Who are Compulsion Reads?

For those of you interesting in obtaining a Compulsion Reads endorsement for your book, I wanted to explain to you how I got mine.

I’d heard about the site when I was looking through an article from Forbes about the book world’s proposed equivalent to Rotten Tomatoes, a site called Rabble Reads. Compulsion Reads, formerly Grub reads, was listed as one of the many sites that Rabble Reads would draw a rating from.

This is the post from Forbes that alerted me to their site.

The Trouble With Finding Books Online – And A Few Solutions

I would love a Rotten Tomatoes for books” – Jynne Martin, Penguin

The idea has been out there for some time – indeed several authors I interviewed for this article had it themselves at one time or another.  But a serious effort is finally underway to aggregate expert reviews of books.  The models for this site are Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic – both of which aggregate movie reviews and give them a single rating.

Full post

Things have changed and the project organiser, Amy Edelman, didn’t secure enough through the Kickstarter project to run with Rabble Reads.  But she has through her own site, Indie Reader, put together another book site called www.idreambooks.com (My book is listed on this site, but I have no idea how I ended up there). To feature on this site that has over 600k Facebook followers,  you can pay for a critique review via Indie Reader, but I have an issue with paying for reviews and $100 seems a little steep in my mind. However, you can make up your own mind on how you feel about paid reviews.

Compulsion Reads

And now, onto a site I would prefer to promote, and that is Compulsion Reads. The site is run by two lovely ladies; Jessica Bennett and Leslie Ramey.

They list their credentials on their site   www.compulsionreads.com

  • We are award-winning writers
  • We have been professional journalists
  • We’ve written articles that were published in international magazines
  • One of us has a degree in English, and we have both studied/are studying creative writing
  • We have worked as a marketer and an editor at independent publishing houses
  • We have attended multiple writer’s conferences
  • We actively participate in industry discussions, events, and writers groups
  • We are professional marketers who have worked with major brands

How I Earned my Endorsement

I first submitted to them in February and in six weeks (that’s how long it takes for them to review the book), they marked me high in a number of areas but politely refused my novel. What I received from them, however, was something far more valuable – a detailed critique of elements that were missing from my book. One of my problems was too much telling and not enough showing. They were absolutely right with their assessment. So I went back and reshaped my novel with this in mind.

The site allows you to resubmit twice, presumably so that either Leslie or Jessica can read it with a fresh pair of eyes.

I decided to resubmit, if only to see had I addressed the areas they were concerned about. I was very excited when they came back to offer me their endorsement for my book.

I’ll do a separate post about what I mean when I say ‘showing’ not ‘telling’. You have to think about it a little, but once you recognise it in books you are reading or have read, it’s much easier to apply to your writing. This week is about how a site like Compulsion Reads could benefit you.

How They Evaluate Books


In order for a novel to receive the Compulsion Reads Endorsement, the PLOT must be believable and compelling enough to keep a reader flipping the pages (physical or electronic).


There is no story without CHARACTERS to root for or against. We at Compulsion Reads are looking for 3-dimensional characters that propel the story forward. The following endorsement standards must be met in regards to characters:

Writing Technique

Every writer has their own special TECHNIQUE, which speaks to the flavor and fluidity of the words on the page (how the author chooses to convey their story). However, there are some fundamental elements of technique that all great stories share.


ACCURACY is a catch-all category to make sure the factual components of the novel are logical. Every story includes a lot of different details, and if those details are not consistent, well-researched or believable, readers will quickly put down the book.


A great novel is not only predicated upon solid writing, but also professional presentation. There’s nothing less professional than poor GRAMMAR.

Overall Assessment

Sometimes a novel can technically meet all of the criteria above and still not be of sufficient quality to merit a Compulsion Reads Endorsement. OVERALL ASSESSMENT relates to the artistic integrity of the piece and the ability of the author to tell a good story.

Submission Guidelines



The cost to submit to Compulsion Reads is as follows

Word Count

Book Evaluation Cost

25,000 words or less


25,001 – 50,000


50,001 – 75,001


75,001 – 125,000


125,001 – 200,000


Members of aLLi

Compulsion Reads are now members of the Alliance of Independent Authors (aLLi), a writing group that I’m a member of, who vets and rates all service providers prior to joining. Compulsion Read’s acceptance by aLLi means that their service has been endorsed as reaching a quality standard for Independent Authors. www.allianceindependentauthors.org  Please check out their site for a list of approved members in editing, design, formatting, whatever service you are looking for.

My Assessment?

Reviews are good, but if you’re looking for a straight-shooting critique of  your work, you would be hard pressed to find a more experienced pair of readers to do it. The critique that Compulsion Reads sent to me allowed me to focus on areas of my writing I had not thought of prior to submission.

On Monday, I will be running a competition. Please join in to be in with a chance to win a digital copy of Becoming Human!

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Update April 2014: The ladies who ran Compulsion Reads made the difficult decision to step away from the business to concentrate on writing. Sad News. I will, however, continue to display their logo on my first book!