Oh, you know the rest, don't pretend.
During my usual weekend chat on Skype with dear friends Anita and Mirella, we started talking about book reviews. I told my friends that, in true masochistic fashion, I wanted to request a review of On Falcon's Wings from The Self Publishing Review blog. Here's a bit on how it works:
"You send me a copy of your self-published book, and I'll read it. If I like it I'll review it here, and will be generous with my praise.
What's the catch? I'm an editor, and expect published books to be polished. I'm going to count all the errors I find in spelling, punctuation and grammar and when I reach fifteen I'm going to stop reading. I'll work my way through up to five pages of boring prose or bad writing before I give up. And I'll list on this blog every single book I'm sent, including the books I've not completed, along with how far I got through each one."
Sounds like fun! I figure, what do I have to lose? It's just one opinion, right?
Except, authors live and breathe for others' opinions! We need constant validation from our friends, readers and reviewers, some confirmation that we're not just wasting our time. Lacking those opinions, we wallow in misery, or maybe that's just me. When I told Anita I'd sold some copies of my book on Kindle, but hadn't seen any reviews, I could hear the sigh of exasperation coming all the way from England. Yes, Anita, I know that you're too much of a darling to tell me to get over myself. Point taken.
I regularly contribute to Historical Novel Reviews, which Mirella started two-three years ago. The blog has grown to include several contributors. Guess what we review? If you said, all historical, all the time, you are right. I tend to snap up
(Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth is missing, but that's because I downloaded it to Kindle for Blackberry)
My summer reading is all set.
After I've read each book, I post a review on the HNR blog and others sites, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. I have to make a confession, though. As much as I love reviewing books, and hope for criticism of my own work, the opinions of others don't influence the books I read. Hypocritical, isn't it? I'm happy to share my opinion of other author's books, want opinions on mine, but ignore those same opinions when I choose books to read. Oh well, I never said I was a very logical person.
When I browse online or in a bookstore, my purchases reflect my mood. Something about the cover, the blurb, or the first few pages has hooked me and made me want to read more. I rarely read a book just because someone recommends it. After all, it's just an opinion.
What are your thoughts on book reviews? Do they influence you? Do you rely on the opinions of friends versus other readers and books reviewers? Why or why not? How often has your assessment of a book differed from its recommendation?