Sunday, September 2, 2012

To Review Or Not To Review

I've been thinking about reviews.  The subject has come up a number of times lately.  Not reviews of my books.  Not that I wouldn't like more, more reviews and more published books but that's the subject of another day or even another few days.  Today I'm thinking of  reviews of other books.

I've been asked to do a review by two different bestselling authors.  One of the books I've been asked to review is a non-fiction book, completely out of my genre as an author,  but as a reader I devour a lot of non-fiction in a year.  The other is fiction by an author who has yet to write a book I didn't enjoy.  I figure if the universe knocks not once but twice in as many days, then it has something to say.  But I'm reluctant to give it a resounding yes without some consideration, after all review queen isn't my gig - I'd prefer to be considered author.   And wearing more than one hat, well doesn't that just become a jumble?

Besides that, there are other reasons I've been hesitant.  I'm a worst-case forecaster.  I suppose you could translate that to worrier.  I'm terrified that four and five star is an expectation.  And I'm not going to lie, if I like the book I'll let you know and if I don't - is there an opt out clause?  I'm not one to post bad reviews I've had my share of great reviews and I've had one or two ouch remarks, and they smart.  I don't think, never mind - I know,  I couldn't do that to another author.  So I suppose worst case scenario would involve a graceful retreat.  I know lackluster reviews are relied on by many readers to keep it real.  I've heard that too many four and five stars and the book becomes suspect.  And while there may be some truth to that - I'm going to leave the reality checks to someone else.  Meantime I've done some research and from what I can see, if past record is any indication, the opt out clause on either book won't be required. 

Still,  I worry.  I worry if reviewing should be something divorced from being an author.
Am I dancing in another's playing field to even consider reviews?

I know a word of praise from a bestselling author is a coveted commodity on any book cover.  And while those remarks aren't a review, they are words that can sway the sale of the book, like a banquet of flowers or neon lights flashing at the reader. And yes, I know that's a different entity than the review I've been asked for, but it does remind me that authors are allowed to have opinions on books too.

So after consideration I think I'm going to give this a shot.  This isn't going to be the norm by any means, in other words I don't think I'll become a full-time reviewer any time in the future.  Nor will I offer reviews as a matter of form to authors I host.  But every once in a while, I may change things up and do the odd review.  So maybe the next book you read will be reviewed by me.

And as far as those coveted cover quotes.  Unfortunately, so far my world does not include requests for quotes on the front cover.  Maybe next year or maybe in another life. 

Speaking of reviews, this isn't just about me - it's about you too.  Do you know that you don't have to do a full scale review to be a help?  Did you know that even a few thoughts on a book you read and liked, placed on Amazon or other online sites or even your local library can be a big boost to an author?  Next time you read a book you love - leave a sentence or two and a rating.  It's another way to pay it forward.  And as I say that, I have to admit that I've been as guilty as I suspect most of you,  for not doing that.  But I'm changing that up somewhat, starting now.  I won't offer a word on every book but once in a while when one stands out...

So - what are you reading today?  Enjoying it....what about a few online words of praise?


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