Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writing Profession Series-- The Book Reviewer

And we begin again! I've been a little lax the past couple of weeks without a blog post for the series. Let's just say my day life and nightlife have been a little hectic.


This week it's all about The Book Reviewer. The elusive men and women that read books and then offer their humble or not so humble opinon about the contents. As most readers know, I review books, but I figured I would get a different voice to provide the knowledge. My voice is heard all too often here!
So, I brought in twitter friend and fellow The Season reviewer Jamie or as most know her on Twitter @jamielynn831  

This lovable gal does more than just review, as she has many talents of course. But she humbly agreed to give the lowdown on reviewing, even though I may have badgered her a little teeny-weensy bit, scouts honor. Without additional preamble here we go:
When I first started out as a reviewer my original thought was “This isn’t going to be so hard.” Well, I was wrong. Writing reviews is hard work. I can’t tell you the amount of times where I sit there and type “This is a really, really good book. You should read it.”
Obviously, that is not going to pass as a review but that’s how I feel sometimes. Nevertheless, it’s your job as a reviewer is to articulate the reasons you liked or disliked the book. And remember, no two people are going to have the same reaction to a book. A book that I think is utterly fabulous someone my think it’s the worst book ever written, and believe me, people will tell you when they think you are wrong.
Now, yes reviewing is a job. And unless you are lucky enough to be working for a newspaper or a magazine then you’re not getting paid. Well, not in the monetary sense. The whole reason I got into reviewing romance was because of my love for reading romance novels. I spent a ridiculous amount of time at the bookstore buying books and it wasn’t until I received my first book in the mail to review that it hit me. I was getting these books for free and I didn’t have to send them back. All I had to do was give my honest opinion of the book.
The main thing about being a reviewer is being yourself and finding your voice. Everyone has a voice: writers, journalist and even reviewers. Find what works for you and own it. Read other people reviews, use them to find what you like and what you don’t. As you start to review more your voice will find it’s way out.
I owe a lot to Beverly Kendall and The Season for Romance. Not only did Bev give me a chance at writing reviews but she as also helped me find my voice.
If you’re thinking about reviewing I say go for it! The best part is that there is no wrong way to review, just be honest.
There it is, the illustrious job of a book reviewer. Like Jamie said, unless you hook up with the mags and newspapers the job doesn't provide monetary gain, but you do receive tons of free books. There is the opportunity to also read fav authors way before the book is released; which is A++ in my opinion. Another reward is finding your voice and building writing skills. You start to look deeper at books and stories, which builds your ability to edit and critique. A Book Reviewer has to analyze creative work vs. technical work, and a book review position can build the abilities of those wishing to write or those working on a novel.

Big...Big Kudos to Jamie for stopping by and sharing her experiences and knowledge. If you would like to read Jamie's reviews of course you can stop by The Season. Jamie also has a blog where she shares reviews of books and other tantalizing info! Check it out here!  And she's one of the host's for Romance Lately.

My question for you: Do you review? Do you want to? Why?

1 comment:

  1. I remember having to take a literary criticism class on my way to my MA. I say have to because I thought it was pretty dry. And pretty close-minded. I once mentioned in class I thought Don McLean was a pretty damned good poet and about got my head chewed off - by the students no less. (Keep in mind, this was 25 years ago.) For the final I did an extensive crit of the poetry inherent in a shuttle launch. The prof was amused enough at least to give me an A.

    I love reviews that come from emotion as much as those that are tempered and studied and based on critical thinking skills and critical analysis. I love reviewers who can reach into a book and pull out its still-beating heart and make me as a reader see it and feel it and, best of all, understand it. That takes talent and insight and a certain skill that has to be cultivated and practiced.

    I am in awe of anyone who can deliver that kind of review. And that is why I don't review. Some things are best left in the hands of professionals.