How do you review?


When I first started writing, it was all about getting the book finished. Then it was about finding someone to publish it. Then it was having my friends and family read it and not hate it.

Never, ever in a million years did I worry about reviews. *insert evil laughter here* Oh, how naive and foolish I was!

After my first book was published, I started reading the odd review, and I discovered that not everyone loved this book I had put my blood, sweat and tears into. That, despite people being less critical of an often cheaper cup of coffee, my book was apparently not up to scratch.

Of course, reviews are a part of author life, and soon I learnt that and came to accept it. And that even though you can get a glowing review and only 2.5 stars out of five, it’s all part of a good learning experience. And sometimes, reviews can provide great feedback on  your product.

All in all, it made me really think though about how I judge a book. What I look for when I review.

Here is what I keep in mind:

-The plot. Is it engaging, captivating? Does it make me want to turn the page? Are there any loose ends? Anything not wrapped up?

-The protagonist. Does he/she make stupid mistakes, time and time again? Do they experience growth? Development? Can I relate to and/or fall in love?

-The scenes. Are there any scenes that just don’t need to be there? Is there sex for the sake of sex? Are there times when my mind wonders and I think about bringing the washing in instead of whether Juliet will drink the poison?

-The resolution. Does it end on a cliffhanger, and if so, is it a good one? If not, are all loose ends tied up? Do I get that sense of growth and satisfaction deep within my soul that a good book will really do to you?

Does it end in a cliffhanger? Photo: sxc.hu

Does it end in a cliffhanger? Photo: sxc.hu

So, what about you? Tell me, what do you look for when reviewing a book?

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Lauren K. McKellar is the author of Finding Home, the Crazy in Love series, and How To Save A Life. If you take the time to review her work, she’ll love you forever. Or not, if you’d prefer.

2 Comments

  1. Because I read a decent amount of small press and indie fiction, the other thing I consider is how professionally the work is presented. Because I want those books to reach the same standards as I do any other book I spend money on. (I realise how pompous that sounds, but it’s true!)

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