Once again, I’ve taken a few days off from work with the intention of spending time reading and writing. Once again, I haven’t managed to do much of either (which is why I’m “Sunday Salon”-ing on Monday)…but I have had the chance to spend some face time with online friends and do a few things with the family, so it’s by no means been a waste. But I don’t go back to work till Wednesday and I don’t really have much planned for today or tomorrow, so there are still a couple of days to carry through with that R-and-R plan!
I had the chance to meet up with a few local bloggers for dinner on Saturday night, which is one of the things I want to write about in the next day or two, and of course we discussed all sorts of bloggy, social-media things. I was the only book blogger present, but even though books aren’t their focus, some of the others at the table get pitched book reviews occasionally too. One of the women recently received a review copy that was accompanied by some promotional/press information, as they sometimes are; this one included an insert on how to write a book review for your blog. And not just any book review, mind you, but an “Attention Grabbing” one. She was generous enough to pass that document along to me, and I thought I’d share some highlights. I’m not going to identify the book for reasons that should become apparent (and because I declined the pitch I received for it myself), but I do thank Kim Tracy Prince for the blog fodder!
These tips for writing an “attention-grabbing book review” were sponsored and provided by the book in question and its author.
- Identify the Subject, Scope, and Type of Book–this includes stating the title, author, genre, and general focus of the book.
- Summarize the Content–an overview (including “favorite quotes and paraphrases”) for nonfiction, a spoiler-free review of the storyline for fiction
- Include Graphics–cover images and/or author photos, as long as they’re not copyrighted
- Enrich Your Review with Links–to related content and/or author information
- Provide Your Reactions to the Book (that’s what makes it a “book review,” isn’t it?)
- Be Honest–“This is especially important for blogs because your readers trust what you have to say.” Don’t say you loved a book if you didn’t, and don’t forget that an online review lives forever in archives.
I’ll be honest; these aren’t bad review guidelines, generally speaking. However, the fact that they’re coming from the author whose book would be the subject of the review is more than a little off-putting to me. I also have to wonder whether someone who is trying to direct the review process so closely might just see that last point backfire spectacularly, and wish they hadn’t insisted on quite so much honesty. That review might indeed grab attention, but perhaps not for the most desirable reasons…
What do you think? Is this decent advice from a questionable source? Is it useful or offensive? How would you react to receiving a how-to guide like this in one of your review copies?
Join 2,318 other subscribers
Technically, it’s not a bookcase, but that’s primarily how we’ll be using it. This is what Tall Paul and I gave each other for our fifth wedding anniversary last week. We still have to move some books into it, as you can see, but a couple of the stacks have already found new homes here. We found the cabinet itself at Room & Board, a new-to-us furniture store that we’ll definitely visit again! Subscribe to […]
You Are My Only Beth Kephart EgmontUSA (2011), Hardcover (ISBN 1606842722 / 9781606842720) Fiction (YA), 256 pages Source: ARC from publisher at BEA 2011 (pub date October 25, 2011) Reason for reading: favorite author Opening lines: “My house is a storybook house. A huff-and-a-puff-and-they’ll-blow it down house. The roof is soft; it’s tumbled. There are bushes growing tall past the sills. A single sprouted tree leans in from high above the cracked slate path, torpedoing […]
The Family Fang: A Novel Kevin Wilson (blog) Ecco (a HarperCollins imprint), 2011, Hardcover (ISBN 0061579033 / 9780061579035) Fiction, 320 pages Source: ARC from publisher (pub date August 2011) Reason for reading: Review copy Opening lines: “Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. “Their children called it mischief. “‘You make a mess and then you walk away from it,’ their daughter, Annie, told them. ‘It’s a lot more complicated than that, honey,’ Mrs. Fang said […]
It feels like yesterday and forever ago at the same time, and in the very best way. Happy anniversary, Paul–I love you! Hope that pesky Rapture thing won’t come along and spoil our day! Subscribe to Blog via Email Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Email Address Subscribe Join 2,318 other subscribers
At last, I’ve got some blogging time on my hands, so I thought I’d take a “3 R’s” approach to a post about why there hasn’t been much posting on The 3 R’s lately. Reading Despite appearances to the contrary, I’m reading pretty steadily–it’s just not necessarily showing up in reviews here (or in comments on your blogs!). My “moonlighting” gig with Shelf Awareness means that they get the reviews for the books they provide […]
Last month, I posted an appreciation of one of my favorite writers–and people–Beth Kephart. It was honest and heartfelt…and part of an underground blogger campaign to call attention to her upcoming young-adult novel, You Are My Only, which will be in stores next week (and is available for pre-order now). Bloggers and Beth are an excellent combination, because in addition to being a prolific and well-reviewed author, she’s one of us. I knew Beth first […]
Twelve years ago this month, my mother, Mary Ann Corsino Lantos, passed away. A New York City native and, after a nine-year detour to southwestern Connecticut, a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida for 22 years, she was 69 years old at the time of her death. She was survived by her husband, two adult daughters, and one teenage grandson. But our family had truly lost her well before that. For over seven years, she had […]
Fathermucker: A Novel Greg Olear (Facebook) (Twitter) (tie-in blog) Harper Paperbacks (2011), Edition: Original, Paperback (ISBN 0062059718 / 9780062059710) Fiction, 320 pages Source: Publisher provided Reason for Reading: TLC Book Tour Opening lines: “Fatherhood is fear. Fatherhood is disappointment. Fatherhood is anger and envy and lust. And the surest guarantee of fatherly success is a Spock-like mastery of those base emotions. Mister Spock, not Doctor. “Good fathers conquer fear. They become One with their phobias. Like […]
Last week’s dire predictions have come to pass – I’ve been pretty scarce around the blogiverse. My only post since last week’s Salon was my review of How to Be an American Housewife for the latest BlogHer Book Club. BHBC has recently shifted to a more discussion-based format, and we’ll be having a variety of conversations about this novel over at BlogHer.com during the next few weeks. Have you read it? Please join in if […]
How to Be an American Housewife Margaret Dilloway (Facebook) (Twitter)Berkley Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback (ISBN 0425241297 / 9780425241295)Fiction, 352 pagesSource: PublisherReason for reading: Selection for the BlogHer Book Club (Review, promotion, and discussion participation compensated by BlogHer.com) Opening lines: “I had always been a disobedient girl. “When I was four, we lived in a grand house with a courtyard and a koi ﬁshpond. My father worked as a lawyer and we were still rich, […]
The past week was not a stellar one for either reading or blogging, and the upcoming one (or two) doesn’t look to be much better, to be honest. Work’s busy, traffic is lousy, school’s back in session, and there are demands from all sides–the off-line life is calling, and there’s just not much time to write anything that doesn’t have a firm deadline right now. Don’t look for me around here more than a few […]