I have always read a lot, and in recent years, I have begun to write a lot. In the last couple of years, I have increased posting reviews on books I have read. I can see the need clearly, now that I am an Author as well.
I am not what you would call a traditional writer. I try to write in a conversational manner, making it easier for the Reader to read. I write about subjects that interest me, even if they are limited in popularity. My protagonists tend to get into intellectual rather than physical fights.
All of these things means that a traditionalist who reads my work may have bad things to say. Should I change what I am trying to say? I do not think so.
Over time, I have come to realize that when I review a book, I should review it for what it is, not who I am. Romances are not my cup of tea, but if I review one, I will try to compensate for my dislike of the genre. If I can read it with ease and understanding, I should not grade it harshly for style and grammar. The world is changing, boys and girls, and the occasional 'their' where 'there' is needed is the order of the day.
By all means, we should be honest in our appraisal of books we read, when we review them. Honest, and critical, but not harsh and mean. The Golden Rule applies to writing just as much as it does to everything else.
I agree and learned years ago that when in disagreement, attack the argument and not the person. Some people compensate for their own insecurities by being "harsh and mean." When they do that they lose credibility because it appears they have a personal agenda as opposed to offering an honest, intelligent critique. Additionally, a true artist will never change their work to please others. One can never please everyone, and there will people who like their work the way they created it. Artists should focus on their true fans instead of trying to please the masses. Thus, I agree that one should stay true to themselves.
Thank you. It is always good to know that there are people out there that care about other writer's success and welfare. In some forums, you feel a bit alone when advocating concern. The other writer's can sometimes be the harshest critics, and you get the feeling that they were born with a literary degree. A group of concerned writers is a family. One concerned writer sometimes feels like a loon.
Indeed. Being authentic can sometimes result in one feeling alone.
I review a lot of books, 797 last year. I have my own writing style and expect that from fellow authors also. I also feel that people are too hung up on what they feel is correct writing. I think when writing the language and words should be those that make the reader feel comfortable and familiar with the characters. We should write they way we talk and invite readers to come in and feel at home.
pswinn, I agree completely. I think the first duty of an Author is to communicate, and the second is to have something to say. I have been honored by reviewers calling my writing conversational style. It is just too bad that my conversational style is a hybrid of high tech, philosophical and Arkansas back woods.
jdlovil, nothing wrong with that style, sounds interesting
Yep, replace the intelligent raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy with an intelligent possum, replace the phase cannons with cow catapults, and make the aliens in the saucers turn out to be the ghosts of an extinct species of alien, and you have found a much better version of me.
When it comes to searching for reviewers of my books I always try to find those who are honest in their comments. My only hope is that should they find any faults to criticize, that they do so in a positive manner so that I can learn something and hopefully improve my work.
I am continually amazed at how few readers bother to write a simple review of a book. My experience is about 1 in 200 may leave a review. I encourage it in the back pages of my books, especially as it appears Amazon reviews are important. Knowing that, I always leave reviews for my fellow authors and hope they do the same for me. I think readers may be intimidated to write a review because they aren’t sure what to say. I say, be honest, give it a star rating, and keep it simple – I enjoyed the book, or, I couldn’t get into the story… Something is always better than nothing.
I don’t typically ask other writers for reviews, or offer to reciprocate with a review of their books. This is fraught with peril, having the potential to create a tacit agreement, destroying objectivity with a tit for tat scenario—or worse yet, hurting someone’s feelings. Writing a book is an arduous endeavor. Any writer worth his/her salt passionately invests heart and soul in their work. Far be it from me to invalidate their efforts.
I also have my own style of writing. I have been told I am too cerebral, in a sense. I combine spiritual journeys with myth and other spiritual myths as well as creating my own spiritual myth for the characters to discover themselves.
I also do not like romance. I find too much romance the characters just have sex for the sake of having sex and there is no real connection to loving the person or commitment to each other.
I have had readers promise to review my books, but then they do not follow through. I wish we could make it easier for them to review our books.
Books, as an art form, are subjective. Prior to becoming an author, I never understood the importance of reviews and as such never wrote reviews. Now that I understand how important it is on Amazon, I always make an effort to leave a review. I hate leaving any negative feedback because I know only too well that someone has put passion, time and effort into creating their novel, even if it didn't resound with me. There are plenty of people in this world that dream of writing a book, but how many actually have the discipline to do it? I believe all authors should be praised because at the very least they are putting themselves out there to be critiqued which is daunting for any writer!
This is for pswinn: I have one question. How in the world did you have time to read and review 797 books in one year, plus still have time to write?????
I agree when I review a book I try to be honest and not criticize the authors work. If there is something I notice like errors or grammar I try to let the author know without giving a bad review. If I enjoy the book I read that is all I really care about.