We're looking for strong reviews of books by, for, and about women, author-published or published by small, independent, or university presses. (No, you do not have to be a member of the Story Circle Network to submit a book review.) We prefer reviews of books published within the last two years. We prefer reviews of tradepaper or hardcover or books; only rarely do we publish reviews of mass market (paperback) genre fiction. We do review digitally published books, but the book must also be available in print.
If you wish to submit a review of a book outside our guidelines, please first contact an editor for approval (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All reviews must be submitted via our online book review submission form. Only automated submissions will be considered.
If we have not previously published your reviews, or if you are a former or inactive reviewer and wish to review for us again:
- You must query us with the title and the Amazon link to the book you propose to review. Email your query to email@example.com. With the query, please send a brief bio. (For sample bios, see our Review Team.)
- We review books by/for/about women. For a list of our categories, see the Category Index. Please be sure that the book is currently in print and is offered for sale by Amazon.com. Send us the Amazon link with your query.
- We are more interested in women's memoir, biographies, non-fiction, and serious fiction. We are selective about the genre fiction (mysteries, paranormal, romance, and chick lit) we review. We prefer to publish reviews of books published within the last two years, as well as reviews of the classics, but we will consider other submissions.
- Before you submit, read "General Requirements" and "Review Guidelines" below.
- We accept new reviewers to our team on a three-review probationary basis. We work with each new reviewer to help her develop her first submission so that it is editorially acceptable. If a second submission requires extensive editorial work, we will send it back to her for revision. If we must return a third submission for substantial revision, we will regretfully not accept her to the team.
- When we have accepted your first review for publication, we will add you to our review team (as a provisional member) and begin sending you email notices of books we are offering for review. Once we have accepted three reviews, you will become a permanent member of our team.
- If you live outside the territorial U.S., please know that, while we are glad to have international reviewers, we cannot mail you books for review. Our site is supported as a public service by a nonprofit organization, and the cost of international postage is prohibitive. You may, however, submit reviews of suitable books that you obtain locally, from your library or bookstore.
General Requirements for all Reviews
- Length. Please keep your review to about 500-600 words, unless the book is so significant and what you have to say is so important to its understanding that you require a greater length. We may edit your review for length, clarity, or style, or return it to you with suggestions for revision. Proofread your work, please. We will return reviews that require substantial editing. We may also change the categories to which you have assigned the book.
- Submission. Submit all reviews via our easy-to-use online book review submission form. (Only automated submissions will be accepted.)
- Rights. When you submit a review to us, you are giving us first-time rights to publish it on our website. You retain the copyright to your work and are free to publish it elsewhere after it has appeared on our site, with this credit: This review was originally published at StoryCircleBookReviews, and a link back to the SCBR page on which your review appeared. If you wish to submit a review that has appeared elsewhere, or if you have questions about exceptions to this policy, please contact the editors.
- Posting your review elsewhere. If we sent you the book, your review should first appear on our website. After we have notified the book's provider of the review posting, you may post elsewhere, with appropriate credit.
- Amazon and Goodreads posting. We post your review on Amazon and Goodreads unless you tell us not to, on the submission form. If there are already 10 or more reviews of the book already posted on Amazon, or for other editorial reasons, we may choose not to post yours.
- SCN Journal publication. If you are a Story Circle member, you are also giving us one-time, non-exclusive rights to print your review in the Story Circle Journal. (Shorter reviews are usually chosen for the Journal.)
- Guest reviewer. If you are a guest reviewer (if we have published 1-4 reviews in the past 12 months), please query us before submitting a review of a book that we have not sent to you. We do not accept reviewer-initiated reviews of self-published books unless we have first seen a hard copy of the book and are assured of its production qualities. Remember that a book must appear on Amazon to be reviewed on our site.
- Contacting the author. You are asked NOT to contact the author before you write the review, while you are writing the review, or after your review is posted. This can result in an uncomfortable and perhaps unpleasant exchange should your review include any uncomplimentary comments. If you must seek additional information from the author in order to write your review, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Should a reviewer-author connection develop at some time after the review is posted, please be mindful of the following.
- Reviewing a book by a friend or acquaintance. Ethical standards for reviewers require that you divulge any relationship you have or have had with the author, the publisher, or the subject (if a person) of a book you're reviewing. If you want to review a book written by an author who has contacted you asking for a review, or a book an author you know, or a book to which you have contributed in some way, you must do this on your own website or blog, rather than through SCBR.
- Suggesting a book for review. If you've seen a book that is suitable for an SCBR review and you think it should be reviewed, you can suggest it to us. We will decide whether to request a copy; if we do, we will post it on our Distribution Blog for selection by other reviewers. Please use this form for your suggestion.
- Our reviews are designed to guide readers to books they will find valuable and enjoyable. If you don't like a book well enough to give it at least three stars on Amazon (or a C+ in general), please don't review it. We encourage you to include whatever negative comments you feel are necessary to explain your evaluation of the book, but we do not publish reviews that are strongly negative.
- All books must meet professional standards of content and editorial preparation. If you notice more than a few spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors, or you think that the production standards of the book are likely to distract readers, please contact email@example.com before you write the review.
- We'd like to know about your own personal experience of reading the book. In what important ways did you connect with it? What did the book teach you or help you to see about your own life? How might it help other women? We like reviews that go deeper and help readers understand the "why" of the book, not just the "what."
- Reviews may include relevant quotations from the book. For an example, see the review of Durable Goods. Notice how the reviewer uses quotations to illustrate a point she wants to make about the book, as well as give a sense of the unique voice of the narrator.
- For an example of a well-written review, see our current Review of the Month on our home page. For previous Reviews of the Month, check out our newsletter archives. We post the ROM as the top right segment of each eletter.
- Avoid using the copy on the jacket flap, the blurbs on the cover, and the press release that may have come with the book.
- Reviewers may request up to two books at a time. Reviews should be completed within four weeks after receiving the book.
- Please do not use your review as an opportunity to promote your own activities. If you are a Story Circle member, you may send your news items to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Under no circumstance will we accept a review written by the book's author. If you are an author and want us to review your book, see Getting Reviewed.
Our Review Team
Inactive reviewers have not submitted a review in the past 9 months. If you are an inactive reviewer and wish to become active again, you will be readmitted on a probationary basis. (See above: "We accept new reviewers...") After you've been readmitted, you'll regain your previous status (Guest, Associate).
- Guest Reviewers have posted 1-4 reviews/interviews in the past 12 months.
- Associate Reviewers have posted 5-9 reviews/interviews in the past 12 months.
- Star Reviewers have posted 10 or more reviews/interviews in the past 18 months and have their own web pages. Further classifications for Stars: SuperStar (25 reviews/interviews); StarBurst (50); NovaStar (75); SuperNova (100).