Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.
And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: How do you review a book?
I think that reviewing books is a very personal process that is entirely individual to the reviewer crafting the review. That basically means that I don't believe and can't say that I think there is a true right or wrong way to do it. I've found a process that works for me, but who knows? It might not work for everyone out there. However, my reviewing process is most certainly not a secret, and it has morphed and developed over time into something that is a bit tried and true. When I try to deviate from it, I find myself missing the mark.
Step One - Read the book. I am not the type of person that can take notes on a book while reading. I actually have to read the entire book before I write a single thing down, or I feel a bit lost in the whole process. If I absolutely cannot read the book, which doesn't happen often mind you, I won't review it. If I can, however, I finish the book, then move to step two.
Step Two - Take notes. Before I actually write my review, I make notes on four points. I make note of the summary, whether it matched the actual book, as well as how it differed. I write my thoughts on the writing style, the prose and the author's ability to convey a theme and scene. I elaborate on the plot so I can distinguish between what truly worked and what may have missed the mark. Finally, I decide how (overall) the book worked for me.
Step Three - Write the Review. Once I have my notes, I start with those four points and craft a wee section on both. I create my own summary that details but doesn't tell too much. I thoroughly discuss the writing, then move on and detail the plots strengths and weakness, as well as the characters'. Finally, I offer up my rating. I rate on a five star scale simply because I think it's effective and universal for understanding.
Step Four - Publish it. When I publish my review, it's more than simply publishing it to my blog. My reviews go anywhere and everywhere they can to get the title and author out there. I publish my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Random Buzzers, Barnes & Noble, Netgalley (when applicable) and I always, always send my reviews to publishers and publicists who supply the books.
Step Five - Hype it. When my review has been published, I bring social media into play. I feature all reviews on my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages, and I've even gone so far as to start touting them on on my Pinterest, as well!
Like I said though, this reviewing process is my own. It works for me, but it might not be right for others. Heck, some people can read two books at once! I'd die. I think that if you give yourself the right amount of time and space, any blogger can develop a great reviewing style unique to them.