As a reader, I cheat on reviews.
(I nearly titled this post “Review Cheats” but with all the unethical practices surrounding fake reviews or bought reviews, I didn’t want to confuse people.)
You’d think, as a writer, that I’d be more confident when posting reviews, but it’s harder to hit post on reviews than with the free shorts I put on here. It’s so hard to know what to say…. If you’re a pro-reviewer, you know what you’re doing and you can skip this post or snortlaugh at my easy take on it. For the amateur, who just loves books and wants to support authors, here’s the secret:
Make the author do the work. Use your favorite quote from the book.
Whenever I read a book, I mark in my Kindle my favorite lines. If it’s a book I want to review, I’ll have at least a couple. I usually say what I liked specifically about a book…characters, plot, magic, mayhem, etc. I rarely summarize unless I’m one of the few people who’ve reviewed it and the blurb just doesn’t do it justice. But summarizing is hard for me, so I leave that to the pros. Then, I include my favorite quote. Don’t paraphrase or anything and give credit, but it takes up some of that white space and gives readers an idea of what to expect/look forward to. Finally, I often end reviews with whether I’d read something by them again.
If it’s a MG or a younger YA book that has elements other parents might want to know about it, I usually say something bland and spoiler-free about my take on it–typically in the form of the age I’d let my own kids read it due to what content. I usually compare it to the Harry Potter series. I say, “If you let your child read the sixth Harry Potter, this has a similar content rating.” It’s kind of cool to have a fairly universal measuring stick like that. Especially since the series escalated slightly in content as they aged.
Yes, my reviews are short, but I’m not a pro, and I’d rather put the review out there than agonize over a long review.
Last year, I did a lot of reviews. My goal was one a week…which is a lot for me. I was reading hordes and hordes of books, but I typically only review books I can give four stars or more. This year, I’ve had so many deadlines that I’ve fallen waaaaaay behind on my reading and reviewing. I’ll probably try to catch up some in December.
Reviewing is important. Reviews are what sell books. Reviews and word-of-mouth. Go review a book right now. *stares* Go!
If you’re a reviewer, I would hug you if I met you. All the reviewers I’ve had experience with have been awesomely fabulous. Thank you for doing that. If you’re just someone who likes to read and loves a good book…trust me…cheat with a quote. It’s easy peasy.
Speaking of reviewers, I’m on Ren’s Rambles today talking about werewolves, ghosts, and vampires for Halloween. There’s a giftcard giveaway and everything. Check it out: HERE. She’s currently my favorite reviewer…for today…sorry, everyone else. *shrugs* You’ll have to try harder. 😉
Oh, if you have any other ideas for making reviews easier, drop them in the comments. I’d love to see them.