Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ins and Outs of Reviewing Books Online

Today I am featured on Fabulosity Reads, an awesome blog that does -- of all things-- book reviews! Please stop by and say hi to me and my host, the lovely blue-haired Wendy of South Africa!

I hope you will chime in on the discussion about reviewing books online. Should you or shouldn't you? How tough can you be and still keep friends? How nice can you be and still maintain credibility as a reviewer? And as an author, are you ready to have your book reviewed?

See you there!

26 comments:

  1. Even as a book seller and an unpublished author this is a tricky tightrope to trot...will pop over and read the review.

    Helena xx

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  2. ...great post, Karen. If asked, I'll review a friend's work online. And if they truly want a review, and I'm confident of our friendship, yes, I'll publish honestly. In the long scheme of things, I'd respect an honest opinion as well, be it positive, or not so much ;)

    Well done, Karen!

    EL

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  3. I only review on amazon and only for books I really enjoy. I seriously can't see the point of giving a negative review (unless they're shoes!) - but that's just my personal thing. I think if a reviewer is able to give a good negative review that is fair to the author, the book and the reader without being humiliating or demeaning or just nasty, then go for it! :-) Take care
    x

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  4. As an author, on my blog I follow the maxim "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Publishing is a relatively small, tight-knit community, and karma can suck. ;)

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  5. I haven't reviewed online yet, and think I'd only write one if it were be positive. I'd feel better critiquing a book before it was published, when my comments might serve a purpose other than to reduce sales.

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  6. It's a tough one, for sure! Headed over.

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  7. Back when I was on the cops and court beat as a newspaper reporter, my additional duty was to review theater productions. (I know, I never did get the connection either!) Our newspaper's rule was to mention what you liked best.

    If your review happened to be much shorter than usual, readers got the idea that it might not be as good a play as without our actually coming out and saying so. That way you left it open for someone else to judge and, in case it the production just wasn't your thing, you didn't offend anyone too much when hinting at your opinion.

    Would this be a good policy to apply to book reviews, or is it doing readers a disservice? Until I know for sure, I'm erring on the side of caution and channeling the newsroom experience. :) I'm glad you asked this question.

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  8. Michelle, I like this. There are always subtle ways to get the idea across, ways that don't demean and offend the artist. Now that you mention it, I tend to notice that many reviewers do this with books, spending longer on those that resonate with them. I know that my worst reviews on Uncut Diamonds were the shortest: "hated it" and "losey book" (she didn't even know how to spell the word lousy LOL).

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  9. I don't mind reviewing author books, I'm not good at it completely, but I think there is a line between being too nice or to harsh. I think using your words in a polite way helps and so does choosing good and bad points of it unless it was fabulous all the way of course.

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  10. As Bambi's friend Thumper said, "If ya can't some something nice, don't say nothing at all." On the other hand, as a writer, a good review of my work would only have value to me if it were sincere.

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  11. See you there. :) (I laughed at your comment at my blog---I'm waiting for Celery Tree to buy my copies of your books too!)

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  12. Good article - I liked your point about not having to love a book to review it; I can always find good points to praise. Interesting point about self-published books, too. I still give them a shot, you can usually tell in the first chapter or two what kind of quality they are. It's a shame so many people rush into self-publishing before their book is polished and well-edited.

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  13. Excellent post--I left my comment there. You made a lot of good sense.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  14. Heading over now to say hi to one of my compatriots. :-)

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  15. I agree this is tough; I do think one has to trend carefully~ I will be by...

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  16. ooh! Interesting topic. I'm scared to review books because I don't want to insult other bloggers who like them. Have to temper my STRONG opinions. So I just steer clear.

    Off to go read what people have to say . . . :)

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  17. I'm with Linda G. regarding the "if you can't say something nice" policy. If I like a book, I'll review it. If I don't like it, I'd simply decline to review. Ok, popping over to visit you on the other blog now.

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  18. My approach to reviewing is the same as when I give feedback to a learner in my training. It must appreciate the writer by having a respectful approach to their work and 2ndly feedback must be constructive and honest. So I start with a positive, address the negative and end with a positive. I have turned down a poetry book that I personally thought was hogwash and I feel that is the best approach instead of being totally negative about someone's work.

    Karen its rather tacky of me to be so late but I want to thank you ever so much for coming over to my blog. You are the most wonderful person ever and I truly appreciate your friendship. Thank you thank you thank you.

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  19. That is a hard question. I'll link over.

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  20. I have a pile of books on one shelf that I need to write reviews for...including Farm Girl... I tend to focus on the parts of a book I like. If I can't say something nice I don't say anything at all online. I wouldn't want my words to hurt any author. I did do a goodreads post about Farm Girl and some other blog friends' books.

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  21. Sharon, I had not checked Farm Girl reviews on Goodreads for so long. Just went and read yours. Thank you!! It is a lovely review :)

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