2- “Review Copy” Policy

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Note: The Mad Tea Party illustration at the top of this page was created by
Helen Oxenbury and comes from her illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published by Candlewick Press. Thanks to the publisher for permission to use this illustration. All rights reserved. The official copyright statement is at the bottom of this page.

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I feel it is important to state my policy on accepting “review copies.” When reading a title I think I may want to post about here at the site, it’s great to have my own copy and to avoid long hold lists at the library. However, it’s important to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Therefore, I am going to wear my ethics on my sleeves.

But first, here’s an important note, which will save you and me time: For a few years now I have been focused primarily on picture books and contemporary illustration at this site, though in the past I wrote about novels. I get a lot of emails daily from publishers or publicists or book-creators, asking me to look at their books, and it’s very hard to keep up. (And I mean a lot of emails — please give me months … er, weeks to get back to you, as my family, work-that-pays, and my life in general come before blogging.) All that’s to say that, if you email me about something that does not involve illustration, I will most likely (and quite simply) not have the time to get back to you. I mean, I’m a big fan of courtesy, but it’s hard enough to keep up with my email. For my sanity’s sake, it’s best for me to just ignore those emails altogether. Please only ask about books that are picture books or illustrated novels of some sort.

My policy on “review copies” is listed below. (I keep putting that in quotes, as I don’t consider myself a “reviewer” here at 7-Imp, but let’s not waste time on that … the whole discussion on bloggers and reviewing, honestly, makes my head simultaneously swim and throb.)

  • If a publisher, author, or illustrator sends me a book, galley, or F&G that I did not actively solicit, I absolutely do not guarantee a post about that book. That’s because I’m in this for fun. I have no boss. I have no obligations — except to myself.
  • If I have an arrangement with a publisher in which I solicit titles from catalogs that I think are a good match for a post here, I will give those books my attention above others (for a potential post, though not a guaranteed one), since they are titles I specifically requested.
  • There perhaps may come a time when I actively solicit review copies of upcoming titles from publishers who have not contacted me. I would likely do this when I am really excited about a title and because it is the type of title I tend to post about here. I certainly do not expect to get what I ask for at all times; publishers should feel free to tell me to go away. If I am really excited about a soon-to-be-published title, I will eventually find it at the library anyway. Essentially, getting an advanced copy from a publisher only affects when I am able to post about it.
  • I’ve heard rumors in the past of publishers offering bounties for good reviews. Writing about the books I like and conducting interviews is something I enjoy. If you are a journal or magazine in the field and want to pay me to review/talk about books/wax whatever, great. I won’t, however, be paid by publishers (or anyone else) for a specific opinion. No exceptions.
  • I’m not comfortable generating buzz for an unpublished manuscript. If it’s not something the general public is going to be able to buy in the near future, I am not as likely to post about it. However—and this is a big “however”—I make exceptions in my Sunday posts, during which I often feature the artwork of students or soon-to-be-published illustrators. Sometimes I also will post the unpublished work of an illustrator in, say, an interview.

Bottom line: I do this because I enjoy it. My thoughts on a book will be the same whether the book comes from the publisher, the bookstore, the library, the author him or herself, or a long-forgotten, dusty, cobwebbed corner of a shelf in a used-books store.

Note: At this time, I do not review e-book versions of books. A gal’s gotta focus.

To contact me, email “seventhings *at* blaine *dot* org” . . .

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Illustration from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Illustrations © 2003 by Helen Oxenbury. Published by Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.