I thought I’d post up some information about what being a book reviewer is like, how I manage requests, and what I look for when I review. In this first part, I outline how I handle review requests and how I initially review a book…..
Firstly, let me say just how privileged I feel each time I receive an email from an author asking me to review their books. I have been receiving a steady stream of requests, and even nicer, I’ve been receiving some great feedback from authors on my reviews. I genuinely feel honoured to have been asked to read so many great books.
But, what do I look for as a reviewer?
Well, firstly it’s really important to send a formal review request… I receive a good number of requests and as I work full time I just don’t have the time to be searching Amazon to see if it’s a book I’ll like and to read the synopsis and learn about the author etc. So how can Authors help?
Well, it’s really helpful to follow the guidelines here. In addition to this, sending me your Twitter ID and a website/blog site address is also really helpful as it helps me to publicise your books. I try to publicise through Twitter as much as I can and include links to your website/blogsite in my reviews too.
When I receive a request I take a look and see if it’s the type of book I’ll want to read. I get back to the authors as soon as I can accepting the request or letting them know why I don’t feel able to accept the request. When accepting requests I’ll let the author know my twitter and blog details and also give them an update on how long my reading queue is. Each week I post ‘my week in books’ which will list which books I have reviewed, which ones I am reading, and which ones are in my queue. This will give authors an idea of where their book is in my queue. I read, on average four books a week. It does of course depend on what else I’m doing and on how long the books are, but four is probably the number I get through in an average week.
I log all the request details in a spreadsheet, load the book onto my kindle and try to read the books in the order that I receive the request. I figure this is the fairest way :-)
When I read a book, I try to look at the story construction, does it flow? Is it logical and is it consistent? There is nothing more frustrating when, as a reader, you notice an inconsistency. Sometimes this is as obvious as characters changing name early on or in one book I read a baby was due to be born in May, but was mysteriously born in February – with no explanation! The other thing that I cannot stress enough is good editing and proof reading. A good book can be ruined by poor spelling and editing – as a reader you become fixated on spotting the next error, rather than enjoying the story.
Secondly I think about the writing style; was it an easy read, did it suit the style of the book. Was the writing style different of unusual, if so why? Did the writing style work, and did it fit with what I expected?
I also think about whether the conclusion of the book is satisfying, were all the loose ends tied up? Was it a believable ending?
And finally I’ll go with my gut instinct – what do I think this book should be rated as?
My next post later this week will focus on my steps to writing a review.