What is your review criteria? Do you approach a review the same way no matter what your opinion is? Are you game to review anything, or do you tread carefully, thinking you might not like it?
I review for publishers, fellow writers, the Coffeehouse for Writers blog and the Amazon Vine program. Most of you have read my reviews here, so are familiar with my style.
A writer/friend and I were discussing reviews recently, and it got me thinking about my review methods and policy.
- Try to be objective and lay aside preconceived notions. It can be hard, but I figure it builds character. :)
- Look for the positive, particularly if I don't like it at all - any smidgen of something that can be highlighted as a good thing.
- Wrap the negative with positive when possible, and place myself in the author's shoes. I aim for constructive rather than scorching input.
- Write the kind of reviews I like, those with a brief overview of content with enough hints to whet the appetite. I think a review should have take away value.
- Offer reasonable warnings when necessary. For example, I reviewed a great Young Adult/Adult fiction series set during the Civil War. Because of the realistic content, I cautioned parents that they might want to preview the books before reading aloud to the whole family. It was fine for bigger kids, but a tad strong for little ears
- Read every book through the eyes of a writer. I can't help it! But it does sharpen my observational skills and make my writing better.
I don't review everything offered because:
- I might not care for the genre or topic. Although I do try and branch out when I can.
- Time limits. I only have 24 hours in the day, and laundry must get done sometimes...
- If I know it's something I can't embrace. I'd rather decline than hurt someone's feelings.
So, that's my two cents. Tell us, how do you review?
Have a great weekend!
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