NetGalley, a service to promote and publicize forthcoming titles to readers of influence, launched #reviewathon this month and this encouraged me to pause and observe why I review books.
NetGalley is an incredible platform that is designed to promote authors and their writing. Their promise is “We Help Books Succeed”, ie: “We help readers of influence discover and recommend new books to their audiences.” Having a passion for reading, I think it’s a very reasonable ‘contract’: the selection of the latest works from the topics/subjects you really enjoy in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewing has taught me
Reviewing non-fiction versus fiction is quite different, again providing an example of how one size does not fit all. For non-fiction, a strong opinion on
- the authenticity of the content,
- the referencing,
- the credibility,
- the ability to motivate the reader to make a change,
- the ability to add to the body of knowledge
are metrics for the assessment. For fiction,
- the depth of characters,
- the flow,
- the plausibility of the plot,
- the satisfaction in the outcome
are important. In the one, sharing details can help clarify while I am most careful not to include spoilers in the other.
Knowing that I am going to review the book encourages me to read attentively, giving my full attention to the content, knowing that I will be providing an opinion. For the same reason, it has also made me more discerning. I try very hard to not ask for books I don’t think will add to my knowledge base (non-fiction) or that I will enjoy relaxing to and reading (fiction). It encourages me to be more careful in my assessment of a book, as the objective is to assist the authors, they aren’t looking for a bad review. This approach allows me to help NetGalley deliver on their promise, helps the authors I love succeed whilst educating and entertaining me, it’s a real Win-Win-Win! Join the conversation and learn more about books, authors and reviews by following the hashtag #reviewathon.
Next week we’ll be sharing how reviews, in general, are an essential part of marketing.