Can You Review My Novel?

SpecFaith’s volunteers can’t always promise to review fantastical stories. But here’s what we can do.
on Mar 6, 2015 · 6 comments


Once people learn your web ministry, Speculative Faith, exists to explore fantastical stories for God’s glory, they rightly figure you’re into that sort of thing. And once authors learn that this mission includes publishing lengthier Christian reviews of any fantastical story, they figure you could use some free books—especially digital versions—to read and review.

At SpecFaith our requests for reviewing books comes from social-network posts, Tweets, and messages sent to site editors (currently Rebecca LuElla Miller and E. Stephen Burnett).

We are grateful for every one of these requests. We’re especially grateful because most authors who make these requests understand three truths about SpecFaith:

  1. SpecFaith is a web ministry based on biblical Christianity.
  2. We are led by volunteers, such as our writers of daily feature articles.
  3. We are not a publisher or editorial service. We explore published fantastical stories.

Most also understand that volunteers write our reviews. Anyone can submit a review. We even feature previously published reviews, such as from Amazon or Goodreads. We only require that reviews are:

  1. Based on a biblical Christian worldview;
  2. Of any fantastical story;
  3. At least 300 words long.1

Authors, here’s the part where I offer a very mild “however” in hopes of encouraging you!

However, we are often unable to promise reviews of your book for the following reasons:

  1. We do receive more requests for reviews than we are able to fulfill.
  2. Most of us have pre-existing family and career obligations—or freelance writing, sometimes for extra income—that precludes taking on more volunteer work.
  3. Most of us also have stacks of books (including free ones) we haven’t yet read.2

So if SpecFaith can’t promise to review your book, here is how we can help you help us:

1. Suggest review arrangements with individual SpecFaith contributors.

Several volunteers have written reviews regularly for SpecFaith, and as volunteers they are free agents. One of them may be kinder (or meaner!) than SpecFaith’s daily feature writers such as myself. Try approaching a reviewer about a possible book-for-review arrangement.

2. Add your novel to the SpecFaith Library.

The SpecFaith Library is a comprehensive guide to every published Christian fantastical novel. So if you have written a novel and it is 1) published (self-published too), 2) Christian in worldview, 3) fantastical in nature and theme, we want to list your novel in the Library.

Search the Library or the site for the novel’s title. If we do not already list the novel, then authors, fans, or passersby can submit the novel using the share your story form.

Christian-made fantastical novels in the Library have a better chance of being noticed.

3. Notify SpecFaith of free e-book news.

Scripture says workers, including ministers of the Gospel, should get paid.3 Authors should receive compensation for their hard work and should not feel forced to give away their work constantly because this will supposedly “get their name out there.”

Still, my own stack of unread books includes e-books I’ve downloaded free, thanks to the generosity and media-savviness of authors and fans who shared the news about the offer.

So we also want to know about other fantastical novels that authors are making available for free download for limited times. Share that news with us. We may be able to notify others in our news section. And that increases the chances potential reviewers will find the story, download the story, read it, and then potentially write a review for SpecFaith.

Authors spend years or even decades crafting their stories. We want to honor this effort and be fair to authors, while also recognizing our volunteers’ own (present) limitations.

Thank you for supporting SpecFaith in its mission to explore fantastical stories for God’s glory, as we do our best to support authors in their mission to explore their own fantastical stories. And who knows? If God is good and this ministry can expand, serving a broader readership that includes Christian fans (not just authors) of fantastical stories, someday we may be able to offer more volunteer reviews. After all, who doesn’t like a free novel?

  1. But shorter comments are always welcome in response to any of the Christian fantastical novels listed in the SpecFaith Library.
  2. For my part, I will add a bonus reason: My personal policy is to review nothing I did not almost wholly enjoy and can be almost absurdly “evangelical” about—that is, eagerly sharing this awesome story with my friends. Perhaps this is an unrealistic standard, and I may reconsider it especially as I myself hope to write more reviews. I have no objection to speaking the truth in love about fantastical stories that are poorly done, wherever they are found. At this point I simply prefer reviewing only the stories that I view as standouts.That’s also why, if you know I have read a Christian fantastical novel and I have not reviewed it on SpecFaith, chances are I either did not enjoy the novel or at best thought it just okay. By contrast, the novels I have striven to review on SpecFaith are truly ones I can get behind.

    So I’m personally reluctant to promise reviews for anyone’s books. Especially if we know each other even casually over the internet, I would dislike being stuck in a review commitment and then be forced to offer a negative review. Such arrangements could become tense.

  3. 1 Tim. 5:18.
E. Stephen Burnett explores fantastical stories for God’s glory as publisher of and its weekly Fantastical Truth podcast. He coauthored The Pop Culture Parent and creates other resources for fans and families, serving with his wife, Lacy, in their central Texas church. Stephen's first novel, a science-fiction adventure, launches in 2025 from Enclave Publishing.
  1. J. S. Bailey says:

    The stories I’ve written aren’t free outright, but several are free to borrow for members of Kindle Unlimited!

  2. Pam Halter says:

    Thanks, Stephen – this is great info!

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks so much, Stephen. I haven’t published my book “yet” but once I do I’ll be revisiting this article for clarity as to how to go about getting it in front of possible Speculative Faith readers and reviewers.

    And thanks so much once again for those of you behind the scenes who make this great little corner of the internet available to those of us who are Christian and enjoy reading and writing speculative fiction…..

  4. Hannah says:

    Speaking of reviews, I sent in a review and added books to the library a few weeks ago, and neither have shown up. Are they still in process or were they missed?

    • Thanks for your submissions, Hannah.

      We’ve had a backlog of reviews for a while and are catching up to several older ones. However, the Library should be listing books that were submitted a few weeks ago and that met the criteria. I’ll look into it.

  5. Hannah says:

    Thank you! 🙂

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