Offworld Report

Reviewer Recruitment (You want to write for us? Great!)

I’m going to try an experiment to see if you have the potential to be a reviewer. If you’re the type of person who will read everything, especially here, then you might have the quality needed to be a reviewer. Ergo, read on. If you don’t, then this kind of work might not be for you. So I’m writing to the rest of you who are.

It should be asked what other qualities make an excellent reviewer than being an expert reader and the ability to write a little. Some would say being knowledgeable about the subject is fine for non-fiction but less of a requirement for fiction, where every book is a test. Finding a new book that you like can happen to anyone, regardless of experience. The main demand is continuing a book until the end and working out why it didn’t work for you. After a few months of reviewing, a novice will have the experience under their belts and define what they like and dislike. I try to avoid you getting genres you wouldn’t normally read.

If you can tell someone else the plot, something about the characters, and express opinions about it, without going too spoiler, then even better. So a little ability in writing can be handy and I can ensure your grammar looks as good as needed. Being able to complete a book and a review before a deadline or release date is also a useful talent. I find writing a bit of a review a day after a reading session works, but you might have your own way of keeping notes before the final polish.

Reviewer Recruitment (You want to write for us? Great!)
Reviewer Recruitment (You want to write for us? Great!)

Although I would love every reviewer to have good grammar, my job as an editor is to make sure you look your best in print. It’s no good accusing an author of having poor grammar and you aren’t any better. I will query things written that make little sense. Better me than the disdain of millions. It’s also useful to include details that prove you’ve read the product and don’t skimp.

The current situation of book releases since covid has brought out some inconsistencies. There are a lot more book series coming out. There is also a lot more fantasy than Science Fiction. Even so, publishers will catch up and I need a variety of reviewers for every eventuality.

There are many reasons for reviewers. People want to know whether, let’s call it a product because it encases so many types of material is good or bad. This can be subjective because all you are giving is an opinion. Most people can tell whether something is badly written or has questionable science, anything beyond is down to personal taste. I’ll let you into a little secret. Even if you don’t like a product, not everyone will believe you and check it out for themselves.

If they agree with you after reading or watching it, then they might pay more attention next time. From that perspective, publicists don’t care if the product gets a good or bad review, it’s better than being ignored. As such, we often look at products that other places tend to ignore. It might not be popular, but there’s a lot of material that gets ignored and our hit numbers are more than the other SF websites combined, so we must do something right. If you have a taste to explore and try out something different, then that will work. We try to cater to all tastes, including your own.

I prefer all-rounders to ones who just want to do films as that’s just topping on the proverbial cake. With DVD or Blu-ray, there are invariably a lot of extras to be covered, including audio commentaries. My record has been 5 commentaries for one film, so need a special stamina to listen to them all and pick out things that would encourage viewers to give them a listen.

We should be able to get the format you prefer, whether it’s paper or digital, although that’s not always the case.

I should point out that we can’t pay you, but if you like a supply of free products, sometimes advance copies, then you’ll be well at home. The more capable and productive you become, the more you get.

Still with me? So what do you have to do to get my attention? Easy. Write me a review of a book or film within our remit and see if it can survive my editorial eye. Check the details at the bottom of the editorial for links including common grammar problems I deal with the most. I’m good at making you look your best in print.

Although we recruit mostly from the UK for postage economics, check with me if you live abroad, as there are digital possibilities.

Good luck.

Oh, then contact me by removing the spaces from the following: geoff willmetts -2 @ hotmail .co. uk


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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