This is a question we get often, with varying levels of friendliness or hostility. And, while folks are looking for a simple answer, the answer is far from simple. A good place to start would be how we handle incoming reviews.
When we get a request for review emailed to us, there are a few barriers before our contributors consider reviewing it.
Ideally, the comic will be a reasonably-sized PDF (under 100 MB) we can download to our servers from Dropbox, Google Drive, or a similar file hosting site, allowing for permissions for others to view. This makes it easier to share with our contributors. Physical copies aren't ideal because we can't share them easily.
Before the comic can make it onto our servers, an editor looks it over to make sure it meets our quality standards. Rough art, lettering, or production quality aren't always a deal-breaker, but with so many comics sent our way, it's important to have some level of quality filter.
Assuming it makes it this far, the comic is moved to our servers, where our contributors can look it over for a potential review. We're all volunteers, so each of us reviews what piques our interest. That being said, comics that have unique hooks, art, genre mashups, or that already have a lot of chatter surrounding them tend to do well on our site. Superhero comics, comics lacking in professional polish, or those that seem derivative of what's already out there tend not to be covered as much as others.
Last, we may decide not to cover something if we can’t provide a balanced review based on significant craft or content issues. Also, sometimes, a comic may not resonate with a reviewer, and that contributor will bow out of covering it. It then goes back to our pool of review copies for someone else to choose.
We don’t let creators know when we choose not to review a comic because we feel it’s not up to snuff or because a writer would otherwise give it a negative review. The few times we’ve done this in the past, we were met with some uncomfortable conversations. We understand there are some creators who would like to know what they can improve on, but that is a job editors are better-suited for during your project’s production. I know reviews are free where editors often are not, but it’s not the purpose of a review, and the time we’d spend giving you free editorial advice is time we could spend reviewing other comics, and not within the volunteer job description.
And that leads me to those “uncomfortable conversations” I mentioned earlier. Most of them boil down to some hard truths it’s important to know about critics and websites:
We don’t work for you. You don’t pay us. We don’t guarantee reviews of your work.
We also don’t guarantee a good review of your work. While we strive not to post harsh or extremely negative reviews, we do look for aspects of the comic that didn’t work for us, or that may not work for everyone. We aren’t a marketing firm, and part of the risk of getting your comic reviewed is the possibility of negative feedback.
This isn’t our full-time job. We do this in the margins life gives us between work, family, friends and everything else.
Because of this, we can’t drop everything and review a comic right away. Sometimes, it takes a week, a month, or more.
I can’t make people review things. Not until I can make enough money running Comic Book Yeti and pay everyone a living wage.
Now, you may be about to ask: “What about checking in on the review? Is that OK?”
That’s going to vary from person to person, and website to website. If you’re checking in to make sure we got your submission, that’s totally fine. We did. 999 times out of 1000, we did. If you’re checking because you want to hurry us along? That’s less OK. We’re doing what we can and, as previously stated, there’s not much more I can do to move things along faster. If you’re dropping in to harass us for not giving you or your comic the attention you feel you’re due? We’re blocking you because we don’t have time for that nonsense.
Like I said, I can only speak for myself, and a good chunk of ComicBookYeti.com. Of course, every website is different, and each contributor for that website is different, with their own unique tastes and preferences. Overall, it often comes down to piquing an individual writer's interest.
Thanks for reading, friends. Got an idea for more articles like this one? Email TheComicsYeti@gmail.com.