Are you an author desperately seeking the validation that a book review brings? I will be soon… stand by.
We all conceive of a book review as a grade or a referee report that gets published and therefore publicized. We don’t want to embarrass our M.F.A. (if we have one) or dismay our writing coach. We don’t want to disappoint our parents, spouse, friends… most of all ourselves.
Reviews are publicity, driving the all-powerful word of mouth. Some believe there’s no such thing as a bad review because the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, as Oscar Wilde so wittily put it. No one wants their book to flatline.
It’s publishing lore that book reviews drive sales.
A woe-begotten book review tone hurts an author’s feelings. They hope for a bit of thought and effort when their books are being reviewed – and an airbrush of positivity. After all the thought and effort they’ve put into writing their books, it’s what they deserve. They want your book review to engage and entice buyers. Here’s a list of terms that authors may crave, please and thanks:
- intriguing premise
- edgy, provocative
- well-organized (non-fiction)
- thorough (non-fiction)
- dynamic and funny, entertaining
- exhilarating, propulsive
- evocative, thrilling, bold
- well-described characters/setting
- highly recommended
Alternately, here’s a listing of dubious words that can undermine an author’s desire for a best-seller:
- Page turner… yes, but so what
- “unputdownable” is an incredibly awkward word that should never have been invented, let alone used IMHO…
- “jaw-dropping twist” isn’t a “twist” a requirement for books? Ick! Ack!
- informative (duh)
- disappointing or “didn’t live up to the author’s reputation, past books”
There’s another source of validation for one’s novel: awards. There may/may not be a future blog post about that… stay tuned, Constant Reader.