Book Review Code of Conduct
Most of the books reviewed by Lisa Hill on this blog are either from my own extensive collection, from a library or a gift or loan from a friend, but since late 2009 I have also reviewed titles received courtesy of publishers. Any books submitted to me for review after 7.9.09 declare the source, usually at the bottom of the page.
I use the word ‘review’ loosely. I’m not a professional critic or journalist, and I’m not being paid to write anything on this blog. I’m a teacher with a long-ago degree in English and a lifetime of reading literary fiction and the classics behind me. This blog is my claim to a small patch of cyberspace – somewhere between academic analysis and gee-i-loved-this-book gushing – so that I can share my journeys through books with as many people who care to read my blog.
What I write is my honest response. I appreciate that authors work hard at their books, and I aim to be fair and objective but if I don’t like a book or consider it unworthy of my time as a reader with a huge TBR, I say so. If I really dislike a book, I try to find a more positive review somewhere online and post a link to it, with a recommendation that readers should make up their own minds. The exception to this is if I think the book is so woeful that it doesn’t deserve it. (Max Cairnduff of Pechorin’s Journal has written much that I agree with about this issue). I try to be mindful of the pitfalls identified by Angela Bennie in Creme de la Phlegm, especially regarding my own limitations.
I am open to receiving books for review on the following basis.
- Books will only be accepted for review if they are the sort of book I would normally buy or borrow from the library. I no longer review uncorrected proof copies because I like to be able to quote excerpts to showcase the author’s style, to comment on the cover design and to review the book in its final form, as it will be read by other readers. I don’t review eBooks or netGalley versions. (This is underlined and in bold because so many people ignore it!)
- I do not do blog tours, blog hops, or variations of same under any circumstances.
- Books sent for review will have to jostle for priority on the TBR along with everything else. I try to read review copies within 2-3 months but it doesn’t always happen.
- The source of any books sent to me for review will be acknowledged.
- I reserve the right to donate unsolicited books that I don’t want to read, or books I start but can’t bear to finish to the Op Shop, or as Giveaways on the blog.
This blog is currently garnering about 10000+ hits per month and passed the 750,000 hits milestone in June 2016. Publishers may contact me regarding book reviews at ANZ LitLovers by emailing anzlitloversatbigponddotcom. There is useful advice for authors or publishers wishing to pitch their books to bloggers at Leeswammes’ Blog. Simon Savidge also has some useful suggestions, especially the one about not clogging up bloggers inboxes with pdf.s of your book.
My interests can be seen by browsing the genres I’ve reviewed:
- Australian and New Zealand literary fiction, contemporary and classic
- International Literary Fiction, including books in translation (especially Asian).
- New translations and editions of classic literature, ancient and modern
- Biography and autobiography (no celebrities or sporting heroes, please!)
- Australian and New Zealand history
- Occasional foodie books
- Occasional books about art & artists, and classical music and musicians.
I’d like to read more New Zealand titles than I do: it’s surprisingly difficult to find out about new releases from across the Tasman and I welcome contact from New Zealand publishers and their publicists.
I read poetry, but I don’t review it. If you want to know why I’m not confident about reviewing poetry, you only need to read Ben Etherington’s essay about Australian poetry reviewing. Who would dare, eh?
I don’t usually read, and therefore have no interest in reviewing:
- Science Fiction, Dystopias, Fantasy, Paranormal & Speculative Fiction
- Self-help books
- Short stories (Novellas of 100+ pages are ok)
- Romance and ChickLit
- True Crime
- Family histories
- Weepy or sentimental memoirs and memoirs of motherhood, pregnancy or having horrible diseases
- True Adventure stories
- Crime or Detective Fiction/Suspense/Mystery/Thrillers
- Anything reliant on popular culture and especially not about sport
- Young adult fiction
- So-called Women’s Fiction
- Doorstoppers, airport novels, or anything with big gold lettering on the cover)
- (So-called) erotica
- Self published books* (This is a decision that I have come to out of respect for the work that editors do, and if you think you are the exception that will change my mind about this, read this first. Carefully.)
* Please note that authors who send requests that I review their book without disclosing that it’s self-published will not receive a reply.
* Please also note that I’m getting a bit tired of spending my time writing polite replies to people who obviously haven’t bothered to read any of the above. So, depending on how (un)forgiving I’m feeling, you might not get a reply either.
Update 28.5.14: Transparency statement
As of May, the only Affiliate program I belong to is Fishpond. This means that I get a small commission if viewers click on the Fishpond logo in the RHS menu or one of the links to a specific title and subsequently buy a book from them. I am supporting this venture because they stock Australian and New Zealand titles in both local and international editions, and they deliver within Australia for free. I support them in the same way that I support the other booksellers listed, because they give good, prompt and reliable service. The small commission, if it ever amounts to anything, may help to pay for my bookbuying habit, but it won’t influence my opinion of a book. The links also provide a convenient summary of the book at the Fishpond website.
- Language and Manners: This blog is ‘family friendly’ and ‘conversation friendly’. I welcome intelligent debate, lively disagreements, respectful disputes and corrections of fact regarding blog content & comments. I delete insults, bad language, rudeness, racism or personal attacks on me, on authors or on other contributors. I blog for pleasure, not to provide a forum for people to be unpleasant to me or anyone else.
- Style: This is a general blog for intelligent readers of literary fiction; it’s not a place for extensive academic debate. Please be guided by the tone of the blog post and the comments of other contributors.
- Authenticity & trust: Commenters supplying phony email addresses will be deleted and/or blocked. I prefer contributors to provide a first name rather than an anonymous moniker; it feels friendlier. I reserve the right to shut down comments if I think that the post is being hijacked by publicity or marketing interests, or if I think the book is exploitative or morally repugnant. WordPress’s Akismet automatically deletes spam.
- Limit Links: Comments with more than one URL link will usually be deleted. I don’t want to spend my time checking that such URLs are legitimate, ‘family friendly’ and relevant. That said, if you quote content from elsewhere, please acknowledge its source.
- Images: I delete images (in order to maintain control of download speeds for readers with low bandwidth).
- Hold Harmless: All comments within this blog are the responsibility of the commenter, not the blog owner, administrator, contributor, editor, or author. By submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that the comment content is your own, and you agree to hold this site, ANZ LitLovers and its owner and other contributors harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.