Saturday, June 25, 2011

Play the Match Game

Remember Match Game back in the 1970s? Ah, that Gene Rayburn was a kick.
And I just dated myself. LOL

However, it's not a game that I'm referring to with that post title. Nor is it very humorous. In my archives, I did a post called The Rapunzel Effect. One of the comments inspired a reply from me that truly created a spark of emotion.

I was talking about reviews rated a three on the LASR or Whipped Cream review sites. That rating isn't necessarily a bad thing at all. It's what I term a summer read: something fun, it helps to pass the time in an enjoyable manner. Sometimes a reader doesn't want a heavy hitter, just an infusion of romance. Short stories do that but they also tend to see more three ratings than not.

Why do I think 3 has a bad rap? Easy - it's because of how the review is written. The Rapunzel Effect addresses that so I'm not going to repeat myself.

What I am trying to point out is this: The rating has to match the review.

A review simply cannot have the words: excellent, perfect, great, in the conclusion of the review where previously, the writer was blasting negatives throughout. The review will not be taken seriously--especially if the reviewer decided to give a four or better rating.
The reader is going to come away scratching their head, "I thought the reviewer hated the book.(?)"

Here's a review of one of my favorite stories. It's a four book rating but the writer mentions something that justifies it being a four. I also think if it hadn't been included, I would have expected a higher rating, but that could be my personal prejudice.
GOING OVERBOARD

A reviewer cannot give a gushing and glowing report and use those same positive words yet give a three rating. That makes no sense! There has be something that prevented it from getting a higher score. The reviewer has to say so. Has to. Otherwise, how can a reader trust the rating?
Here's an example: DON'T FENCE ME IN

Don't even get me started on how the review doesn't even give a potential reader any insight. That's a different post. But, see what I mean?
She claimed it was 'well researched' and 'solid'. So, why didn't it rate higher?

A better example of a three rating is this: BEHIND THE BENCH

Sure, something wasn't quite perfect for her, but the fact that the reviewer enjoyed the reading experience was not lost on me.

Now in this example, the reviewer hated the book. The tone of the review and the rating totally matched. I don't advocate this type of harsh and in depth microscopic carnage but the writer certainly was eloquent in her distaste. LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS.

By the same token, whenever a reviewer gives a reason for a three book or cherry, they need to do it with respect and civility. Reviews are not supposed to make an author bleed.

If authors are seeing a lot of negative and scathing comments regarding their work, and the majority of those are rated threes, it's not a wonder that poor little number 3 has had a bad rep. It's not fair. It's a generic paint brush tactic that is tarnishing everything.

A three rating can be a good thing, TEXT ME
- when the review is written right. Need a Refresher? REVIEWS CLASS #2

Make the rating match the review. Make sense. And play nice.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yes, Furry Cuffs Are Toys Too!

I've been a bad reviewer. 
It was a shock to realize that I dropped the ball.
It was more of an embarrassment to realize that it wasn't even on my radar ... and it should have been.

And this post is why I have that 18+ age restriction on my blog because sooner or later it was going to apply.

BUTT PLUGS!
DILDOS!
FURRED HANDCUFFS!
NIPPLE CLAMPS!
WHIPS (with feathers?)!
ROPES (asanawa,kinbaku, shibari)

**waggles brows** Got your attention, didn't I.

Reviews aren't relegated to only sharing an opinion.  Information is shared as well to inform a reader of possible topics that might hit their Squick Button.(read - gross them out or upset them)

Some review sites don't have a list of tags that highlight features within a book that some readers might find objectionable. It's left up to the reviewer to include it in the body of their review.

Really?   Yes, really. 

I admit, explaining about toys wasn't on my To-Do list and I am due a wet noodle.  You see, when I used 'anal play' as a tag for the list, I assumed that it encompassed or included through inference any sexual aide that might come into play in that area.  Boy, was I wrong.   Fingers might get a pass from some readers but a multi-speed vibrator butt plug with a remote control infrared beam signalling device might push them over the edge and they'll stop reading the book to go take a TUMS or something - and, worst case scenario - refuse to finish reading the book.

Some publishers will list warnings with the blurbs on their sites and that's great.  But for those readers who don't actually visit the publisher but instead base their purchase on their favorite and/or a respected review website, the responsibility of the reviewer is hefty.

It's not just toys that need to be mentioned, what about rape?  How sensitive will a reader be if it's inferred or actual?  Retelling or active?  What about furry sex?  How close can a reader get to shifter love and not throw up?  Where do they draw the line?  Reviewers might mention it if it affected them and made them squeamish but what about those reviewers who weren't bothered by it and consider it no big deal?  Will they think of  writing about it?  To make mention of  something that didn't  faze them?  Human nature being what it is, possibly not.

So, this post is geared toward raising your awareness of what kind of information would benefit a reader.

Whipped Cream Reviews has a list for its reviewers to choose from, but it's by no means all inclusive. The reviewers for that site have the additional task of adding more descriptive tags because sexual play has gotten so inventive and creative.  The more the doors open up, and readers get a spotlight eyeful on the BDSM scene as well as other kinds of genre that push the sexual envelope, the more aware they have to be about adding the toys that go along for the ride.  

I'm still amazed that I finally earned my 18+ restriction.  I don't know if I should be impressed with myself or not.  I certainly hope I've not shocked you too much.  But, it needed saying.

Any other shocking toys out there to add to my short list?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Broken Record is Annoying

If you're a fan of those golden days when music was playing on spinning vinyl, you'll understand the reference. It was devastating and annoying when your favorite often-played 45 got a scratch and the same word or note would repeat over and over and over again.

It was grating on the nerves then and I assure you, repetitive words in a review bring forth the same teeth grinding reaction.

No one realizes it while in the midst of writing a review. The focus is getting those thoughts down and making your point. Once you do that, however, it's time to take a second look.

I've been helping out with basic editing lately and I discovered how easy it is to repeat the same word in one paragraph, even to miss the doing of it altogether. I realize it probably made sense initially, and even authors have to be wary of that same pitfall. After being bombarded with one particular word, I simply could not ignore the fact that it needed to be addressed and fixed.

The word that whomped me on the head was STORY.

 The most frequency that I've encountered it in one paragraph comprised by four sentences was FIVE TIMES! Story, Story, Story, Story, Story. Okay! I get it!
Reviewers should avoid anything that looks like this:
This story is a great stand alone. For readers of other stories in the series, they get to see the Bloomberg brothers again. If this is the first time a reader has read one of Ms. Snazzgarden’s stories, they’ll be in for a treat because the author’s sense of humor is back. This story has got them all beat because it’s over the top funny and this is one story that is going on my keeper shelf.
After writing your review, please re-read it with this in mind - don't repeat the same word in the same sentence or paragraph. What are some alternate options?

Story, Tale, Book, Novel, Novella, Saga, OR, this romance, this adventure, this mystery, this drama.

If it's a funny romance, the word 'yarn' might even be applied.
If it's a novel plus book, then the word 'epic' might be used.

I do believe that a reviewer can use the same word twice in one paragraph easily, depending on how it's used, and it'll be fine. Three or more isn't acceptable, especially now that you have the list of alternatives I've provided.

If you believe that none of the listed options work for you, try this link and see if you can find one that does. STORY OPTIONS
One word that gives me trouble is "Characters". I've used: personalities, hero, heroine,villain, or the person's name.

It still gives me conniptions sometimes because in this instance, Mr. Thesaurus isn't helpful at all. I wouldn't mind some suggestions on how to get around my character issues. **VBG**