Reviewing the Situation


Read any good books recently?

 

As writers, we’re regularly reminded that we should be readers, too. In these times of online meetings and virtual interviews, we’re becoming much better acquainted with the contents of other people’s bookshelves. This is a good thing, in my opinion, although I often wish that the camera would zoom in a bit more so that I can see what people are actually reading.

 

An even better way to draw attention to your reading material, however, is to post a review, preferably in as many places as possible. Writing can be a lonely business and receiving a positive review can be a better pick-me-up than a large bar of chocolate, but with far fewer calories. (There's also the added bonus of a potential increase in sales.)

 

You’ll notice I focus on positive reviews here. That’s because I feel my time is better spent on those than on possibly upsetting another writer with what is – after all – only my opinion. Some negative reviews are really weird, too. I’ve seen one-star reviews of books because:

·       The packaging was damaged (are you quite sure you want to blame the author for that?)

·       It was on a different topic from what I expected (next time, maybe read the blurb before you buy?)

 

Reviews don’t need to be long and complex; in fact, short and succinct is often better. Give it a rating, where applicable, and say what you liked about it (preferably without any plot spoilers). The questions I tend to ask myself when reviewing a book are:

·       Who is it for?

·       What is it about?

·       Why should I read it?

 

Writing reviews is also a great writing exercise as – like letter-writing – it forces us to summarise our thoughts and express them clearly using relatively few words.

 

So, back to my original question – have you read any good books recently? Yes? Well, maybe you should consider reviewing them...



Fiona Lloyd 
is Chair of the Association of Christian Writers and is married with three grown-up children. Her first novel, The Diary of a (trying to be holy) Mum, was published by Instant Apostle in January 2018. She regularly writes book reviews for Together Magazine. Fiona also works part-time for Christians Against Poverty.

 

Twitter: @FionaJLloyd & @FionaLloyd16


Comments

  1. You reminded me that I wanted to review Lemn Sissay's book 'My Name is Why' which I've just finished. She's right, I thought. Every review makes a difference. I went to Amazon to write my review. ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT REVIEWS already!! Ah well - I'm number one thousand three hundred and sixty-nine and I hope it makes his day ;)

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    1. I'm sure it will! If not, he has no discernment.

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  2. This is such a good reminder. I am getting myself into the habit of reading a good book, writing a review then copying and pasting it into other review sights. My question would be, do you still do it if it's a worldwide bestselling author? Do those reviews matter? Do they even get read? I suspect they do. What does everyone else think?

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    1. I think it's still worth doing - it gives you extra practice in writing reviews, and it
      might be a way of directing readers to other things you've read. And it's always good to acknowledge a well-written book, even if you're only one voice among thousands.

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  3. I think you always need a good review, Ruth, however famous and successful a writer you are. I recently attended a Society of Authors' seminar on Imposter Syndrome. You would not believe the writers on the panel who had it! Also, your good review might come at the end of a famous author's bad day or straight after reading a bad one. I say, do it! X

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  4. A great post Fiona, and a good reminder to review. I've just discovered Clare Chambers and thoroughly enjoyed In a Good Light which reminded me so much of my childhood in the 1970s. You and Ruth, have prompted me to write a review. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Deborah. Now I've another author to add to my list...

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