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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The leap of faith of book reviews


It takes a leap of faith to let your precious creation, your work of written art, be manhandled by book reviewers. Some are too nice; others are too mean. You don't want either one, not really. You want someone who is fair but honest, tactful but brutal when necessary. This fact was impressed upon me just yesterday.


I was humbled and inspired by a blog post written by author M. J. Kane, who blogged about her experience with having her book reviewed by us, The Masquerade Crew. I'll be quoting from her post but to read it in its entireity, click HERE.

First of all, the humbling part.
For those of you who may not know, The Masquerade Crew is one of the biggest book review sites on the web.

Raise your hand if you didn't know this.

**Mark raises his hand**

I know we enjoy a certain amount of popularity. That's the reason why I'm on my way to successfully working at home. It's also why Diantha, our review crew manager, was inspired to create a spin-off, Masquerade Tours. Without even really trying, we've created a brand name that means something, and though we aren't perfect, it is our collective goal to be a voice for all parties involved: writer, reader, and fellow blogger.

Where do we stand when it comes to other reviewers? It doesn't really matter, but Ms. Kane's words humble me in a way because I wouldn't necessarily describe us as one of the biggest. But most of us are more harsh to ourselves than others are.

And now the inspiring part.
And when it comes to book reviews, these guys pull no punches and are brutally honest.

When I encounter a book I don't like, I tend to be nicer than I really should be. This was especially true when I first started out. It took forever to give out my first 3 star review. To date, I've never given out anything less than a 3. Part of the reason is that I like most of what I read. And if I really hate something, I won't finish it, and then I feel obliged to skip a review.

In other words, I'm not that good of a reviewer. I try to be honest whether it's positive or negative (and I'm trying to put in more constructive criticism in my reviews), but potential readers are not looking for opinions that are overly positive. Those kinds of reviews actually hurt more than they help, especially if there are too many of them. You want reviews that are balanced. Those are the ones that do the most good, for they help potential readers make sense of the wide variety of opinions expressed in all the reviews, and they help identify the less-than-genuine reviews.

To get back to the inspiring part, Ms. Kane's comments encourage me to continue this journey, for although I may not be the best reviewer, I think we've created a team that for the most part provides a very balanced, trustworthy service. We don't promise you a positive review, but we do promise to not beat you up unnecessarily. You need not fear us. In fact, I would like to think we treat your precious creation with the respect it deserves, and I hope our comments will help you make it even better.



If you like what we do here at the Masquerade Crew and would like to join our review crew, see this post.



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