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Do Book Reviews Matter to You?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I’ve seen this question, this topic of discussion, around a lot—and in fact have commented on a couple of other posts on FB or blogs with my answer; so I thought it would be interesting to discuss this here.

Reviewer vs. Influencer
Let’s begin this with a clarification—not everyone who posts a review is a reviewer. Last week, I put out a call for volunteers to be word-of-mouth influencers as part of the marketing for The Art of Romance, and part of that is asking these people to post “reviews” of the book online (their blog, the online booksellers’ sites, readers’ communities, etc.) with the idea in mind that they’re going to try to positively influence people to buy the book if they like it.

This is influencing, not always reviewing to me. And I’m not against it—not at all (obviously, since I ask people to do it on my behalf). I like receiving glowing, nothing-but-good-things-said 4- and 5-star reviews!

A reviewer, on the other hand, may or may not have received a gratis copy of the book from the author or publisher—but they’re less interested in trying to influence people to buy the book and more interested in giving critical feedback about the book—why it works or why it doesn’t, from their personal perspective—so that their own readers/followers and others can make a decision based on whether or not they feel like they’d have the same feelings about the book. These are the people who rarely, if ever, give 5-star reviews—and, conversely, might not give a whole lot of 1-star reviews; and if they do, people know to pay attention.

Of course many reviewers write influencer-type reviews without even realizing they’re doing it—or without being asked to. So for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll break reviewers into the following categories: Gushers (influencers fall into that category quite often) and Critics (in the general, not the negative, sense of the word). Oh, yeah, and then there are the Bashers.

How to Tell the Difference
The difference between something written by an influencer and something written by a reviewer goes something along these lines:

      Oh, my goodness! This is my favorite author! I preordered this book as soon as it was available and read it in one sitting as soon as it arrived, and it does not disappoint. If you’re a fan of this author, you’re going to love it. If you’ve never read this author, you’re going to love it. If I could give it more than five stars I would.

I call this an I-love-this-book-so-much-I-want-to-marry-it review from a Gusher. Sure, the poster may have honestly felt that way. But if I’ve never read anything by this author, or if I have and walked away from it rather ambivalent, this review isn’t really going to tell me why I might like the book. So a Gusher’s review isn’t going to do me any good.

      I’ve read several of this author’s other books, and while this is not her best (that would be Title), it is a solid addition to my library. The characters are well developed—though I would have liked to see more scenes from the grandfather’s point of view—and most seem well rounded. However, there were a couple of unnecessary secondary characters who came in for only one or two scenes just to give a piece of information that’s important to the story, and then they disappear again. I think this author could have figured out a better way to do that. The themes of identity and self-worth work well with the story’s plot and character. The author followed a pretty standard romance storyline here, but with the strength of the characters, the setting, and the writing style, that’s easily overlooked. 3.5 stars

That, to me, is a Critic’s review (generic, here, because I was making it up, not going off a specific book). That’s someone who’s pointed out that the book does have some shortcomings (in the Critic’s point of view), as all books do. She’s mentioned what she liked about the story and the writing. She’s also told us what the themes in the book are—so that not only do we know what the storyline is (because we’ve read the book blurb and the exhaustive summaries that everyone else has posted) but we know what the story is about—what the “takeaway” of the story is: identity and self-worth. Why a 3.5 star rating? Well, the Critic has told us—this is not this author’s best work (and has given us her opinion of what the author’s best work is).

[Let me be perfectly honest here . . . with as much as I love receiving the Gushing 5-star reviews on my books, I’d really much rather receive slightly lower star ratings with a well-thought-out Critical review of the book.]

      Ugh. I can’t believe I wasted five hours reading this book. It’s horrible. This author has no business writing romance. The characters are stupid, and I hated both of them. Oh, and don’t even get me started about the agenda—I mean the “theme” of this book. I don’t care if this book was a free download. It’s a waste of cyberspace.

I don’t think I need to explain that one. πŸ˜‰

What Reviews Do I Read?
I subscribe to a couple of general-market-romance reviewing blogs, as well as a couple of bloggers who review CBA fiction. The general-market blogs I follow are multi-author, meaning that I’m not getting just one person’s views/opinions all the time. The CBA bloggers I’ve narrowed it down to are those who aren’t afraid to say when they don’t like something in a book that bears the label “Christian”; for these gals, if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I don’t always agree with their reasons why or even with their critiques, but at least someone’s out there trying to be Critics of Christian fiction rather than just Gushers or Bashers.

If I haven’t read a review of a title on one of those blogs, I read the posted reviews on Amazon if the blurb catches my interest. And I usually start with the 2- and 3-star reviews before moving on to the 4s and 1s. It’s easy enough to tell which ones are Bashers—those are easy to ignore—but many times I find that there are some Critics who will give good, solid reasons for why they didn’t like a book or why a particular part of it didn’t work for them. Those are the reviews I like to read. I don’t mind the Gushers—it makes me happy to see those for the author’s sake—but those aren’t overly helpful when I’m looking for a thoughtful, critical analysis of if the book is worth buying. Most of the time, I’m still going to download the sample chapters before making a purchase decision—but if the reviews indicate it’s probably not going to be a book I’ll enjoy, I might not even download the sample.

Now that I have a Kindle, this sample-download thing has added a new review-reading twist. Whenever I read a reviews of a book on one of those Critics’ blogs that sounds interesting to me, I immediately go over to Amazon and download the sample chapters—without reading the onsite reviews. I wait to read those after I’ve read the sample chapters—and sometimes then only if I’m still on the fence about the book (i.e., it didn’t quite hook me, but it wasn’t horrible, either). I’ve discovered so many new (debut or new to me) authors this way—all because I’m reading reviews.

Do you read reviews? Which ones do you find helpful? Do you post reviews? What kind of reviews do you post?

  1. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:47 am

    I do read reviews some times. I recently read some for a book I was meant to read but couldn’t read it cos of the language used in it but found no one mentioned it and said what a great book it was (and probably is) but there is one word frequently used that to an aussie is a swear word that I couldn’t handle reading several times a chapter (like in three chapters around up to 50 times). I found out in America its not considered bad/
    I dont like the bashers if they dislike a book so much why keep reading.
    I guess Im a bit of a gusher as I do say I loved a book but I often will also mention why I loved the book without giving away the story.


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:29 am

      Interesting how something that isn’t considered bad here would be offensive in Australia. I’ve tagged certain words that I’ve seen American authors use which I know seem inoffensive here in the US, but in Britain (and probably Oz and NZ), it’s a horrible curseword. I know about it because of my Anglophile tendencies with reading, TV, and movies. There are also acronyms that have become part of regular language which I see Christian writers using, such as SNAFU and FUBAR (you can Google them, but the F should make them pretty obvious), which, because they have no background in where those terms came from—and don’t bother looking them up—don’t realize just how offensive some might find them if/when they do look them up to find out what they really mean.

      Yes, I do like it when reviewers point those kinds of things out.


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:18 pm

        The book I was referring to when I told the co-ordinator it had the B word and I was struggling she said when I said what the word was she laughed as she was trying to think what bad word I was referring to. It was then I asked a few groups and found its not offensive in the states but is here.
        Here we have words we use that I know not to use in America cos they are innocent here but are a problem in america.


        • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:46 pm

          We may be referring to the same word if it’s six letters long has a GG in the middle and ends in ER.


        • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:12 pm

          No not that one which isn’t so bad now its the B word that has 6 letters with a double oo in it. refers to blood in some places but the way it was used wasn’t referring to blood


        • Wednesday, April 27, 2011 2:03 pm

          Ah. That’s not a case of that word not being offensive in America. That’s a case of Americans not realizing just how offensive it is, because it’s considered one of those “quaint” Brit-speak words that seems relatively innocuous because it isn’t part of our vernacular here.


  2. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:46 am

    I struggle with writing book reviews and don’t feel like I’m good at them. With many books, I just go a more generic route, which isn’t all that helpful. Sometimes it is hard to dig deep without giving away the story. And I want the readers to discover certain things on their own, because part of the beauty of a well written book is the discovery of secrets and truths hidden away within the pages.

    Case in point….I have struggled with writing a review for The Art of Romance (which I am posting tomorrow). There is so much to love about this book and the parts that resonated with me are parts that shouldn’t be shared before reading. It is part of the natural discovery that enables the story secrets to sink in and percolate. So I’m trying to not spill the beans, yet share what I loved about the story.

    And yes…I will be gushing. It is my favorite of your contemporaries so far. πŸ™‚


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:33 am

      A good rule of thumb is just to try to answer the questions:
      –Why did you like the book?

      –What is the book about (themes, takeaway value, not a storyline summary)?

      –What made the characters work (or not work) for you?

      –What emotions did reading the book make you feel?

      –Who is the appropriate audience for this book?

      –What did the author do well? What could the author have done better?

      And since you’re reviewing mostly fiction with Christian themes for a Christian audience:
      –What was the spiritual message?
      –How was the spiritual message handled?


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:30 pm

        Okay, your tips for a book review are being copied and put into my OneNote. Thank you! And I do believe I shall go tweek my review for tomorrow.


      • Wednesday, April 27, 2011 7:07 am

        Thanks for sharing these. Very helpful format. πŸ™‚


  3. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:08 am

    I do glance through reviews, but typically avoid the ones with 4 and 5 star ratings. They are often too gushing and don’t give enough critical feedback for me to make an educated choice. Many times, what makes someone give a book a poorer review is the very thing that will convince me to pick that book up.

    On my site I write what I call Recommendations. I only highlight books that I deem exceptional, books that I would recommend to anyone–and I’m a very picky reader.

    I’m curious, Kaye, what book review sites do you read? I’m looking for sites that don’t just post gushing reviews of Christian fiction.


  4. Charmaine Gossett permalink
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 8:23 am

    I read reviews. I read to find out what the book is about to see if I would be interested in reading it. I would like to write a review for you, Kaye, but I feel I don’t know how. In time I will learn. I have bought and read two of your books and enjoyed them. I gave the copies to the Library and told the manager that you are a local author and they should put your books on the shelf. I checked last week and didn’t see the books so I am going to talk with the manager and mention it again. She is very nice and has local authors in for talks, in fact I have been to two such meetings. I’ll work on her to set something up for local Christian Romance Authors. May take time, but I’ll try.


  5. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 9:47 am

    I do read reviews, especially on books that weren’t recommended to me by friends. I tend to read the 4 star reviews and the 1 star reviews. Although I am not one to write the “basher” review, I find them extremely helpful.
    To give an example – I was looking at buying a parenting book and the 1 star review was bashing it because it was so “blatantly Christian with too many Scripture verses in it” I knew immediately that this was the book I was looking for, especially with several really good 4 and 5 star reviews to back up my decision. I was not disappointed.
    Also, in reference to the Gushers – don’t you think this has a lot to do with personalities of people? I have a very dear friend who is a Gusher about everything. She is such a positive person that if she doesn’t like something, she just doesn’t talk about it. She would be the type to only post 5 star reviews and she is always “gushing”. In her blog posts, everything ends with an exclamation point :o)
    When all is said and done, word of mouth is the most powerful tool of marketing. I will buy books at the recommendation of a friend regardless of how many 1-2 stars it receives.

    Great post. Thanks for the thoughts.


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:42 am

      I, too, occasionally find the Basher reviews helpful . . . but in almost the exact opposite way of the example you posted when it comes to fiction. I don’t want to be preached at through fiction. I just want a good clean story about people whose values and lifestyles (i.e., going to church, praying, etc.) aren’t that different from mine. What I don’t want is for the author to spend so much of the focus of the book on evangelizing that it overpowers the story. Those are the kinds of reviews that I can usually count on from the first two bloggers I listed above. Not bashing the spiritual content of the book saying how much of it is in the book and whether or not it actually works with the story (see Books, Movies & Chinese Food’s review of Janice Hanna’s book Love Me Tender for a perfect example).


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 9:03 pm

        Oh thank you very much for the shout out! I try to do the best I can. I have no qualms about saying what I think needs to be fixed or problems I have with a book. I’m not mean but sometimes it just needs to be said. I often find that I will sometimes be the only 2 star review in a sea of 5 stars gushers.


      • Wednesday, April 27, 2011 7:05 am

        Yes, I agree with you whole-heartedly when it comes to fiction. However, I like for there to be strong spiritual content in marriage and parenting books. πŸ™‚


  6. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:24 am

    I have reviewed, I have gushed, and I have influenced for authors. I try to tell why I liked the book. Those few, those happy few, followers of my blog know what I like and what matters to me in a book, so that speaks for itself to them. I do occasionally critique a novel, and when that happens, I can guarantee one particular author who’s a darling in the Christian author community will not be spotlighting my review. In fact, her attitude caused me to just about stop influencing for writers altogether. So I am very choosy now about influencing.


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:04 pm

      I do understand the pitfall that writing the harder, more critical reviews is—this is a very small industry and word gets around. And because many people expect Christians to always “play nice” and give every artist putting something out with a “Christian” label a glowing review (be it music, movies, books, or whatever), if we are honest and try to hold that “Christian” art to a high standard by not just gushing over it but reviewing it critically and thoughtfully, we’re labeled Bashers, even if we really aren’t. So I understand your dilemma.


  7. Kav permalink
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 11:40 am

    Interesting topic. I write reviews on a blog and post them on I’d say I’m halfway between a reviewer and an influencer because I only write reviews for books that I loved and would recommend to others. I’ve read many books that I simply haven’t reviewed because I didn’t like them for one reason or another and some of those I couldn’t even finish. I guess I’m more about wanting to share a good book then rip one apart. I try to make my reviews personal — explain why the book resonanted with me which is sometimes hard when you can’t mention specific scenes or plot details.

    When I review on I give all the books I review 5 stars because, personally, I think it’s impossible to ‘grade’ a book. I mean, what standard would you use to grade it against? Grading is just too subjective…there are too many variables. I figure that if I take the time to post a review on then that means I highly recommend it — hence the 5 star rating.

    I read pretty exclusively in the romantic genre but I read a wide range within it. I approach each book I read with an open mind and make it a point not to compare it to another. I concentrate on what I like about it — what is keeping my attention, making me stay the course until the end. That’s what I review about.

    I don’t pay tons of attention to reviews — especially on Amazon. It always makes me smile to see someone berating a work of Christian fiction because there’s too much religion in it. And if you read enough reviews of one book you’ll usually find a reviewer who hates this part and another reviewer who absolutely loves that same part! We’re all different and we all have our own opinions.

    My review blog started out just because I wanted to keep track of what I was reading and make note of what worked for me to assist in my writing. It kind of grew from there and now I think if I have any role at all it’s just to let people know that these great books are out there.


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:01 pm

      I guess that’s my biggest beef with readers of Christian fiction—their unwillingness to Critically review anything that they don’t feel like they can give a 5-star rating to. It’s one of the reasons that reviewers/critics outside of the Christian fiction industry accuse us of treating our published authors with kid gloves and never saying anything negative about them—because no one’s willing to write the thoughtful and constructive reviews that do point out the weaknesses and flaws they might have seen in a story—or to just say they didn’t like it. We don’t have to like everything. We don’t have to think everything is worth 5 stars. But let’s be open and honest about it—in a kind and helpful way.


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:17 pm

        True, but then I don’t like to read reviews that expound on a book’s weaknesses either, not if I’m seriously planning to read that book. Here’s why: it might otherwise spoil what would have been a great read for me, because I’m going in with my radar attuned for those weaknesses. If I’m reading to analyze craft, that’s one thing. But if I just want a relaxing, engaging, or entertaining read, then I’d rather go in blissfully ignorant, and possibly remain so. πŸ™‚

        I rely on the reviews of a few bloggers whose tastes I know are similar to my own, and who don’t give away too much of the plot in their reviews. I never read Amazon reviews, or reviews of people I don’t personally know, before I read a book. After I’ve read the book they’re entertaining to scroll through to see how others reacted. But I’d rather have my own unspoiled reading experience first.


      • Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:29 pm

        I did review Before the Season Ends right before it came out in the Harvest House edition. I did it to help Linore because she’s a sweet lady, even though I would never have picked the book up without that connection

        I was bored to tears and had to force myself to finish it. But I hate Jane Austen, and Linore is a modern day Jane Austen. My review was very honest in that it wasn’t my kind of book. I ended it by saying it’s a must-read for Jane Austen fans. And it is! If you love Jane Austen, read Linore Rose Burkard.

        The writing was amazing. Linore is truly gifted. It just wasn’t my thing.


  8. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:06 pm

    My 1st response to this post was to answer the topic with a resounding “absolutely!” Book reviews matter to me because I love how they can spark dialogue about the story, and because I enjoy writing them. πŸ™‚

    I *hope* I post honest, balanced reviews. I don’t think I’ve ever written one that could be classified strictly in the “basher” category, tho. πŸ˜‰ I feel like I’ve tried to plant myself in the honest critic’s camp, but of course when I fall in love with a book it’s quite easy to stray into gusher territory.

    Thanks for the link shout-out in the comments, too! πŸ™‚


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:58 pm

      Yes, you do tend to gush occasionally (um . . . shall I point to a recent movie review of J.E.. . . ?), but you do it in a Critical way because you go in-depth with the reasons why you like something as much as you do.


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:17 pm

        You bring up a good point. I gush A LOT more in movie reviews than I do in book reviews (at least I think so). Film is such a visual thing, I guess it sends me into overload… πŸ˜‰


  9. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:18 pm

    I confess that at some point in time, I have been all three–a gusher, a critic, and a basher. (Thankfully, the bashing has only happened 2 times. Not something that I do on a regular basis, but was completely justified as there were some seriously flaws on both occasions.)

    I like to think that I’m more of a critic because I read so many books, and I like to see when authors make improvements with each successive book. It’s very encouraging to a reader/reviewer when an author takes that review/critique, and uses it to improve their writing.


    • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 1:57 pm

      There’s a difference between being a Basher and being a Critic who’s writing a hard, but honest review.

      My advice for people struggling to write honest reviews of books they just don’t like is to try to balance it (this comes from the realm of critiquing): For each negative, try to find a positive to balance it.

      –Negative: The characters were flat and unrealistic.
      –Positive: The cover is beautiful.

      –Negative: The storyline was a typical, ho-hum romance with no twists or surprises.
      –Positive: The author had some unusual turns of phrase sprinkled throughout that I enjoyed.

      –Negative: Though marketed as an “Inspirational” novel, the book had no spiritual theme and the characters don’t seem to have any code of morals or ethics they live by.
      –Positive: I liked the heroine’s dog.

      See how it works? You can be honest and constructive while still writing what would be considered a “bad” or “negative” review and not have it go into the Basher category.


      • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:02 pm

        Thanks for pointing that out, Kaye. I generally don’t write bad reviews, and try not to give ratings lower than a three. I’ve never been hard to please when it comes to reading, just so long as the story is interesting and keeps me involved. But some books don’t please everyone, and we all have different tastes.

        It is so important to outweigh the negative comments with things that were enjoyable. I have heard it said so many times that authors think of their books as their children, and when one gets bashed, it can be a tough pill to swallow. After all, a lot of time and energy goes into every single book. Ever since I first heard that, I try to be careful and considerate before writing any review.


        • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:07 pm

          But if all published authors ever hear about our books is positive gushy stuff, how will we know what areas we need to improve?


        • Tuesday, April 26, 2011 5:25 pm

          I know once or twice I have said I would have liked to slap the heroine cos she was just wallowing in self pity. (I told the author this and she had had the same said by other author friends) it was part of the story and thats what she wanted the heroine did redeem themselves at the end.


  10. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:37 pm

    Here’s a perfect example of how even reading Critical reviews can still muddy the waters and confuse things.

    Yesterday, on one of the general-market blogs I follow, I read a review of a new (general-market) contemporary romance novel that sounded great. The reviewer really enjoyed it and gave it a great (but not Gushing) review. I added the book to my wishlist on Amazon—because it wasn’t yet released and I wanted to read the sample before deciding if I wanted it as an ebook or a real book.

    Today, there are “dueling” reviews of it (two reviews in the same blog post) on one of the other general-market review sites. One of them gave it a grade B and put a “recommended” banner over the cover image in her review. The second reviewer gave it a D and Critically explained why she didn’t like it—making what could be some valid points, but which are definitely colored by her own life experiences (which she does explain in general).

    The thing is . . . before reading these two reviews posted today, I’d been thinking about going ahead and buying and downloading the book (which released today) because the first reviewer made it sound like something I’d really enjoy.

    So, now it’s back to reading the sample and deciding for myself.


  11. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:58 pm

    I like your article you wrote about book reviewers and the ‘types’ of reviewers there are. I have a blog, listed above, and I try to be critical. It does help the author with the sales of their books. It even goes further than that. The Publisher becomes involved, the Publicist, editors, etc. If the book does not get a fair review, the book will not sell.

    When I go to purchase a book to read, I do read the reviews on the books. I generally buy them from Amazon and not the bookstore anymore. (I am disabled, cannot drive, and can barely walk due to a neurological disease. I got into book reviewing because I was already reading and writing reviews on Amazon and came upon a Bool Blog accidentally. It was the BEST accident that ever happened to me! I now Blog about Books, writing reviews like crazy and I LOVE it!! I can’t work and felt such a VOID in my life! Now that void is GONE!! I LOVE doing this!!! I do pour my heart and soul into writing a review. I am SO happy now!)

    I, also, skip the 1&2 -star reviews right away! I am really liking purchasing my books on Amazon rather than a bookstore anymore because of the reviews that are there! In a bookstore, the ‘only’ reviews you get are the ones on the back of the book written by newspapers or other editorial staffs that give a one or two sentence WOW of the book! I want a ‘real person’s review’! I generally ski the 5-stars as well, although, I have been guilty of giving a 5 star before, but that is because the work in the story and writing style was worthy of it,generally Non-fiction and some Children’s Books can be 5-star books. I like the 3 and 4 star reviews. Those reviews do seem to be much more honest about the book. You can get a general ‘feel’ of the book by reading the reviews, more so than only reading the description of the book. I think regular, every day people who write reviews, give the most true and honest reviews on books. They have invested ‘time’ into the book. They have sat at home nice and cozy (hopefully!) and gave that book their all while reading it. They have the most objective view of the book. They will write what they honestly think of the book, at least I hope they do. When they do come across a good book, I hope they can portray how good it is with the words they use. Sometimes writing a review can be very hard. For instance, I am reading a book now that is geared more towards a man than a woman, but the book IS good. How exactly am I going to portray this? I am already thinking about what I am going to write. Then when I am done, I will wait a few days before I write the review on ‘any’ book. I have come across some books where after I am finished I have been able to sit right down and write the review right away. Those are the books that are either exceptional, or are not very good. It is the ‘tough’ books, like this one I am reading, that are the hard ones!

    I take my time in reading the books and in writing the reviews. Like I said above, the review is SO important for the author, and everyone else involved in the ‘evolution’ of the book. I want to make it the best review I can possibly write, either good, medium or bad, without hyping the book up, nor bashing it.

    I LOVE books! I have never been able to get enough of books! As a teenager, I spent EVERY CENT of my babysitting money on books! We had a small bookstore in my small town, which was “Heaven”! The owner’s name was Anita. She knew me and my girlfriends on a firsst-name basis as well! We LIVED in that bookstore! One time we went camping, and there were the owners of the bookstore! What a TREAT! We got to talk books, how books were made, all the stuff a teenage lover of books would want to know! Unfortunately, that bookstore did close after being there for fifteen years. I credit that bookstore for helping give me my LOVE for reading!

    My whole life, with time on my hands, I have always turned to books! I can even remember some of the books i read when I was a young adult! The good ones ‘still’ stand out!

    Today, we have the advantage of having book reviews to rely on. Yesterday we did not have that. I believe that is because of the internet. I have always loved book reviews. I have always felt them an integral part of the book. I can rely on the book reviews. No more of the 2 sentence Newspaper Publication Wow!

    Thanks for addressing this subject! I really enjoyed reading book reviews from an author’s perspective. It helped me, as a reviewer of books. This article will stay with me, and I know I will think of it every time I write a review!

    Right now I am 44 years old. I do forget that authors have webpages!! Even as a reviewer, I still forget the author’s have webpages! It was so wonderful to happen upon your page! I linked to it from another reviewer’s page! I just wish I could remember what reviewer it was to give them credit. I can’t go ‘back’ because I will lose this page, and what I wrote, but am SO glad she had this link!

    You are a new author for me! I am going to check out your books! I LOVE finding new authors! I like your opinion on things, from what I have read here, so far! I think I will like your books a lot! I will try one! First of all, thank you for taking all the time you do to write them! I always like to thank authors for writing their stories they have in their heads and sharing them with us! So, THANK YOU!!! And, again, thank you for writing about Book Reviews! It has helped me to know what an author thinks about them!

    Good luck with your writing career now and in the future! I hope you have MORE stories to write! Thanks for the opportunity for us to be able to write a comment and talk to you about your article!

    Laurie Carlson

    (I am not listing my blog publicly, as I am not going to take advantage of this reply to advertise my blog. I just wanted to honestly reply to your article and be taken seriously.)

    Thanks again!


  12. Tuesday, April 26, 2011 6:34 pm

    I read the books and try to tell part of the story so that I can get someone interested in the book enough to buy it. I also like to tell if I have read anything from that author before and if not if I like the book, then I would like to read more. I am an older women that loves to read and I do so every day. I do not have a college education and have raised 4 children so I have been there. I am a Christian and will not read a book if it is sent to me free, if it has words in it that I will not say myself. I also only like fiction books that can take me somewhere I have never been before and I really enjoy the 1800s historicals.
    I review or talk about the book the best way I know how, and have only been asked a couple of times to take something out as I am giving the story line away.

    May God bless


  13. Renee C. permalink
    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:50 am

    Well even though I review a bunch of books on my blog every month you’ve really given me something to think about. I’m bookmarking this post for reference.

    In general it’s very hard for me to write a review for a book that I didn’t enjoy because I don’t want to hurt feelings. I know, I know, I’m not going to please everyone but I understand that authors put a ton of work into their writing so I’m not going to just come out and bash away without giving a reason. I ALWAYS try to find something nice to say to balance out the negatives. At the same time I don’t think it’s okay to say I loved a book and not give the reasons why (characters, plot, originality, etc). I will admit to this, on occasion I’ll read a book and put off writing a review for a week or two so it may seem a bit more “generic” but I still try to make them as informative and helpful as possible. And most times I’m writing a review for the reader NOT the author so I always try to put things that I look for in a review in mine.


  14. Wednesday, April 27, 2011 1:44 pm

    I don’t usually read reviews. I realize I’m in the minority on that, so I do write the occasional one for friends and I do influence every now and then.


  15. Lady DragonKeeper permalink
    Thursday, April 28, 2011 12:33 am

    Wow, great post –I’m filing away those questions/prompts to use later. I sometimes read reviews if it’s a book I’m thinking of getting and I’m still unsure after reading the summary.

    I recently got a goodreads account, and I’ve won a couple “firstreads” there so I *had* to post reviews. I must admit, one was a “gusher” because I had been wanting to read the book ever since I had heard of it and I should probably edit it because I sort of made it a “rebuttal” of some other reviewers criticism …

    On goodreads, I’m currently putting in books I read when I was in high school, so if I post anything, it’s more like my thoughts or a brief comment to explain why I rated the book “x” many stars. My rating system is usually in relation to the author’s other works or the book series. E.g. I’ve rated the last three “Love Comes Softly” books 4s or 5s and the books in the follow up series got 3s and one a 2 (the “it was okay” star, according to goodreads) because in my opinion, in comparison to some of Janette Oke’s other works, they weren’t as good (or rather, I didn’t like the characters as much).


  16. Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:34 pm

    I was coming here to link your site to a book review and started reading this. Glad I did. I am working at being a Critic reviewer. I am going to save this post so I can go back and read it again so my reviewing can get better. I try not to be a gusher but if I really like a book I admit I will praise it quite a bit. I try not to be a basher. When I don’t like a book I try hard to still pull out what I did like and point out its my option and others may still like it. I probably give out more 5 star reviews then maybe I should but I am still new to reviewing and my scale has changed some in the last few months.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I have wondered what authors think about reviewers and this is very interesting and helpful. πŸ™‚



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