Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Confession. Before I started writing for publication, I wrote some less than flattering reviews and posted them on Amazon. Granted they were for wildly successful, mainstream, even literary authors who didn’t need my two cents to sell a gazillion books. None of the reviews were scathing—that’s not my nature—but more of the “I just didn’t see what the hoopla was about” kind of comments.
Now I only review books I like, or more often book I love. This isn’t because I’m a suck-up, it’s because I’ve learned an important lesson. Not everyone has the same taste and preference in books. Books I adore, some of my dear and respected friends hate. Yes, hate. How could this be? Who’s right? The truth is—there is no right and wrong. That’s not to say there aren’t badly written books out there. It just means different people respond to different styles, themes, characters and genres.
This point has been driven home for me by judges comments and scores in writing contests on many occasions. Although I’ve never been a contest diva, I find it hard to understand why the same entry wins one contest and tanks in another. A while back I entered the first 35 pages of a fairly edgy paranormal romance to a very well respected RWA chapter contest. The scores were good, all judges said the writing was excellent, but it was the comments that were telling. One particular paragraph got comments from two different judges. It contained slang and an expression that would be familiar to readers under forty, but not necessarily to someone a bit older. One judge wrote AWESOME!!!! The other wrote “I have no idea what you’re saying here.” Well, there you have it.
So I only write reviews for book I like. That doesn’t mean I write reviews for every book I like—I just don’t have the time. It does mean that what I think is a Five-Star read, may rank One-Star in someone else’s opinion. And that’s fine. My intention here is to share books, movies, travel destinations and other experiences I’ve enjoyed—nothing more.


Sarah Andre said...

I really should review books online more often. So many times I finish a very satisfying novel and never think to share my enthusiasm with the rest of the world.

I have not given a bad review )in writing) simply because what goes around comes around, and someone somewhere will Google that review years from now when I least want to read my bitchy opinion.

I entered an online contest in 2006 where anyone in the world could read your first chapter, give it 1 to 10 stars and leave comments. This was the first lesson I learned in how hurtful, political and ugly critiques can get...especially if you don't have to leave your name. I lost a lot of respect for some of my fellow competitors too for the way they conducted themselves when leaving critiques for some other writer they'd felt had slighted them.

Contest turned into an online cage match! Not worth it. I support your Good Reviews Only. :)

Bethany said...


I agree with your philosophy. When I review books on my blog, I make sure I can say something positive about it. Luckily for me, so far I haven't reviewed any books that I couldn't find something positive to say, which is a relief :-)