Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ch- Ch-Ch-Changes...

This blog will soon be going through some changes to how the reviewing system works. I am doing this to address some problems I'm running into since starting to manage the blog. 

Before I started blogging I usually read about 6-8 books a month and thought it would be no problem to split that number between indie books for the blog and my TBR books. I was wrong! I didn't take into account the extra time managing the blog and doing the reviews would suck up. I also get books to review occasionally from LibraryThing or Goodreads, and do judging for a couple of reader's choice contests (which I've had to cut down on). Now I'm lucky to get through 3-4 books and rarely do I touch a book from my TBR. I don't see this changing anytime soon with the current review system and my average reading speed. This is turning into a showstopper for me and I seriously considered passing the blog over to someone else. I don't really want to do that but I am not willing to give up my other books anymore.  My reading speed isn't going to change so the only other alternative is to work with that and revise my review system and blog focus. So here is how the new system will work:

  • I will not be doing a FIFO system anymore. When I receive a review request I will decide if it is something I am willing to review (no change there) but I will likely be pickier about this than in the past.
  • Instead of putting the book in a queue to be reviewed on a FIFO basis, the book will go into a pool of books for possible review. I will pick a book from this list each time I am ready to review. Books will be chosen mostly based on my reading interests and what I'm in the mood for at the time, but other factors may be considered. This is actually better for the author because I am reading something I want to read instead of something I have to read.
  • The key words here are "possible review". No book will be guaranteed a review or a time frame for the review. However, authors I have read and enjoyed previously can assume a review is likely and will probably get more priority. New-to-me authors will still be reviewed and I will be sure to include them in the rotation. As I do now for the FIFO queue, all the books will be shown on the site so the book gets a little PR while waiting. They will be on their own page instead of the sidebar.
  • I may choose to read a sample first before deciding on a book. If it turns out to be something that doesn’t grab me or seems to have a lot of issues, I’ll let the author know that it will not be reviewed and it will be removed from the review pool (but may be eligible for other blog features).
  • I will also be alternating the books I read between review books for the blog and books from my personal TBR, so however many reviews I get done for the month doing it this way will just be what it will be. I may decide to choose an indie title from my personal TBR, in which case, it may also get reviewed. The alternating book system will start immediately, but the book pool (trying to think of a better word for that) will start after the current FIFO queue is finished.

I will also be looking at possibly getting some guest reviewers and it will be much easier with the book pool as they can choose which book they want to review. This also means that anyone submitting a book for review understands and agrees that their book may be reviewed by someone else other than me and they are giving permission for me to send the reviewer a copy of the ebook. In the rare case of a print book, the author would send directly to the reviewer. An author can also request that only I review the book if they prefer but this may also increase the time it takes for the book to be reviewed. Another advantage to the book pool system is that I can take release dates into consideration when choosing a book so it gets reviewed closer to the day of release. Review requests that are not accepted for the review pool may be eligible for other blog features.

I will probably be focusing more on the promo end of the blog with the reviews being a smaller part (yes Virginia, it can be smaller than it already is...) and I invite any authors interested in doing any of the promotional features to contact me.

I realize some authors may not like this new system because it doesn't guarantee a review or time frame...sorry, but I work a full-time job so can only do this evenings and weekends. I don't get paid for it and I don't charge for any promotion I do on the blog. I have to do what will work for me and still be able to maintain the blog, do the reviews, keep it fun, and actually get to read some of my other books.  I'll try this for awhile and see how it goes. 

These are general guidelines and subject to change as I refine the system. If you have any questions, give me a holler at mishcara (at) gmail (dot) com. 

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If you are an indie author who would like to participate in one of the blog features (see the Blog Features page for more information), feel free to contact me.

If you are a reader (including bloggers) and would like to do an occasional guest review, please give me a holler too. I am interested in guest reviewers who read primarily paranormal fiction and who currently read , enjoy, and review indie ebooks.


  1. Hi Michelle:
    I think your new changes are great. I'm an Indie writer who's been following your blog almost since you started it. You should be able to review what, when, and how you want. In fact, your new system seems like it gives writers even more chances of securing honest reviews from you. Instead of waiting for a slot in your calendar to come open, the books that are the best fit for your tastes, your site, and your readers will take precedence over those that might not appeal to you as much. It seems like a win-win situation to me. Your blog will always be one of my favorites because it was the first one I found that was as excited about Indie books as I was. Thanks for all you do!

  2. Vicki, thank you so much for your comments. That really means a lot to me. Really, really a lot :)

    I haz appreshiashun (she says in her best lolcat voice)

  3. It's your blog, just do what makes you happy!

    Of course, you should make room in your schedule to review the Jenny Pox sequel sometime around April-June. But I'm only thinking of *your* happiness. :)

    Seriously, I think you're doing an amazing job with the blog & I appreciate you supporting indie authors!

  4. Hey Jeff, thanks for that. You are too funny :) I'd love to get my hand on...oops, I mean I'd love to review the jenny sequel! :D

  5. I adore your blog (and your reviews), and you should absolutely read what you want when you want. Not only will it make you happy, but if you're stressed about reviewing then you don't enjoy the books and... not enjoy books? Crazy! A happy reviewer makes for better reviews and that's a win for everyone. I think you are wonderful for focusing on indie books, and the changes, I believe, will only make for a better blog (and blogger).

  6. Thanks so much Kara, and I are for enjoying, not stressing!


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