Book Review Etiquette/Tips

Video Notes for those who don’t want to watch the entire vid.

Treat the author as a human being, they are someone’s family member, treat them as if they are yours.

Stars: Stars mean different things to different people. A good general rule to follow if you don’t know where to get started is Goodreads guidelines.

5 – It was amazing

4 – really liked it

3 – liked it

2 – it was okay

1 – did not like it. (contrary to popular belief, no stars tells people nothing. 1 star is as low as it gets)

Always round up: if you were waffling between stars and decide to go with a 3.5 rating in your review, always round up when marking the stars. This is just math, not pandering. Back to 7th Grade Math, if it is a half or higher, you round up. NEVER ROUND DOWN

You never have an excuse to be nasty.

Keep in mind the author is a real person. Someone’s brother or sister. Mom or aunt. Humanize them in your mind before speaking. Review their work constructively in love as you would do a loved one. How would you want to be critiqued?

Typos: If you find typos, it is proper etiquette to let the author know privately. In a lot of cases they may have paid an editor and not be aware of the fact that Typos exist. (my story) We have the ability to fix them, and we can and do.

If the content offends you and you want to let your constituents know, a review is an okay place to do so, however, still be kind about it.

Your review is your opinion and everyone’s opinion is different. If you didn’t like a review for the reason that it wasn’t your cup of tea, a) try to be objective and review it on the merits of the bones of the story (plot, writing style, etc) or b) make sure the reader of your review knows that it isn’t your cup of tea and people who like these sorts of books may enjoy it.

If you were given a copy of the book to review by the author and you absolutely hate it for any reason, (except for objective material such as sex, gratuitousness/sin) please let the author know in a kind personal note before posting the review. If you offered to review it, it might be polite to offer not to if you hated it, or didn’t enjoy it.

Review Response from an Author:

NEVER argue with a reviewer. If you want to have a friendly discussion because your opinion differs, that is fine, but the Bible is clear about arguing.

If you are an author, NEVER comment or respond to reviews. DO NOT argue your point in public. If you feel so led, (though I don’t recommend it) to clarify or explain something, do so in a private message. (I did for typos one time)

DO NOT ENGAGE I was once attacked by an author for my one star review of their book due to a sinful lifestyle I did not feel comfortable reading about as a Christian girl and the proper response is to not say a word. People jumped in to defend me, but do not answer a fool to his folly. He completely slammed me, swore at me, and even made some very unpleasant remarks about my lifestyle which was none of his business. It is up to you if you want to delete their comments, but I was encouraged not to a it showed what kind of person this author was. He was in a sense shooting himself in the foot. Anyone who sees my review in his comments on there will know what kind of person he is. I did delete the comments where swearing took place however.

Goodreads themselves encourages and tells authors not to respond to reviews. Positively or negatively. Which means it is even best not to thank anyone for their review. Just stay hands off. In general, it is a good rule to follow and I don’t recommend it. It is professional just to not say anything.

What did you think? Do you have any review writing tips?

By God’s Grace,

Victoria

 

5 thoughts on “Book Review Etiquette/Tips

  1. This is a wonderful video, Victoria. Thanks for sharing your experience and what you’ve learned. Your points are all accurate, sound, and helpful, and I agree.

    When I first started reviewing on Goodreads, I knew none of this, and gradually picked up many of these things. It was helpful for me to hear you clearly articulate them, and to learn the parts or details I didn’t know. Being gracious and kind in reviews is very important to me, and I’ve become more and more mindful of that – but it’s sad to see people I know being harsh in their reviews.

    I’ve recently been thinking that when I’m an author, I won’t comment on reviews (even positive reviews), for the reasons you listed, but I wasn’t sure whether I was right that it’s unprofessional. I’m glad to hear you confirm that! It doesn’t end well to engage, like you said.

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  2. This is very true! Reviews are a way that we can encourage or discourage the authors, and I never want to be the unloving voice of criticism when it’s not needed. And, as an author, it’s vital to take reviews graciously and remember why we write–not for public approval but for the Lord and to lift others up. It comes down to loving others and Him. ❤

    Thanks for this post, Victoria! ❤

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  3. Thank You for these tips. I always try to be courteous and objective. it is a shame that certain authors feel they have to respond in a nasty way. Sorry you were berated so brutally. God Bless.
    Marilyn

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  4. Thank you so much for outlining the video below! I didn’t have time to watch it, but this was a super interesting/helpful post and I was happy that I got to access some of its content. I hadn’t thought about authors not responding to comments, so that was fascinating. I also appreciated your thoughts on reviewing as a reader.

    Like

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