Love crime fiction and want to write reviews about the books that you read?
- Need a website/blog to showcase your reviews?
- Need tools to make your life easier when reviewing?
- Need to reach a wider audience with your reviews?
You do! Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we explore reviewing and some of the essentials and nice to have tools that could make your life easier. And all designed so that you can have more time to read books and write more reviews. We’ll also be looking at comes next after you have written your review.
But first, what is the role of the reviewer?
In an ideal world, the reader-reviewer is writing about a book title that they themselves have selected based upon many variables which can include the cover, the blurb, a recommendation, or some other divine intervention. Why have I mentioned this? Why is it so important?
I’ll tell you why. You see recently I’ve come across some incidents whereby the reviewer’s haste has a best made them look, not to put a too finer point in this, and I can think of no other word, stupid.
They’ve posted a negative review such as:
“I couldn’t read past page 15.”
“Not my type of book.”
“You don’t want to read this drivel.”
“I gave up. I couldn’t read any more of it?”
“It was so ful of tipos, I cudn’t bear it.”
These are not, I repeat not reviews, yet in certain quarters they are deemed valid in today’s reader community. And, this is the part the writers of these comments have yet to realise, they reflect and say far more about the reader ‘reviewer’ and their ability to make informed choices regarding their own tastes and preferences. And in today’s world, they stay with you and remain for all to see.
Real reader reviews are articulate, accurate, subject-based, sensitive, probing, assimilating, fair robust, constructive, and honest. Oh, and don’t provide spoilers and ruin the experience of others.
It’s fine to say that you didn’t like a book and it’s also fine to say why you didn’t like it. Maybe you didn’t like the narration style, the plot was too incredible for your beliefs, you didn’t like the tone and vocabulary used. It’s okay to cover all of this and more as long as you stay on topic, be fair to the writer who has toiled to produce their work, as long as you’re nice about it and not mean to other reviewers who perhaps liked it.
Then there’s the case where you love the book and use up every conceivable adjective to delight your review audience. Think of your audience, sure your review is based upon your experience, but remember you want your readers to keep coming back for more of your reviews. I guess what I’m saying here is that you need to strike a balance, a fair balance, and one that your readers will benefit from in making their choices. Think about it for a moment. You highly recommend a read, and your audience takes you at your word only to discover plot holes, annoying characters and such like. Things that you felt yet omitted in your rave review. How do you think that your audience is going to think about your future reviews? Always keep this in mind.
So, you’ve read a great crime fiction read and have put pen to paper to write a review. Now what?
The simple thing these days is to create a blog or website, and you can do that with easy to follow steps and guides on platforms such as WordPress and Wix.
When you’ve chosen your platform, you may want to choose a domain name for your site, one that is memorable and applicable to you. I can highly recommend a provider in Bluehost, they’ve helped me with my domain name purchases and registrations, and their hosting is reliable and inexpensive. I’ve only had to use their customer services with questions about three times in the last two years and each time their level of service and response has been excellent. Of course, there are other providers, but I can only tell you about my experience here.
When you’ve written your final version of your review, you might want to check your spelling, grammar, and style of writing with tools such as Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid. Both of these tools do a great job in enriching your work. They can check your work, make suggestions and help you in producing a great review before publication.
Creating more time to read and review for you.
Creating your blog or website is only the beginning, it’s kind of like having a shop window in the middle of the countryside with no signposts to it and where no one will see it. So, social media is going to be vital for you and you don’t want to be posting the same thing all of the place when you can do it one place once. I mean with the time you save you can read and review more books, right?
Some tools can help you achieve this not least, Social Oomph and Buffer. These tools can really boost your social media productivity and save you time. Once set up, you can post once to all of your favourite social media outlets, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to name but a few.
Then there is the option of contributing to make your reviews available to a broader audience while at the same time promoting your name as a respected reader-reviewer.
When selecting sites to contribute to check that:
- The genre fit is right for you. Some sites have categories while others are genre specific. If there are many genres check out your particular genre and see what traffic they are attracting.
- Check the sites reader-reviewer guidelines. If they haven’t any be wary and don’t allow your work to be associated with that of a lesser quality and reputation.
Contributing usually doesn’t pay but it does provide you with another outlet, and in many cases, you can link your work back to your own website or blog. Some sites may also allow you to post a short bio with your review.
And there you have it, a quick guide for those new to reader-reviewing. Now, what are you waiting for?
The Author of this post is Paul Stretton-Stephens, a Crime Fiction Writer, Podcast Host, and the Founder of The Crime Fiction Lounge.