- Perfect Paperback: 190 pages
- Publisher: Paladin Timeless Books; 1st edition (June 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1933353228
- ISBN-13: 978-1933353227
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing 1st Edition
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...an invaluable resource for anyone interested in book reviews - writers, reviewers, publishers, publicists, librarians, booksellers and readers. There are examples of good and bad reviews and ways to handle adverse reactions to your review by the author, publisher and/or publicist. Also covered are the absolute don'ts of a review, i.e., don't give away the ending. --Francine Silverman, editor/publisher of The Book Promotion Newsletter.
...So you think you want to review books. Then this should be the next book you read. Find out if you have the right attitude, and tools that it will take to be a reviewer. I've been reviewing novels for about a year. I wish I'd had this book when I started. ...This book has found a permanent place on my reference book shelf. --Wanda C. Keesey, author of Lost In The Mist.
About the Author
Mayra Calvani is the author of two books. Her stories, articles and reviews have appeared in many online and print publications in the States, England and Puerto Rico. In addition, she is assistant editor of Voice in the Dark newsletter, where she writes a monthly column. She has lived in America, Asia, the Middle East, and is now settled in Brussels, Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children and a variety of pets. Her hobbies include playing the violin and astronomy/sky observing.
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing that makes this book worth getting is that it can be helpful to all types of potential reviewers whether you want to post your reviews on Amazon or plan to move on to the big leagues and become a professional book reviewer for a magazine or other publication because it offers tips for shorter reviews as well as more detailed reviews. If you plan to read novels, this book serves as a good guide because it tells you exactly what to pay attention to while reading such as plot, dialog, syntax, etc. so that you can effectively write your review.
Another thing that makes this book really good is that it provides a section with tips for reviewing audio books, graphic novels and works in translation. This is a particularly helpful section because these tips aren't ones that you would find in a general how to book, and writing those types of reviews usually goes beyond just the point of talking about the story.
The only downside to this book is that it is written as a guide so it isn't made to be exciting or interesting. If you are seriously interested in improving the quality of your book reviews though, this is an important read that isn't terribly long and provides good tips.
Recently I decided it was time to start writing reviews of some of the books I read. I've started posting those reviews on my own blog as well as here on Amazon, on Goodreads.com and elsewhere. This book has given me a road map for how I should be writing those reviews. (We'll see whether I'm able to follow that road map...)
Calvani offers some of the obvious tips -- you need a good knowledge of grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation, you must be able to express your thoughts clearly and you must be honest. Readers use book reviews to decide whether to read a book. "A reviewer’s honest judgment is his stock in trade." Together with that honesty comes objectivity. You don't have to agree with the author. That means "ideally, you shouldn’t let your values, beliefs, and way of life influence your review." Finally, if you don't agree with author, at least be tactful in your criticism.
She offers a structure for what to look for when you're reading, including the various aspects of plot, narrative and flow, pacing, characterization, dialogue, description, symbolism and allegories, point of view, theme, tone and atmosphere and spelling and grammar that you should be looking for. Likewise, she provides a similar structure for reviewing audio books, non-fiction, graphic novels, works in translation, etc.
The book also includes a number of sample reviews, annotated to show you what a review should accomplish.
Calvani offers suggestions on how to handle some typical problems you might encounter after reviewing a book. If you got a free copy to review, is it okay to sell or give away the free book? What if the author or publisher sends a nastygram expressing displeasure at your negative review? What do you do if an author or publisher says they are sending you a book to review and you never get it? How do you handle books you receive -- but didn't ask for? And how do you handle someone who calls you every few days to ask if you've read their book yet?
This short book by Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards is the only book I'm aware of on the subject of writing book reviews. I have been reviewing books for quite a long time but thought I'd like to take a short refresher course. So I bought this book.
I'm not sure why the title was chosen. It doesn't make much sense to me. I would have called it, "How to Write a Great Book Review" or something straightforward. I'm not sure what "slippery art" really means when it comes to book reviewing. I assume it's the fact that many people are less than honest in their reviews or they write amateurish reviews based on their personal likes and dislikes.
I also didn't see anything in the book about the author's qualifications to pen the book. I'm not questioning their credentials. I simply don't know them.
While most of the advice seemed to be written to those who review fiction, some of it did apply to non-fiction, which is my genre of choice. Moreover, the advice pretty much applies to all types of books.
One thing I was glad to see was a basic understanding of the star system and how to apply what you thought of the book to the number of stars you give it. That's a much misused and abused part of reviews on Amazon. As a reviewer, I often get stuck at the stars.
The authors tell us that the reviewer's responsibility is to the reader, not the author or publisher or anyone else. We who review books often forget that.
"The reviewer must be objective and fair in their comments, whether or not t he book is one they would read for pleasure. A reviewer works hard to build a reputation for honesty and integrity and must carefully consider what they write to maintain that reputation," the authors say.
They tell us that ". . . people read reviews to help make up their minds about a book . . ." And, they tell authors to get a top Amazon reviewer to positively review their book and "it's like money in the bank." How true that is!
People do read reviews. And, while not everyone makes his or her buying decision based on one review or several, some people do --- reviews do matter.
The book gives numerous examples of different types of reviews, which I found helpful.
"The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing" is easy to read. It's entertaining and fun if you love to read and would like to write really good reviews of if you're already a reviewer and simply want to be better.
I came away from the book with some fresh ideas and thoughts about how I can improve my reviews and, above all, how I should keep in mind that my reviews are for the reader, not the author or anyone else.
I've had numerous authors terribly angry at me for having written negative reviews of their books. One young man even called me on the phone and begged me to change my review because I was costing him sales. Authors can be children. Fortunately, this little book even tells you how to handle these fragile egos.
If you want to become a top reviewer or, for whatever reason, want to be a good book reviewer, I recommend you get a copy of this book. It has lots of resources as well as all you need to know when it comes to producing a great review. All you need supply is some really good writing and a love for reading. Then it will all come together powerfully and effectively.
- Susanna K. Hutcheson