I been a book reviewer for Booksneeze since 2010. Since then I have recently joined Crazy for Books as one of their reviewers. Along the way word has gotten out and now author will contact me if I would review their books. I always give them the link to how I go about reviewing novels. I don’t stray from the rules for after this length of time this is what works for me. Even though I don’t get paid I take this job very seriously.
As an author reviewing books has been a bonus for me. I get to read different genres apart from the one I write in or read as well. It helps me to be more careful and to take my time in not rushing through a submission. Any review I put up there will affect the person who wrote the book. So hence the time I take in reading each book to the end. I also will always find something positive to say about the book. Especially in the ones that is truly not well written or got me sleeping midway. I see no point in bashing the writer from start to finish. There is always a gem in each book I read always.
It is not always easy for no matter how you try to do a good job there will be those who are not happy with you. I reviewed one book and rated it a four. The author said to me well if that is all you are going to give me I will take it. I have had another author tell me AFTER I read the book if I can’t give it more than a three to not bother reviewing it. That was how I was going to rate it , a three. After those two incidents I came up with my “rules” in how I review a book and I don’t stray from that ever.
This helps me be a better critiquer for my writing groups. It has shown me to not rush through a piece, to say something constructive and positive about the novel. All this helps me with my own writing and others I edit. It is hard when I edit or critique someone I personally know for it is only natural to want to say something nice and rate them a five-star. But that is not doing them any favor at all. If one is polite and point the good and bad I think job well done. That is what every author should hope for. Someone who doesn’t gush over stories, unless of course it is awesome, just due to familiarity with the reviewer.
I just hope when it is time for people to review my own book they follow a similar way of doing it like I do.
Last year I decided a week before NaNoWriMo that I would be participating. Can we all yell big mistake? Not that I was trying this writing frenzy for the first time but that I was very unprepared. I did win and am quite proud of that. But this year the decision was made to be more prepared.
I would wake up at 5am to write my 1667-2000 daily words that is needed to get the 50k done in time. That almost landed me in the hospital with my illnesses acting up. This year while I still get up early as a norm will just do half and leave the rest for later. I still tried to keep up with this blog not wanting it to dwindle to a halt after all the work I had done on it. This year I have recruited some guest bloggers for the month. I thought I would have to beg people to do this. What I found was a group of people willing to help me during this time frame. It is a win for the both of us. For me it keeps my blog alive and for them it brings their name out to a new audience. The kindness of these people makes me smile.
I wrote every thing by hand. That is my method of writing my books and short stories, pen and paper. But what I ended up with at the end of the month was a novel that needed to be typed up. Not doing that this year, I will try to type this first hand and see where it takes me. Last year the only idea I had on the novel was a one paragraph synopsis. This year I have envision the entire book in my head and have made notes.
On the side I review books from BookSneeze and from authors who contact me. This year there will be no review. I will read the books that are in the queue for me to read but the reviews will wait until December. Meetings has been set up for members of my writing group and myself to have time to work on NaNo. The buddy system does help for people who are doing this alongside me get what I am trying to do. What is nice is people have understood when I told them the reasons why I am doing all of this.
I really want to have back to back wins on this so I will be pushing myself. Will I be able to get the magical 50k words in one month I am not sure. But I surely will give it a good try.
There are so many sites writers can use for their social platforms. The last few weeks I have posted about Twitter, FB’s author page and one’s own website. It does not stop here. Goodreads and Shelfari are a book lovers dream. There you can share reviews of books you have read. It is similar to the reviews of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is a good way to let others know what your thoughts are on individual books.
Leaving a review however should not be taken lightly. A number of people will base whether they will read a book on the reviews they read. We all know that some of the good reviews will come from family and friends. That is to be expected. But a good book should have various reviews whether the member thinks it is 3 star worthy or 5. A good combination across the board will help not other the author but those interested in purchasing the book
I have been reviewing for BookSneeze for a few years now and I take it very seriously. This is not just for the author that I am reviewing but for potential readers. It is my job to honestly state what I feel about the book whether it is good or bad. This is not always easy for we don’t want to hurt one’s feelings but to tell an author empty compliments does them no favors. Even when you personally know them. One does not have to be cruel but instead use tact when the review is one that they might not like.
One thing I have learned from my writers group thankfully is how to review and critique the various books that come across my desk. I look for flow and pace. Are there any loopholes? Is it believable and even if it is fiction it has to make sense to a point. Does it have a hook? Are the characters well-developed? Does it keep my attention or am I bored by the end of chapter 1? There is so much to take into account.
There are times I have come across books and by the end of the first few chapters want to put it down to never read again. A flaw I use to have. No matter how bad the book was I would always finish it, always. Thanks to Booksneeze I no longer have that problem. I will finish the book for them. However when I am reading a novel primarily for pleasure if it does not hook me, down it goes.
You have to have thick skin to be a writer and equally so as a reviewer. People will not always like what you have to say even if it is in their best interest. The questions I ask myself is what I want people to ask when they are reading anything of mine. It may not always be easy to hear the negatives but it is one of the best tools for us to grow as writers. So while I may not always like what people tell me I am grateful for them First for taking the time to read my writings and second for telling me where it can be improved. One of these ways is from reviewers.
A tool that should not be ignored b y anyone who wants to make it as an author.