We don’t need no stinkin’ policies!
Our process for review is simple:
- We browse through the publishers’ online catalogs.
- We choose a few books we like.
- We brag about our finds to each other. (Some possible browbeating may occur if T or B is not interested in the other’s find. Name-calling and hair pulling may ensue.)
- We purchase the books.
- We choose the order the new purchases will be read and reviewed in.
- We read them.
- We discuss them.
- We write our reviews.
- We post them.
Simple, yes? What do we look for when reviewing? We don’t have written out guidelines or a yes/no answer sheet. We look at each book on its own terms and the author as an individual. Bottom often looks up author websites to get an understanding of where they may be coming from when they write, and discusses it with Top. We take into account if the author was trying something new or the writing style is typical for him or her. But we don’t just review academically. We also look at it as readers. When we discuss the book, we talk about what we would have wanted to know about the book before we purchased it. We try to answer the big questions: Will the average reader enjoy this? If not, what type of reader would enjoy and appreciate it? Is it pleasant to read? Engaging? And ultimately: is it worth buying?
Do we publish negative reviews? Yes. Of course. What would be the point of being a reviewer if all we did was tell the reader, “Yep, another good one”? We would need to change our name to Top & Bottom Book Showcase. Just as we give reasons for liking a book, we will always give reasons for disliking a book. Always. This gives the reader the ability to decide if our dislike can predict theirs. Another advantage of posting a negative review? Exposure. Even a negatively reviewed book benefits from being pulled up and advertised to potential readers. (We have been known to so thoroughly hate a book that we never speak of it. Ever.)
**T&B no longer accepts review submissions.**
If you are an author and would like T&B to take a crack at your book, email us with a request. We’ll let you know if we’re interested and if we have the time to do it. Please note if it is a soon-to-be or newly released book. Also, please know that T&B review M/M books only. No het. No threesomes with a woman. If you do not have an ARC available, you are still welcome to point out your book to us, complete with synopsis, and we will see if we are interested enough to buy it. Being cheap, we have to admit to being more inclined to agree to ARCs. If you submit an ARC of your book, you are aware and agree that we will give an honest review of your work. If you are not comfortable with the possibility of receiving a negative or semi-negative review, don’t submit to us.
If your book is reviewed and you want to use all or part of it on your website or what-have-you, please do. We love ourselves too much to keep people from sharing us. As long as it’s your or your publishing company’s book, go for it. And linking to us is always appreciated and encouraged.