Membership   Our review process   Requesting reviews   Reviewing books   Cross-posting reviews   Tokens


May I have several subscriptions to Kindred Readers?


A Reader subscription allows you to read and review books in our network. An Author subscription allows you to publish books to our book directory and request reviews of those books. A Service Provider membership allows you to profile your services to our Authors, who can then provide reviews of their experience working with you.

Most Author members are also Reader members, because providing reviews is a great way to earn tokens. To maximize token earnings/use, we suggest writers start with an Author membership then add a Reader membership when they're ready to start reviewing.

Some Authors and Readers are also Service Providers, and vice versa. Members can sign up for as many subscriptions as they wish.

What is the difference between a Reader membership and an Author membership?

Reader membership is free and is ideal for avid readers who love to discover new writers. Reader members can browse, read and review books. 

Author membership requires a paid subscription to the Kindred Readers network. Author members may upload their books to our directory and request reviews of those books through our token system. Authors have full access to all areas of the site including our Service Provider Directory, where fellow Author members provide feedback on their experience of working with writing coaches, editors, proofers, designers and more. Every service provider is required to offer an exclusive discount on their services to Kindred Readers' Author members ... a benefit that can significantly offset or even pay for the cost of membership.

Author members are strongly encouraged to add a free Reader membership so they can earn tokens by reviewing books. Authors may then use those tokens to request reviews of their own books. Users can view the additional membership types available to them via the SUBSCRIPTIONS tab on their member Dashboard.

I'm still writing my first book. May I earn tokens as a Reader member then upgrade to Author when my book is published?

A free Reader membership is a great way for writers to get to know Kindred Readers: review a few books, get a sense of who we are. Just understand that you cannot transfer tokens earned as a solely Reader member for use later as an Author member. Readers who add an Author membership relinquish all tokens acquired as a Reader when they add an Author membership (although they then earn tokens by participating in Author-related "getting started" activities like building an author/pen name profile or publishing a book to our book directory).  

If you're still working on your first book, we encourage you to join as an Author member to ensure you don't miss out on key Author benefits that may have an impact on the success of your book. For example, only Authors have access to our Service Provider Directory, where fellow Author members provide feedback on their experience of working with writing coaches, editors, designers and more. Remember, every service provider offers Author members an exclusive discount on their services, and those services can greatly improve your odds of success in the marketplace.

Aargh! I signed up as a Reader first and then lost tokens when I added an Author subscription. Are those tokens lost to me forever?

If you didn't realize you'd lose the tokens you'd earned as a Reader when you added an Author subscription, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will review your case to see if a one-time reinstatement of up to 20 tokens is possible.

Why isn't Kindred Readers membership free for everyone?

If a business is offering all its clients free access to their services, you aren't their client, you're their product. At Kindred Readers, we are focused on the needs of our members, not our advertisers. Yes, we want to create a network that will grow and offer its members more and better benefits. And yes, we want to be able to cover our expenses. But as writers we understand the value of integrity and the careful balance of art and market. We won't sell ourselves short, and we won't sell you out.

Do your sell your list?

No. We respect your privacy and the trust you've placed in us.

Under what circumstances might someone be expelled from the network?

We make decisions about questionable behavior on a case-by-case basis. Like you, we follow the Member Guidelines and try to assume the best of everyone. Know, however, that the following are not tolerated and may result in expulsion from the network:

  • distribution or sale of any book received for review purposes
  • submission of an intentionally abusive, offensive or otherwise inappropriate review
  • personal attacks, misrepresentations or harassment (including any form of hate speech)
  • manipulation or abuse of the site (e.g., attempting to circumvent the integrity of our review system by creating multiple accounts/reviewer profiles)
  • posting content that may put us in legal jeopardy (e.g., material posted in breach of copyright). 

Please read our Member Guidelines to learn more.

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Our review process

Why can't I select the books I want to review?

There is no shortage of outlets for user-selected reviews. The one thing they have in common is you cannot trust that the reviews you read on them are honest — they could just as easily have been written by friends (or enemies) of the author as by someone who actually selected the book based solely on its description or a recommendation. You just don't know.

Kindred Readers is different. Our matching process is designed to provide the most trustworthy reviews possible because each one is written by a totally unbiased, qualified reviewer. We recognize that our system is new and that it asks something of its participants. Our community requires a commitment — to fellow members, and to the reading public. But think about the potential of a community like ours! Consider how exciting it will be the first time you are assigned to read a book by a writer you've never heard of, then discover they're incredible. YOU get to be the person who'll help others discover them through your review. And over time, readers will learn to check Kindred Readers before making the decision to purchase a book by an unknown writer, because a Kindred Readers review will be honest.

That's what we're building here, a community that understands the needs of both readers AND writers — a community you can trust.

Under what circumstances might someone be removed from the reviewer pool?

Members are removed from the reviewer pool upon their second failure to review (that is, their status was set to Available, a book was assigned to them, they agreed to the review and they did not complete the review). We contact the reviewer to discuss the difficulty. In most cases, it's a simple misunderstanding, easily resolved, and the reviewer is then eligible for future review assignments.

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Requesting reviews

May I request a rush review of my book?

No. Rush reviews are solely for situations in which an assigned reviewer has failed to review. Review process administrators then select from among the pool of members who've indicated that they're willing to complete a rush review. Rush reviews are a great way to earn extra tokens — you earn twice as many tokens for a rush review as you do for a regular review. However, they should be relatively rare occurrences.

We understand an author's eagerness to secure as many reviews as promptly as possible. However, it's important that the network operates at a sustainable pace for all participants. If you wish to fast-track your progress, review any book you're assigned promptly, then use the tokens earned to request another review of your book. As long as your reviewer status is set to Available, you'll likely be assigned another book relatively promptly and thus have the opportunity to earn more tokens.

May I request more than one review of my book at a time?

Yes. If you have sufficient tokens, you may request more than one review at a time. At this moment, a member can request up to two reviews per month. As our membership grows, this maximum will increase.

A reviewer has posted what I feel is an inaccurate, unfair or inappropriate review of my book. What can I do?

We moderate the review posting process but perhaps we overlooked something or interpreted a comment differently from you. If you feel a reviewer has not followed our Review Guidelines or adhered to our Member Guidelines, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Be sure to provide a link to the review.

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Reviewing books

The quality of self-published work is variable. Will I have to read a lot of poorly written books?

Our matching system is designed to match you with books you're likely to enjoy reading. For example, if you like memoirs, travel books and motorcycles, odds are good that we'll consider you a solid candidate for a book about someone who takes off on a journey of self-discovery on a dual-sport bike.

What we can't guarantee is that it'll be a great book.

With that said, we do keep an eye on things.  A human makes every match, and we consider a wide range of information before making an assignment: your reviewer profile, your review history, the books in your To Be Read pile, and more. The longer you're with us, the more we'll get to know you and your tastes. We also pay attention to your most recent assignments. If a reviewer has received several less-than-enjoyable books in a row and the book they're about to be assigned has been getting equivocal scores, we'll look to see if another appropriate reviewer might be available instead. 

In other words, we try to be sensitive to this issue and if you've been given hard duty, we'll try to make it up to you. 

Similarly, if a book has gotten consistently low scores and there's a clear pattern that can be addressed (perhaps it's getting low ratings in a particular subscore like Technical Elements), we'll contact the author and suggest they pull the book temporarily, address the issue, then upload a revised version. The reviewers will be happier and so will the author.

Bottom line is, yes, you may read some not-ready-for-prime-time books. But one of our goals is to learn from one another. The constructive feedback you provide a developing author will help them improve, and when you read their next book and are pleasantly surprised by the progress they've made, you'll feel happy knowing you helped them grow as a writer.

I'm running late with a review. What should I do?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Fill us in on the difficulty and we'll try to find the best solution for you and the author. Our primary concern is knowing how to plan — all we ask is that you stay in good communication with us. 

I've been assigned to review a book but I really have no time available to do it right now. What should I do?

Go to the MY REVIEWS tab on your Dashboard and click on DECLINE TO REVIEW. If that option is no longer available, it means the 72-hour window has elapsed and the assignment's been cancelled. You may wish to consider whether you should toggle your availability status to "NO" if realistically, life's too busy for you to review at the moment. 

I've agreed to review a book but I have an emergency and cannot complete my review by the deadline. What should I do?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Fill us in on the difficulty and we'll try to find the best solution for you and the author. We understand that emergencies happen, and you can't help things that are beyond your control. Just get in touch, and we'll figure it out from there. You won't be penalized for circumstances beyond your control.

I've been assigned to review a book but I have a conflict of interest and cannot be objective about this book or this author. What should I do?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We'll cancel the assignment and make a note in our records so we can avoid the conflict in future assignments. You won't be penalized for declining the assignment.

What do you consider a conflict of interest?

Something that would significantly affect your ability to provide an impartial review of the work . You should never review a book by your best friend or your worst enemy — but that doesn't mean you can't review books by authors you know. If you have a history with the author of a book you've been assigned to review, honestly ask yourself whether you can review their work without bias. If the answer is no, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Similarly, if you worked on the book in some context or there's another factor that will affect your ability to give an objective assessment, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

May I review more than one book at a time?

No. A member can be assigned a maximum of one book to review at a time.

What do the Kindred Readers star scores mean?

In general, Kindred Readers scores reflect the following ratings:

  • 1 stars = Failed to meet minimal expectations
  • 2 stars = Below average
  • 3 stars = Average
  • 4 stars = Above average
  • 5 stars = Exceptional

Our system permits zero. full, and half-star scores for all ratings.

Consult our Review Guidelines for a more nuanced discussion of the scoring system and what individual ratings entail.

Do you have any tips for writing a good review?

While reading:

  • Approach each book with an open mind. If you're strugging, consider the possibility that the author may be attempting something unexpected (e.g., the story may be an allegory or employ a nontraditional use of language — think A Clockwork Orange or Finnegan's Wake).
  • Take notes as you read so you can record your impressions in the moment. Capture specific examples or quotes you can incorporate in your review.
  • Give the book a solid shot. If you just cannot finish it, say so in your review.

While writing the review:

  • Give only enough background on the characters, setting and plot to establish context.
  • Share your experience of reading the book. How did it make you feel? What memories or images did it conjur?
  • Offer advice to readers. Is this a great beach read? Does it beg to be read aloud?
  • Bring your own expertise to bear. Place the book in the context of the genre/field and, if possible, the author's other work.
  • Tell us what, if anything, makes this book worth a reader's time.
  • Take the time to proof your review and write an effective headline.

For more information on writing reviews, see our Review Guidelines.

Do you have any tips for writing a negative review?

  • Find something nice to say. The author has probably done some things well even if the book was poorly written. For example, perhaps it's evident they did extensive research into a character's trade. Even if the information was inexpertly integrated, acknowledge the effort.
  • Mix positive and negative feedback, and give specific examples.
  • If you have a recommendation (e.g., "This book would benefit from the assistance of a professional editor" or "This book would be greatly improved if the author shifted the POV to character Y"), volunteer it.
  • Focus on the type of reader who might enjoy the book or a setting in which reading it might be more enjoyable. For example, if character development is lacking but it's a fast-paced read, it might be a good book to read on a plane.

What if I'm assigned to review a book that I own or have already read?

If we've matched you with a book you already selected for yourself, that's good news — our matching system is working well! If you read it recently and remember it well, skim read it to refresh your memory then write the review. If it's been some time, please re-read the book before writing the review.

If I agree to review a children's book, may I share it with my children?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it. Please mention it in your review if you feel comfortable doing so. A children's book author would certainly value feedback from their audience.

Do I have to add the FREE COPY RECEIVED FOR REVIEW PURPOSES disclaimer to my review?

No. All reviewers on Kindred Readers receive a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes and we conspicuously post this notification on our site. However, you should add it to any review you cross-post. We recommend the following disclaimer: "I was invited to review this book and was provided a complimentary copy for that purpose. My review is completely objective."

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Cross-posting reviews

Why cross-post reviews?

Reviews provide readers guidance, and a good review on a book vendor website encourages readers to try an unknown author. We recognize that it takes a few extra moments to cross-post your review but doing so helps readers discover our authors (and earns you tokens!). Please support our authors by cross-posting your reviews, particularly if the overall score was 3 stars or above.

If your overall score was less than 3 stars, you may request that the tokens be credited without cross-posting. Simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request we award the tokens without your cross-posting.

Why must Kindred Readers reviews be cross-posted unaltered?

At Kindred Readers, we require all members adhere to our Review Guidelines; we want candid, constructive reviews. For this reason, any review you cross-post from Kindred Readers should be posted in an unaltered* form. 

* With the exception of an appropriate "free copy for review purposes" disclaimer. We recommend the following: "I was invited to review this book and was provided a complimentary copy for that purpose. My review is completely objective."

How do I cross-post reviews to book vendor websites?

When your review is published on Kindred Readers, you'll receive a notification inviting you to cross-post your review to vendor websites.

If you signed your review, simply go to your review and click on the book title, which links to the book's profile page on Kindred Readers. Use the BUY NOW* link to directly access the book's profile page on the vendor's website. You may use any account you have on that site to post your review. Please be certain to post your review unaltered save for the "free copy for review purposes" disclosure. 

If you submitted your review anonymously (i.e., using your ReviewerID): go to your review and click on the book title, which links to the book's profile page on Kindred Readers. Use the BUY NOW* link to directly access the book's profile page on the vendor's website.

The examples below describe how to create a unique pen name for your Kindred Readers reviews or submit your review anonymously on various sites. You are free to use an existing account to cross-post your Kindred Readers reviews, but please take the utmost care to protect your identity. We recommend in all cases that you set your account settings on the vendor website to maximum privacy (i.e., don't share email address, Twitter handles, etc).

Please note that each vendor has their own requirements for submitting reviews, and those requirements may change at any time. The best way to protect your anonymity when cross-posting a Kindred Readers review is to create a new userID, display name or pen name to use on vendor sites. 

Amazon: You need to have an account and to have made at least one purchase to post a review on Amazon. Assuming you meet those conditions, here's how to proceed:

Find the book by clicking on the Amazon "Buy Now" link on our site, then click on WRITE A CUSTOMER REVIEW. In the upper right hand corner of the page you'll see Your Public Name is (userid). Click on CHANGE and create a unique pen name.

Barnes & Noble (B&N): At this time, you do not need an account to post an anonymous review on Barnes & Noble (that is, they permit the public to post reviews anonymously on the site). However, if you have an account or are willing to create one, we request you submit your reviews on their site using a pen name. Reviews that are linked to an account are far less likely to be deleted in a site-wide purge.

Here's how to submit a review at B&N:

Find the book by clicking on the B&N "Buy Now" link on our site, then scroll down to Customer Reviews. Under the review window there's an option to create a pen name (you must have an account to do this) or post the review anonymously.

The safest choice is to create a unique pen name. If you do not have a Barnes & Noble account and do not wish to create one, you may post the review anonymously.

Kobo: You need to have an account to post a review on Kobo. Find the book by clicking on the Kobo "Buy Now" link on our site, then click on "Write a Review." In the review window enter a unique Display Name.

*Throughout, we suggest you find the book on the vendor site by clicking on the "Buy Now" link on our site. We suggest this as a shortcut, because the link takes you to the book's profile on the vendor site. Clicking the "Buy Now" link does NOT make you purchase the book. 

Why should I cross post my review anonymously?

If you signed your review on Kindred Readers, it's your choice whether to cross-post it signed or anonymously. 

If you posted it anonymously on Kindred Readers, we strongly recommend you create a unique userID on other sites. If you crosspost to another site with a username that can be traced back to you, you risk revealing your reviewer identity on Kindred Readers not only for THAT review but for every anonymous review you've ever written on Kindred Readers. And it's not inconceivable that other Kindred Readers members might be be affected. 

Here's an example. Say your name is John Smith and your Kindred Reviewers ReviewerID is KR001012. You post a review of The Rooster Crows at Midnight on Kindred Readers as KR001012 and cross-post on Amazon under the username JSmith. The author of The Rooster Crows at Midnight might recognize that the review posted on Amazon by JSmith matches the review posted on Kindred Readers by reviewer  KR001012. That author may then jump to the conclusion that reviewer JSmith is the author Jane Smith who has a book in Kindred Readers' book directory. This may or may not be true — there are lots of J. Smiths in the world, and more than one may be a member of Kindred Readers. 

What if my review was not positive?

For each member it is a personal choice whether to cross-post their reviews. Some members make it a policy to cross-post every review, regardless of the rating; others make that decision on a case-by-case basis.

Kindred Readers incentivizes you to cross-post your reviews, but we don't want to force you to choose between cross-posting a negative review and losing the opportunity to earn extra tokens: we believe members should be able to make that decision free of other considerations. For that reason, we offer waivers upon request. If you have given a book an overall score under 3 stars and you do not wish to cross-post the review, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request that we award the tokens without cross-posting.

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What are tokens, and how do I earn them?

Tokens are our site currency. They have no monetary value and members cannot purchase them from or give them to other members.

There are many ways to earn and use tokens, and more will added over time. Reader members earn tokens by writing reviews, and each Reader member automatically receives one token a month credited to their account to ensure they may decline to review one book a quarter without it costing any earned tokens. And we've been known to surprise folks from time to time by giving them tokens on special occasions, or just to say, "Thanks for going the extra mile" when they distinguish themselves in some way.

The number of tokens credited or debited for an activity can change, but we'll let you know of any changes as they take effect. Learn more about Kindred Readers' token system.

May I bank tokens?

Yes! For example, Let's say you're an Author member who's writing a book now. Add a Reader membership and start doing reviews now to bank tokens. When your book is published, you can use the tokens to get several reviews underway quickly. Authors can bank any number of tokens but while our network is new, we may limit the number of reviews you can request per month. Right now you can request a maximum of two reviews per month. This number will change as we grow.

Reader members, likewise, can bank as many tokens as they like. Currently Reader members can use tokens only to decline reviews (although they can lose tokens by failing to respond to a review assignment or by failing to review). Over time. we'll add more ways for Reader members to use their tokens.

Be advised that Reader members must relinquish all earned tokens when they add an Author subscription. For that reason, we suggest writers join as an Author member and then add a free Reader subscription rather than the reverse. 

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