Saturday, July 3, 2010

Book of the Week Review Policy

Hello, Esteemed Reader. My how you’ve grown! I remember a time not so long ago when Esteemed Reader meant just Mrs. Ninja. But more of you Esteemed Readers are finding your way here each week.

Therefore, I have no choice but to write out a review policy, or statement of intent, or blogger’s manifesto, or whatever you want to call it. This is it. You should know that I’m not an objective reviewer and I’ve never claimed to be. I love books, good and bad, especially those written for middle grade readers.

Me reviewing books is akin to the Cookie Monster reviewing cookies: “This good cookie, this also good cookie, this best ever cookie, this even better cookie, etc.”

There is value from criticizing books, but I’ve been on the receiving end of that criticism and it sucks, whether it’s helpful or not. I’m a writer and my intention is to write reviews the way I would want someone else to review a book I'd written. I'm in the business of promoting writers when I can, which is why reviews posted here will be posted on Amazon and Goodreads as well with a maximum star rating.

Here is the “standard disclaimer” that accompanies every review I post: Book of the Week is simply the best book I happened to read in a given week. There are likely other books as good or better that I just didn’t happen to read that week. Also, all reviews here will be written to highlight a book’s positive qualities. It is my policy that if I don’t have something nice to say online, I won’t say anything at all (usually). I’ll leave you to discover the negative qualities of each week’s book on your own.

I think that about sums it up, but let me clarify five things it doesn’t cover:

1. Only published authors are being interviewed and only published books are being reviewed. If you are a self-published author, please don’t ask me to review your book. I’m getting enough requests for reviews now that I’m being forced to turn people down, and I hate doing that. I’m sure there are many wonderful self-published books out there and I’ve read a few of them, but going forward, this is my firm policy.

***Actually, it wasn't that firm. I amended this policy in July of 2013.

2. Given that I’m not objective and I love every book I read, I will be focusing each week’s “review” more on the craft of writing than the book being discussed. Some weeks, I may focus solely on a particular technique the book aptly demonstrates and how an effect is achieved. After all, improving my own writing is my major motivation for writing these reviews.

3. I love promoting the work of debut novelists or writers who haven’t had a lot of exposure online. If this is you, please write me and let me know you have a book you’d like me to see. However, this is my blog and I get to pick the books. I will occasionally be reviewing classic books by writers such as Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, or even J.K. Rowling. I am deaf to your cries of “Unfair!” or “They already get enough attention!” I believe that it is important to read classic middle grade fiction as well as what’s current.

4. Regarding comments, I love to swear with the best of them, but on this blog I watch my language. Please do likewise as younger Esteemed Readers find their way here. Put a really filthy word in your comment and I’ll delete it.

5. Further regarding comments, I ask that you be courteous to each week’s author as I promise you they read your comments. If you disagree with my review of a book, you’re welcome to say so and I hope you will. But don’t be a jerk and if you don’t like a book say why you don’t like it. If your comment is only, “this book sucks,” without a why for the sucking, your comment will be deleted.

And that’s it. Now let’s get back to fun stuff like books and writers and funny Batman videos I find on YouTube:

1 comment:

  1. I had a book review blog from 2004-2007, and had the same policy (whichI called it my "Thumper policy"), though a couple of times a book irritated me so much I just had to vent about it. I dropped the blog when I became a published author, you can't really be an author/reviewer (although I know people who do both professionally, I felt weird about it).

    Book review blogs have asploded since then.


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