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on October 19, 2016
This book contains nothing a reader couldn't find free online (or in their own brain).
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on April 5, 2015
I'm not a reviewer. But as someone who is writing a thesis on that topic I have to say - that book really saved me! It has all the information I ever needed. It's a pity I haven't found it earlier.
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on June 20, 2009
Does a book about book reviewing invite novice or negative reviews to itself (or positive for that matter)? If, like I was, you have provided some reviews on sites like Amazon or your own blog and were thinking about doing more, this will be an interesting and quick read for you. However, its hardly the reference text for Book Reviewing 101 and you may prefer to check it out of the library before you buy it. There is a handy directory in the back with resources.

The authors quickly present a format for a book review and offer sample book reviews which are both positive and negative. The yoffer suggestiong for dealing with different situations which may come up as a book reviewer. For example, they come down on the side that its okay to sell a book after reviewing it. The text at times begins to sound like a broken record as they hammer a few points such as every book can not be the best (or worst) ever read and don't offer to review a book, accept the book and then not review it. This is of course good advice.

However, I don't suggest necessarily treating their advice on technology as the last word. In discussing hostiong providers on pg 110 they don't caution the reader that some services offering "free" domains with hosting don't actually register these domain names in your name, making them not your domain name (if you want to move to a different hosting provider you'd have to buy them from them at a rate that would not be the cheapest on the market). They also incorrectly provide the wrong name/website URL of a very popular domain registration and website hosting site (they call godaddy "bigdaddy") see pg 109. Luckily for the authors the incorrect website listed wasn't a site for "mature" audiences. In a book about reviewing books and attending to such errors in other books, its amusing to me that a fact that could be so easily checked with a web browser went unchecked. Super Bowl commercials apparently weren't enough to get their website listed correctly in the book.

The authors also touch on an important subject which people thinking about doing online reviews may already have in mind- affiliate programs (and advertising in general). Amazon's associate program is mentioned specifically, and the authors do give it to the reader straight that they should not be expecting to make a fortune (or even a living) doing book reviews online (or almost anywhere else). Elsewhere the authors suggest a criticism of online reviews is that they are seen as overly positive, and that in response some say, why waste time reviewing bad books when there are so many good ones? The logical extension that isn't quite made in the book is that if review sites are trying to sell books through an affiliate program, they're going to try and post reviews of books that people will buy through their website and collect referral fees. Whether it impacts the review and/or the books selected to be reviewed probably depends on the reviewer/reviewing site.

A book about book reviews may attract reviews from novices (like myself). However, given that this book is probably most appropriate for a novice book reviewer and probably wouldn't hold out that much new information for someone who has been doing it for a while, perhaps I'm the perfect person to review it. I also wouldn't look to this book to provide you with a road map of how best to do book reviews online. With that being said, if you're new to book reviewing it is worth the read, but I'd call it one you can wait for through interlibrary loan. Though as a new author, I do cringe and feel a little bad about making that recommendation in terms of reading through it before buying it.

Author, Depressive Personality Disorder: Understanding Current Trends in Research and Practice
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on September 1, 2009
Book reviewing is not for the "faint of heart" as The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing reveals. Written by authors Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards, this book is a user's manual for the fledgling reviewer, the serious book blogger, the freelance reviewer, as well as the established professional.

Part One begins with The Five Keys to Being a Good Reviewer. The authors describe what it takes to be in solid command of the craft. They go on to explain what a book review is and how to write a good review. Other elements which are discussed are: rating books with the star system, which I especially liked; types of reviews; and how to start your own review site.

Part Two talks about the influence of book reviews.

Part Three gives an extensive list of resources for how and where to get started posting reviews.

I found the book to be compact in size, well-written, succinct, and easy to use. It is a must read for the reviewer and one that should be placed in easy reach for those occasional questions.
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on January 28, 2013
One of the things I do in this life is review books.
So I found this one to be spot on.
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The book provides more than the essential of writing a book review. Would have been useful during school.
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on September 11, 2014
This book covers a wide array of review types, outlets and resources while maintaining clear and concise content. I’ve been book blogging for going on 18 months now and after reading this novel I discovered that I still have a lot to learn. Most of the information can be found online if you know where to look but I enjoyed having it readily available in one place. Whether you’re considering entering the world of book reviewing or already run a successful site; The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a great tool.

The examples are plentiful and the authors tackle some touch topics such as writing negative reviews and the differences between being a book reviewer vs. a blogger. I particularly enjoyed how Mayra addresses how to respond to nasty e-mails from publicists when they don’t agree with your review. The only negative feedback that I have is that I found the information to be a little repetitive at times and some of the sources/links are outdated. This novel was published in 2008 and things change constantly in the world of books. The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a fantastic tool for booksellers, librarians, authors, publishers and reviewers. It’s a quick read and I guarantee that you’ll learn something new.
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HALL OF FAMEon December 1, 2008
"Are you passionate about books? Do you have a talent for easily capturing the essence of a book after reading it? Do you often feel the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers? If you answered `yes' to these questions, then book reviewing can be one of the most satisfying, rewarding activities you'll ever undertake." - From The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing (Preface)

As an Amazon.com Top Reviewer, I often get emails from readers asking me how I became a reviewer, as well as requests for tips on getting started. I even had an independent publisher ask me to write an instructional book on how to write a great review.

Alas, my passion is actually writing reviews--not writing about reviews, or coaching others on how to create them (or enter the vocation/business of reviewing). Thankfully, I can now point aspiring writers to an excellent book called The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards.

When Ms Calvani approached me about her book, I was intrigued and excited. Finally, I thought, someone has taken the time to explain the necessary mechanics of a quality review!

From grammar skills to critical reading, ethical considerations to honest (but tactful) reviewing, the authors reveal the secrets of what separates amateurs from the pros. A few of the informative, helpful areas include:

* Reviewing a book for what it is, not what the reviewer wishes it was
* Signs of an amateur
* Five keys to being a good reviewer
* The harmful practices of both sugarcoated and caustic reviews
* A reviewer's responsibility to the reader, author and publisher
* The difference between book reviews, reports and press releases
* How to handle backlash resulting from a negative review
* Pre-publication versus post-publication reviews
* Dozens of print and online venues for getting started as a reviewer

The only (minor) qualm I have with in this book is the section on ascertaining readership. The authors write, "For instance, a mystery by Agatha Christie would be slanted towards the reader in their thirties or older. This can be judged by the age of the main character or detective, for example. If the character or detective solving the crime is under thirty-five, this is a book that would appeal to the younger set."

Their subsequent logic didn't ring true with my own reading experience. For example, by the time I graduated High School, I had read just about every book by Agatha Christie (not to mention those by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Higgins Clark, Robin Cook, Stephen King, and Dean Koontz--as well as many of the classics). Now, as a 38-year-old lover of books, juvenile and Young Adult fiction are two of my favorite genres. Personally, I feel that identifying readership is, indeed, important--but not necessarily based on the age of characters.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing also deconstructs actual reviews, explaining why certain elements are needed and work well or, in the case of poorly written reviews, why certain elements must be eliminated altogether for a professional, objective presentation.

For reviewers who want to hone their skills and discover additional reviewing opportunities, this book is an engaging, useful read. (I wish this book had been available when I started. Instead, I had to master the art of reviewing on my own!)

For those who are considering book reviewing as a hobby or career, reading (and owning) The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is an absolute must--especially for those who want to be taken seriously and garner a reputation as a quality reviewer.

-- Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book
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on April 3, 2012
Reviewed By~JoAnne
Review Copy Provided By~Publisher

I am a volunteer book reviewer and also write reviews for books I read for pleasure on book websites. I didn't realize there is a book reviews industry and I personally had "on the job" training if you will. Much of what was in this book about reviews - how to write them, who owns them, where you can post them, etc. are what I've been doing but really didn't know the logic behind. The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing gave support to why who I write volunteer reviews for has us write our reviews the way we do, including number of books we can have out, assignments, where we can post reviews, etc.

This book is a how to book on the do's and don'ts of being a book reviewer. Some of the areas covered are how to write a positive review, how to write a positive negative review when you have to write a negative one, what to include and the format needed. It also gave several samples after the discussions to show you how to write reviews given different scenarios. It also delves into the importance of reviewers to publishers, authors and readers.

A second section dealt with the book review sites and how to start your own. It was extremely detailed in explaining how best to do so with lots of pros and cons especially as it relates to ebooks and reviews posted on the internet. It had a lot of information but was really geared to the owners or webmasters of the book reviewer sites. It also touched on how to obtain volunteer reviewers - what to look for, how to see if they would be a good fit, how to enforce their deadlines, and make sure they write a quality review.

The last part of the book dealt with resources was 20 pages long almost all of it giving website and contact information for where you can possibly post your reviews. This section is really for independent reviewers and those either having a book review site or setting one up. It wasn't for the average reader or reviewer so I was able to skim through most of it but glancing at the titles of the suggested websites.

As a person who loves to read and who is enjoying being a volunteer reviewer this was an enjoyable although technical read. I would recommend it to anyone who sees writing reviews in their future.

Favorite Quote: Remember that the books are being sent to you in exchange for a review. Accepting books and not writing the reviews is, in one word: STEALING. You'd be surprised at the number of reviewers' who, after having requested several books, suddenly 'disappear.' These people are not legitimate, they're crooks, plain and simple. Integrity is part of the code of honor of a legitimate reviewer.
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on April 6, 2012
Book reviewers have a bittersweet disposition. We can encourage potential readers and buyers to purchase a book or not. Does that mean book reviewers are powerful? No, not at all, it simply means that if you are a fair and respectable reviewer, your opinion about a book or author will be taken into consideration. If you would like to learn how to be a respected book reviewer with the right skill set to review any type of book, Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards can help you achieve your goal.

According to Calvani and Edwards writing a book review has 5 requirements: 1) Command of Language 2) Clarity of Thought 3) Honesty 4) Objectivity 5) Tact. From that point each reader will get an in depth view on what a book review consists of. This section is the most important piece of the book. Calvani and Edwards offer a generous amount of information on how reviews should read critically. A list of helpful questions is provided as a guide for truly understanding and pulling information from what was read by the reviewer. For example:

Plot = is the plot original? Has it been done many times? If not original, is it written from a fresh angle?
Narrative and Flow = is there too much telling instead of letting the characters talk to the reader?
Point of View = does the author jump from one point to another in a way that disrupts the readers suspension of disbelief?

Reviewers also have the job of providing a `hook' for their review. According to Calvani and Edwards a `hook' is: "A hook is any set of words that will attract a reader and hold their attention long enough to get them to read the complete review." Information on how to rate books on popular sites such as Amazon are explained in great detail. Samples of reviews along with sample formatting for setting up a document are very helpful for new reviewers. Readers will find sample reviews for articles, children's book and anthologies.

Another section I found to be very helpful is the "How a Review Differs from a Book Report, a Critique and a Press Release." Calvani and Edwards explain that in time reviewers will quickly learn how to recognize the differences of these techniques by acquiring some experience. A list is provided breaking down the difference between a review, book report, critique or press release. For example:

Review = an individual's opinion
Book Report = a book report is objective and not consumer-oriented
Critique = A critique is an individual's opinion. The focus is critical and evaluative.
Press Release = the press release is an announcement to the media. It is media-oriented and never negative.

Everything you can ever imagine a book reviewer needing help with or any question that would need to be answered can be found in these pages. Calvani and Edwards discuss what not to do as a reviewer, teach readers how to deal with the feelings of the author, how to start your own book review site, how to present your review for publication and how to tactfully write about your dislikes. These are just a few of the many things that can be learned from reading this book. The back of the books has tons of print review publications and website resources for posting reviews. As a reviewer I found this book to be very informative, educational and resourceful. This guide can be used by a new reviewer or someone who has been doing it for a while.

About the authors:
Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author of adult and children's books and has been a reviewer for most of the past decade. She is co-editor of Voice in the Dark Ezine and also keeps three lit blogs, Mayra's Secret Bookcase, The Dark Phantom Review, and Violin and Books. In addition, she teaches book reviewing at the Long Story Short School of Writing.

Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing mysteries, but dabbles in children's stories and other genre. She reviews for some publicists and web zines and is co-editor of Voice in the Dark Ezine. She is a member of Pennwriters and Books We Love
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