This post is aimed squarely at my fellow writers.
Since the act of reviewing a book was made available to every Tom, Dick or Harriet, and before you even think about writing one, there are a few things everyone needs to take into consideration before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.
To begin with, avoid spoilers (giving away the plot) like the plague. Next refrain from mentioning that you found errors in any given book, whether traditional or Indie published. It is extremely bad form. No one likes a smart arse endlessly droning on about it in every review they write, least of all the publisher and author of the work in question. To say the least, it becomes tiresome in the extreme. To that end there’s a highly appropriate saying which goes something like this – “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” In other words, unless your book(s) is 100% error free, say nothing derogatory. If it is, believe me, it will be a first in the history of publishing!!!
If you don’t want to give the wrong impression, especially if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, refrain from incessantly pouring scorn and finding fault with the majority of books you review. As for the content of your review, always ensure that it is error free. In other words, start the review’s title and every sentence with a capital letter. Then make sure that the content of your review is as word perfect as it can possibly be, not forgetting to make it grammatically correct.
So many reviews by writers these days are chock full of appalling basic errors which should have been knocked out of the potential reviewer when they attended primary school. Then there are the totally uncalled for comments where the reviewer tells the world about certain passages in the book they are reviewing that they objected to. All such comments are mostly penned by jealous writers hiding behind pseudonyms (trolls) on book sites like Amazon and Goodreads, hoping to destroy another writer’s reputation. What they fail to appreciate is that the only person they are hurting is themselves. If they can’t see that, they need serious one on one time with a psychiatrist.
Above all always remember this – no book is ever 100% error free. Not even your own. If all you have to offer is nitpicking criticism then maybe you need to refrain from reviewing. However if you do want to write a review, why not simply concentrate on what you actually liked about the book in question. Trust me you will feel better and your reputation as a reviewer will benefit enormously. Plus you will win the respect of your peers.
One last thing, making apologies for these sad individuals is not something you want to get involved in. There are no legitimate excuses for what some in our industry believe is their God given right to pour scorn!
While we have no say in what the general public say about our work, at least as writers we can set them an example by writing a non-toxic review.