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Writing reviews


There has been a bit of ado in the literary world in recent weeks about book reviews. There was an indie writer who had bought or faked most of his raging reviews, and then an established author who had to admit he had used faked identities to write good reviews for his own books and one star reviews for books on the same genre to make his fellow authors look bad. All this has made us all a bit leery of reviews. Is it written by the author’s mom to be that praising or is the lousy review not a result of a bad book but a jealous fellow author?

I have been lucky with my reviews. I got one from a total stranger almost instantly after publishing my book and it was both nice and critical enough to give potential readers a good notion of what my book is like. But it wasn’t until I got a couple of very complimentary reviews that my sales really took off and that has made me appreciate the reviewing system in a whole new level. It has made me consider mending my manners, too, when it comes to writing them in return.

Amazon asks its customers to review everything they purchase and I never do. Even if it is for a good book by my favourite author, I just think she or he can manage without it and delete the e-mail prompting me to take action. Last week I was asked to review Sherlock Holmes books I downloaded recently, which definitely made me smile. I doubt that Sir Arthur is eagerly waiting for my good opinion of his books and no one is so clueless he or she wouldn’t have heard of Sherlock Holmes and would need a reviewer’s assurances before purchasing. And how would I review them anyway? “Five stars; it’s a classic” or “One star; who does this Conan Doyle bloke think he is anyway, copying TV series.” (The latter might make you laugh, but considering the malicious reviews some have written out of spite, it’s not necessarily that farfetched.)

However, what I really should be writing reviews about are the books by fellow indie writers. That is, if I had time to read them. Even then I would probably only write it if I could give the book at least three stars. I’m finishing a book now that I will definitely review though, and so I thought I would mention it here as well. “Beer Goggles” by Sean Flynn turned out to be as funny as promised, but also much more. It has great, likeable characters, a plot that keeps me guessing and effortlessly flowing narrative that causes professional envy in me. So if you are looking for a mystery with a hefty serving of British humour, give Beer Goggles a try. I can warmly recommend it.

I’m not sure that’s the way the review will look like when I finally write it. It will be my first, so I want to make it good. And I have a couple of chapters to go anyway, before I can start reviewing it. I just don’t seem to have time to read it. I started designing the cover for my next book and it is surprisingly time consuming. Hopefully I will be unveiling the new cover soon.

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