In a review 😀
Take your mind out of the gutter! We’re speaking about serious stuff here!
Reviews are gold to authors. They can launch a career attracting flocks of readers or drown a book they’ve sweat many hours on.
They’re also the reader’s “light in the night” when he wants to choose his next best adventure/gorgeous book boyfriend/ kickass heroine/spaceship travel…
Reviews can also be a daunting task and not only to newbies but to seasoned reviewers as well. The “Blank Page Syndrom” can plague reviewers as well. Have you ever wanted to write what this book made you feel and yet, nada, niente, nichts, nothing … not even one word is coming to your tired brain? Even worse as it happens when you promised your first newborn to this charming author you would write THE review of all reviews if you got the ARC. Does it ring a bell?
Or you’ve stalked the author because you just would die if he did not send you the book you’ve waited sooooooo long (usually in a series you’ve loved so far) but there’s just this tiny problem: you did not like the book. At all. What would you do?
Now let’s all be organized and tackle one topic at a time.
- Long versus short, what’s better?
If you write a short review you’re certain the reader will read it all. No one will get lost in your words and stop reading because you’ve bored him/her to death. For authors any review is good because it helps boost their sale and draw potential reader’s attention.
If you write “It was good I loved it thanks for the ARC” well people won’t have a clue about what made the book so great or they’re mind readers perhaps.
I know that I do tend to write long reviews. Guilty your Honor!
Sometimes it’s like a verbal diarrhea. Unfortunately I haven’t found the magic pill to write meaningful but not too long reviews. I’m a “go big or go home” kind of girl and when a book swept me off my feet I tend to gush about it. Especially if I’ve highlighted quotes like mad because the book was so well written or inspirational. Give me an Amy Harmon book any day and I’m relapsing.
The pros: you WILL know why I found the book so great and probably if the male hero flosses his teeth with the tongs of his conquest as Piper Lawson would say.
The cons: you may fall asleep before reaching the end of the review. Mind you it could be a pro if you’re suffering from insomnia…
As I’m obviously a bad, bad girl I try to fix my problem writing some key sentences in bold. See that’s the trick: if you’re in a hurry you could read the sentences in bold and you’d have the core of my review.
In conclusion: size does matter, sorry guys…
- The Big Bad Word: Spoilers
I think this one will be a no brainer. DON’T SPOIL! EVER!
If you buy a book you don’t want to know the end or that major turn of events or… Would you have liked to know if Bella would choose Jacob or Edward? No, of course not!
What is a spoiler?
Some would say “everything that’s not mentioned in the blurb”. Well sometimes your review would be very, very short if the blurb is very cryptic and only brushing 0,5% of the story.
In my opinion you should avoid:
– speaking about any turning point that’s not mentioned in the blurb. Stay vague say something along “it won’t be a smooth ride” or “there will be a major event changing the course of the story” or…
–speaking about the main character’s choice of partner if there’s a love triangle. See Bella/Edward/Jacob above;
–speaking explicitly about pet peeves like “is there cheating or not?” etc. You can say “this book contains triggers” but once again stay cryptic;
–telling the end of course!!!! One exception to the rule: cliffhanger. Why? Because there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a book, hoping this is a standalone and realizing at 98% that you’re heading for a huge cliffhanger AND THE NEXT BOOK IS NOT PUBLISHED YET! Worse there’s no publishing date to day. I can’t tell you the gallons of ice cream I ate or when I could not zip my jeans anymore the miles I ran on the treadmill to let out some steam. It was better than boarding the next plane with a whip just to push the author to write faster because I had to know what would happen next!
- I did not like the book. Should I lie?
NO! Lying Is a sin. Didn’t you know it?
Maybe your mummy raised you right and you don’t want to hurt the author’s feelings.
Maybe you just got the ARC from this publishing company and you are afraid a small rating would push you on their bad side…no more ARCs for you.
Maybe you don’t want to be the black sheep because all your friends thought this book was the next best thing. Peer pressure even if you’re not in school anymore.
Whatever the reason never tell you loved a book it that’s not true.
First everyone has different tastes and you can’t love the exact same book as everyone all the time. That’s impossible.
Second: you’re entitled to your opinion. You did not like it so what? The sky won’t fall down. I can guarantee the sun will still rise tomorrow and the author will still drive her kids to daycare or…
Third it would be counterproductive for the writer as he/she would thing that all is well in Reader’s Land. How can a writer improve her /his skills if no one ever point out what’s not working for them? It’s often the low ranking reviews that are the most useful.
Fourth: you’ll lie to the readers as well. And that’s a capital offense because “fellow readers before authors”.
Now please, don’t bash the book or the author either! Except if they really mocked the reader and took no care at all in the writing. It happened luckily only once in my reader’s life but one well known author repeated whole passaged (every single word the same) several time in the book! That’s a lack of respect for your readers and if you don’t respect me don’t expect that I’ll write a gorgeous review just because you’re earning millions writing your books.
- If I can’t lie, I can’t spoil and … what and how do I write my review?
Explain what did not work for you (without spoilers of course) or what you would have loved reading about and was missing. Try to find who could love the book. I have the utmost respect for the hard work writer have put into their book. As my mummy raised me right I will always be respectful IF the author did his/her job seriously aka did not consider his/her readers with less brain cells than hair on Jason Statham’s head.
In general write about what the book made you feel. About the characters: were they relatable or not? Were they flawed? Could you walk in their shoes? Was the writing beautiful? Was the pace steady or slow or.. Did you read till the wee hours as it was so enthralling? Did you cry or laugh or… Did it surprise you (I never saw it coming) or did you know from the very first page who committed the crime (never a good sign).
But the most important: write with your heart! As Amy Harmon said: “Write as if no one will ever read your work. It will keep your stories honest, it will take away the fear of rejection, and it will put in the headspace necessary to create instead of please.”
Now if you have a trick to cure me from my writing diarrhea… I’m all ears!