by Tina Radcliffe
It’s quite serendipitous that what has been percolating in me for days is a postscript to Deborah Raney’s lovely post of September 4, 2013, “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Reviews.”
As members of ACFW, there is an expectation that at some point we will have books available for consumer purchase. Additionally, we all have our own thoughts on writing book reviews for another author.
This leads me to consider some age-old adages that are tossed around and used in regards to book reviews:
“Honesty is the best policy.”
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
“Do unto others as you would like done unto you.”
“What goes around comes around.”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
“Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.”
“To thine own self be true.” (a little Shakespeare too!)
My policy is to always remember that the internet is forever. The web is a veil providing a cloak of anonymity that can be very empowering. Don’t fall victim to this false sanction. It’s never okay to be unkind. Even under the guise of honesty. Your words will follow you for a very long time. The rest of my personal policy is to never write an inflated review for any reason.
There are many thoughts on what constitutes a good book review. In my opinion it should briefly summarize, analyze and comment on the book’s content, sharing thoughts about theme and premise. Often included are strengths and weaknesses of the material. Never include a major plot spoiler.
“Always write your reviews with integrity. If you honestly don’t like a book, write your review as if you are in a critique session with the author. Use positive words and avoid sarcasm.”
“Review the book that has been written, not the book you think the author should have written. It isn’t fair to criticize an author for failing to achieve something he or she never intended to achieve.”
Lesley also provides a book review template that can help you hone your review skills.
What’s your policy when it comes to writing reviews? (And so the debate begins.) Take a moment to think about it. Whatever your policy, I urge you to be kind to one another.
A 2012 Genesis Finalist, Tina Radcliffe writes Inspirational romance for Harlequin Love Inspired as Tina Radcliffe and romantic comedy as Tina Russo. Her latest release from Love Inspired is Mending the Doctor’s Heart. Her first Indie release, a sweet romantic comedy called The Rosetti Curse, is available now.