Review Policy Change

I have recently made changes to Odd Engine’s review policy.

In short, there are two key changes:

  • I now will accept self-pubbed submissions, but I plan on being discriminatory with regards to which ones I actually read.
  • I am no longer going to be rating books on a 1-5 star scale. 5-star books will be represented as a “starred review,” similar to what is seen at Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly for exceptional works.

Further explanation can be found below and on the “Review Policy” page.

Do you review self-published books? Yes, but I will be more discriminate. Other than Hugh Howey’s Wool series, I have avoided reviewing self-published novels in the first year of this blog. This was partly out of fear — fear that an author would contact me directly, send me their baby, and that I would dislike it and feel obligated to write an honest review. I am no longer plastering a 1-5 star rating on my reviews, thus removing the label, “this book sucks,” whenever it falls short of the rest of the population. Furthermore, I am finding some of the less popular titles get a lot more traction on this blog. Nobody is going to come here to find a review of George R. R. Martin’s latest book, but up and coming authors may appreciate some publicity and direct their fans and friends to read a review on their work.

For self-published works, please inquire using the form below. I am most interested in books that are unique from the traditionally-published works. Maybe it’s a novella (too short for typical publishers) or maybe the form or subject deviates from typical novels. I am most interested in stand-alone, thought-provoking stories. I am least interested in book series, particularly self-published epic fantasies.

What type of reviews do you write? My reviews are completely subjective. I try to be positive about the reviews, but honest in where I think the strengths and weaknesses lie. A blog of all positive reviews does nothing for the reader in search of new books and destructive reviews only come at the expense of the author and publisher with little benefit to anyone else.

As of May 16, 2013, I will no longer be rating books on a scale of 1-5 stars. I have found this method to be too arbitrary for my taste. The impression one has between a 3-star and 4-star book is monumental, yet I often find myself waffling between the two as if there is little distinction.

Furthermore, I am finding that my reviews are often focused on justifying the rating with lists of pros and cons rather than just writing a review with a viewpoint. If someone wants a book rating, they are much better served browsing Amazon or Goodreads.

What I still plan on doing is having starred reviews (like Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews) to highlight exceptional works. I estimate this will denote the top 20% of the books I read.

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