Did You Go to Book-Review School?

A little message from Cynthia 😃

Cynthia Reyes

No?

I didn’t either.

Nor did being a journalist equip me to write book reviews.

So I buy and read other authors’ books, but — until I published my first book — I didn’t take the next step and review them.  I feared I wouldn’t sound wise enough, that my analysis would be inept. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been timid to ask readers to review my own books.

And therein lies the issue. Authors need reviews. But if we ourselves are too timid to review books and too timid to ask it of others, we have a problem.

Book Cover on Amazon - Myrtles Game

My readers have no problems writing me letters — even very long letters — stating why they enjoyed my books. But writing a review can be a fearsome thing, one that seems to require expert writing and story analysis skills that many readers believe they don’t have.

And why should they? They…

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12 thoughts on “Did You Go to Book-Review School?

  1. Here we are again, dear authors (and I do not mean C. alone, I mean all of those who beg for reviews, even demand them):

    I am working in public administration. I am not expecting to get a “well done” from ever recipient of one of my letters. If you apply for a building permit, do you phone your local administration after you got it and say: “How wonderful that you took the time to check all my plans”? Nope, you don’t … Instead you complain how long it took and how high the fees were.

    Other example. Your doctor gave you a prescription for some medicine. Nothing extraordinary (neither is your crime novel, romance or whatever you have written, it is a book). It worked or worked not. If it did not work you might return to the doctor and demand something else. But if it does its job, you will not phone in and tell the receptionist to compliment the doctor from you, you are so much healthier now ..

    A third example. You have a child-minder, or a cleaning woman. When you collect your child, or when you have entered your cleaned house – do you write a glowing review about how very well cared for your child was and what a lovely scent your clean house has now? See, I did not think so.

    So why do YOU need applause? Because what you are NOT calling for is criticism. Let’s face it. That would be called out as “hating”, or “insulting” or even “trolling”. When you write review you mean glowing praise.

    But you have to live with it – not everybody is going to think your book the bee’s knees. Most people will just read it and feel slightly entertained. Some will really love it, some will not like it. You only want to hear from the lovers – and you expect every single reader to love it … Which is highly unrealistic.

    No, you do NOT NEED my review. You most likely cannot handle it anyway. You do not deserve it because you took the time to do your job as a writer. You deserve the money you get from me buying the book. That is all. Anything else is a bonus you cannot demand. Stop doing that.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment, Fran.

      You say your letter is directed to not only me, but to every author who wants to get reviews for her/his book. I cannot answer for all authors, so let me reply for myself.

      Of course I love getting glowing reviews. Who wouldn’t? However, I’ve had both good and bad reviews and I learn something from both. When a reader points out a weakness or strength, I pay attention.

      Every person who creates/sells something these days should expect to get reviews, both positive and negative. Other buyers value those comments. Many check the online reviews/comments before buying certain products and services these days. I know I do – for everything from face soap to books, to appliances.

      When my dishwasher broke 2 days ago, I checked the reviews for every brand and model I considered. And if I were looking for a child-minder (your example), you can bet I’d seek out and pore over those reviews even more rigorously.

      As for commenting on good service — you don’t do that? How very sad. It may mean nothing to you, but it means a lot to many people, including child-minders.

      Why should it take a whole pandemic for some people to recognize the important work of grocery store cashiers, nurses, teachers, child-minders and others often overlooked? I hope we won’t wait for the next pandemic to remind us that valuing others’ work is important – for them and for us.

      Then again, I’m Canadian.

      Thanks for your response. I wish you a good week.
      Cynthia.

      Like

      • Dear Cynthia, if you accept with grace negative, well-reasoned reviews (not talking about the “this book is lame” comments, which do not elaborate) you are standing out. In a positive way. And no, I do not think if I buy a product that it is my duty to judge it afterwards. I spent time reading. If I think a book is outstanding, I say something. But I am not willing to leave a review for an average book. Sorry, but I am not a paid editor, they are there for quality control. I am your client. Your customer. Not your aid, your editor or your test-reader. We will have to differ on this. You are not selling a service. And while even I, the rude German, say thank you to the cleaning woman in my office, I am not giving her a feedback on her work unless it is extraordinarily good or bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Fran:
          I honestly don’t understand the reasons for your comments. Have you had bad experiences with authors? I haven’t, so I can’t join you on that train.

          As for “duty”: Who is demanding/insisting that you or anyone write a book review? I have never seen any author do that. It sounds as if you have, though. If so, I’m sorry to hear it. That’s a ridiculous demand.

          And if you’ve been asked by a publisher or an author to leave a review for an average book, why don’t you just say “No”? Who could argue with that?

          Some people don’t accept free books from publishers because they don’t wish to feel obligated to write a review. Some accept them and write a negative review anyway.
          You seem to be feeling some pressure to review books and this is having a negative impact on you. May I suggest you ignore this pressure? No-one has the right to try to force anyone to write a review.

          My best wishes,
          Cynthia.

          Liked by 1 person

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