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.