Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Revisit Me" Screams Number Three

Hello, again, fellow reviewers!
Welcome, fellow word grazers!

It's been awhile, hasn't it?  I've covered many aspects of reviewing so topics are fewer to come by.  Sometimes what is old is new again and this post proves it.  I heard it through the editing grapevine that ratings aren't equaling the review.  The ripple effect from that practice is not pretty and it affects the reviewer's credibility, not to mention causes untold confusion for the author as well as readers of your review.

The rating of three (3) isn't a bad thing.  If you need a refresher about a  three (3) rating click HERE -- remember the Rapunzel-effect?.  I know some of you do.  I even covered a three (3) rating in more depth HERE  -  personally, I think the 'Missing Link' is even more helpful.  Three(3) is a popular subject, can you tell?

The flip side of rating a book a three (3), is not writing the review to justify it.  In fact, what is being written is glowing, gushing and all perfectly positive.  If you're that enthusiastic about the book, why in the world are you rating it a three (3)?  To paraphrase Mr. Spock, "That does not compute."  Certainly, it's not logical.

For a book to earn a three (3) rating, it has to have faults. Has to. Not maybe. Has to. And how to address them was covered in The Rapunzel Effect - so go check out that link if you haven't already.

A reviewer does a great disservice to the book and all readers of their review when there is tons of gushing and positive opinions without sharing what dragged it down from a perfect rating of five (5) or Best Book to a three (3).  There has to be a reason.  It's the responsibility of a reviewer to express that; share what didn't work and what could have made it better in a concise but respectful manner.  Remember, no snark - it's never constructive nor truly informative.  Remember, I covered No Snark when I went 'fishing'.  Need a refresher?  Click HERE

I'm not sure why a reviewer would hesitate to share their opinion of what didn't work for them. I don't think they'd hold back if they were talking to their friends face to face about it.  I hardly think they'd recommend a book to their friends by waxing poetic about how great it was and then mislead them by not warning them of the book's pitfalls.  Friendship means taking the good with the not-so-good.  The relationship that a reviewer has with her/his audience is just like a friendship.  Some readers follow a reviewer because they feel that they can trust the opinion of the writer.  Why would you want to let them down?  What are you afraid of?  Are you aware that authors respect a well worded critique and find the information of what didn't work, helpful?  They do.  Well, most do.

 If a reviewer stated that the hero's dialogue came across sounding like a stubborn, childish cur instead of a man you could respect and swoon over, then they'd know to pay more attention to the male POV and how he's depicted.  Perhaps they need to do more research on how men talk amongst themselves to gain more insight.  And that insight may very well benefit the next hero, and reviewers will truly have reason to be enthusiastic. Maybe there was a ton of confusing head hopping in a book and the reviewer shared that it was overdone and threw them out of the story.  That might challenge the author to rein in his/her characters and the next book will be sharp and on target.

The bottom line?  Write a review that matches the rating.  Give details ( NOT SPOILERS) about what was missing, or what didn't work.  Something.  Don't just say  the book 'feels' like a three (3).  That means nothing.  Please do not submit a review that has "Happy, Happy, Joy! Joy!" (nod to Ren & Stimpy) all over it and then slap on a three (3) rating, or even a four (4).  When you do that, your credibility is on the line.

Please make your reviews match and/or justify your rating.


Stormy said...

Thanks for the refresher, Xer. I know I sometimes struggle to define exactly why a book didn't "WOW" me even if I didn't necessarily "not like" it either.

Xeranthemum said...

I hear you, Stormy.
I was falling into a bad habit lately of not mentioning why either.

Sometimes it's hard to pin down and it could be something as simple as not liking one of the decisions that the hero or heroine made in the book. Since it might be one pivotal moment that caused a domino effect, that one scene would be enough to make a person not like what comes after and affects how they 'feel' about the whole thing. How to say that is the challenge without giving anything away. How to say that without resorting to "I feel like this is a three" is a huge challenge.

That's why I keep post-it notes with me when reading a paperback. That's a little hard to do with e-books though. Haven't figured out that part yet....

Anyway, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Made my day!

Astilbe said...

Xeranthemum, I don't know what kind of computer you have but my Mac has something called TextEdit (it's like Notepad on Windows).

I keep it open when I'm reading e-books in order to jot down notes about what I do and do not like as go along.

Sometimes I'll even copy and paste a sentence or two from the story as an example for a particular compliment or criticism.

When it comes time to write the review I reread my notes first. It really helps...especially with books that I have mixed feelings about or changed my opinion of halfway through the story! :)

Xeranthemum said...

Astilbe, thank you for your comment. I don't have a Mac but your suggestion is a good one. I have Notepad and never thought to use it they way you presented.

It's a great idea!

I know on my Nook, there's a place for notes but I've never utilized it. I 'm going to check into that as well. For some reason I was stuck on the "old" ways. Sounds like it's time to exercise my tech wings a bit more.