Six Book Review Rules To Live By

Guaranteed to Make Authors Love You

I wrote these rules (except #5) several years ago for my Booklikes blog after a series of annoying and disturbing events happened in Booklandia. A blogger was hit over the head with a wine bottle, another reader was stalked and myriads of people came out of the woodwork to write posts about writing reviews the correct way. Well, that annoyed me a little.

Either I've been out of the loop or things have quieted down in recent times, thank Heavens or Cthulu or whatevermakesyouhappy, but about once a month I receive a comment or PM over at GR or one in my personal email usually addressed to Dear Mr. Bark telling me that I’m a meanie and/or a dummy (hey, I never claimed otherwise!) or that I'm ignoring the little guy and it reminds me that there is still a certain sector out there who feel that readers exist to give writers free, glowing promo. I amend this list when a new rule pops into my head so that the rest of you can DO YOUR DARN JOB RIGHT, already! Today I received a PM that spawned rule #5.

To save you the grief of receiving shitty PM’s, I’ll take them all for you they because they give me joy and Marie Kondo says joy is where it’s at, I have created my own set of rules for you. Pay attention dearies!

1.  Buy All the Books

Yes ALL of them. Spend a good part of each and every day buying all the books. You don't need to worry yourself about reading them. As long as you keep buying know that You Are Doing Your Part. Don't work for The Man, work for The Author. Buy a few extra copies to toss around town, just for fun. You don't need to eat or dress your kids. Am I right?

2.  If the Book Sucks Write a Review but Lie Your Freaking Ass Off

Remember exclamation marks are your best friend! Use them and abuse them. Be sure to wax poetic vagueness about how the prose inspired you to be a better person or some other lame BS. The casual reader won't notice your fibs, they'll be too busy hitting that "buy it now" button. Now you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around because selling books for authors, yeah, that's what it's all about!

3.  Remember Kiddies Always Keep the Author in Mind When Composing Your Review

I find it helpful to print out an 8x10 poster of their glamour shot to remind myself of who exactly I'm writing the review for. I tend to be the forgetful sort and sometimes write them with my friends in mind and then I have a moment of clarity and have to write the whole thing all over again. Don't be like me, it's a pain in the bum to do all that work twice.

4.  Post Your Review Right Away

Don't stop to smell the roses, notice the grammatical errors or godferbid waste time pondering the plot holes. Post that sucker ASAP before you have time to think about any of it. The sooner that five star review is out there, the better the odds are that the author will survive in this cruel world. And if that's not incentive enough just remember to do it for the children. Their children. Yours aren't important and are more than likely desiccated from neglect and starvation since you're so busy spending all of your money on books and doing such important work for the betterment of the planet.

5.  Give Young Writers Extra Loving Care Because They Deserve a Pat Pat on the Butt Butt

Writing is hard work and new authors aren’t given a chance. Don’t waste money and your time reading what you know you might like and especially don’t give established authors, who clearly never had to work very hard to get where they’re at, review space or any more of your time. Stand up, be brave and take notice of fresh authors (those stale one’s just need to retire already) who write in genres that are of no interest to you by giving them free promo, after buying their book, of course, and a widdle pat on the back even if they can’t run their complaining email to you through a basic makes-any-kind-of-sense check.

True story time: I received a PM today requesting less love to established writers and more love to young writers because they need a pat. A spank on the bum? OK, I got you. But, sorry, I'm not into giving pats on the back. If I was given a pat on the back for doing my job, I think I'd fall over dead in surprise!

6. Use Your Real Name. Pen Names Are For Fools Who Don't Deserve Author Love (and who are too obsessed with their own personal safety)

I saved the most important rule for last. Feel free to ignore the rest (at your own peril, of course) but trust me, you really don't want to be a cotton-headed ninny muggings (or one of Anne Rice’s gangsta troll bullies!) and should heed this one if you expect any author to trust you with their book baby. Always sign the review with your real name, home address and your social security number. This way authors can send you lovely presents and even stop by your place for some tea and crumpets! Wouldn't that be grand? Isn't that why we all do this? Never mind the children, be selfish and do it for the crumpets!


Seriously, not serious. Reading, writing, blogging is supposed to be fun, not another job with rules and crap. Do what you want and I'm going to keep doing what I know how to do. Respect my opinion and I'll respect yours.


Love, Mr. Bark


Comments

  1. Your post made me laugh...thanks! :)

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  2. Ha ha, I love this post it made me laugh and it is so true!!! :)

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    1. Sad but true. Some folks take it all too seriously and I can't wrap my head around that.

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  3. LOL I love this! I do what I want when writing a review. Only had a couple of people criticize some and I couldn't see what I did wrong. I think they read some other review for all the sense they made. No skin off my back. Don't like my review. Write your own:) I write for other readers! Keep it honest and clear.

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    1. That's how feel. Interestingly enough, most of the "you're doing it wrong" comments come from people who either do not blog or have zero reviews on GR. Ah well, my skin is super thick after all of the beatings it's taken over the years so I can laugh them off but I don't appreciate the people who insists on telling others what to do.

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  4. This was a perfect post to read on this cold, snowy morning. If I don't like a book, I'm not going to lie about it. I usually add a phrase at the end that not everybody loves the same thing so some might find it enjoyable, but that's about it. I value honest opinions. And if I still want to read the book I do, it's my life. People are so rude at times. I LOVE your reviews!

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    1. Thanks Barb and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. I wrote this list originally after having maybe one glass of wine too many ;) I'm going to try to do more writing this year instead of cranking out reviews but without the wine. We'll see how it goes.

      People can be so incredibly rude. I always try to keep even the harshest reviews a little light now but some people still take offense. Ah well. Personally, I love negative reviews. I've purchased many a book after reading one!

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  5. Brilliant post! I always give my honest opinion on what I read. I'm generally nice about it, explain my reasons and it's rare that I call something rubbish unless it really isn't in a fit state for readers to look at. I've only had a couple of whiny impatient authors who forget what they agreed to when I said I'd read the book but boy do they bug me! I have been told to sit up all night to give priority to their book right now, and I did not take kindly to that! One told me her book was better than Harry Potter and 'I was depriving myself of greatness by not reading it' *vomits* I'll risk it' said Chuckles, yawning. Some authors seem to think you should have no life beyond their book. I don't mind a nice request to do a bit of promo or review or so on but play nice or my claws come out!

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    1. Seriously? I cannot believe the gall of some people. As if your life revolves around them. Ugh, this is why I never review a book that just happens to show up in my email. They always get an instant delete.If they can't bother to read my basic query page, that means they know nothing about how I review and would likely be disappointed with my reviewing style.

      Better than Harry Potter? lol, some people slay me.

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  6. LOL. I see now what I have been doing wrong all this time...

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  7. Gosh - I have been so off on my review blogging! Thank goodness my children are grown! (Notice my extra use of exclamations!) This was such a fun post to read. Thanks!

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    1. lol, exclamations are the way to go! Thankfully my kids are grown enough to feed themselves now ;)

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  8. Hilarious! I especially like number 5...we must coddle those young ones, right?

    Number 6 will not be followed by this blogger/author...my pen name is the real me!

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    1. #5 is my newest rule inspired by an actual PM post to me. I don't know how I missed that rule the first time around. About #6? You are a braver woman than I!

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