I’m onto the next phase in the science of marketing, promoting, and publishing industry and that appears to be reading and reviewing books either in your own genre or that of the others in your group. As I’ve mentioned before, I joined the Idaho Author Community (IAC) this year as I’d hit the wall in my limited ability to find avenues to market and promote the sea-adventures I’d published posthumously for my grandfather.
Apparently not the only one lacking years of publishing industry and marketing knowledge, the exchange of thoughts and suggestions at our bi-monthly meetings have been an invaluable source of ideas. It’s okay that I’d exhausted my source; everyone there has another.
Reading voraciously has always come easy, so it was the suggestion of exchanging, reading, and evaluating each others books that came as a welcome solution to the one common problem many of us share–lack of reviews for our own works. The authors in the Community each have a genre of their own from (my own) historical fiction to fantasy to children’s books. Fiction and non-fiction, memoirs, and science fiction all take center stage from time to time depending on the IAC venue.
How can you have a downside to an unlimited free supply of books readily available on most any subject? Uh Oh…..now comes the hard part–the review! Yes, I know most of these authors. We’ve all struggled mightily bringing our books to the market. They are our babies. We powdered, fed, and carried our babies close to our hearts until they were delivered into the hands of the unbiased reading public.
So, to conscientiously deliver a dispassionate, neutral review of another’s book may not be all that simple. I’ve had to employ “tough love” with a consistent, impartial criteria.
What do I specifically look for when analyzing a book?
1) What is the basic plot? Genre.
2) Are the main characters fully described? Can you visualize the characters? What is their life philosophy; what drives them?
3) Does the book structure make consistent sense? Does it flow–is it going somewhere? Does the storyline conflict with itself?
4) Do you get a sense of the time line? Can you map out the time frame into days, weeks, months, or years?
5) Can you name specific areas of interest? Is there something you can use to compare the book with others of the genre?
6) Do you agree or disagree with the author? Why?
7) Is the book cleanly edited; free of typos, word duplication, or problems with grammar?
Being a member of the Idaho Author Community has been enlightening and rewarding. Sharing ideas with peers; broadening. The prospect of writing reviews gratifying, especially when I can bestow an accolade. The upside of the Community is the level of expertise consistently exhibited in all writing aspects and the downside of the Community is the expertise consistently exhibited. Not a competition, but a mandate to maintain a quality, professional level with the other professionals in the group.
I can generally discern fairly easily where I would place a book rating in the 1-5 star category–1 being low; 5 being high. Summarizing and evaluating a book wells from gut level. My aim in creating a book review is to help a perspective reader reach a conclusion to whether or not they’d be interested in reading the book. Depending on the review website and the criteria for rating and review, a review may range from 30 words to 500 or more. Judging from the comments and responses I’ve received on my reviews to date that goal has been successful.