Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Way I See It. . .

Greetings All,
Mello & June took a much needed vacation and we're back to keep the blog posts flowing!  Some of you have reached out and advised you missed us, and the feeling is mutual.  But hey, everyone is entitled a break at some point or another.  We truly needed it and are more invigorated than ever before!  So let's get this party on and poppin' 'round here! 
Giving a review is a very important process to the one being reviewed!  In order to know how far one has come and how much one has grown, you need to hear others opinions regarding your progress.  This is why it is very critical to give good solid reviews when reading a book.
I’ve spoken about this before, and I feel I need to address this again in the interest of all readers and authors alike.  If there is one thing I absolutely cannot stand that is when I go to select a book, check out the reviews and all I see are one to five stars selected, but not a single word telling me anything about how the reader felt.  What’s up with that?
For those of you who still aren’t convinced in giving a review, think of it this way!  After working about three to six months on a new job, your supervisor rates your performance by giving you just a one to five star rating, does that really let you know how well you did.  Does it make you have a clear meaning as to where you’re to go from that point?  Especially if that supervisor gave you three stars out of five, does that mean you’re mediocre or sub par?  Does it mean you do somewhat ok, but could use improvement?  Are you liked by your supervisor?  Does the supervisor have issues with you?  Do you see what I mean about a lack of review (mere words)?  It leaves you wanting more and it makes you very uncertain.  Those ratings could mean a multitude of things, but if you don’t articulate the meaning, how the hell is one to know what to think?  And, more importantly, is that fair to you?  ««««
When you just rate a book versus telling other readers how that book impacted you, how is the reading community supposed to know exactly what your stars mean?  The stars don’t tell me a damn thing!  All the stars manage to do is make me curious as to whether this is a good book, a dud, or something I should shelf for later down the line.  How did the author do?  Was the story a good one?  Did it flow well?  Were there tons on typographical errors?  Were the characters strong?  Did the right characters get their just due at the end?  Did the lovers end up together? Was there action?  Was there sadness?  Hello, reviewer, give us something!  «««««
I cannot stress this enough, when you just rate a book versus giving an actual solid review, it is very aggravating to the reading community and not to mention, and it’s a terrible disservice to the authors.  We need to know if our writing has improved.  But as I mentioned in my last review, be careful on just how “constructive” your criticism is.  You don’t want to come off as attacking the author.  Give good, solid critiques and reviews that will eventually assist everyone involved. 
And also, reviewer, here’s something else to sink your eyes into.  You’ve just spent a few hours, days or weeks reading a book.  Don’t you think you owe yourself the chance to say something about the novel whether you came away with a positive or negative vibe?  Why would you spend that kind of time wrapped around an author’s words only to stay silent?  Why on earth would you really want to do that?  I value my time regardless as to how I’m spending it.  When I give an author my undivided attention by stating how I feel afterward, the author appreciates that.  But again, tread lightly when giving your review.  Please, whatever you do, do not attack the author!  That is plain wrong and you would not want that to be done to you, so keep that in mind when you’re writing it.
EXTRA CREDIT:  Here are a couple important notes to remember.  When writing your reviews, please keep it simple.  Some of you give reviews which are awesome, but then you write a damn book about the book.  Most of us don’t want to read twenty paragraphs about the book.  There’s no need to get that technical.  A few simple sentences, throw in a little spice to help other readers make decisions, and keep it moving.  That’s all we authors ask outside of playing nice and no attacking of one’s personal character.  (smile)!
Also, I realize on Goodreads it permits reviewers to write “spoilers.”   Even though I know this is permitted and many reviewers use it, I have a huge problem with that!  To me, what is the point in having a “spoiler alert” when, if I’m going to take the time to read a book, I’ll know what it is about in almost its entirety and doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of my reading the book?  Umm, I don’t know, I’m just saying?  Personally, I do not know why anyone wants to put a spoiler alert on their review, but if that’s what turns you on, hey, who am I to tell you no, but, in my opinion, your energies would be better spent in giving a solid review rather than telling the reading community every detail of the book.  I just find that to be a little silly, but again, I know many who do this, and they have every right to, it just never quite made that much sense to me.
Ok readers I’ve given you the best advice I had to offer for this post!  You now have much food for thought and with school soon approaching, there are tons of great books out there begging to be read.  So make sure you get all your reading in before you have regimented reading to do and have to abandon your pleasure reading for a while!  As always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!  Keep those downloading fingers in shape! 
SIDE NOTE:  For those of you who give star ratings to books you’ve never read, that is totally false advertisement!  There are groups of people who like to make an author look bad by just rating the book, but never took the time to read it.  Not only is this a horrible practice to engage in on so many levels, but that is just a low thing to do to any author.  Giving stars to books you haven’t even taken the time to read is unfair to the author and reading community.  When you rate a book badly, this hurts the author’s ratings as to where they stand on sales, which is a crime in my book (no pun intended).  I’d rather get a bad review from a reader who actually took the time to overlook my work, rather than have an impostor giving my book a rating they’ve never read.  If you are one of those people, shame on YOU!  One day your practices will catch up to you!
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet