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About Reviews
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Last night I noted the positive review of Six For Gold from Harriet Klausner who has a reputation for judging everything to be good. I'm going to be honest here. I don't care if Harriet never met a book she didn't like. As a writer I want a good review. I don't care about a fair evaluation. If the fair evaluation is bad, that hurts me. Besides, the editor who purchased the book loved it, so bad reviews are merely dissents from the "reviews" already given by those who selected the book and put it into print. Or so says the critically savaged writer!

A reviewer is just one reader but unlike most readers, reviewers take the time to articulate their opinions. This can be helpful because writers rarely get much feedback from readers about what they like or dislike about their books.

However, I've always been of the opinion (which hasn't changed since I finally managed to get some books published) that those who choose to articulate their opinions tend to read differently, perhaps more critically, certainly with an eye on different aspects of the books, than the typical reader. For example, my impression is that most reviewers care more strongly than readers do about technical and stylistic matters and care less than average readers about story.

So a reviewer is just one reader, but not an average reader, and further a reader who makes his or her atypical reactions public.

No doubt a writer can learn something from reviews, since reviewers read carefully and render considered opinions, but I have the uneasy feeling that writing for reviewers is not a good policy since they are not representative of most of the audience. Besides which, the real arbiter is the editor.

Reviewing tends to be a grading process. If reviewers don't assign actual *stars* or some other explicit rating, they invariably give a summary of their overall opinion of the work. Which can be very encouraging or distressing to the writer, even though, once again, it is the editor whose opinion is most important and any book being reviewed (unless self-published) has already earned the most important grade -- publishable.

A good review is a great service to a writer. The reviewer has taken the time and made an effort to bring a book to the public's attention. A bad review, on the other hand, might possibly harm sales by discouraging potential readers.

I'm not arguing that reviewers should only give positive reviews. I'm just being honest about what I want, as a writer. Writers and reviewers don't have identical interests. Reviewers may well have an interest in offering readers fair evaluations. Writers have an interest in getting good reviews.

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