Welcome to Jane's Little Devils ARC Team, I'm super excited to have you here!

Some people who join my ARC team are experienced reviewers and know how it all works, others are brand new and have never been on an ARC team before - if this is you, wow, welcome and I'm honored you chose to join MY team! So for the newbies (actually for all of you) I thought I'd drop some rules and guidelines on what my expectations are, how I run things and how to write effective reviews. You are welcome to bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need to. If you've been reviewing for a while, have a read anyway, it can't hurt, right?

How it works! My rules and guidelines​

When I have an ARC ready to go, I'll email you. In the email will be a link to download a copy from a service I use called Bookfunnel - this allows you to download the book in whatever format suits your device. Then the fun begins - you read my work *gasp* and then leave a review. All very straightforward, yes? Indeed, but I've found I need to instill some rules and some of this will get to sound repetitive (sorry not sorry).

  1. ​An ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy. Please don't share it around, and please, for all that's holy, do not put it on a pirate site. I've had this happen and believe me, it sucks.
  2. If you don't like reading Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, or Sci-fi Romance with sex and swearing, then my books probably aren't for you and you might like to remove yourself from the team (no hard feelings, I promise).
  3. There will be a cut-off date to download each ARC. After that, it's gone, finished. Also, please don't email me requesting ARCs for previously published books. The answer is no.
  4. You are expected to leave a review once the book is published - and you are required to email me a link to your review. You don't have to say a lot BUT a review is part of being on this team and I do keep track.
  5. I send out multiple reminder emails for downloading the ARC and links to leave a review. NOTE: You can't leave a review until a book is live, so if you've received an ARC for a book that is currently on pre-order I suggest you write it out somewhere and tuck it away to keep it safe and I'll let you know when it's time to leave your review.
  6. If you want to support me further, and have your review appear as a verified review, you can purchase (or pre-order) your own copy of the book. A big THANK YOU to my lovely team members who do this, I really appreciate your support.
  7. End your review with a note like: "I am voluntarily reviewing the book "Title here" by Jane Hinchey gifted to me by the author with no obligation" (Note: this is not required if you buy a copy!) 
  8. Please DO NOT use the terms "I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review" Amazon will remove your review and that's of zero help to anyone.
  9. If you notice any typo's or errors, let me know! My editor and I do try and catch everything but we are human and things can slip past.
  10. Keep in mind the ARC has very basic formatting, meaning it's not all pretty and fancy like the finished product will be, but again, if there are any formatting issues let me know.
  11. And finally, no spoilers! You don't need to write a synopsis of the book in the review, just what you liked about it. Or didn't. Although I really do hope you like it 🙂

Nothing burns me like the "this was a great book butttt *I* think it should have been longer" or should have had more sex, or shouldn't have had sex. You either thought it rocked, or it didn't. 

In a perfect world, authors wouldn't have to contend with trolls writing fake reviews, and I don't mean genuine negative reviews. If it's a genuine review, it's not a troll review but I appreciate those who are aware what we are up against and review honestly and accurately to help us overcome that.

So I'm going to do my best to explain what a review is - and isn't.

a) It's not a book summary or synopsis of the book.

b) Make sure you understand the rating system (more on this below)

c) Don't use the rating system negatively (i.e. 1 star) for technical glitches

d) Most readers don't have a clue how much editing goes into a book but like to be the typo police and act as if the entire book is one hot unedited mess. Don't be this person.​

An explanation of the review system

Next time you're about to leave a review, take a second to hover over each star. You'll see that it translates as:

one star *I hate it*​

two stars *I don't like it*​

three stars *it's okay*​

four stars *I like it*​

five stars *I love it*​

This is how, in an ideal world, we would want things to go.

Let me give you an example: this is not a real review of my work by-the-way, I’m simply using it for demonstration purposes, but I and other authors have dozens of similar ones.

This person says, *This was a really great read it was well written and I loved the characters and the chemistry between them the only reason I am giving it 3 stars is because I felt like it just kinda cuts off at the end and leaves you hanging I mean you do get an HEA but I feel like it could have kept going.* It’s her right to feel that the book is *okay* because she didn’t think it carried on going for long enough, of course. Frankly, that particular review DOESNT hurt the book at all; it will just deter people who dislike shorter books from reading it, which I count as a plus. Not disputing that at all. But be clear on one thing: giving a three star is saying that the book is average, skippable, not enjoyable.

BUT I also want to tell you why you should consider whether you want to give a positive, or a critical review to a book. (Three and below are classified as critical.)

Again, this isn’t about me, the example I’m using didn’t happen to ME, but it did happen to a fellow author. She geared herself up for her first large-scale promotion, giving away the first book in her series for free for five days. It worked: over thirty thousand people read it, and a fair percentage of those carried on reading the rest of series. But she also got a bunch of bad reviews within a month – ten one star, a few two and three stars, and that means that the book became a 3.7 out of five-star rating overall – down from a 4.7. She knows that thousands of readers loved it from the follow through sales to the rest of the series, and messages about follow up books. But the 3.7 out of 5 star ranking on the first book completely killed the series. It stayed around that rank – it never recovered. Now, when she promotes it, it doesn’t work nearly as well as her other books because a brand new reader rightly wants to try book one first, and what book one says is *meh. Don’t bother.* It hurts her professionally.

I’m not trying to make ANYONE feel guilty about the ratings they give! I’m explaining why, if a book is well written and entertains you, you should consider giving it an appropriate rating. As for this author, well she’s taken down this series because when new readers take a glance at the reviews it’s enough for them to decide the book must be horrible. So she did the best thing she could for her author business and took the entire series down, even though she had fans who loved it.

As an author there is nothing we can do about bad reviews and ratings, we can’t have them pulled down or changed. I also respect people who dislike my books and want to give it bad reviews, it’s fine, I can’t please everyone. This isn’t meant to be a rant, it’s a call to make you understand 1) what the star ratings actually mean – as I said, just hover over it 2) what happens when a book is killed by reviews. Now I’m happy to say this particular author has a few other series that do well so she’s not in a situation where she may end up having to stop writing, thankfully, but there are plenty of debut authors who have stopped writing altogether because their books didn’t take off. Reviews are often a big part of why.

I hope you found this helpful and informative. Again, not pointing fingers or making anyone feel guilty. This is just for those who need a better understanding of the system.

What to write in your review – finding the words!

Now that we’ve got the ranking sorted, what should you say in the review itself? I’ve already said not to give a synopsis of the story, but what do you say instead? Here are some ideas to help you out.

  • First rule: no spoilers!
  • Give a short summary of who would like the book (people who love paranormal romance etc)
  • What did you like about the book? Why?
  • What ages do you recommend the book for?
  • What didn’t you like? (How could it have been better?)
  • Would you read more of the author’s work?
  • Was the book predictable, or unpredictable?
  • Did you struggle to put the book down? If so, why? What made you want more?
  • Were you able to forget you were reading?
  • Did the book have action, romance, suspense etc?

And my final words of wisdom when it comes to leaving reviews (not just for my books but for anyone’s books) is don’t be a douche. Don’t be mean or nasty. Don’t put in your review not to buy the book, because that can ruin another’s experience, or potential to buy the book. Not everyone is going to like the same books as others, and that is what makes readers so unique and not boring. So don’t spoil it for others. If you didn’t like a book, fine, state why, but don’t diss the author.