Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Pros and Cons of Being a Reviewer

"When we read a story, we inhabit it.The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls.What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story.And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own." ~ John Berger

Reviews count for A LOT in the writing world, especially if you're a new author trying to convince other people/publishers/agents that your work is top-quality. But sometimes it's tough to get reviews in a timely manner - mostly because so many of the reviewing sites are flooded with requests from authors just like you.

One option, of course, is to ask other authors to review your work. This works well if the person you ask (1) writes in a similar genre and (2) is ideally better-known than you are. You can also ask the readers who've read your work to post reviews on Amazon or the Barnes and Noble website.

On the flip side, you can also help authors by becoming a reviewer yourself, by signing up with a site like The Long and the Short of It. Now, I'm partial to LASR, 'cause I'm friends with the women who established it and run it. But I also want to talk about why you might consider helping them out, whether or not you're an author yourself.

The Pros of Reviewing for LASR:
*You get to read books/stories/novellas FOR FREE.
*You get to share your opinion with other readers and with the author herself.
*You can earn points that can be cashed in for Amazon gift certificates OR free advertising on their site, if you're an author.
*Every month, you're entered into a contest to win a free book all your own.
*If you're an author, reading other people's published work can be one of the best ways to learn the craft.

The Cons of Reviewing for LASR:
*They have specific guidelines for their reviewers (I don't mind, but some might): you can't write ONLY a synopsis of the story, you can't give away the ending, you can't be rude or snarky.
*They like their reviews to be finished in 1 month (again, I don't have a problem with this, but some people are slow readers).
*If you're an author, you have to figure out how to balance reading other people's works with writing your own.

I think the pros outweigh the cons. And I've enjoyed reviewing for them and learned a lot about other genres and authors I would normally never have picked up. Seriously...give it some thought. And if you're interested, visit their site and drop them an email...and make sure to tell them that Allie sent you!


Devon Gray said...

As you know, I used to review, and it is excellent for all of the reasons you cited. It's how I found you, after all! I've hung up that hat and am now wearing the editor hat at the review company I'm affiliated with. I love this as well because I get to read so many opinions of books in all different romance genres. I have definitely added to my enormous TBR pile from many of the stellar reviews I've edited.

windycindy said...

I enjoy the LASR site a lot! Cindi

The Blonde Duck said...

That's a good point. I should check it out.

Marianne Arkins said...

Thanks, Allie... And, I do think quality reviews can really help an author.