Monday, January 3, 2011

On Writing Reviews

Spending some time online, and in the search for my next book to review has brought an issue to mind.

How do you know you're getting an honest review?  More importantly how do reviewers deal with stinkers?

Well, I like to consider myself an honest reviewer.  But those of you who are reading closely have probably noticed I never give a bad review.  Why?  I don't publish my bad reviews on my blog. 

There are several reasons for that, first off, I don't want to finish reading a book I loathe.  When I go book hunting I find a collection of possible books, download their free samples, and usually something like seven out of ten of the free samples are bad enough I don't read past page three.  By page three I already know the grammar is bad, the formatting impossible to read, the writing inelegant and amateurish.  I don't need or want to read further.  And really, a review based on three pages isn't fair.  A book has to be exceptionally bad for me to write about it on just the sample.  Occasionally it happens, but I keep those reviews on the page of the book, so that the only people who see it are those considering buying the book.

Secondly, I hope to make some money doing this.  I want you to click on those Amazon links and buy the books I recommend.  Now, if I take the time to read a book I loathe and then write a bad review of it, I've cut into the return on investment in my reading time.  I, like everyone else, have finite time, and I want to maximize the potential dollars I can make off the time I spend reading for review.  Is that mercenary?  Sure.  Is it true?  Oh, yeah. 

Why not write a good review of a bad book?  Because if you ever do click on that link and buy the book, you'll rapidly see the book is bad.   I can't be the only person who found a well reviewed book, clicked on it, and rapidly decided all the reviewers had to be related to or friends of the writer, because no one else would give the thing a five star review.  Once again, I hope to make money on this, if you buy a book on my recommendation, notice it looks like it was written by a ten-year-old, and I didn't mention that in the review, you're very unlikely to take my word on it again.

Sometimes people send me books to read for review.   This usually makes my day because books people send me have so far been pretty good.  I've had one I couldn't write at least a three star review for.  I emailed the author and asked if he really want me to continue reading and write that review.  He didn't take me up on the offer. 

So, that's how I go about doing this. Other reviewers probably have other techniques. 

No comments:

Post a Comment