Q. How do I order a review?
A. Go to our How it Works page to learn how to order a BlueInk review in four easy steps. If you are ready to get started on your order, click Purchase, and follow the clear instructions. You’ll be able to pay by credit card and can choose whether you’ll mail BlueInk your physical book or upload a PDF of your ebook.
Q. What kind of books do you accept for review?
A. BlueInk accepts any book on any subject* from both traditionally published and independently published authors. We also review ebooks, print-on-demand books, graphic novels, printed books in any format, English translations and English-language submissions from outside the United States, as well as galleys.
Q. Why should I have to pay for a review? Don’t some companies and newspapers review books for free? And what about the reviews I can get online from regular readers and bloggers?
A. It’s a brave new world. Where once authors could reasonably expect editors at newspapers and magazines to consider their books for review on their book pages, those pages are quickly disappearing. Even top books released by mainstream publishers hit a wall these days when seeking professional book reviews. And bloggers are inundated with hundreds of titles.
Crowdsourced reviews are valuable, but librarians, booksellers and many readers simply don’t take them seriously. Too often, they are written by friends and relatives of the author—or even enemies. We believe that a credible review from a trusted source holds much more marketing weight than a crowdsourced review. We think our reviewers’ professionalism and knowledge is worth paying for, and that there is a significant and substantive difference between the work of a professional who has spent years of his or her life in the book industry and a casual reviewer. That’s why we pay our reviewers – and why we hope you’ll feel comfortable paying us.
Q. How do I get my book to you?
A. After you place your order, we ask that you mail us two copies of your book. You’ll be given instructions at checkout. Regarding digital books, many of our reviewers prefer to read print. For this reason, we charge a $19.95 service fee so that we can print your book out for our reviewers.
Q. What happens if I don’t get a receipt when I order my book? Or if I send you my book but don’t hear back? How do I know you’ve received it?
A. We send an email confirmation after an order has been completed. We also send an email notice when we receive the book. If you haven’t received notification of each step (leaving enough time for the book to arrive based on how you sent it), make sure to write us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond promptly and determine where the problem has originated.
Q. When does the clock start for my book review?
A. The clock starts when we receive your book, not from the time you place your order.
Q. Why do you need two copies of my book?
A. We send one copy to the reviewer, and our in-house Reviews Editor needs an extra copy for fact-checking.
Q. Am I guaranteed a review after I submit my books and payment?
A. Yes, as long as it meets the guidelines outlined above.
Q. Will you guarantee that my review is positive, since I am paying for it?
A. Sorry, but no. All reviews will be completely honest and unbiased.
Q. Who will review my book?
A. All our reviewers are fully vetted and highly qualified, meaning they have written for major mainstream publications or notable websites, worked as editors for respected publishing companies or have demonstrated expertise in the subject matter of the book. For more details on how reviewers approach their task, take a look at our Reviewer Guidelines. You can also read bios of our Reviewers.
Q. Why are your individual reviews written anonymously?
A. We believe that the value of each review rests on the weight of the company’s reputation, rather than on the name of any individual reviewer. While we rely on a wonderful staff of highly qualified reviewers, we also have many safeguards for quality built into the larger process. All reviews are vetted by editors for fairness, consistency in tone and other factors, making the review a company “product,” rather than the sole work of an individual writer.
In addition, our policy of reviewer anonymity protects our critics from the wrath of angry authors or the accolades of happy ones. Thus, it further ensures the integrity of the review, as the nature of the book review cannot hurt or help a reviewer’s career.
Q. Can I choose my reviewer?
A. Sorry, no. Our reviewers will have no contact with the authors of the books they review. In fact, our authors will never know which specific reviewer has been assigned to critique their books. However, each book is carefully matched—by a person, not an algorithm—to its reviewer.
Q. Can I resubmit my book for a second review?
A. No again–it just wouldn’t be fair. How could we choose which review to run? You can always opt out of running your review on our website if you don’t like it.
Q. But what if the reviewer really missed the boat?
A. We are all human, and we won’t always get it right. If there are substantive factual errors, please write us at email@example.com. We will correct any errors and, if warranted, pull the review and re-assign it.
Q. How long will my review be?
A. None of our reviews will be shorter than 250 words and most will be between 250-300 words. We have opted for brevity, provided insight and accuracy are preserved, as our web audience is likely to include many busy professionals whose time is limited.
Q. How long will my review run on your website?
A. All reviews are archived on our website for a minimum of five years and will be easily searchable.
Q. Why do the reviews take so long to complete? Even 4 to 6 weeks seems like a long time to wait for a book review.
A. We need the time to assign the book reviewer, allow for the book to be read and reviewed, and to edit the book review. This often means communicating back and forth with the reviewer, which can be a time-consuming process.
Q. What do I get if my book earns a Starred review?
A. Starred Reviews indicate that your book is exceptional. All authors who receive a Starred Review are eligible to purchase our attractive gold seal to place on their book covers. In addition, all Starred reviews will be listed under the “Notable Books” category in our search options. This allows readers and industry professionals to find the best books on our site with the click of a button. We also promote a selection of Starred reviews in our newsletter and on social media.
Q. Where will my review be posted?
A. All reviews are posted on our website, as well as on Ingram’s databases. (Ingram is a large distributor whose databases are accessed by 70,000 librarians and booksellers.) Children’s books are also syndicated to CLCD (Children’s Literataure Comprehensive Database). All reviews are eligible to be posted in the Editorial Review sections of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which indicates that they are written by professional critics, rather than random readers.
Reviews of select titles also run in Booklist magazine (self-published titles only), a respected review publication that is read by 60,000 librarians to make book-buying decisions; in our newsletter; on social media; and on Goodreads, a website with 75 million members.
We are continually working to expand our reach.
Q: What is the “Author Platform” you have listed in Features & Services?
A: Publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians like to know if a book has special advantages in terms of attracting reader interest. If a book has already sold hundreds of copies, for example, this is a good indication that the book has potential for widespread appeal. An author’s background can also be an indicator of a book’s potential for success. (If the author is a popular speaker, has won significant writing awards or important endorsements, or has attended prestigious writing workshops, for instance, he is more likely to have the credibility that attracts readers.)
Because this information is important to industry professionals, we offer the opportunity for authors to list these advantages in a line at the bottom of their review. An author might write, for example, “Sold 5,000 copies in 10 months. Houston Chronicle bestseller and Indie Excellence Book Award winner.”
BlueInk reserves the right to refuse an “Author Platform” line to those whose achievements don’t rise to the appropriate level of significance.
Q. Do you provide any follow-up after my review has run?
A. We’re not a closed door, we’re part of the conversation. We hope authors will continue to let us know as good things happen with their books, especially as a result of their review. If you have big news to share (for example, if your book got picked up by a major distributor, you sold movie rights or hit a bestseller list), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll consider writing about it on our site.