Concatenation's Guidance for Contributors
This page provides further detail to the summary information already provided on our contributors' guidance page.
Getting a book or a video/DVD promoted
If you really want to see if promoting a book though our site is possible you are strongly advised to read this section very carefully. (We do not spend time with those that have not read this subsection: we are unpaid volunteers and time-pressed.)
We list forthcoming SF/F/H books published, and DVDs released, in the British Isles from the major, specialist SF/F imprints. (The major specialist imprints sending us advance information in time (a month before the relevant seasonal edition) is important (see our posting schedule which follows the northern hemisphere academic year seasons).) If you are an established British based publisher with a specialist SF imprint then the best thing to do is regularly send us a PDF of your forthcoming seasonal (or annual) book catalogue. Most do (but sometimes when there is a change of PR personnel we get forgotten and so our seasonal list is less complete).
We also review current SF/F/H books published in the British Isles. And specifically
books from major British Isles specialist SF/F/H imprints and major publishers.
And we review non-fiction SF (books on SF authors, SF film etc.) and also some science fact (popular science) from lay up to undergraduate science level.
We do not review books that are not from the major specialist SF/F/H imprints. (We have a small, unpaid volunteer team and so have a specific focus. Other websites have a broader, less (or different) focussed remit.)
We do not review e-books.
We receive more books than we can review and so sending us a book does not guarantee that the book review team will select it for review.
If you are an author published by a major, and specialist, British Isles SF/F/H publisher then ask them to send us a copy of your book: they all know us. If you are published by someone else then you need to seek another website to review your title.
And now some more detail...
We do list British Isles forthcoming book and DVD releases in our seasonal news bulletins (as well as forthcoming film releases on our diary page). However we do require full marketing details: see our news bulletins' forthcoming books subsections. STOP: Read that last line again: 'we do require full marketing details'. You do need to check out what this means and have checked that helpful link we gave to our 'forthcoming books' subsections within our seasonal news pages. Those that do know what this means, and those that actually know about book marketing in Britain, will realise that this package of information we use for books is exactly the same as that used by the British book-marketing and bookselling sectors including 'Books in Print', The Bookseller and the biannual Book Buyers Guide. It therefore should be information you are already disseminating (and if you are not then that is not our problem). Please do not expect us to list your titles if you do not provide this information. (Yes, this is all very obvious, but still a number occasionally ignore.)
Because we only have three news bulletins a year (spring, summer and autumn) you do need to get us this information as soon as you have it: remember our lists are for the forthcoming season (or current season once posted, and not the last season). We do not list books published outside of the British Isles, nor do we list electronic books, or titles from vanity press publishers. We list the principal British Isles SF/F imprint titles and some small press specialist imprints if we are given the proper package of publishing information (see the previous paragraph).
We also publish fiction, non-fiction and fact book reviews as well as graphic novels. Again, as with book listings, we do not review e-books. To consider reviewing a book we naturally require the book or graphic novel. However to avoid disappointment please note our broad policy on reviews. Fiction: we do review works of SF but tend not to review works of fantasy unless it is something exceptional or we are feeling frisky. There are the occasional exceptions but these are rare. We do cover non-fiction books on SF and fantasy: non-fiction books relating to science fiction be they history of SF or books on aspects of the genre are regularly reviewed. Finally, we do review popular science books written at the New Scientist level and occasionally first year undergraduate level. (Some of the reviews we write occasionally also appear in print in academic scientific journals (as one of the team has a relationship with a number of scientific publications).) However we do not review pseudoscience, new age mysticism and related works unless they have a clear relationship to real science. We are (obviously) acutely aware of the relationship between science fact and fiction and are fully cognisant of science fiction being 'fiction' even if it can promulgate an appreciation of, and an interest in, 'real' science.
We do not review vanity press published books (sorry to repeat this but we all too regularly hear from these) but do occasionally publish reviews from British small press publications and European ones if the book is in English and of relevance to European SF.
We repeat (as we still get a fair number of these requests), we do not review books published outside of the British Isles with the very occasional exception of those of authors whose other books are known in western Europe, or are non-fiction books available through UK retailers whose subject matter is of likely core interest to scientists who like SF. Remember, we are based in Europe and not N.America, and even though nearly a third of our site's visitors are from N.America, there are N. American SF websites better suited to promoting N. American books.
We occasionally will publish two reviews of the same book as, as scientists, we appreciate sampling theory. We will also sometimes repeat review especially if our first reviewer was heavily critical of a writer of whom we (and arguably our regular visitors) might expect better. We tend not to repeatedly review books from authors that have had a number of previous negative reviews from us as this neither provides our site's visitors or the author with a meaningful service.
If we give an author an unusually negative review then we will use a different reviewer the next time we review them. If an author gets three negative reviews from three different reviewers then we will never review them again (Note: the record extends back into our print magazine days before the internet, but only a handful of authors to date are ones we avoid.)
Books received from publishers will be noted, together with the back-cover blurb, by our news and reviews editor. Three times a year these details are circulated to our reviews panel and it is these individuals who choose what they would like to review.
As a very rough guide, what gets reviewed most is: hard SF, space opera, mundane SF, post-apocalyptic fiction, cyberpunk and science fantasy.
What gets chosen often includes: sci fi, urban fantasy, fantasy horror, some steampunk gothic fantasy, novelisations of television sci-fi, new weird, and some epic fantasy (sword & sorcery).
What gets rarely selected by our panel members includes: historical and light fantasy (think sword and sandal).
We don't review: slash horror or paranormal romance.
Over the years (decades) we have garnered a following who seem to know from whence we come: we are mainly a bunch of scientists and engineers who are into SF (think The Big Bang Theory if you want a mental shorthand, though we've been around far longer than the show).
Finally, yet again, sending us a book to review does not mean we can review it. We certainly will let all our book reviews team know that we have the book for review (as said, we circulate them a list three times a year) but it is up to them which books they select for review. Alas we get sent more books for review than we can review but have slowly expanded our reviews panel over the years. Having said that things vary depending on sub-genre (so do note the above paragraphs).
Phew. Sorry that was so long, but it is all important to know as we treat reviewing seriously and there is method to the madness.
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