What a book IS, versus how it GOES.

Feedback from fans carries weight.  The flipside is I’m uncomfortable with how the majority of reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc are handled.  I avoid them as a result, unless I have read the book!  This isn’t what reviewers or authors want but this can change if a few guidelines are made clearer.  Eager reviewers mean well but spoil unknowingly and some lack tact.  I wince for new authors.  Stephen King and Joanne Rowling can afford a rant.  An independent author is vulnerable.  Here are tips based on my observations.


(1)  Go no further than telling what a book is.  Never tell how A BOOK GOES!  A play-by-play of action is too much information.  Withholding the ending doesn’t mean it isn’t spoiler. I like to be oblivious to plots.  A review should merely describe age/tone/subject:  as a gauge of whether a book is for us.  Paired with that, the point of a review is to explain -without giving away plots- why we like, or dislike each book.

(2)  “Sounding outdatedisn’t on an author’s head.  A novel is current when it is written.  If there are horses and buggies instead of laptops, what of it?  That is no reason to dock a star.  All authors would be docked stars thirty years forward.  Protest a cover or synopsis that was misleading but evaluate a book on what it IS.  Not on expectation and especially, whether it matches society today.

(3Oh, how tired I am of the smug declarationFigured out the culprit”.  You didn’t.  You did nothing more than guess person A or B.  This is touted as a bad thing;  docked stars ensuing.  I applaud a decipherable mystery.  Honestly, if we can’t expound on person A or B’s motive and method, smug guessing does not amount to a weak novel.

(4Be kind.  There is no credibility in the assertion that “something sucks”.  Identify likes and dislikes.  If preference is a factor, explain.  I’ve seen a deceased author, who can produce no more, get two measeley stars because a person “can’t recall how the book goes, so it must not be good”.  Ouch!  Better to re-read rather than needlessly sink its averages.  There are many reasons, completely unrelated to quality, for not recalling the contents of a book in the past.  Many that I have refreshed, were found to be of five-star calibre.


Tiger Lily


I hope this is helpful.  Happy spring!  My first article on this topic is found here.  https://cmriedel.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/spoiler-reviews-need-to-stop/

I reiterated this subject, in a large quiz for the Canadian reading challenge.

About RIEDEL Fascination

I cherish animals, plants, reading, music and free spirituality. I welcome you for articles, literary activities, and interaction! Surrounding ourselves with good people is a delight. I occasionally review at The Book Depository.
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1 Response to What a book IS, versus how it GOES.

  1. Great post and important tips to remember. :)

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