Middle Grade Mondays
Authors Reviewing Authors
by Natalie Bright
Writers write and writers read. And most successful writers I know read a lot, which brings me to the question of book reviews.
Should authors be reviewing other authors? The messages are mixed.
Some say no because if you’re going to do a book review, you need to be honest. If you have to give a bad review, why would you want to jeopardize relationships with other authors? There are professional reviewers who can give honest, unbiased reviews of books. That is their job. The point being, do you want to write novels or post reviews?
The other side argues why wouldn’t you want to help a local author or friend? The gesture will be returned in kind, and everyone wins with the additional promotion. One author told me she only gives blurbs or reviews if she is absolutely blown away by the story and by the writing talent. Most authors post reviews for their friends and the question remains if they’ve taken the time to even read it.
I am beginning to rely on Goodreads more and more. It’s like a humongous book club where everyone loves stories and books, and those that don’t like a book aren’t afraid to say so. I read a lot, and I usually post reviews for stories that I absolutely love. For every book I love there are probably two or three that I couldn’t get past the first chapter, which makes me sad. Does that give me license to trash that author’s work? I don’t think so.
Now that eBooks have become an impulse buy and in my opinion, GoodReads offers varied and honest opinions to guide me in my purchases. My eReader is running over and that’s a good thing. It’s a wonderful time to be a book junky.
The shocking realization that publishing is such a highly subjective business and people are so varied in their personal tastes came to light for me through a contest. One of my very first middle grade manuscripts was submitted to two different contests with varying results.
The first had a $50 contest fee, and came back with scathing comments. This judge did not like my characters, the setting, with the added notation that this should NEVER be in print even as a manuscript. Seriously, one entire page, single-spaced, of why and how much he detested this story. My investment to learn about story craft came back as hate mail.
How about a notation to subscribe to a market listing for magazines? Your goal will be to actively study submission opportunities and submit X number of freelance articles during 2013.
What about your goals in social media and promotion? These are difficult to measure because the connections you make this year may not reap benefits for months, even years from now. I’ve had invitations to speak come from a contacts I made years before at a chance meeting.
You can define specific activities, for example, actively participating on twitter during the next year, setting up a Facebook fan page, or uploading your inspiration to a Pinterest page. Authors are utilizing Pinterest in unique ways and it’s loads of fun.
Add to your worksheet one “dream big” goal. List something you hope to achieve that seems totally impossible. Go ahead and put the “NYT Bestselling list” here if that’s what you want more than anything.
I’m excited to announce that my dream big goal from way back in 2010 was realized this past year in 2012: I signed with a literary agent. Don’t be shy or doubt your abilities. Dream away.
Thanks for Following our Blog
Good luck and Happy New Years, and thanks to all of you who have followed this blog, Wordsmithsix, during the past year. We really appreciate you. Sending out our best wishes that you achieve your writing goals in 2013!