Reviews

Although I love to write, reading is also one of my most pleasurable pastimes. 

I try to support Indie authors by downloading a new author’s work whenever I have time to read.  I always write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads if I think they’re good. But… rather than write a bad review, I just don’t do any review for the books I don’t think are up to standard. I think readers will all agree there are many books out there that are just not ready for publication and need a lot more work.

I love editing and my hands itch to get hold of some of these books and help whip them into shape, but it is very time consuming and for that reason I have to charge people for editing services. (http://www.youselfpublish.com).

The most common mistake I find is verbosity. The author babbles on and on, often about the same thing, and eventually I (and I’m willing to bet other readers) just get bored and stop reading the story. Example– when your characters are on the phone, nobody wants to read about them exchanging pleasantries;
 “How are you?”
“I’m fine, how are you?”
“I’m okay. I went out to dinner last night.”
“Lucky you.”
Please get to the meat of the conversation. Tight writing people!  Don’t use two words when you only need one. Use strong verbs. Don’t be repetitive. Don’t spell everything out for your readers–give them credit for some intelligence to work things out for themselves.

Am I the perfect writer? No, of course not. I’ve thought of self-publishing, but am lucky enough to have had my manuscripts accepted by two different publishers so far. The downside of this is that one has to wait a year to get published, but the upside far outweighs that for me, because I’ve had the services of a couple of wonderful editors. They have pointed out the flaws, shown me when the timeline doesn’t gel, and helped me re-craft each story, and I will always be indebted to them.

One thing that bugs me more than anything are the so-called POD publishers — Publish America and iUniverse are two that come to mind. I think they are evil because they lure unsuspecting writers into thinking they have written a masterpiece. They make them sign a contract giving away their rights for years, and then they don’t offer any editing help. Grrr! I was shocked and embarrassed when someone told me my first book, Way Out of Line was sorely in need of editing. I stopped promoting the book and waited seven years to get my rights back from Publish America. As soon as I did, I submitted it to Uncial Press, and with the help of my wonderful editor Jude, reworked it and made it into a story I could be proud of.

I’d love to hear what other readers and writers do about reviews. Do you think it’s your duty to write a bad review to warn other readers not to bother with a book, or do you just pass?

11 thoughts on “Reviews

  1. PODs are not bad. Lots of praise for Lulu and CreateSpace. You might be thinking of vanity presses. Author Solutions, bought recently by Penguin, is notoriously shady and considered predatory.

    As for reviews, I once wrote a negative one and felt so guilty I took it down. For myself, “crazy good read” is next to “I had to put it down”. So it is hard to attach credibility. Donna Tartt's Goldfinch” sells huge, but has so many negative reviews, I would never pick it up. What does it all mean?

  2. Virginia, thanks for your comment. I was caught by a POD – Publish America who overpriced the book and offered no help with editing or anything else. Glad you warned about Author Solutions. They are vanity presses in disguise. CreateSpace and Lulu are great, I love them.

  3. Hi Trish, you pose a very good question. One that a writer friend and I just discussed two days ago. She has recently been asked to give a review of a book that she just couldn't connect with. Being a nice person to the core, she has been struggling terribly with what to do. This is what I do: If I thoroughly enjoy the book, I give a review on all the channels that the author requests; i.e., Amazon, Goodreads, etc. as long as the review is 3 *s or better. If my opinion is less that 3 *s, I email the author privately and let them know that I wasn't able to connect with the book, and I ALWAYS give them what I hope is constructive criticism as to the reasons why I felt the way I did. Nearly everyone I have ever done this for has been very appreciative, with the exception of one individual who stood firmly on his work and felt nothing needed to be changed. I assured him it was only my opinion and opinions can be very subjective. There may be many people out there that will fall in love with his writing style and stories. We ended on a good note, and he did appreciate that I didn't publish my review on any channels. This is what works for me in reviewing, and this is how I hope other reviewers will review my books. I do ask people that agree to review if they would consider this approach. So far so good. 🙂

    Nice to meet you, enjoyed your site, and have now become a member. 🙂

    I would love it if you would visit my blog at http://deeannwaite.blogspot.com. Perhaps we could guest post on each other's sites at some point.

  4. It is difficult but I do agree with an honest approach. We love our readers and want to give them a heads up about books we review and at the same time we don't want to disappoint a budding author.

  5. Hi, Trish, I endorse your comment about reviews which are coupled with ads for AuthorHouse.
    I had a very bad (and expensive) relationship with A/house over a year ago when I separated from them with acrimony.
    Do you think there is enough bad feeling against A/house for a class action?

  6. Hi. Trish, just lost my lengthy comment because I forgot to sign in first, but I'm going to join that group, Indie Book Review, because of what I have read here.
    Thank you, and I probably will see you here again.
    Nice to meet you,
    James W. Nelson

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