BlueInk aims for transparency in all its systems. To that end, we offer below a detailed look at how we operate.
How We Find Reviewers
All our reviewers are fully vetted and highly qualified, meaning they have written for major publications, worked as editors for respected publishing companies or have demonstrated expertise in the subject matter of the book. To find these reviewers, we have drawn on a large network of people cultivated by our many years of experience in the industry.
As our mandate includes finding reviewers with specific expertise in the subject matter of the books reviewed, we realize that our roster requires constant updating. When a book is submitted out of the range of interests of our current reviewers, we look at rosters of special interest magazines, call on staffs at universities and on experienced librarians for guidance. Click to see a list of our Reviewers.
Reviewers are asked to complete a form indicating their areas of interest and expertise. All reviewers are also asked to sign an agreement with BlueInk in which they agree to read books in their entirety, to write objectively and to inform BlueInk of any potential conflicts of interest. Click to see our Reviewer Guidelines. All our reviewers are independent contractors, and the reviews they write are owned by BlueInk, which in turn licenses them to our customers to use in all their promotional material.
Awarding of Accolades
Reviewers have the opportunity to award a Star to those books they believe are standouts within a given category, titles they feel are of the highest quality and especially worthy of reader attention. The following are the written criterion we give to all reviewers, regarding the awarding of a star to a review:
- If the book is a genre novel, it demonstrates an awareness of all conventions of the genre, including length and tone, setting, level of violence (mysteries) or titillation (romance), plot points and characterization. (The novel doesn’t have to adhere to all conventions. If reviewers sees a strong, knowledgeable hand guiding the choices made to expand or break through convention, they will note this.)
- In nonfiction, the prose is engaging, the information deep and well-researched and the organization clear and well-thought-out.
- In any novel, the world is fully realized and all that happens is appropriate and believable within that world.
- In any book, the writing is appropriate for the intended audience.
- In any book, the writing is compelling and fresh, demonstrating a keen understanding and intent.
- Most importantly, the book excels at the specific objective the author is attempting to reach. Is the humor book funny? Funnier than most? Does the literary novel transport the reader? Does the self-help book inspire?
BlueInk Best Book:
The books for which our reviewers have awarded stars will be reviewed a second time to determine whether they also will be named a BlueInk Best Book. We assess Starred books as objectively as possible within a very subjective world, bringing to our decisions the values of the traditional publishing world in which we have extensive experience.
Factors may include:
- The amount of competition for the subject matter on bookshelves. If the reading world is already saturated with similar titles, for example, we may defer from giving the book our BlueInk Best Book designation.
- The audience for the book. Is it large enough for the book to merit widespread attention?
- The freshness of the writer’s style.
- Our collective passion for the title. While, as previously stated, we aim to analyze all factors as objectively as possible, we also recognize that publishing is an inherently subjective endeavor and that passion can, and sometimes should, trump practicality.
Review Posting Process
Reviews follow these steps before posting to our site:
- Once the book is received at BlueInk, it is matched with an experienced reviewer who has a proven expertise in the genre or subject matter. The critic is asked to write the review within a strict timeframe.
- The review is carefully edited for objectivity and quality and is copyedited. We follow up with the reviewer if we have queries on the review.
- The review is formatted as a PDF and emailed to the author, at which point the author has several options: Authors can do nothing, in which case in 14 days the review will be featured on our website and will ultimately become a part of our searchable archives for a minimum of five years; authors can opt out of running the review on the BlueInk site.
Customer Notifications and Contacts
Customers are notified by email when:
- Reviews are purchased.
- PDFs are successfully uploaded or books are received.
- Reviews are completed (review accompanies notification).
- Their book is awarded a “Star” (notification occurs at the same time that customers are alerted about their completed reviews).
- Book is awarded a “BlueInk Best Book.”
In addition to our site and company promotion, which includes aggressive social media, search engine marketing, and attendance at appropriate conferences and conventions, BlueInk:
- Markets individual reviews to both industry professionals and readers.
- Emails reviews of Starred titles and winners of the BlueInk Best Book Award to librarians, booksellers, agents, publishers and readers who opt in to our newsletter nationwide.
- Syndicates reviews to Ingram’s iPage and Oasis databases (seen by 70,000 librarians and booksellers). It also disseminates reviews to Publishing Perspectives (a popular website accessed by global publishing insiders); idreambooks (an aggregator of reviews for self-published books); and the Douglas County (CO) Library System.
- Posts selected titles on its app that recommends titles to readers.
Please email us at info@blueinkreview with any errors or concerns. We will correct all factual errors at our discretion after a thorough review.