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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to offer a couple of suggestions on keeping the reviews friendly.

1. Ask yourself if your review is for the benefit of the author or reader. Only then should you review the work.

2. Try to leave any personal issues out of the review.

3. Don't beat the author up after you have made your point.

4. Remember that an author is sharing something they consider special with you.

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I am writing this post as a message in a bottle. I will not post again to this thread.
Sorry if this is already in the forum brief.

I am cheating but I want to add something that was pointed out.
I do appreciate the reviews and the time it takes you to write them.
 

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emilydowns said:
4. Remember that an author is sharing something they consider special with you.
Please also remember when we read anything, including a sample, we are also sharing something special with you. Our time.
 

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hackeynut said:
Please also remember when we read anything, including a sample, we are also sharing something special with you. Our time.
And money if it's a review on a purchased work. In this economy, I appreciate every penny that a reader is willing to spend for my books. If, after reading the book, they don't care for it, then that's their opinion and their right as a reader.
 

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When I write a review, I definitely lean it towards potential readers... I tend to write reviews for books I either really loved, or really disliked. If a work has 15 five-star reviews, and in my opinion is a terrible book, I almost feel like it is my duty to write a review for that book and warn people that the book is not the magnificent read the other reviewers made it out to be. The reality is that there are a lot of shill reviewers out there, and all reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am going to keep this short. I wasn't planning on responding but I feel I need to make this point and then we can move on in separate directions. The following quote illustrates the power you think your reviews have.

---- Red wrote :

"As many of you know, most of the time when I can review a book with 3 or more stars, I post about it on the forum.

Well, when I posted about this one, it went to number ONE on Amazon's Movers & Shakers Kindle List within 12 hours. It stayed at number one for the entire next day."

----

I have never heard you mention my writing except in blurbs about grammar. The subject matter, the story, you bypass those things and only focus on grammatical errors.

The reasons why I think you focus on my work is not important. All I can ask, is that you no longer review my work and avoid threads I start. Thanks for the consideration.
 

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I appreciate every review I get, even the more critical ones.  At least the reader cared enough to spend the time and money to read my work.  That said, I do think people should be courteous when expressing their opinions.  I don't mind if they focus on grammar, or plot, or style, or whatever their particular interest or specialty may be.  But there's no need to offer gratuitous insults like "this author writes the most worthless trash I ever read", or "I can see exactly why this work was self-published".  Things like that are uncalled for.  
 

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Alright, I want to step in here and give you my two cents, Emily. I've ready pretty much every thread you've started here, and several things are very obvious. You need to take a step back, stop being confrontational, and listen to the advice that is given to you.

Point #1. A book that is full of errors is a bad book. I don't care if it's Jane Austen or Joe Schmo from around the block. If the book is filled with spelling errors and bad grammar, it is not enjoyable to read.

Look at it this way. I bake some really awesome cakes, but imagine I serve you a cake with a cockroach sitting on it. It doesn't matter that I'm a really good baker, or that my recipe is unique and delicious, you are NOT going to want to eat that cake. 

A book full of errors is similarly unpalatable to a reader.

Point #2. Everyone needs an editor. Everyone.

Point #3. Being combative about bad reviews makes you look immature. Not everybody is going to like your work, and suggesting that certain people SHOULDN'T review your work is ridiculous. Every single person who reads your book, or even reads the sample of your book, has a right to review it.

If you can't handle criticism of your writing, you shouldn't be publishing it and asking people to give you money for it.

A lot of very good advice has been given to you, and as far as I can tell you have taken none of it. This attitude will not endear you to people, and I highly recommend that you take some time to re-evaluate what you're trying to do with your writing while taking into consideration all the advice that has been given to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You are right to a point. Of course I don't think I am being confrontational, but I am biased.

I have taken quite a bit of the comments seriously, and to prove the point take a look at "The Misogynist."

I don't think either of my books are full of errors, but you the reader be the judge. Read the sample and then decide if you want to read the whole book.

 

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All I know is this, I had several friends proofread my work before I ever presented something I wrote at a conference or submitted it for publication. I hired a professional editor to go through my dissertation. I know that my grammar is poor and that my spelling is worse. I trusted that my friends and co-workers would provide me with the comments I needed to improve my work.

A review of a book is a similar beast. If you publish a piece of writing without having someone edit your work you should not complain when the reviews mention the fact that the work has grammatical and spelling errors. You cannot expect that people are going to enjoy your work when you do not care enough to have it edited.

I graded more then one paper where I wrote "I stopped reading here due to the large number of grammatical errors and spelling errors." Amazingly enough, the students who took their papers to the writing centers for help saw a huge improvement in their writing and their grades.

 

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I did read the sample for The Misogynist before posting, and I came to the conclusion that I understand where the bad reviews are coming from.

The first sentence is a run-on and you're missing a lot of punctuation. Your sentences are disjointed from one another and maybe it's a regional thing, but I have no idea what you mean by "as much as I hee and haa". Do you mean hem and haw, perhaps?

I really think you could benefit from an editor, even if it's just a peer review. There are many writing groups online that will do a quick once-over for you for free, but you could even show friends and family members your work to see if they can help you with the grammar and punctuation problems you're having.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was writing "the misogynist" in a different voice than mine. So I choose expressions to fit my character.
The first sentence is what?

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My father likes to tell the story of my birth or to be precise the part right after I was born. He tells it as a joke, he tells everything as a joke. I don't think it's funny. "His head Joseph, his head", she screamed, "it's deformed", pushing me back into the arms of nurses. In my defense I had just been pushed through a small woman's birthing canal.

I do have a large round head, a head that belongs on a doll or maybe a cartoon character. None of this is relevant though, my mother's definition of deformed is three out of four parts ugly. And as much as I might hee and haa, I am ugly.

Still the story is hearsay, it's second hand, I was there but not there, and now it's just my father's cruel joke. This idea can be true about all memories. Even when a memory is yours you aren't the same person who experienced it. So in the end all memories are just second hand stories.

I am not sure what she hoped to happen, what she thought not holding me would accomplish. At least it never fails to bring a smile to my father's face.
 

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Mikuto said:
Look at it this way. I bake some really awesome cakes, but imagine I serve you a cake with a cockroach sitting on it. It doesn't matter that I'm a really good baker, or that my recipe is unique and delicious, you are NOT going to want to eat that cake.

A book full of errors is similarly unpalatable to a reader.
That is the best analogy I have read!
 

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I understand writing in a different "voice" than your own. Choosing a different voice is okay, but choosing one that ignores the rules of the English language is not.

"My father likes to tell the story of my birth or to be precise the part right after I was born."

This could easily be split into two sentences, therefore I classified it as a run-on sentence. There should be a comma after birth and before or.

"He tells it as a joke, he tells everything as a joke"

This could also be considered a run-on sentence, as "He tells it as a joke." and "he tells everything as a joke" are independent of one another. This would read better if it was something like "He tells the story like it's some kind of joke, but then again everything's a big joke to him."

"His head Joseph, his head", she screamed, "it's deformed", pushing me back into the arms of nurses.

Screaming and commas don't go together as far as I'm concerned. I would change this sentence to read something like: "His head! Joseph! It's deformed!" My mother screams, and pushes me back into the arms of the nurses."

Do you see what I'm getting at? If not, I probably can't help you too much. I'm not an English major, just a language nerd.
 

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Emily,

As a fellow author, I understand that we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to our writing. Some of us are better at editing our work than others. But it never hurts to get a professional opinion about your work before making it available to the public. I am sorry to see you being put under the microscope this way. But much of it is self-caused.

I offered once before to give you the names of professional editors I have used for my work. But instead of requesting those names, you decided to engage your readers in a verbal back and forth. I don't want to beat this issue to death and will refrain from bringing it up again. But if the reason you haven't gotten your book edited is because of a financial one, then here is the link to an editor who has offered to edit your work for FREE:

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,10789.0.html

However, if you have chosen not to have your work edited because you think your work doesn't need it, then you are taking the wrong approach to your writing career. I have done my best to keep out of the discussion about your book's editing. But I'm growing frustrated with seeing you taking shots over your writing. This is my final time saying it. But if you would like to have your work professionally edited, please PM me or contact the editor in the link above. If you choose not to heed my advice or that of the other members of this forum, you do so at your own peril. Good luck.
 

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To return to the original topic of this thread for a moment:

Reviews are for the benefit of readers. They only benefit the author in that they assist readers in choosing the right books for them--hopefully, they will choose yours. I want readers to know what they're getting into before they buy, and insightful, well-written reviews help them do that. It does me no good whatsoever to have someone buy my books if they don't care for my writing style or for the subject matter. I want happy readers.

I pay attention to the reviews and opinions I get from readers. When (if) the same criticism apprears multiple times, I begin to take it seriously. The same goes for books I intend to buy.

Emily, you're right in that reviewers should not make personal attacks on the author, but I have yet to see any personal attacks made by any of your reviewers.

The author has very little (if any) say in who reviews his/her work. You put it out there, and you are marketing it. Now you're getting feedback, and it's pretty clear that your editing issues are serious enough to interfere with your success. (I counted eleven errors in the brief excerpt alone.) If you want your 'children' to succeed, you need to give them every advantage.  This endeavor is tough enough as it is. Take Kevis up on his offer.

(I cannot read the sample, as I do not own a Kindle.)

Best of luck,
'Archer'
 
A

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emilydowns said:
I would like to offer a couple of suggestions on keeping the reviews friendly.

1. Ask yourself if your review is for the benefit of the author or reader. Only then should you review the work.

2. Try to leave any personal issues out of the review.

3. Don't beat the author up after you have made your point.

4. Remember that an author is sharing something they consider special with you.
And I would like to offer a couple of suggestions to AUTHORS to get the most out of the reviews they get:

1. Remember that you are NOT a unique little snowflake. You are one of a million people hawking a self-published book. Be grateful that someone selected YOUR book to review in the first plac.

2. Don't assume every criticism is personal. It is not a personal criticism to say someone is a bad speller if they are in fact a bad speller.

3. Don't assume someone is "beating you up" because they decided to spend their time offering you a detailed explanation to help you understand their point of view. Again, see #1.

4. Remember that the reviewer has decided to dedicate his or her time reviewing YOUR BOOK, as opposed to the millions of others available. Their time is just as valuable as yours, and should be respected.
 

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When I read a review, I generally click to see what else they've reviewed and what they've said about it. If, as was the case with the 1 star review Dawson got, the reviewer does not seem to be particularly good at reviews, I give it much less weight. If it's well written, I give it much more weight.

If I look at other things the person has reviewed and find things I have also read, I look to see if I agree with his/her assessments of those books. If I do, then I'm clearly going to look more closely at a book the liked, and probably not go back to a book they didn't.

I don't like reviews that have a pretentious tone -- like the reviewer thinks he/she is superior to the rest of us -- or have "good" and "bad" lists. . .it's so very subjective. I do want to know if there was good plot and/or character development.

I also like to know, with Kindle editions, whether the formatting or editing is wonky in anyway. That doesn't bother some people, but it's a thing that can drive me crazy. I read a book once that had no paragraph indents . . . it was really hard to get through. It might have been a very good story but I had a very hard time following it because I had to work so hard to decipher the language.
 
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