Just how would you define a “good review?”
I suppose if you ask 10 authors what they hope to get from a book review, you might get four or five answers.
I guess if I receive a review of my novels, I’d want kind praise, of course. Maybe a rave, if you’re in the mood.
Also, and this is even more important over the long-term, I’d like some helpful criticism of the book. What might it lack in terms of plot? Story? Character development?
Now I don’t advocate the old axiom of “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” because, you know, if you don’t like something…well, it might be good for me to know about it.
Up to a point.
What got me to thinking like this about reviews was an item on a web site called The Omnivore (http://www.theomnivore.co.uk/).
It sponsors a (mostly) tongue-in-cheek award known as The Hatchet Job of the Year Awards (http://www.hatchetjoboftheyear.com/) that highlights the more cruel, scathing and nasty book reviews of the previous year.
I admit, a few of those reviews are kind of fun to read. I guess. And as you can see by the recognizable names of some of the authors, they’ll survive the scathing reviews—wittily scathing, in some cases. (We should all have half of Martin Amis’ problems, eh?)
What do you look for in a review of a book you may want to purchase and read?
And what do you hope for in reading a review of your own book—assuming the review is somewhere between scathing and an over-the-moon rave?