What do you look for in a review?

When I was invited to be part of this blog hop that Reading Romances so kindly put together for us, it occurred to me that what I look for in a review as Jes the Reader is different than what I look for as Jes the Writer. Hence, I have a two part answer to the question.

Part One by Jes the Reader:
I was terrible at book reports in elementary school, and as it turns out, I am almost entirely incapable of writing a good book review. It’s sad, but true. Take a look at my GoodReads reviews if you don’t believe me. They’re mostly one sentence long and say insightful things like “I loved this book.” (You know what I was good at in school? Dioramas. Maybe I should start doing those instead?)

When I look at other people’s reviews I’m often impressed by how detailed they are, how passionately the reviewer digs into the story and shares their opinions. I love that there are people out there who love reading so much that they make a point of not only giving serious thought to the books they read, but taking the time to write those thoughts out into eloquent, well thought out opinion pieces. As a voracious consumer of books who is not independently wealthy, I look to these reviewers to help me decide which books are worth my investment. To get that, I need them to include some explanation of the plot – but not too much – and the reasons why they liked or did not like the book. Honestly, that’s it.

What I’d like to see more of: COMPS!! More “if you liked that, you’ll like this too.” Maybe I spent too much time working in publishing, but I find comps really helpful.
What I’d like to see less of: DNF reviews are a pet peeve of mine. Once you get to the end of the book, you can feel free to hate the pants right off of it but how can you review what you didn’t read?

Part Two by Jes the Writer: Reviews are important to every writer but especially to a debut writer, which is what I am. A good review from a good source can make a big difference in terms of sales and legitimacy and exposure. That said, a few words from an anonymous someone who takes a minute to write “I loved this book” and check off 4 or 5 stars is equally awesome. There are few things better than knowing that your story is out in the world and that people who don’t know you (and as such are not obligated to like your work) like your work.

What I’d like to see more of: Positive reviews! When I am reading reviews of my own book, which I do because I’m hopelessly uncool like that, I always hope to see some sign that I’ve made a connection with the reader. Welcome elements include: Compliments. Praise. Love. Liberal use of the words “fantastic” “best” and “riveting.”
What I’d like to see less of: Negative Reviews…When those come in, and they do from time to time, I have a strict policy of following the golden rule for writers. I’ve seen what happens when you don’t and It. Is. Not. Pretty.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll take a minute to stop by the comments to say hello, defend your DNF only review blog, or suggest a book for my first ever Review by Diorama.


4 thoughts on “What do you look for in a review?

  1. I really have thought about comps… but then I just worry that someone will say “WHY? WHY would you compare XYZ to ABC?” I guess I live in fear of someone reviewing my reviews! Great post!

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