A V-formation flock of geese seems to have one member of the group as the leader, but each member takes its turn at the point of the V, leading the way as the others in the formation honk in encouragement. The geese stay together, even when one becomes sick or injured; the group stays with it until it is well enough to continue the journey at its regular pace.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
REVIEWERS AND READERS
I've blogged about reviews before, but I'm doing it again.
Some people say they never read reviews. That's unfortunate because reviews serve
several useful purposes. They're a means of discovering what is new in the book
market. They save money by giving readers a glimpse of both the subject matter
and the quality of a book so people can make an informed decision concerning
purchasing the book. They alert readers to a favorite author's newest release,
they serve as a heads up concerning objectionable language, the presence of
explicit sex or violence, and alert buyers to the general price of the book and
sometimes to where the book can be purchased and in which formats it's
Reviews are generally written with readers in mind, but
authors can benefit from thoughtful reviews as well. A review will usually
point out areas where the novel excels and in which areas it could be improved.
Many readers like to share their enjoyment of a book on
sites such as face book, Amazon or their own blogs. This is great and a benefit
to both readers and writers. Unfortunately there are trolls writing reviews as
well as legitimate readers and reviewers. These people get some kind of sick
pleasure out of trashing books or poking fun of them. On the other hand I know
a reviewer who gives every book five stars and a glowing review no matter what,
which isn't helpful either.
Here are a few suggestions for readers reading reviews.
First, be aware of the difference between reviewers who write for a legitimate
publication and those who just slap comments on a social page. Professional
reviewers may not be as kind as your mom, but will usually give a pretty fair
idea of what to expect from a book you may be considering. Keep a list of bloggers, social page writers,
and friends you can depend on to give honest critiques of the books they read.
Ignore the rest.
And here's a little advice for writers. Don't argue with a
review. No matter how awful and unfair you feel a review may be it's best to
ignore a bad review except to use it to improve the next book if any of the
criticism is valid. It's okay to use positive reviews to promote your book, but
be sure to credit the review author and the publication. Don't assume your book
didn't get reviewed because the reviewer didn't like it. Reviewers receive huge
numbers of books and there are many reasons for not reviewing a particularone; such as already reviewed book or books
on that topic recently, reviewed too many books by that particular author in
too short a time, doesn't fit the particular publication's policy criteria, etc.
For nearly fourteen years I've been reviewing adult level LDS
novels for Meridian Magazine, a job I love. From a
personal point of view, I find LDS authors are getting better and better and I
thoroughly enjoy reading most of the books sent to me for consideration. There
are some books, even though written by an LDS author, I don't review such as
horror, occult, sexually explicit, profanity laced, or books critical of LDS
doctrine. I also don't review children's or young adult novels. I do review
books from established LDS presses, new publishers, national press, and self
publishers in paper format or kindle e-reader format. Both marketing managers
and authors are welcome to send books to me for possible review. (Contact me by
instant messenger to get my mailing address.)