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Rambling about reviews

August 12, 2012

For months now I’ve searched out blogs to review my books and I see how overwhelmed these reviewers are. Many have year-long waiting lists, and I have to wonder about the need for more reviewers, since hundreds of ebooks must be published daily. I wonder if I should jump on the bandwagon and take on some reviews, just to relieve that burden and help out my fellow writers. But what will that do to my writing schedule? I have a stack of paperback books, most Christmas presents, sitting by my bed unread. Having a toddler, a job, and a desire to write, I have to force in some reading a few times a week. And I also have the habit of buying more books when I still have many to read. Hmm. What of you writer/reviewers out there–how do you balance your passions and interests with work and other responsibilities?

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3 Comments
  1. I can relate to this post, because we have a toddler and a baby and two jobs in addition to my writing and all of the various other things. When I told my wife I was going to start reviewing books she gave me one of those “oh no, not another thing he’s doing” looks that I get so often. To fit it in my schedule I essentially had to give up reading “regular” books, which means that stack by the bed will go unread for the foreseeable future.

    There are benefits to reviewing, though: you can read really great books that would otherwise go unrecognized and make great contacts with their authors. Even from the books that aren’t very good, you learn a lot by trying to understand what it is about them that is lacking. If your review is going to be helpful, it’s not enough to say “I didn’t like this,” you need to come up with the specific reason(s) why the book isn’t working. Being able to honestly assess this is a great skill to learn, and it’s also an opportunity to go back through your own work and see where you may have made similar mistakes. As horrible as reading dozens and dozens of terrible books sounds, it really can do wonders for your writing. Besides, a chapter or two is usually all it takes to figure out if a book is worth continuing or not.

    Having said that, don’t feel compelled to do reviews because you feel bad for the overburdened book bloggers. The fact is, there will never be enough reviews to go around, because there are simply too many books released every day, and they take too long to read. Don’t expect a big jump in traffic to your blog either, at least not at first. In the end, it’s something you do if you want to do; I’d suggest giving it a try and seeing if you enjoy it or not.

    • Thanks for the thoughts! I may have to give it a try. It seems like a win-win, if I can find the time. I get to read some great books (and some not-so-great) and hopefully help out other authors. And I do see the benefits, as you were saying, of learning from those authors.

  2. I have an almost 2 year old and a full time job, so I understand the time crunch thing. I do a lot of my review writing after bedtime and during naps. Reading is something I do as much as possible both to work through my TBR list and because I enjoy it (I take my Kindle when I brush my teeth lol). I guess the important thing is to make sure you enjoy what you read. It’s easy to burn out if you find yourself reading solely out of a sense of obligation.

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