by VJ Miller, Sr.
Writing Reviews Starts Here
The craft of writing has it’s rules, and along with those rules there are some responsibilities; one of which is writing reviews, the feedback from the reader that every author covets.
“Okay. But shouldn’t this post come after I’ve written my manuscript and not before?”
One of the ways to be a better writer is to read as much as you can of other writer’s work. While reading you should be taking into account: plot, and pacing and the writer’s voice, or how they craft their sentences. Every writer deserves some sort of feedback and should want some sort of review. How else is any writer going to gauge how effective he or she has been.
“I don’t have the time, or he/she doesn’t want to hear from me!”
Ask yourself, do you want your readers to tell you what they think of your novel or short story you’ve had published?
Of course you do, or you should. Any feedback; either good, or not so good, will give you incite into how you should write your next manuscript.
“Okay, I’m convinced. How do I go about crafting a better review?”
Do your research; that is, take notes as you read someone’s book or short story. These will be helpful when you begin writing your review. Referencing those parts will let the writer know you read his/her book.
Write the review ASAP: If you wait until days or weeks later you may forget how the book stimulated you as you read it.
Go to any of Amazon’s books, or Goodreads, or any publisher you choose and look at some of the reviews there. What do you like or dislike about any of them and take that into account when you craft your own review.
Be respectful: Every writer is proud of their work. Be professional. Whether you liked the book or not, treat it like you would your own manuscript.
Don’t Gush. That is, don’t use any cutesy language or kiss up to the author. I discount these types of reviews and wonder if they even read the book and not just the excerpt.
Don’t trash the book: there are ways to convey your displeasure with any book without resorting to vulgarity or questioning the writers talent. Point out where the book could have been better or was confusing. There’s always a little good in any bad work. Try to find it and bring it to light.
Don’t meander through topics that have nothing to do with the author’s book.
Don’t include links to your book, (if you have one) or try to convince the author to read and review your book. Don’t advertise your book in another writer’s back yard.
The biggest don’t is never reveal too much of the plot and definitely not the ending.
How long should a review be?
There is no set length for any review. It depends on the reviewer and how the book affected you as the reader. One sentence is definitely not a good review but one can craft a lot in one sentence with practice. Going on at length may cause readers of your review to get bored or not read it at all. Less is more in this case.
So what about after you are published; how do you handle writing reviews?
You know what to do, and not do in crafting your own reviews so you know what to expect. Positive reviews are wonderful and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but don’t let it go to your head. Use it to give you impetuous in your next work.
But what of that person who gets a kick out of trashing books when they write reviews?
Sadly, these people are out there and most review sites have ways of blocking some of the most dreadful ones. But if a really bad review gets past the censor don’t over react. Should you delete it? You could but it might make you look oversensitive to anyone who has seen the review and later sees it missing.
Ignore it? You could but other readers of the reviews who may be interested in your book may wonder about your maturity. Some may tell you just to forget about such individuals but this just raises a question about your integrity
Don’t ever retaliate in kind. Starting a flame war with a stranger who is just trying to provoke you feeds into his/her sickness and makes you look easily made out of control.
It’s not really wise to respond to any reviewer who trashes your book. If you must, such reviewers should be thanked for the time they took to write such a stimulating review and you hope they will read your next book. Sarcasm has a way of disarming such reviewers and makes you look all the more mature and intelligent, with a great sense of humor.
In closing, never, ever write a review on your own work. That’s just tacky.
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©2018 VJ Miller, Sr. Fair use rights with attributes are implied