correct it and resubmit for review.
Some of my reviews are several sentences long, and some are short, but that does not take away from what I feel about the book. I write my thoughts down as I go, or right after I read the book. Many of my reviews are written well before they are posted, depending on how many I can post per week, as release date reviews take priority.
Advice for Indie Authors?
I don't consider myself an expert on the process of being an Indie author, but I support all Indie Authors. Years ago, being self-published had a reputation for being unprofessional or not really part of the writing community. Now, while there are still some writers who write poorly, and celebrities are getting book deals based on celebrity and not writing ability, there are wonderful and amazing writers who are self published.
If you're a writer, you know it. If you doubt it, ask yourself why you doubt it. First write for yourself, and then update it to make it for others. Not everyone will like your work. Just because you wrote something, doesn't mean someone will read it. But, just so you know, I will read it. I'll give advice, write a review, and even offer editing or proofreading services or just some advice on how to create a brand for yourself.
I have two brands. Amy's Bookshelf Reviews and Author Amy Shannon.
Ever have any questions, just email me. email@example.com
Do you have to purchase a book on a site to post a review?
Not all sites that Amy's Bookshelf Reviews post on are sites that sell books. If a book is listed on a site, such as Goodreads or BookBub, I will post my review there. Some sites may list a book but do not have areas for reviews.
For Amazon.com, a book does NOT have to be purchased from the site in order to post a review. Amazon refers to non-purchased books as "unverified" reviews, but allows these to be posted up to 5 days. However, they require reviewers to spend at least 50 dollars on their site prior to posting reviews. International Amazon sites have changed their policy and also require the 50 dollar purchase on their site before posting reviews, but they only allow those who reside in that country or where that site is the main buying site to purchase books. Amy's Bookshelf Reviews can no longer post reviews there. Audible.com does not require a purchase to post a review, as it is connected to Amazon. However, buying an audiobook is NOT listed as a verified purchase on Amazon.com.
Barnes and Noble and Kobo sites do not require a purchase to post a review.
Smashwords does require a purchase in order to post a review. If the book is listed as FREE, I will also "purchase" the book and leave a review. If the author wants me to leave a review, they can provide a coupon code for a FREE purchase and I will leave a review there as well.
I only purchase books on sites to comply with their policies and if I have enough funds in my "donation" account. Authors that have FREE or discounted promotions on any site, can let me know, so I can plan on purchasing their work. I make purchases in order of the titles, unelss there is a promotion.
Amy 's Bookshelf Reviews will NEVER share or sell the books that are provided to this blog for reading and review purposes. In some cases, lines may be "quoted" in the review. All files provided to Amy's Bookshelf Reviews are confidential and kept in a digital and encrypted file and will not be shared with any one for any reason. Any information that is asked to NOT be revealed is kept secret (such as real names of authors) as this site only uses the PEN NAMES for the authors (only is it the real name if the author intends to use their real name on their titles). Any questions or comments regarding this policy can be directed to Amy Shannon, owner of the Amy's Bookshelf Review Blog.
If you have any questions or comments or are unsure about which form to fill out, and want to contact me directly, you may use this form. I will respond to your email within 72 hours of receipt. This form is not for a direct book review request, but if you have a special request or make some other comments or information, please use this form. Do not send URLs or use ALL caps in any of the fields. Thank you.