(Discontinued on June 23, 2021)This is my previous guidelines page, which contains my old guidelines, terms, and Q/A. For those who used my paid service, which has been discontinued, the following information still applies. Otherwise, only my new policy applies.
Welcome to my review site!
Thank you for visiting. If you are interested in my review services, please read on. If you are interested in contacting me for other reasons, please visit my “Contact Me” page, where I have links to my email and social media listed.
I offer both free and full-service (paid) reviews. My full-service reviews include one in-depth review of your book, light editorial assistance, and heavier promotion on social media (i.e. more than one post sharing my review and links to your work). My free review service offers one shorter review of your work (generally under 400 words) and one promotional post on social media. I also offer private critiques to help hone your craft and improve your work. If you're interested in a private critique, I provide them free of charge in exchange for a copy of your book/manuscript. See the terms and Q/A below for more information. You can check back with this page from time to time because I'm still growing and things will change. If you have any questions or concerns not covered by the information here, please feel free to contact me.
If you are a veteran, I offer a 30% discount on all paid services.
In the following guidelines and terms, “you” and “your” refer to whoever is interested in using my services.
Guidelines for all reviews:
1. Please send a sample and a brief synopsis of your book to my email so I can decide whether I truly want to read it or not. Also let me know what genre it is and what its word or page count is, as well as what services you are seeking. Please don't send me your book unless I agree to read and review it.
2. Files I accept
are EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and Word. I may be open to receiving print versions, but
digital files are faster, cheaper, and easier to share. I am open to reviewing audiobooks, as well.
3. I usually prefer to review books that are 70,000 words or fewer, and I don't usually take on assignments longer than 100,000 words. If you have a book that is a little longer than my word count preferences but it matches my genre preferences, I may still accept it, but be warned that I won't be able to review it as quickly as I do shorter books.
4. My preferred genres are fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, and thriller (in Children's, Young Adult, and Adult alike), but I also occasionally enjoy other subgenres of genre fiction, as well as mainstream and literary fiction. For nonfiction, I tend to enjoy memoirs. That said, I have books in just about every genre that I like, so feel free to run yours by me even if you're not sure if it matches up with my preferred genres.
5. If your story has excessive gore, graphic descriptions of torture and/or assault of any kind, or themes of domestic violence, please give me a trigger warning when you contact me. I am a firm believer in trigger warnings. If you request I read and review any book with such graphic content in it without warning me about it, it will affect your rating. If I know it's coming, I can better prepare for it, meaning it won't affect my enjoyment of the story as much. If I don't know it's coming, it will throw me off, make me very angry, and taint the rest of the story for me.
6. If your manuscript has excessive errors within it, your score will be lower. I do not give five stars to books that have excessive errors unless they are very minor/easily overlooked AND the story itself is exceptional to the point of causing me physical pain if I have to stop reading it. You should make sure the manuscript is edited well before submitting it to me. If you are looking for someone to only proofread your manuscript, see the info on editing I provide in my Q/A below.
7. If you want me to include a picture of your book cover with the review, which will help the review look more professional and engaging, please send one to me through my email. JPEG is best. Only send me images you own the rights to. If you don't own the rights to share the image with me, either get consent from the rights owner or don't send me anything. You sending me an image implies that you have the right to do so and that you also give me the right to share it on this site to complement the review I create for you. I won't use it for any other purpose without your consent. You can request at any time that I remove the image should you wish me to.
Terms for all reviews:
1. I request a free copy of your book/manuscript for all my services.
2. I will not share the files you send me with any third parties. All files you send me will be used only to perform the services we both agree are to be rendered. I do all I can to keep the files, my devices, and my sites secure. That said, I'm not liable (and you agree to hold me not liable) for any damages or theft incurred from anything beyond my control, including if anyone happens to hack my devices (phone, laptop, etc.), sites (www.kaylacreviews.com and www.kaylacookauthor.com), social media, or email, or if any problems occur with the postal service or someone stealing my mail (in the event you send me a hard copy of your work). Once they're in my possession, they're for my eyes only, unless you give me permission to share such copies with someone else.
Whether free or paid, I only give
honest reviews. For this reason, I'm very selective about the books I
review. If I
don't feel your book will receive at least a four-star rating, or if I
don't feel myself getting into the genre or plot at the time, I won't
it. Furthermore, I can choose not to finish reading or reviewing any
book at any time, for any reason. Ultimately, it's up to me whether I
review a book or not, regardless of which of my services you're using.
Because I'm so selective about what books I review, I haven't yet left a
review book uncompleted, but it may happen if life gets in the way or
if I'm simply not enjoying the story at all, etc.
4. I will not honor requests to alter any review in any way to make it more positive or to change my rating. If I unintentionally add a spoiler, however, you may request that I make the reference more vague so it doesn't ruin the story for potential readers. I always try to keep all reviews spoiler-free. The only other times I will alter a review are to fix any mistakes I may have missed during the editing process and to update links you'd like me to add (such as links to your author site, Twitter, etc.).
I own all rights to my work.
Anyone may share links to my reviews using the sharing features on my
site. You may share links to my review on your pages (or you can ask me
to), but the
work is still my own and I have the right to share it on my social media, on
my blog, and on any other sites of my own. If you require any other uses of
review, such as in your book or in independent posts on your site or
media, you may discuss them with me. I'll allow you to use the review
part of it (like cutting quotes from it) so long as you don't alter the
of my words in any way and so long as you properly attribute the review
(Kayla C. Reviews). Other sites where your review (or a portion of the full review) may appear
Goodreads, Twitter, Medium, and LinkedIn. If this is a problem,
let me know. If you'd like me to share the review or a part of the
review on your site in a comment, let me know.
6. Due to FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Endorsement Guidelines, I may be obligated to put a disclaimer in each paid review I do through this site that I received monetary compensation and a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. If you use my free service, I will still put a disclaimer in the review that I received a copy of your book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. If this is not alright with you, I cannot review your book.
7. Private critiques are offered for free and are meant to be constructive. No part of my services is meant to be demeaning or hurtful, but I will be honest with you about what I think of your work, just in a respectful way. If you can't take criticism, don't agree to receive a private critique or a public review. I strive to be as compassionate and respectful as I can be in all aspects of my work and interactions, but I'm not liable for any hurt feelings or wounded egos. Also, I don't guarantee your satisfaction with my work, nor do I guarantee that my services will help you sell more books or boost your ratings. However, if you are unsatisfied with any of my work, please contact me so I can find a way to resolve whatever problems arise in regard to the services I complete for you.
8. I reserve the right to update, change, or discontinue any of these guidelines, terms, and the terms that follow, as well as my services (including my fees), at any time. If you are interested in my services and contact me about them, I will assume you have read, understand, and agree to Guideline 7., these terms, and the terms for whatever service(s) you request (as follows), such that they become a contract between us.
Terms specific to full-service reviews:
1. Even though you provide me with a free copy of your book, I request monetary compensation for the time I spend writing the review, composing the list of errors, and creating the additional promotional posts. At this time, I charge $50 for each review. For works 20,000 words or fewer, I charge a flat rate of $15 for each review. For Children’s books fewer than 5,000 words, I charge $5 for each review. I detail the first five errors I find in any book I review as part of the package. The list will be provided to you (the author) privately and will include the page number of each error for reference. See Q/A below about requesting a review without an error list if you don’t want one and claiming a discount.*
I receive payment only through
PayPal at this time. I request that half the amount owed to me be paid
and half be paid after I complete the review. Before you send me the
payment, I will send you the error list, the private critique (if you
one), and screenshots of the review as proof of completion. The review
be posted publicly until the final payment is in my account. If I decide
not to finish the book or complete the review (see term 3. above for
all reviews), I will refund you your money and delete the copy you sent
3. If you send me a print book, take a picture of the receipt after you ship it and I will deduct the cost of shipping from the cost of my services. I will only deduct the cost of standard shipping fees. If I accept your book for review, you may send the file to the email listed below.
Even though you're paying for the
review, I do not guarantee the review will be positive. I will not
my values because I'm being paid. You're paying me for my time and
not for your rating. While I won't alter any review except as described
in term 4. for all reviews above, you may request that I don't post any review that you
feel is harmful to you, and if you change your mind about wanting it
posted after publication, you may ask me to take it down.
5. I usually finish reading and reviewing paid review books within one or two weeks. I set aside time so I can complete the whole process faster, but sometimes other events that I have no control over get in the way. For this reason, I won't guarantee a time period for reviews to be completed, but if you have a deadline, let me know. I'll allow those who pay me to set deadlines for the work to be completed so long as they are reasonable, and if I won't be able to meet the deadline you request, I'll let you know so you can decide whether you still want me to review your work or not.
6. My reviews are typically anywhere from 400-600 words, though the ones I do for Readers' Favorite are around 250-300 words. When you message me about your manuscript, let me know if you have a word count in mind for the review. I'll tailor the word count to meet your needs. If you need a short blurb for your site or social media, let me know and I will provide one in addition to a full review free of charge.
7. At this time, I cannot offer Amazon reviews if you pay for my service due to their terms and conditions, but you may post my review in the editorial reviews section of your Amazon product page. To learn how, click here. As mentioned, I may post a shorter review of your work on Goodreads free of extra charge, but whether I will or not is solely my decision and whatever review I post there will be separate from the paid review I post on my site, though I will still put a disclaimer in each Goodreads review that I received payment and a free book from the author for the full review on my site. (See example)
8. There will be no refunds unless I refuse to finish reviewing your book. Again, I do not guarantee your satisfaction with my work. I do not guarantee that my services will boost your ratings or help you sell more of your products. However, if you are unsatisfied with my work, please contact me so I can find a way to resolve whatever problems arise in regard to the services I complete for you, with my terms in mind.
Terms specific to free reviews:
1. I won't be held to a timeline of any sort for free reviews. Part of why these reviews are free is because I complete the reading in my free time only. (Another reason they are free is because they are so short. They take less time to write and edit.) I take time out of my schedule for books I'm reviewing for monetary compensation, but I won't do so for free reviews.
Contrary to my previous understanding, according to my recent
research and a talk with Amazon's customer service, I can leave Amazon
reviews for authors, but only for those using my free service. I still
have to be transparent about the fact that I received a free review copy
from the author or publisher. Again, all of my reviews are honest and
may be positive or negative. Whether I do leave an Amazon review or not
is entirely up to me. If I haven't spent at least $50 on Amazon in the
past 12 months, I will no longer be able to leave reviews. Furthermore,
Amazon has been cracking down on reviews, so it may be that they decide
to delete my reviews as they have so many others. So, know that you may
or may not receive an Amazon review, and if you do, it could be deleted
at any time.
I only share pre-published
reviews in screenshots to authors to show proof of completion before
payment is made. I don't let authors read reviews I complete for free
they're posted unless I'm not sure if a reference I make in them would
considered a spoiler by the author or unless the review earned fewer
than four stars. If it did earn fewer than four stars, I won't change it
except as described in term 4. for both free and full-service reviews
above, but I'll allow you to read it first to decide whether you'd like
it posted or not. You may ask me not to post it if you feel the review
is harmful to you, and you may request I take the review down at any
time even after I publish it.
reviewed for free will be held to the same rating system as books I review in
exchange for payment, but they will be placed lower on my priority list. If I'm
already working with an author who's paying me, I'll prioritize them over
anyone using my free service.
To request a review, please email me at email@example.com or visit my social media pages and message me. They are available on my "Contact Me" page. Or you can leave a comment below (or anywhere else on the blog).
Do I need reviews?
This question doesn't really have a straight answer. It varies by person. Most people agree that reviews do help with sales. A big reason for this is because the more times your book is mentioned online, the more search engines will take notice. Even if you receive a bad review, it will help search engines notice your book. Also, reviews get people talking about books. They help with exposure, and they make your book and sites look more credible. At the same time, some authors claim they hardly have any reviews but their books sell like crazy. A few authors claim they have dozens of reviews but it didn't boost their sales at all. Others swear by reviews. There are a lot of factors that go into how well your book sells. Reviews are just one factor. How well you market your book, how popular your subject matter is, how eye-catching your cover looks, how engaging your site is, and so many other considerations impact sales. If you're on the fence about it, I'd suggest going with free review services first, but keep in mind that reviews won't be as helpful if you don't make them more visible. Reviewers should share their reviews, but you also should pitch in with the promotion to get the most out of it.
Should I pay for a review?
The answer to this question is up to you. A lot of authors turn to paid reviews because their readers don't take the time to leave reviews for them voluntarily. Other authors turn to paid reviews before publication in an attempt to populate their books' pages with as many reviews as possible to build readers' interest and boost sales upon debut. As mentioned, reviews help authors' pages look more credible. Reviewers also tend to be helpful with book promotion to varying degrees. Honestly, I think your money would be better spent on editing, but the importance of publicity, marketing, and promotion can't be stressed enough. How you decide to spend your money is your business. This blog series of mine may help you make up your mind:
Setting it Straight About Paid Reviews
Why should I use your review service?
When you use my review service, I help you promote your book and I offer light editorial assistance in the form of the error lists I provide. I also review books more quickly than many other services. I am easily accessible if you have any questions or concerns. Thanks to the limited number of clients I take on, I can make each experience more personal. As my own social media accounts have grown, I've started being able to connect clients with other reviewers and help them find others who can aid with publicity and promotion.
Why do you charge for full-service reviews?
I’m trying to make some money doing what I love (reading, writing, and helping other authors) while searching for a more stable job. I have a lot of other commitments to keep up with, and my time is just as valuable as anyone else's. Detailed reviews and error lists take so much time to write, format, and fully edit (roughly 4-8 hours from start to finish) that I more than likely wouldn't try to find time for them if I didn't receive compensation.
Why do you only list the first five errors?
I say “the first five errors” but I really give more than that. Many authors tend to repeat the same mistakes throughout their entire work. For example, a couple authors continuously misplaced apostrophes. By listing one instance for them, I pretty much listed them all. I alert authors on what to look for and let them know to give their story another read-through. I also usually list several other page numbers where the same or similar errors occurred to help them further. And I like to list “bonus” errors. When I've already listed five prominent errors and I notice something else that pops up all the time, I let the author know. Furthermore, if there aren't that many errors in the whole work (less than, say, twenty), I usually list all the errors even if there are more than five. I only promise the first five, though, because error lists take so long to put together. I mark each error that I find while reading and then go through the book when I'm done to double-check that each error is a real error. Then I type up enough of the sentence the error appears in to make it clear to the author, and I write a suggestion on how to fix it.
I don't want an error list. May I request a review without one?*
You may, but I recommend allowing me to give you one. Your rating will be lower if I find many errors, and receiving an error list may help you better understand your rating while helping you to improve your work. If you really don't want a list, then I'll knock 50% off the cost of the review.
Are there other review options that are free?
Yes, there are, and I encourage you to check them out. Please visit my Book Services Directory to find more services. Most independent reviewers will review your book for free. A lot of them are booked, but there are many who are actively accepting review books. You can also find free review opportunities yourself by simply typing “book bloggers who review for free,” “free book reviewers,” or something similar into the search engine. Or you could consider exchanging reviews with other authors. In other words, review someone's book in exchange for them reviewing yours. Not all authors will be open to this, but some are.
Are there other paid review opportunities?
Keep in mind that I'm not endorsing any service other than my own.
Editing is so expensive. Is it really necessary?
I feel that it is, not just to get a better rating from my service and others but to help improve your readers' experience. It's very hard for us to edit our own work. This blog post of mine discusses editing and some ways you can improve your work without hiring an editor, but I still recommend finding an editor: The Importance of Editing.
Will you edit my work?While I've edited my own work for roughly ten years now and have received praise for my editing abilities from seasoned editors and clients, I only have a little over one year of experience in providing editorial services for clients. I've studied (and continue to study) the Chicago Manual of Style, but I haven't ever had experience working under the constant supervision of other editors to hone my skills. For this reason, you may wish to find a more seasoned editor who's more familiar with editorial best practices (beware editors who lie about their experience, though; this blog post of mine might help you in finding a good editor). However, if your book has already gone through all the stages of editing, I can give it another look to clean up anything that was missed. Very few books are completely free of errors. I don't guarantee that I'll catch every mistake and, as with my reviews, I don't guarantee your satisfaction with my work, but you may contact me to further discuss the project and pricing if you want. I edit all my own work, from the content on both my sites to my own novels. If I take the project on, I'll do my best to catch the errors a proofreader would look for. To learn more about the different stages of editing, here is an article from Kirkus that may be helpful. To see a list of editors, please visit my Book Services Directory.