Once upon a time, reviewing a book was pretty straight forward. I read a book. I logged on to Goodreads and shared my opinion. End of story. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)
Then, I became an author and the whole reviewing thing has become a whole lot more complicated–and a whole lot less fun. Here’s the problem:
1. I know the sting of a harsh opinion.
When you’ve got your own book online and open to reviews, you see the process from another angle. And it ain’t always pretty. Critiques (even when meant well) can be tough to take. Now, when I’m writing a review, I’m not just thinking of the book I just read: I’m thinking about the author who wrote it. As if they’re in the room with me. Staring. With puppy dog eyes.
2. You try critiquing books of people you know.
One of the great things about selling my first book, is it put me in contact with a lot of published authors. Some of them are starting out like me, some of them are big names who were kind to host me on their blog, or talk with me at a conference. So, as hard as it is to write anything critical about a book when I don’t know the author, it’s about a million times harder when it’s someone I know. Plus, when I read a book by an author I love, I want to love their books, too. Every book is a 5 Star masterpiece.
3. My opinion has shifted from just another reader to an author.
Maybe it’s all in my head, but I feel like my opinion has somehow gained weight. Heck, even my book club friends seem to listen to my ramblings more than before. It makes me feel the pressure to say something deep and meaningful. (Which is so not me.)
I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up, but I think if you put good vibes out into the universe, they come back around. (It’s also just a nicer way to live.) And good vibes translate in to good reviews.
So what does all of this mean? Basically, that I want to give every book I read a 5 Star review. And in the end, that makes for good reviews but not good reviews, if you get my meaning. That’s why I stopped giving stars on Goodreads and why I try to write a few words about the book instead.
Up until now, I haven’t posted any reviews on my blog, but I’m going to start now. Only, rather than a review I’m going to think of it as a Book View. I’ve discovered as I read that there’s always a line or two from every book that I just LOVE. I thought I’d highlight those lines and share a little about the book. But no stars.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve discovered a way to take the suckiness out of book reviews.