Review Policy for Jenna Rideout / Westveil Publishing
Hey there! My name is Jenna Rideout and you may know me from my extensive catalogue of reviews on this blog and other sites, or from my YouTube channel, Jenna Gets Creative. I decided in May 2020 that I will review absolutely everything I read that isn’t my toddler’s board books, and at the very least those reviews will go up on Goodreads. Most favourable reviews will also end up here on the blog, and many will be cross-posted to retailers such as Amazon (CA), Chapters Indigo, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Some may even make it onto the YouTube channel!
If you’re interested in requesting a review, continue reading and then contact me!
I am usually open to receiving unsolicited requests for reviews in exchange for a free copy of your book, regardless of whether or not you plan to tip afterward. Please understand that I am usually already quite booked with tour reviews, ARCs received through publishers, and other paid and unpaid private requests, so I may not have time for your book right when you request it. If I don’t have time to review, I may offer to promo it on the blog on a date of your choosing.
If I accept your book for an unpaid courtesy review and I get at least 10% into it, regardless of whether or not I finish it (I try not to DNF before 20%,) I will post my review to Goodreads. Please remember that I will post an honest review and a low rating is possible. I try not to accept books that don’t sound like something I’ll enjoy, but of course that’s guess work. If we agreed on a review date for the blog I may post a promo instead if I didn’t rate your book at least 3 stars, but ultimately whether or not I share the review anywhere other than Goodreads is entirely my choice.
Rate: $15 CAD per roughly 50k words (up to 60k is $15, 61k-110k is $30, etc.)
If you are willing to pay up-front for a review, this changes the above policy in the following ways:
– Whether or not I convert to a promo post below 3 stars is entirely your choice.
– I will not DNF your book, no matter what. If I do then it is a cancellation of a contract and you will receive a full refund of the paid review fee (but not the shipping cost or value of the book.)
– I am much more likely to accept your review request and fit it into the schedule as soon as possible / when you want the review to come out.
– I will cross-post my review wherever you wish as long as I am eligible to post there.
Paying for a review does not guarantee a positive review! It will still be an honest review, you’re just incentivizing me to get it done and influencing how I share it after.
Genres & Formats Accepted
I accept physical books mailed directly to me (address provided privately) or force-gifted through my Amazon wish list (ask me how!) I accept ebooks through email, NetGalley/Edelweiss+ widgets, and third-party distribution services such as Book Funnel. These should be .mobi, .epub, or .pdf files (not your printing PDF with margin markers) and not Kindle locked files so that I have the freedom to read on whatever device is convenient to me in the moment. I accept audiobooks on Audible, audiobooks.com, Book Funnel, and any other audiobook distribution site with the option to listen through a browser (doesn’t require downloading yet another mobile app) with fast playback options up to 2x or faster. Please do not send me word documents, downloadable audio files, or loose leaf/coil bond printouts of your manuscript for review.
Novels, Novellas & Anthologies
If it’s intended for an adult, YA or middle grade audience and the total file length is at least 10k words, I will consider:
– Science Fiction & Fantasy, including magical realism and LitRPG, excluding military sci-fi
– Historical Fiction, especially if it has fantasy elements, excluding classic westerns
– General & Contemporary Fiction from #OwnVoices diverse and LGBTQIA+ authors or featuring LGBTQIA+ themes
– Clean/Sweet LGBTQIA+ romance, particularly in the YA category
– Cozy Mystery
– Gothic Horror
Romantic subplots in other genres are welcome! I may also consider books that don’t technically fit the above bullet points if they heavily feature magical realism or time travel, or feature contemporary #OwnVoices stories.
I do not accept primarily romance genre books other than the very specific exception above and I especially do not accept erotic romance. I will not accept/finish reading anything with excessive explicit scenes, detailed rape, glorification of rape, or any pro-racist/discrimination themes and values.
I am not currently interested in reviewing non-fiction, poetry, individual short fiction/novelettes, Christian/religious fiction, thriller/suspense, or other genres not mentioned.
I am open to reviewing picture books (under 50 pages) of any genre that does not violate my “will not finish” conditions above. I am open to reviewing young reader & low middle grade chapter books of the above outlined genres plus anything to do with horses or Canadian local interest.
How I Review Books
I stick to a 5-star rating system congruent with Goodreads, Amazon, etc., and I am willing to post reviews to any additional retailer sites as requested by the book sender, so long as a Canadian who has not necessarily made a recent purchase there can post a review.
My reviews are always honest and pertain only to the book itself, not the author or publisher. No amount of bribery will increase my rating if I do not believe the book deserves it. Nothing said in my review should be taken as judgement or an attack on the author or publisher, nor do I mean to offend any authors, publishers, or fans of books that I do not rate favourably.
If I do not finish (DNF) a book I was asked to review, I will still post a short DNF review on Goodreads for the benefit of potential readers. DNF reviews will be clearly denoted as such, and will outline how far I got and why I chose to stop reading. These reviews will be written tastefully and can still be as high as 2 stars. If the author/requestor asks me to stop reading or disregard before reading (this has happened once, the book was going back to the editor) I will honour this and not post a review of any sort. I do not post reviews based on beta reading as I expect the book has gone through edits since my read through.
I couldn’t put this book down! I absolutely loved it, and I want everyone else to read it too. Although it does not have to be flawless from a technical standpoint, it did not contain a distracting amount of problems.
A 4.5 may be awarded if it’s so close to a 5 but there’s a small problem that I feel compelled to highlight, or if I was genuinely undecided between 4 and 5 and the Goodreads average is closer to a 5. 4.5 may be rounded up or down for Goodreads and other sites that don’t allow half stars, and I’ll generally just pick the option that’s closest to the book’s current average on that individual site.
I enjoyed this book a lot, and I am likely to recommend it to the right audience. It isn’t a 5 because:
a) it didn’t truly grab me and make me turn the next 50 pages at any point,
b) the beginning was slow or otherwise had me thinking it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea (at least 20 pages / first two chapters), or
c) it has numerous or significant issues/errors that pulled me out of the experience.
Some tour companies require a 3.5 minimum, probably because most reviewers will then round this up to 4 on Goodreads, so this is the rating you will see on books I read for tours that I enjoyed but cannot sincerely rate a full 4 stars. I will round whichever way feels most appropriate to the individual book. See 3 stars below.
This book is good, and I will keep it in mind if asked for recommendations from the book’s target demographic. It wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, or it never really grabbed me at any point, and I do not expect to re-read it.
A book may be rated 2-stars for either of the following reasons:
a) While it wasn’t a bad book, it really, truly wasn’t my cup of tea and didn’t grip me at all, OR it is an already-published book that has an unedited draft quantity of technical errors and developmental issues throughout.
b) I DNF’d because it falls outside of my “willing to read” categories or contains one of my “will not continue reading” show-stopper issues, but I don’t believe it’s a bad book for what it is and who is meant to read it. This review will still include some positives and suggest an ideal reader.
I generally don’t award 2.5 stars. A book is a 2 (not something I’m going to recommend) or a 3 (something I’ll recommend selectively.)
1 is the lowest rating I can give on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and have the sites recognize that I am indeed giving it a rating. As such, this should be considered a 0. Either this book is entirely unreadable in my opinion, or it promotes unforgivable acts and ideologies such as racism or rape culture.
1.5 Represents a book that could have otherwise been a 2-3 but has a persistent racist, sexist or homophobic theme that I’m not sure was intentional or not. (As of June 2021 I have reviewed one book at 1.5 stars to date for what felt like a possibly unintended racist attitude throughout an otherwise mediocre historical fantasy that forgot women exist and would have been a 2.)
Sometimes I DNF with the intent to come back and give the book another try, and in this case I won’t rate the book but will probably leave a brief note in place of a review explaining what happened. For example, I eagerly awaited a library loan for the audiobook copy of Meet Cute Diary only to find I could not stand the narrator and had no hope of sitting through it for 7 hours. I left an unrated note explaining this, as it will be part of my review later on and I wanted to mark the dates of the reading attempt in my history. When I get back around to the eBook or print version, the mention of that initial DNF and reason will remain in the review.
If I haven’t left a review yet, you can assume one of three things has occurred:
1. I haven’t finished (or started) it yet. As of 2021 I try to set a “read by” date on everything I accept and commit to that, but I do unfortunately have a backlog of books accepted in 2020 that weren’t scheduled and fell through the cracks. I’m still going to read and review!
Alternatively, you’re jumping the gun and the date we set hasn’t come and gone yet.
2. I’ve read it (and recoded it as such on Goodreads) but still need to attach a review. I try to only leave leisure reads in this sort of limbo and not do this to requested reviews. For example, I’m in a Sanderson book club in 2021 and will rate all of the Mistborn books at once, referencing the group discussion, once we get through the 6th book.
3. It deserves a 1 or 2 but I’ve elected to pretend I didn’t see it. I’m doing you a favour. Pushing for the review to go out won’t make it a 3. Re-requesting the review as if we’ve never met will guarantee a 1 star that likely breaks my “I don’t comment negatively on the author in reviews” rule.