Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From the Editor's Desk: Thoughts on reviews

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I have been thinking about the way that I write up my reviews, and the way that I talk about the books I've read.  And there's a big difference. I am not sure if anyone else is like this, so I thought that I'd put it out there. When I am writing a review I try to be fair to the author, knowing that they have put in a lot of time and energy to bring their baby to life. (Although, I have read some haphazard books that would have been a lot better if the author had spent a little bit more time with it). I find that if I make it through the book I tend to  give it an extra star for that alone. I hardly give out one star reviews, the only bonus being that I made it to the end. Is it doing the author any justice if I am nice in my negative reviews if in reality I am seething for wasting my time with that book? I have just now created a DNF list on my goodreads and have convinced myself that it's truly okay to use it. I have 5 bookcases of my own books, a very packed Kindle and a stack of library books that scream at me to use the DNF shelf more often.

I understand that there is a need to be somewhat professional on my personal blog, since I interact with publishers and authors and readers here. But, on the other hand reading is a very personal thing. That's why there are books that are genuinely excellent books, but I still find that I don't like them. Those are what I call the "not for me" books.  But when I read books where it seems that the author didn't care enough about the craft or the audience, it makes me angry. Angry because I wasted my time, and angry because if my review simply says "This book sucks" I am the one who stands to get the whiplash for it. If the author has not taken their readers into consideration, why should I take them into consideration when writing my review. 

I guess I know the answer, but just wanted to vent. I just finished a book and the only thing I can say is that it sucks. I can't review the potential of it because it still may fall short. I can make suggestions, but in all honesty it's not my job - I'm the reader. I also write so I know and understand that role. But I also have readers in my life that will stop me at each phase and say "this sucks" when I need to hear it. Yes, they have more tact than that. But, I don't. I will be changing the way that I write my reviews so that they mirror the way that I actually talk about the books in person. I promise to not casually say something sucks, but I am no longer going out of my way to try to find a positive spin on books I don't like. If I lose followers because of that, okay. If I lose offers to review books from publishers or authors, okay. But maybe, just maybe, authors will start considering the audience a little and respecting the craft a little more. << This does not include all authors and there is no difference in self -published or traditionally published. Both sides requires writers to work their hardest to present the best story they possibly can. Traditionally published authors just aren't offered as many shortcuts to the publishing aspect as self-published authors. That is why I want all authors to respect the craft of writing. 

Always Shine, 
Starr K

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