Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Submission Guidelines 2009
PODBRAM sails ahead with new submission guidelines! Did you think this was going to be a review of the last book by the funniest author in American history? Although I have read many of the earlier Don Martin books, I have never even seen a copy of this final release in 1986. The only Don Martin book I have managed to hold on to is a copy of Don Martin Steps Further Out (1975). I gave my copy of Don Martin Bounces Back (1963) to my niece many years ago, but I shall always remember fondly the misadventures of Fester Bestertester and Karbunkle. May Don, Fester, and Karbunkle rest in peace with great big grins on their faces!
This post noting all the changes at PODBRAM over the past six months or so is long overdue. None of this information is something I suddenly made up or even any sort of official policy change. The rules themselves have not changed, but the reviewers at PODBRAM have. All the changes can be simply traced back to a point at which a reviewer was added or additional book types or genres were added to the acceptance list. Let's sail ahead:
(1) No genre, publisher, or type of book is automatically disallowed, with the sole exception of books published by Lulu. I am continuing our policy of leaving that mass of submissions to the able hands of Shannon Yarbrough and his Lulu Book Review. I consider LLBR as a companion site to PODBRAM and I always encourage Lulu authors to apply there.
(2) Although no books are automatically disallowed, cheaters will be caught at the first gate. These generally include any POD book that has already sold well simply because it has a famous person or event listed in the title. Get-rich-quick and weight-loss schemes easily fall into this category, too. Historical fiction, political nonfiction, and a few others will be researched for the cheater gene, but most will pass the first gate. Generally, if your book title looks like one either The National Enquirer or The Wall Street Journal would love, you will be blocked at the gate.
(3) Unless a specific reviewer makes a decision to accept a specific book in an electronic format, all submissions must be in the form of actual print versions of published books.
(4) If your book is accepted for review at PODBRAM, except in very rare cases, you will get one. The rare cases are those few pieces of junk that somehow make it past the gatekeeper. When that happens, we shall be in touch with you via e-mail to discuss your options. Sometimes our PODBRAM reviews are harsher (read more explicit) than those we might post for the author at Amazon. These are the only cases in which we shall not automatically post a review at Amazon.
(5) All the PODBRAM reviewers post their reviews at Amazon. These vary from a direct copy and paste to a totally, freshly composed review, and anything in between. No posted Amazon review will be rated at less than three stars. We do this because (a) we know how much pie in the sky is slung about in the massive numbers of Amazon reviews and (b) we are playing this game to help authors, not hurt them.
(6) As the head curmudgeon, I shall never post another review at B&N because those clowns lost all my identifying remarks on the large number of individually composed reviews I had posted on their site for PODBRAM authors. The reviews are all still there, but you cannot tell which ones are mine, and all mentions of other PODBRAM-reviewed books are gone, too. Any of the other PODBRAM team members are free to post reviews at B&N if they want, but I'm taking my marketing talents and going to Amazon!
(7) Your review will be posted on additional sites according to the particular team reviewer. Yes, I know this is not exactly fair, but it is a better deal than you will get anywhere else. Most of our reviewers have at least one other site on which they post PODBRAM reviews, and remember, in many cases, these will be separately composed. You may get a reviewer who posts only at PODBRAM and Amazon, but at least that reviewer has specifically chosen to read your book, so he or she is very likely to enjoy it.
(8) Drum roll, please... the strip-search reviewer is generally retired, so your errors are not likely to be counted and the reviewer is not likely to check out every crevice with a magnifying glass! I could not go on like that, so I had to make a decision last year to mostly give up actually reading books for review and composing reviews. The editing alone for PODBRAM takes up a lot of my time, and I have two other blogs to feed!
(9) Don't get too excited about my retirement because the dunk tank is still full of ice-cold water! We still look at every facet of your book, from the cover design to the blurb on the back. The text better be edited and proofread or you will be receiving one of those intimate little talks about not posting your review.
(10) The way to acquire a review at PODBRAM has not changed. You must submit a simple, polite request to the editor at ice9 at nctv dot com or make a comment on any post at PODBRAM. You must include three things: the title of your book, your name (and pen name under which the book is published if one is used), and an e-mail address where you can be contacted.
(11) We do accept submissions from publicity firms; however, direct submissions will always be moved to the front of the line. We do this because many books we have accepted from publicity firms have never been received. We are not one of those fly-by-the-pajama-pants blogsites. If we accept your book for review, we have fully researched its quality and we expect not to have to waste our time herding an invisible book through our system. When I say the front of the line, I am referring to the acceptance stage of the process. All books are read and reviewed in the order in which they are received by the reviewer.
(12) Interviews require a considerable amount of my time. If you are accepted for an interview, it is because I think you truly have some particular knowledge that will be helpful to our readership, most of whom are probably POD authors themselves. You can request an interview, but only a few will be chosen.
(13) Whenever I receive a review request, the first thing I do is to locate the book at Amazon and elsewhere online. You will receive brownie points if the book has no reviews at Amazon or if little or no past Amazon sales are apparent. Aside from the cheater titles and subject matter, the first way to get a demerit is to have a load of glowing, five-star reviews and one or two that just happen to mention that the proofreader was absent that day. We have a red flag on the field of play! I know who the paid review sites are, too, and those will also earn you demerits.
(14) An informative, professionally appearing website will earn a brownie point, but an overly promoted one built by a paid professional will bring a dreaded, but unexpected, demerit.
(15) If I discover you to be one of those annoying nuisances who spam the author message boards and marketing sites with your repetitive, promotional hoopla, your book won't be accepted for review at PODBRAM.
(16) Tell me some good news! We at PODBRAM strive mightily to be the best of the POD bloggers. There are no ads on the site. There are only tons of links to other respectable reviewers, articles of interest to authors and their readers, and more telling of truth to power without snarkiness than you will find anywhere in the POD blog zone. We always include links to other websites and reviews from your PODBRAM review. You are free to use any review we write at PODBRAM, in whole or in part, in any way you wish in your book promotional efforts. We keep in touch with our authors as much as they individually require. The only exception is that all authors must communicate through the editor unless the individual reviewer accepts direct communication as a special case. No books are ever resold for profit at Amazon or anywhere else. All books reviewed stay on the reviewer's shelf as a worst-case scenario. Some are passed on to other reviewers, such as our fellow authors in IAG, some are donated to libraries, and some are given to prospective readers who like the particular genre. All operations at PODBRAM are, to quote the late Frank Zappa's second album title, Absolutely Free.