Clare London (clarelondon) wrote,
Clare London
clarelondon

JAN 19: in our humble opinion...

Today's Monday morning will be brightened by emily83176, who has shared her love of m/m books in reviews that are thoughtful, encouraging, entertaining and useful to the readers, potential and existing.
And hard work, too! She recently covered the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar, a delivery of Holiday Fiction to her inbox on every single day of December!

From beginning her reviews as a friend, sharing her love of good fiction, she's now taken up a position as co-owner of Rainbow Review. Spreading the m/m love even more, hurrah!!

So what's it like being a reviewer?
Here is Emily's post. You're going to find lots of things that are obvious to you... maybe some that make you think!

There are several wonderful review sites out on the Internet these days, many of them focusing on books that have either heterosexual or GLBT content. Unfortunately, with the number of heterosexual books that are published, it can be easy for the GLBT books to get lost. That is why it is so great that a review site like Rainbow Reviews exists, thanks to J.M. Snyder.

I started reviewing with Rainbow Reviews in June and have read and reviewed numerous books, somewhere over 80 books by now. As of August I officially moved into the new role of co-owner, so needless to say I spend a lot of hours each week on maintenance for site and working with all of the reviewers. I easily spend 10 hours a week, if not a lot more, working on Rainbow Reviews. We have a great group of people who love GLBT books and like to share their opinions, making for a wonderful site.





A lot of people think it's really easy, that anyone could do it. I personally disagree and find that reviewing is a fine art, one that takes a lot of work and a lot practice. I look back at the reviews I did at the very beginning and they are nothing like what I am writing now. I have gotten a lot better at nailing down what I like about a story and writing a useful summary. I easily spend an hour, at least, on every one of my reviews. Not everyone needs to put that much time into their reviews ~ but I figure the author puts a lot of work into their writing, they deserve the same when it comes to a review that I am writing.


Each reviewer is different, of course, and each has a style that is unique. But I think there are a few things that mark a good reviewer.


1. Ability to give a summary of a story without giving away too much information.
You have no idea how hard that can be sometimes! I can think of many times where I had to change my summary over and over because it was just too much information being revealed. I feel pretty strongly about not "spoiling" the story for the review reader. I want readers to be able to experience the story like I do when I read it so I don't want them to know too much going in. (Heck, although the identify of Dr. Fell's boy was revealed a few stories ago, I still refuse to write his name in one of my reviews.!) I have read a few reviews in my time that basically gave away the ending of the story and I was furious each and every time.



2. Explain why you like a story.
Anyone can say, "Boy that was an awesome story! I really loved it!" But as a reviewer you need to tell people what it was you liked. Did you like the characters? Did the story engage you as a reader? Were you pulled into the story? Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? Could you not put it down? Did you start to dream about the characters? You get the picture.



3. Even more importantly, explain what you didn’t like about a story.
You can really enjoy a story and yet find a few faults, and things that could be changed that would make the story even better. This, I think, is one of the hardest things to do, constructive criticism. Maybe one character wasn't as well fleshed out or as effective as the others. Maybe there was a plot point that didn't ring quite true. Maybe there is a section of the story that could be expanded a bit more. Zeroing in on that, and turning it into constructive criticism is a difficult art, one that I am most definitely not an expert at.



4. Be a bit objective.
I think this one is hard to get a handle on. When you really like an author's work, or run into them online, sometimes it can be hard to give a fair review. After all, sometimes it is hardest to critique our friends. At some level I find that you need to "forget" who the author is and review as if there was no history. That is when you can get a ruly honest, and real, review.



5. Be respectful.
I almost hesitate to mention this as I know there is a wide range of opinions on this across the Internet. I personally don't really enjoy reviews that are biting and harsh, or looking for laughs. Even if I don't like a story, the author no doubt put some amount of time and effort into it and deserves both an honest and respectful response. You can give criticism and explain how the story really doesn't work without being nasty or snarky. I have seen it done! I know others find it funny, otherwise they wouldn't be so popular, but they just aren't for me.


So there you go. A few of the things that I think make a good reviewer. Others would no doubt disagree, but that's why there are plenty of review sites out there ~ something for everyone! And if you enjoy reading GLBT books of any genre, come visit Rainbow Reviews. You will find reviews for lots of books, and our new feature Author Interviews. Lots of stuff to read when passing time at work. :)

Big thanks to Clare for letting me stop by and talk about reviewing. I do reviews both at Rainbow Reviews and on my blog so stop by and friend me. And let me know if you write reviews as well, I am always looking for more reviewers to follow!


Sez Clare - Have a good week, everyone! ♥


-----------------------------

Follow this month with Clare (yes, it's all about the MEEEE...):

Week 3 :
Jan 16 : jenre discusses what she loves best about m/m fiction...
Jan 17 : clare posts YouTube frippery and her brief skirmish with a recording career...
Jan 17 : report from the prestigious *cough* OTP Con UK 2009...



Jan 09 : ravensilver describes the creativity of independent manga publishing - and the challenges...
Jan 10 : kitzheng talks about Kink...
Jan 11 : chrissy munder shares the struggles of writing, NC17 penguins and mantyhose...
Jan 12 : 1more_sickpuppy bares her soul about confessing her love for m/m fiction...
Jan 13 : erastes talks about taking that leap from fanfiction to the 'original' world...
Jan 14 : meet my Muse, the 'man' who has way too much power in my writing house...
Jan 15 : Sloane Taylor heats up those chill new year nights...





Jan 01 : the Cheeky Cherubs welcome us to 2009 with a pithy verse or two and the threat of piercings...
Jan 02 : sweet, sexy fiction from lilzazu, all about the perennially tricky problem of a sticky shift...
Jan 03 : excellent editing tips for all authors who ever wondered whether to be cruel to be kind to their prose, hosted by jolilightner...
Jan 04 : Clare pimps the fabulous I DO anthology, now available in ebook and all proceeds to Lambda...
Jan 05 : abstractrx ponders the changing role of Romance and its reflection of - or on?! - the society around it...
Jan 06 : FREE FICTION from me and my friends!
Jan 07 : Jordan Castillo Price discusses what tempts us to try out a new author...
Jan 08 : Clare rambles on about perceived plagiarism and posts excerpts of her Torquere titles...




Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? (just a couple left now...!)
Comment HERE!!
Tags: blog, blog month, community, dreamspinner, m/m world, review
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