Back in 2005ish I set out my agenda when it came to reviews. Back then the only real way to experience a self-pubbed volume was 'in the flesh' as it were. I waxed rhapsodic about the smell of the ink and the texture of the paper.
Well time has zipped forward and I picked up a Kindle. The new delivery mechanism for a pulp-y read at a price point we can all afford. So the review agenda has been tweaked accordingly, at least in terms of the medium.
In terms of what I want the story to be like, that hasn't changed. I still want it to be a story. I want people to begin at the beginning and move through the middle to the end. That isn’t a chronological restriction, merely a conceptual one. And I like to read genre fiction.
In case it escaped your attention I now write for pop culture site Trash Mutant and if your book is suitably Trash Mutant-y then the review could end up posted there rather than here. Let me know if you have a preference on virtual venue.
So when I review a piece what am I looking for?
- I want an e-book to be in the e-book price point that's less than four of your English pounds (Roughly less than $5)
- I want it to be in the genres of fantasy, SF, horror, thriller (in which I include crime books and mystery books), adventure or at least in a genre although I’m not sure I’d be the one to appraise an aga saga, a period romance or chick lit. Not that I’d have any problem reading the latter three but I’m not the intended audience. If that doesn’t bother you then fine I’ll read it.
- I want it to have some sense of how a story works.
- There is no earthly reason why a self-published book shouldn't meet or even exceed the quality of stuff published by commercial publishers. I will be disappointed if it falls short no matter what the price point and I will reflect that even if I enjoyed it. If it does meet that standard I will be evangelical on the matter.
- Also please refer to this note about short fiction.
I will read your book until it stops being fun to read. If it is interesting in any way I will end up liking it. There's too much stuff to read in the world that is good and fun and interesting for me to finish your book if it is just not worth finishing. Hence, if I review the book then odds are I thought it had worth. If I give up, that's all you need to know, I don't need to be mean about it as well.
I will be aiming to give a rounded review and I will tease, poke fun at and ridicule your book's shortcomings because I want you to know that the boring, ridiculous, clunky stuff is not OK, and you can do better. I only whale on you because I know you have it in you to produce a better novel and people molly coddling you will not get this through to you, I only do better because of people whaling on my stuff so I guess that's the world I live in. You're welcome to join me for a while if you don't mind the complete absence of tolerance of or mercy for rubbish.
So as a writer you may want to bear these factors in mind before we begin. If you're interested in me reviewing the book then drop me a line and tell me where I can pick a copy up. I am particularly interested in people who need a helping hand and have no reviews. Sending me free copies won't speed me up, neither will offering to reciprocate, I'm about as busy as a guy can be. This does not mean I won't be grateful and happy if you give me a freebie or read some of my stuff, in fact grateful doesn't even begin to describe my feelings if you review my stuff.
Now that's over I guess we can get on with things: shall we?