Hey, you want to see something really cool? Remember last week when I compared unicycles to writing? Here's a video of my son and his friend doing street unicycling. Seriously, some of their tricks make me hold my breath!
Anyway, the topic at hand these days seems to be book reviews. Do they really matter and should I do them? I think they do matter, but that's because I actually read a lot of reviews and do put stock in some trusted reviewers.
As you all know I review books on this blog and I honestly state my opinion. I put what bugged me in there and I put what I liked about the book. I don't do it in a mean way (I hope) and I always try to find at least one or two good things to say about the book (the feedback sandwich--one good, one negative, then one more good.) But some reviewers like to say they're honest reviewers and for them that means being mean I think. I recently read a review that not only slammed the book but slammed the writer's ability to write in the first place. For me, I don't think those sorts of reviews are needed. As a writer, if that had been my book and my skills being reviewed I would have been in tears. It makes me wonder if these reviewers know that the writers do read their reviews and we are only human. Thick skin or not, personal attacks are hard to take.
But then that leads to the question, since I'm a writer, should I do reviews at all? Some say no because I know the craft and look at things differently than just a normal reader would. And the writing community is small, so I know most of the writers. For me, reading is just as important to me as writing and I love to share great books I've found. I don't think knowing the writer makes much difference. My reviews are always meant to be my opinion and as I said, I try to keep them constructive. But that point did make me think. I mean, when I'm reading I don't think I'm judging it on writing merit alone. For me, it's all about the reading experience.
Of course there are always some reviewers that just give five stars to everything and their reviews always seem to consist of loved the book, loved the cover, loved everything and then the back copy. I don't know if those are particularly helpful. When I read a review, I want some inkling as to what they thought of certain elements (plot, character) what set it apart maybe, so that I can make an informed decision on whether to buy it or not. And yes, sometimes I even read the Goodreads reviews or look at stars. If they have a healthy spectrum of stars, then I know it stirred emotions in people and I'll look closer at it. I always rely on word of mouth and if you are an author I've read and liked before, I will most likely buy your new book.
What about you?
Do you rely on reviews?
Do you think writers should do reviews?
When you read a review, what are you mostly looking for?