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Bloggers, authors, reviewers and readers – What do you look for in a review?

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What do you look for in a review?

 

To answer this, I have to ask myself the same question? What Do I look for in a review? What do I think are important aspects to be included in a review? What is more important, how many stars it was given or the actual review itself? What should be included? These are more are questions we all ask ourselves at one time or another after becoming part of this reading community. Whether we are authors, readers, bloggers or reviewers.

I have a hard time with book reviews, reading and writing them. Before being exposed to the world of book blogging, I read reviews on Amazon and as of August 2011, on Goodreads. I read so much, all I was doing was giving them ratings and not reviews. I see now that I was not really doing much for the book than giving it a boost in its average rating, so I tried my hand at reviewing.

I approached reviewing much like any assignment from college I was unsure of. I researched, which meant I started reading reviews in depth. I starting doing searches and discovered some really cool book blogs I followed because they were reviewing my secret urban/paranormal mystery book fetish! I I was so interested in how some folks seemed to be making it like I do scrapbooking! It was journaled and had pretty graphics, and witty sayings. It wasn’t a book report like I wrote in the 8th grade, smoke being blown up the authors ass!

I look for honesty and personality in a review. I want a small experience, even if it is inly 300 words. I do not want it to be all shine, and yes I have written some complete shine on reviews, and I have no excuse other than I was not sure where I was going to go from “OMG IT WAS SO AWESOME! YOU HAVE TO READ IT!!! etc…” (Which friends and family do all the time with self/indie authors thinking it helps but it doesn’t at all! It not only gives the potential reader a false review, but it gives the author an unrealistic idea about how their book really is. UNLESS it is ass-blow worthy! THEN by all means make that ass shine!!)

I want to see the cover, and I want the cover at least 250 pixels high. Covers draw me in and being a cover whore lover at times this sells me right away. I want the genre, a synopsis and at least an idea of what the main protagonist is about. I want a general recommendation. I do not care so much about a rating, it is a secondary factor of interest for me, unless it is a tour stop. It seems that tour stops tend to have folks be a bit to political and touchy if someone needs to be critical of the work. (I know, again, I can be even if I am being fair and honest). I look for a buy link and love it if there is an “add to Goodreads” button!

Most importantly a review needs to be just that, nothing more. I avoid writing and reading spoilers, I do not see the point in posting them. They ruin it, especially for those of us that buy a lot of thriller/mystery/suspense novels. I want to know if they liked it, why they liked it, why I should read it and also what the reviewer likes to read so I know I am listening to a peer report in the same genre sect I enjoy. Those are the reviews I listen too. I want it to be well written, minimal typos and spelling errors. Sure, we all make them, again.. I certainly do! Especially if you are going to complain about an authors inability to have a book properly edited, perhaps you need to make sure your post/review is too!

Reviews are meant to put another light onto the book, whether good or bad. Have a sense of duty and professionalism when you write them. Show me your having fun and drive me to buy that book! That is how I write my reviews. I respect those that do the same for the books they review. I guess I cannot get to far away from the golden rule of do onto others… So shine on my book blogging banshees! Tell me why I should read the book! And thank you for asking me to be part of this wonderful hop to share what I look for in a review. I am so glad to be part of this, our online community.

What do you look for in reviews? Let me know, because every thing you tell me I can add to my toolbox to make my reviews better.

Please take the time to hop to each blog to see what other participants in this mornings hop look for in a book review!


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14 Comments

  1. “Have a sense of duty and professionalism when you write them.” – I loved that. Loved your whole post, but that was like the pinnacle 😀
    Show me some love!

  2. I am TOTALLY using the word ass-blow worthy in some way today! Wonderful point – totally agree with ya!

    The Brunette Librarian Blog
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  3. I love your list of things to include in a review. I find that most reviewers take the time to include a short synopsis, and I really love it when they come up with the wording for it themselves. It’s fine to copy a blurb from Amazon, but getting a synopsis from the reader’s point of view is priceless to me as an author. It lets me know what stood out to the reader and how they view the plot line of the story. I know how I intend for it to come across when I write it, but it’s great to see that it has either worked or it hasn’t. I’m also not a fan of spoilers. I wish we could just do away with them all together. I don’t like reading them, and I definitely don’t like finding one in a review someone did of my book. That’s a little too much like reading the last page of the book first. It drives me crazy. Also, pointing out that a spoiler is coming does not lessen the damage. I’m a speed-reader and I’m often seeing the words on the sentence below the one I’m focused on as well. If the spoiler is there, the damage will be done whether I try to avoid it or not. Another thing I love to write and see in a review is how the reader felt toward the characters. A connection with the characters in the story is something I always look for, so seeing that other readers felt that way helps me to decide to buy a book.

    • I used to do this, but honestly? It’s hard to do without being occasionally accused of spoilers, no matter how hard one tries. So I started using the GR blurb, for the most part – yeah, it’s a bit lazy, but no one will accuse me of a spoiler now 😉 hehe. But also, I read a LOT of books, and sometimes it’s hard for me to keep them straight. I generally write my reviews as I’m reading – a comment here, a comment here, and then tie the whole thing together when I’m done.

      I usually address my reactions to the book – did I really grip me, make me want to keep reading, or did I have trouble maintaining attention? What about those characters – did they develop, or did they spend the whole time just going from one adventure to another? Was the plot smooth and flowing, or choppy?

      I was once told my review was “too self-involved” – my response is: of COURSE it is self-involved! A review is nothing more than an opinion and a reaction, and both are highly subjective! My review is going to be *my* thoughts and *my* reactions — not an essay — so of course it is going to be self-involved.
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  4. What a great in depth explanation!! I definitely am not a fan of spoilers!! I like reviews short and sweet 🙂 I should add the goodreads button to post!!
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  5. Hi.

    You hit most of the high points I look for in a review. However I may would like to add since i write for MG/YA is if I am reaching my target audience well. Is it suitable and relatable for kids, tweens, and teens? Would you recommend it for a child, tween, or teen. Of course I am like some of the others in that I would like to know the reviewer’s feeling toward the characters and if they get lost in the world. Anything that my editor or I missed that I can work on to perfect my craft is also helpful. Providing examples for both good and bad helps too.

    I second the spoilers…

  6. I too may have to use ass-blow worthy. Excellent post, many good points.

  7. ASS-BLOW Worthy FTW! LOL

  8. I look for a bit of what I do, how it made the reader feel. Good story, character building , easy to read. Too wordy break it down a little but did you lose yourself in it? Did it take you for a ride? Were you sucked in? That, if it did that yeah I want to know.

  9. Great topic and great post! I really like this: “I look for honesty and personality in a review. I want a small experience, even if it is inly 300 words.” I agree. A book review isn’t the same as a personal blog post, of course, but it’s nice to read something a bit unique that reflects the reviewer’s personality.

  10. I wish I had a better sense of whether my reviews are helpful for people or not. I think they were too long when I first started blogging because I was over analyzing things but now I wonder if I’m not doing it enough.

    This was a great post 🙂
    Show me some love!

  11. Great points you have made. I like the reviews short and simple. One surely needs to have a sense of duty and professionalism and I would add honesty too. Thanks for this great info.

  12. I prefer a brief yet comprehensive review that has the ability to make me imagine what it would be like to hold the book in my hands and how much I’m going to enjoy it 🙂 I say this because book reviews are relative. Thanks!
    Show me some love!

  13. As long as it’s not classified as a “spoiler,” I enjoy most of the book reviews I come across 🙂 Being too opinionated does not help either so I highly appreciate book reviews that convey meanings, feelings and reasons that will ultimately convince me to make a purchase without hesitation. Thanks!

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