DearAuthor is one of my daily go-sites for news on fantastic books (I buy anything she gives an A), publishing news, and great commentary on the industry. I’m thrilled that Jane was able to give us this inside look at how she chooses titles for review.
In any given month, Dear Author receives close to fifty books for review. This does not count the entire Harlequin frontlist nor any of the epublishers’ titles. We publish approximately 30 reviews a month. This means that we are reviewing close to a third, or less, than the titles we receive. You might be surprised to know that we also review less than we actually read.
I thought I would share a couple of ways that I go about picking a book to read and then ultimately review. I try to read three to four times the number of books that I actually complete and of the books that I actually complete, I write a review of those books 75% of the time.
Selecting Reading Books
Every month, I try to read at least 1 new to me authors. Right now, that is mostly likely going to be a contemporary, either straight contemporary or romantic suspense. I’m getting burned out on paranormals.
I will read up to the first three chapters of most any book. If it takes me more than two or three tries to get to that three chapter book, I’m not likely going to finish it. I won’t review a book that I haven’t read at least 3/4s of the way. If the book is an erotica or erotic romance, I always read the end to see if it ends with an HEA. If there is no HEA or the HEA is suspect, I’m not likely to read the book (this is particularly true if I struggle with the first three chapters).
Selecting Reviewing Books
There are probably 5 books that I read a month that will go unreviewed because I don’t have anything to say about them. These are books that I found to be adequate but uninteresting. The average books are the hardest to review because there isn’t anything in there that made me upset or turned me off but there wasn’t anything that captured my attention. I might have liked a few things in it, but I can’t drum up enough to say about it other than.
Another set of books that often go unreviewed are books I’ve read by authors I have written negative reviews for in the past. Sometimes I read these books to see if anything has changed in my reading tastes and sometimes I read the books in fascinated horror. I generally won’t put up a review for these books, though, as it might be viewed as “picking on” an author.
Writing the Reviews
Every month, I always write my A/B reviews first. They are the easiest to write, in part because I probably have shared my love for those books with someone via email and I just need to expand on the books. Plus, when I write the review, I generally revisit the book and I enjoy doing that for the books I want to share with others.
I then write my “negative” reviews, the D’s and F’s. Those are also easy to write although generally spoiler laden. I’ve found that in order to “prove” what I didn’t like about a book, I have to give examples.
Finally, I write the C reviews. These are the hardest to write because the books are competent but something never really sparked my attention. I struggle over these books and I spend a lot of time reviewing my notes and the original books to find something that can exemplify where I failed to connect with the book.
That’s my process. It’s nothing fancy and it’s probably open to alot of criticism, but it’s kind of how my brain works right now.