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    7/12/2005
    Review!Whore
    I am very pro review. Yes, I am sure that is shocking to you all. But a review doesn't make or break if I buy a book. I might buy a badly reviewed book, if the subject interests me or something about it grabs my attention. I might buy a book that got a good review for the same reasons. Good or bad, I love to read reviews. Blog reviews, All About Romance, Mrs Giggles, The Romance Reader... wherever reviews are, I'm there.

    There are some people, like xina at the AAR board, if she says she likes something I am almost always sold. Because history has shown more often than not we like the same type of books. But really one person's thoughts very rarely make or break a book for me.

    For me when I think of reviews, I think of the old saying... as long as they spell the name right (ah something like that). To me it is just a way of getting a title out there, and if it comes with a summary of some sorts - score!

    The reason I like to post what I have bought is to - A. remind me later I have it, B. it might bring a book to someone's attention, C. it might push someone into reading a book or trying a new author they were thinking about getting, and D. I really like looking into other people's shopping carts so I think other people like it too.

    I blog about books for pretty much the same reasons as above. I don't think my opinion is the be all end all for anyone but me. But while chatting with a friend something came up that I honestly hadn't given any thought to and I figured I would ramble about it here and ask you guys what you think or do.

    If you win a book from an author, respond to an author offering books to reviewers or request a book from an author to read to review it - do you feel the need to give it a good review?

    Honestly it had never entered my mind. I say what I think, good bad or indifferent regardless of how the book landed in my happy lil hands. To me a book is a book and an author is a person selling a book. Is the book the author's baby, prolly. Do bad reviews hurt? I am sure in a way they can sting, but if you put something out for public view you are inviting opinion. And as with any child, you send it out into the world at some point and it has to survive on its own. Doesn't it? And if I don't like an author's books, that has no reflection on what I think of the author as a person.

    Some authors such as PBW, Katherine Sutcliffe, and Laurell K. Hamilton have expressed their displeasure at reviews and reviewers, which is a whatever. But authors who do send out books for reviews - how do they look at it? If they give a book away knowing the reader will blog about it or review it for a site, do they expect a good review because it was a free copy to the reader? Do authors look at books they give away in contests as a different animal than a book they give for a review?

    In this day and age of blogs, many readers are talking books and have blogs (and more should). So any book an author gives out has the potential to be 'reviewed'. Does that play into your thought process as an author at all?

    What about as a reviewer or a reader with a blog? Do you feel the need to give it a push because it was free? Do you feel the need for that push to only be a great glowing review?

    I think in terms of traffic, traffic, traffic... if a highly visited site (Mrs Giggles, Rosario's Reading Journal, All About Romance, McVane, Smart Bitches, crankyreader and so on and so forth ) mentions a book, no matter what they say about it or if they say anything about it, I see it as a commerical that will make some people go hmmmm. What is that about? And might lead to buyers and readers. Is that incorrect?

    Just wondering what others (reviewers, readers and authors, oh fine even the people who were googling for porn and ended up here can answer) honestly think...
    19 Comments:
    1. For me, when the book comes out, it's fair game. I don't love getting bad reviews, but the way I feel about it doesn't matter. It's out there, people get to have their opinions. If I send someone one of my books, they can like it or hate it, and it's their business if they put it on line.

      By Anonymous Jo, at 7/13/2005 12:09:00 AM  

    2. When I'm looking for books, it's more about the buzz than any of the reviews. I've reached the point I don't read many reviews before I buy, at times these influence my reading. For instance, if Mrs G says something in particular annoyed her I'm looking for it while I'm reading. But, if Kristie, Wendy, Anne E, etc. say their reading something or liking something I'm likely to pick it up with or without a positive review.

      By Blogger Tara Marie, at 7/13/2005 07:59:00 AM  

    3. I just blogged two books that I got from Monica Jackson. She sent them to me for guessing something right on her blog. If you take a peek, you'll see that I loved one and didn't like the other so much. Like I said in my blog, she scares the crap out of me so I'd like to say only nice things, but I have a ton of respect for her so decided honesty was better.

      If I was an author, I'd rather have honesty. It's kind of like trying on clothes- I really DO want to know if my husband thinks they make my ass look huge. That way, I can find something that's a better fit. As an author, I think reviews can be used to improve weak areas. Of course, some authors think they don't have weak areas and thus, hate negative reviews and comments. Oh well.

      By Blogger AngieW, at 7/13/2005 09:33:00 AM  

    4. As a former AAR reviewer, I have to say I love reviews, but as a future author, I'm a little nervous. But I'd rather have reviews, good or bad, than no notice at all. And, yeah, I trust some people's opinions more than others, although I like all the input.

      By Blogger Megan Frampton, at 7/13/2005 11:53:00 AM  

    5. As far as reading reviews, I think if I'm hearing consensus about a certain book, that'll sway me more than a single opinion that they didn't like it. A lot of people love stuff that I don't like and vice-versa.

      I didn't get a chance to post over at Angie's site (I'm swamped, I tell you) but I think reviews are a crapshoot for an author.

      I was thrilled when Angie actually *read* my books, even more thrilled that she (sorta) liked them. But the fact that they got read was something, because without getting read you simply don't have a chance up at bat.

      I never bitch about any review unless it's absolutely outrageous and unfair. Those are extremely rare for any author to get, because a review is an opinion, and everybody is entitled to theirs.

      That said, once at bat, you can strike out.

      Everybody wants the big boys to review their books, but when PW or Kirkus or NYT slams you, and it's a huge possibility, esp. with Kirkus, dang, it can have a negative ripple on your career, rep or even, gasp, sales, esp. if you're a new or unknown author.

      It's the same thing with any reviewer, even someone who loves to read and blogs about books. If Nora Robert or Linda Howard get bad reviews, it's less meaningful for them, because they already have their readership (and everybody is gooing to read their books anyway). But for the lesser known author, bad buzz can have a hurtful effect.

      But that's the way it goes. Once a book is out there, any book, I feel that people having an opinion on it is unavoidable.

      Goodness, I wrote a lot. I should have taken it to my blog--(sorry sybil)

      By Anonymous Monica, at 7/13/2005 12:47:00 PM  

    6. I feel like if an author sends out a book with the expectation that s/he's going to get a glowing review in return, then they're doing it for the wrong reason. I would hope that the reviewer wouldn't trash the book, but instead point out the reasons the book didnt work for her.

      Like Tara I tend to stay away from reviews because they do end up influencing my reading experience. Especially since I tend to like the books that most reviewers pan. Now I skim the reviews for plot summary but try not to read the reviewer's comments. Otherwise I end up being an (overly) finicky reader. Then I'll go back after I've finished the book and read the whole review.

      By Anonymous Jay, at 7/13/2005 01:25:00 PM  

    7. When I first started doing reviews I was a little intimidated. What if I didn’t like the book? If it was horrible I wouldn’t do a review. As I become more confident in doing reviews I realized I was wrong for this. If an author asks for a review, they have to be prepared for a good one or a bad one. Its not personal. Its about the book. This is something I told my 20+ reviewers. Review the book not the author. Out all the reviews we’ve done over the past 5 years I only received two complaints about reviews. I thought that was pretty good.

      As a reader, I like to read reviews to help me pick out what I want to buy. If it sounds interesting I'm in. Sometimes I've found some good books because of a bad review. It depends on how the review read. You can tell when a reviewer is mad at the author and just wants to be hurtful.

      LaShaunda
      I’m blogging now - check me out
      http://www.lashaunda.blogspot.com

      By Blogger LaShaunda, at 7/13/2005 02:02:00 PM  

    8. I love reviews. Even if my opinion isn't the same as the reviewers, I like to know what does and doesn't work for different readers.

      Do they influence my buying decisions? Sometimes, but not usually because of a grade assigned, or a judgment of good or bad--it's hard to rely on those things, because opinions vary so much. But, I can often tell from the summary whether it is the type of book I'd enjoy--and if the review carries a lot of energy in it, I find that the book often does, too.

      I also love them because I hear about many books I'd never otherwise have seen/taken a look at. Beverly's blog, for example, has resulted in my buying/pre-ordering books that I might have missed otherwise.

      As an author, I haven't received any official reviews yet, but I'm looking forward to them, even if the reviewer hates my stuff. I know my writing won't be to everyone's taste, and that it contains flaws -- I can accept that. And I've bought and enjoyed plenty of books that other people have hated, so a negative review wouldn't bother me in the least (unless, as Monica said, it's completely unfair). And if I get enough negative reviews, well, maybe I totally suck :D

      By Blogger meljean brook, at 7/13/2005 03:45:00 PM  

    9. Count me in as another who's pro reviews. A lot of what I buy is influenced by them, and a book doesn't need to get a positive review for me to want to buy it.

      A good review gives me enough info that I can recognize if what bothered the reviewer is likely to bother me (or, of course, if what she loved is something I'm likely to hate).

      Oh, and BTW, the only positive thing about the huge time books I buy take to get to me in Uruguay is that, by the time I can read them, I've completely forgotten what the review said!

      By Blogger Rosario, at 7/13/2005 04:09:00 PM  

    10. I find it hard to be anything other than totally honest about books regardless of who wrote them. To me, if a book is out there, and I happen to read it, it's fair game.

      If I was an author, I would want nothing but honest opinions, otherwise, what's the point?

      A bad review is more likely to get me to look closer at a book, whereas a rave review makes me more suspicious.

      I went over to Laurie Gold's blog the other day, and she was extolling the virtues of a book that I'd just blogged about how much it sucked ass. This just re-enforced my stance on not taking reviews as gospel.

      By Blogger Karen Scott, at 7/13/2005 04:19:00 PM  

    11. I read reviews more for a brief synopsis of what the book is about than for the grade. And if I think a book is better than the grade the reviewer gave it, I'll blog about it, for example Lips that Touch Mine or The Cobra and the Concubine, both of which I thought much better than the grade they ended up with. Reviewers have their own tastes and sometimes they match mine and sometimes not, but still I like getting the storyline and I do appreciate the job they do. And I'm not just saying this 'cause it's Sybil's blog and she's a reviewer too now.

      By Blogger Kristie (J), at 7/13/2005 05:46:00 PM  

    12. "...scares the crap out of me so I'd like to say only nice things, but I have a ton of respect for her so decided honesty was better." -- AngieWRe: Monica

      Scares the crap outta me too! So I read her shit in the dark.

      By Blogger FerfeLaBat, at 7/13/2005 05:59:00 PM  

    13. I almost always read reviews, and sometimes, spoilers, so I may not be quite the normal one to ask about following reviews. :P

      As for when a reader writes about a book? Same as word of mouth; you just can't google it (yet).

      By Blogger CW, at 7/13/2005 10:14:00 PM  

    14. I don't go out on limb to read read reviews. I prefer to read them after I read certain books.

      What about as a reviewer or a reader with a blog? Do you feel the need to give it a push because it was free? Do you feel the need for that push to only be a great glowing review?

      Hm. Yes, I'd make a mention on my blog if I won free books off authors. It's a fair trade, IMO. Plus, like you said, it's an advert. :D But does any of that influence my comments on those books? No. Well, I don't think so, anyway. :)

      By Blogger McVane, at 7/14/2005 07:15:00 AM  

    15. That's why I think it's very cool that you're now doing reviews on AAR sybil. FINALLY...a reviewer I can probably agree with. And you're doing a great job too!

      By Anonymous xina, at 7/14/2005 09:46:00 AM  

    16. Thanks for all the great comments!

      Jo: good way to look at it

      TM: I enjoy Mrs. G but I generally don't agree with her. But once I have read a review I really don't keep points from them in my mind. Of course that is prolly just my really bad memory ;).

      Angie: I so agree that I would rather have honesty than smoke blown up my ass. Of course I don't write, so it is easy to say that.

      MF: Good luck with your first review ;)

      Monica: comment away I don't mind... I need to go read angie's reviews.

      Jay: I have seen some of the books you like, I know you don't pay attention to reviews. heeee

      LaShaunda: thanks for the link! new blog!

      meljean: I can't even count the number of books I have read or bought I never would have none about if not for reviews and blogs.

      Interesting note though... where is the line that a reviewer crosses that makes a review completely unfair?

      By Blogger sybil, at 7/14/2005 12:48:00 PM  

    17. R: hee I can forget the next day... the memory is shot. It is nice to know I am not the only person who will buy a badly reviewed book due to the bad review ;)

      KarenS: YES! To me if you only want praise, only show your work to your mom. Unless you have my mom and then really pick someone else cuz she will tell you if you suck.

      Kristie: summary is a big part of why I read reviews. And I would count you as a reviewer! My tbr pile thinks so.

      FerfeLaBat: LOL damn I need to go read more of monica's blog. That scary eh? I will need to check to see if she has a new book coming out and ask to review it.

      CW: if we can ever google just the stuff people have said, we are all in big trouble... huge!

      maili: I completely agree a person should blog when the win a book. Because I might need to know about that book! And you so better be reading my reviews. sniff... woe be the lack of lurve...

      Xina: My reading twin! hmmm probably eh ;).

      By Blogger sybil, at 7/14/2005 12:55:00 PM  

    18. I think an unfair review would be when a) the reviewer makes a personal attack on the authors politics/life/whatever instead of focusing on the book, UNLESS that life is related to the book (autobiographies, pundits who publish, celebrity stuff, that kind of thing). For example, if someone reviewed one of my books and then harped on the fact that I'm Muslim writing about a primarily Christian belief system and drew inferences from that which AREN'T apparent in the book, but is assumed because of biographical information. Things like that -- I'm totally open to personal bias when it comes to reviews (if someone is against abortion, for example, yet a heroine has an abortion and they can't get past it, I can accept that with no problem) but not as open to reading personal assumptions that are formed about the book, based on something that isn't IN the book.

      Not sure if that explains it (and it's only my opinion of what an unfair review might be). To me, it's all about the book. Personal opinion can enter into it any way, but once it isn't about the book anymore, it becomes unfair.

      By Blogger meljean brook, at 7/14/2005 05:53:00 PM  

    19. Meljean: I can get where you are coming from. I think it prolly happens. The thing I don't like would if you got a bad review and blamed it on the fact you are Muslim, so the reviewer didn't like it.

      Sometimes books suck for some people and other love the same book. For the author to take the easy way out and blame it on an outside factor, when it doesn't show in the review - doesn't work for me.

      hee that prolly didn't make any sense

      By Blogger sybil, at 7/16/2005 07:54:00 PM  

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