Friday, May 6, 2011

Reviewers, Part 2

I wrote last week's rant a few weeks ago during the time I was attempting to find reviewers for "Night Shadows." At the time, I didn't plan for this to go any further than one blog. However, since then, I've taken on a new assignment: reviewing books for Suspense Magazine, a monthly Internet publication. You can find more details about the magazine at I've agreed review a couple of books per month. If you're interested in the latest in mysteries, horror, and suspense, please take a look at this magazine. The publication is chock full of short stories, reviews, interviews, and a lot more.

However, I'm limited in my reviews. I've agreed to review only those books where I can provide a positive slant on some aspect of the books I read. I don't necessarily have to enjoy them or even recommend them, but I cannot rip apart the author's work just because I think it's a bad book. Because, as my supervisor wrote, while I may think it's not worth reading, someone else might enjoy it. If I cannot find something good about a particular book, then I can simply request to not review it.

I'm also limited by word count. They want brief reviews, approximately 350 words in length. Also, I was asked not to disseminate my reviews to other sites until after publication.

Partly because of my limitations with Suspense, and partly because of what I wrote in last week's post, I decided to jump into the field of book reviews with my own book review blog.

"Oh, Steve, are you sure you want to do this? Do you have the experience? Do you have the education?"

Please, hold your questions and protesting emails and I will answer all of them as best I can. Let me address the education question first. I have a B.A. in Communications. I've taken various college courses, including online courses in various subjects. I don't recall seeing Book Reviewing 101, but I think I'm intelligent enough to offer up a decent opinion and worthwhile review. As to experience…well, I've been reading books for decades. I've gobbled up so many books over the years I'm confident I am knowledgeable enough to discern bad from good. No, my opinion may not be shared by others and I may not like a lot of the 'classics' so enjoyed by many. For instance, I could have lived my life never regretting not reading "A Tale of Two Cities" or "The Scarlet Letter" or "The Pearl." Unfortunately, due to my high school English teacher's foisting these tomes upon me, (I still love ya, Jake.) I was robbed of the time I could have been reading a cool mystery. If you look around the 'net, however, you will find average men and women, just like me, (okay, I consider myself above average in many ways, lol), also reviewing books.

I would like to take this a step further. I don't just want to say I like this particular book, or recommend that particular novel. I want to provide reasons behind my review. Similarly, if I do not like a book or consider it not worthy reading, I will give you those reasons. Ironically, when I decided I wanted to do this, I was in the middle of slogging through my first selection sent to me by Suspense. I had to laugh, because my supervisor said I might receive a really bad book at times, but it wasn't going to happen too often. I ended up getting one first time out of the chute. I sent in the request (along with my reasons) to not do a review for that particular book. I could not recommend it and I could not find something good about it.

Next week, I want to explain a little more about my review process and give you the link to the blog. You might see it listed here in this blog, but currently there is nothing there except maybe my profile. I have to do some work to make it look cool. Unfortunately, unlike Brayton's Briefs, my book reviews won't be a regular weekly posting. I will be busy editing my books and writing new material to submit for publication. Also, as I mentioned, I will have to wait until Suspense publishes my reviews before I can expand on them on my site. I will also review other books not sent to me by the magazine and will invite any author wishing a review to contact me. A link to the reviews as they come out will be posted on my various sites, so keep watching the skies…wait, that's for tracking UFO's.

Keep watching my website and my blog for details.

No comments: