Discussion Topic: The Evolution of a Book Reviewer

I’ve been reviewing books for awhile now. When I look back on some of my first reviews and compare them to now, I have noticed a big difference in the content of the reviews. The quality of my reviews has definitely improved as well. As opposed to the past, I now regularly use a thesaurus to write my reviews. I edit them multiple times and do my best to avoid spoilers. (Which is really a lot harder than you would think). I dislike writing vague reviews but there is definitely a fine line that has to be balanced.

Another big difference from then to now is my standards. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a bit more selective on how I rate books and I’m a bit harder on authors with quality issues. Grammar mistakes are starting to make my eyes twitch and the list of “did not finish” is longer than I ever thought it would be. I try to give the benefit of the doubt but some of the books that are submitted to me look suspiciously like a first draft.  Now, to be fair, I’m not nit picky on grammar. I make my fair share of mistakes while writing just like the next person. It has to be pretty bad before I actually put it in my reviews. Usually, I will send an email to the author with my concerns and ask them to fix it there instead of publicly attack them for it. 

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Fellow reviewers, what are some changes that you have noticed in your reviews? What changes have you implemented?

Writers, what differences between a seasoned reviewer and a newer one do you notice the most? 

3 thoughts on “Discussion Topic: The Evolution of a Book Reviewer

  1. After reading this, I went back and read some of my earlier reviews. I’ve made changes to the general format of my reviews and now include book blurbs and summarize books before I review them. I have definitely improved on summarizing the books without including spoilers and my word choices are more refined than they were when I first started. Like you, I use a thesaurus more often than not.

    I think that I’m the exact opposite of you when it comes to grammatical errors; they really bothered me when I first started, now they don’t bother me as much. I still see them, even in books published by big, traditional publishers, but I rarely comment on them unless there are multiple errors on almost every page.

    After looking at some of my earlier reviews, I wonder what some of the authors I worked with saw in me. Did they realize that my writing, like theirs, would become more refined over time? Did they see some sort of potential that confidence and experience would reveal with time? I really don’t know, but I like to think that my reviewing skills have evolved since I started this journey a little over a year ago.

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  2. I’ve noticed I’ve become more confident in expressing myself and also criticising parts of a novel if I feel like I’m not completely happy with them. I also feel like I’m less willing to settle with books I’m uncomfortable with. I’m slightly more picky which isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, when kept under control. I’m also exploring outside genres I usually read – all from three months of blogging.

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    • I’m getting to the point where I’m the same way… I’m finding that I really can’t read books with subject matters that I’m uncomfortable with. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I’m changing how I review books; I’m focusing more on how an author’s target market might receive a book, rather than focusing on my personal opinion of the book. I really can’t do that if I’m uncomfortable with, or unknowledgeable about, a book’s subject matter.

      If you look at my print book library, it’s mostly filled with science fiction/fantasy with some classics, suspense/thrillers, and chick-lit thrown in. However, my ebook library is a different story since I started blogging. I’m reading genres and books that I probably would have overlooked in the bookstore and I’m becoming more choosy about which books I will buy now.

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