Reviews – Good and Bad

If you ask someone to review your work, you should be prepared for whatever the reviewer has to say about the book. Not only the good – if there is any, but also the negative. If you are too “thin-skinned” as one writer friend of mine suggested, then perhaps you shouldn’t ask for a review in the first place. If all you want is a “pat-on-the-back” or someone to tell you what a wonderful book you’ve written, ask your mom, sister or brother. But that’s not what a review is all about.

Earlier today, I posted something which I labeled an “excerpt” from a review of my book Missing by Bob Mustin. In so doing, I have been unfair to him, not only for the excellent work he did and the amount of time he spent in reviewing this book, but moreover because of the suggestions he made for improving the work.

Mr. Mustin took great exception with my post and I have apologized to him for posting selected parts of the review. To anyone who may have read the Post, I apologize to you as well.  Should you care to see the entire review, let me know.

Bob does an excellent and thorough job – he takes reviewing very seriously. I recommend his work to any writer who is looking for an honest appraisal of his or her work.

Jack (J Russell)Rose

2 Responses to “Reviews – Good and Bad”

  1. appalachianauthor Says:

    I’ve thanked Jack for his forthrightness in this rather awkward incident, and I wanted to take the time here to make a couple of comments from the reviewer’s perspective.
    My wife laughs when I tell someone I’m retired. Despite a busy daily regimen (I won’t bore with details) I do make time to review books written by those I feel are serious about their writing. I do this for two reasons:

    First, it’s part of human nature to help others in common endeavors. This isn’t to say my eye is more practiced than anyone else’s with regard to writing; it’s just that another set of eyes, another perspective on a piece of writing always helps. I still ask writer friends to look at my work, especially when I feel I’m on slippery ground. Those friends give me the bad and the ugly with the good, and I’m always grateful.
    And second, reviewing others’ work, seeing how they structure things, how they work their way around writing’s inherent difficulties, helps inform me about my own writing, and writing in general. And being able to articulate what seems to work in another person’s writing, or what doesn’t seem to resonate, helps make those sometimes vague and subtle things more concrete in my mind.

    I can think of nothing more constructive for AAGA members now than to begin to review each other’s books, whether it be here or elsewhere. Reading those “fair and balanced” reviews, whether it be your work or that of others, is always informative and educational, and should always be done and accepted in this light.
    Of course, you don’t have to wait until something is published to solicit such evaluations. Get together with your writer friends and give each other comments on your writing as you develop your stories or memoirs. We all have insights on life, stories that we believe will invigorate others. Writing is a long and arduous process, and we all want to tell our stories in ways that will communicate in the best possible way to those we’re fortunate to have as readers.

  2. Mary Ann Artrip Says:

    I think you two have hit on my hesitation to do full and indepth reviews. Because so much of what I read (in my opinion) is not well written. We have some really good writers in AAG–and then we have some writers who need to work (intensely) on their craft. What good does it do if the reviewer only encourages the mediocrity. If we think we’re great, and people tell us we’re great, where is the incentive to improve? Heck, we’re already perfect. I have done some reviews on Amazon and I’ve yet to give anybody five stars. Five is reserved for the Bible and Shakespeare. And I’m always disappointed when somebody reviews my work and gives me five stars. They either didn’t read the book or they’re not being honest. I’m just saying…
    Mary Ann Artrip

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