Submissions Process and Review Policy

2017-10-14: We are currently closed for submissions.


Here at Before the Second Sleep, amongst other things, I do book reviews and interviews.

I have been a devoted reader since early childhood and thoroughly enjoy a rollicking literary discussion. Because book reviews aren’t an exchange in the way a conversation is, I like that they can go a long way towards promoting the hard work of various authors. I consider every book I read an emotional investment (which is not the same as “being emotional”) and once read and reviewed, they become a part of my being. The books I have reviewed are very special to me and I have reserved a particular area on my shelves for them, a place of honor.

Here is what you should know about my policy and process (it seems long, but it’s an easy read, and many of you have already done some of it):

(Added note: Please be aware some changes have occurred within these procedures.)

Genres and Preferences:

  • I am quite fond of historical fiction, with a special preference for Anglo-Saxon, Wars of the Roses, American Revolutionary War and World War II eras.
  • I also enjoy memoir/autobiography, biography, military, medical, some legal, seafaring tales, ghost stories, non-fiction/narrative non-fiction, some fantasy, some mystery, time travel, young adult and poetry. I’ve been known to read some chick lit periodically and am not necessarily averse to it.
  • I do not love horror of the teeth-dripping-with-blood or demon lover variety and under no circumstances will I read/review erotica. Also, vampires do nothing for me.
  • I do happily accept indie and small-press books for review, as well as traditionally-published works.


  • E-mail me within open-window periods (scully_dc AT yahoo DOT com) with your book title and basic information (including whether you are author, publisher, publicist, other) and I will determine if a review is viable.
  • I am unable to answer all e-mails individually. If you do not hear from me by the day noted as when I will be contacting authors,  please do try at the next open period.
  • I reserve the right to decline any book. If I do not accept your book for review, don’t take it personally. Some books just don’t interest me, I may have too much on my plate at the moment, I may need a mental break that week—there might be a myriad of realities going on. I do have to work and my family is number one priority.  
  • I accept hard- or paperback copies. I do not accept e-books.
  • Note: Please do not send any materials via the mail without first letting me know. I now have a new address; sending to my old address subjects the package to delay or return. 
  • Electronic material sent via e-mail will be deleted along with the message. 
  • Have a gander though my reviews to get a sense of my style, which is informed and influenced by a number of elements, including my literary studies at university, opinion and previous reading and other experience.

Books Accepted for Review:

  • I will contact you to let you know your book has been accepted for review as well as when I receive it. Please do not send materials without letting me know you’ve sent them. If I am unaware something is en route, I won’t know to be on the lookout for your book(s).
  • In general I try to read and review books in the order I have received them, but on occasion shifts do occur (e.g. if a blog tour is upcoming).
  • In addition to review text, blog copy will include title and author, number in series if applicable, cover image, and possibly other pictures that suit the entry. If you have your own images you’d like to use, feel free to e-mail them to me. Note that a typical review can support two to three photos, one of which is the cover image.
  • I will also include an author photo, small bio, preferred images and links to social media, blogs, etc. if they are providedAll images must be property of the author with the authority to use them, or free of copyright, and links to permissions (if belonging to another party) or terms of use page must be provided.
  • If your book is a B.R.A.G. Medallion recipient, or winner of other literary award(s), please let me know, as I like to include that info in the review.
  • I prefer only to write positive reviews: this does not mean there won’t be some critical commentary, only that such inserts shouldn’t upstage what I adored about the book. I will be honest in reviews, but I don’t do snark. If there is something that needs a bit of critical commentary, I strive to do it in a professional manner.
  • If I absolutely can’t stand a particular book I won’t write a review. However, it has never come to that and I like to think I owe that to being sure to choose a book I genuinely believe I’ll enjoy. I also won’t write a review for a book I haven’t finished.
  • I do not use a star system (with the exception of being forced to in Amazon and Goodreads).

Published reviews:

  • Once a review is published I will send you a link.
  • I will also post to Amazon, Amazon UK and Goodreads on an as-soon-as-possible basis. I have to fiddle with formatting on both of those, and sometimes have to dash off to attend to real life. If I haven’t done it within 72 hours, please don’t be shy about reminding me.
  • I’ll also post links on Facebook and Twitter.
  • See my sidebar at all phases! I post images of books “currently on my night table,” that I’ve read recently and recommend and that I have for an upcoming review. I also publish a blog series called “My Tottering TBR,” which includes books I’m reading, that influenced me, that I plan to read, why it captured my attention and other angles. Yours might end up there!

Bits and Bobs:

  • I do not accept money for book reviews;  I do it in my spare time as a labor of love.
  • I have done some unsolicited reviews, such as books or DVDs from the library or that I have purchased.
  • I will now be adding to each review (if applicable) that I have received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • I like to keep it fun!
  • I want your review to look nice and attract readers. Please consider images if appropriate, and let me know if there are specific anniversaries, birthdays or other dates it would be timely to post on.
  • Don’t forget to tell me about awards!! If you’ve won an award for your book, I want to flaunt it!

My review policy is subject to change or update without notice, so please check back periodically.

For submissions e-mail me at scully_dc AT yahoo DOT com


Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s