I am a person who functions very well with rules and not so much with what I shall call chaos. I am not a perfectionist, I am also not one to ignore the spirit of the law so to speak, and I am not one who thinks that all rules are for all people. This is for the quirky crazy person that is me. I love rules and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I am no rebel who tosses the rulebook out the window. It’s a personality thing. Like loving your morning coffee or evening glass of wine. Really. Swear.
So, back to the rules… These rules can be ones I make up and enforce upon myself, they can be rules of common courtesy, and they can be rules placed upon a situation. Reviewing comes with rules from all the above sources. My own made-up rules took longer to form than the other types and they are still more of a living document.
Let me explain a bit more about these categories of rules.
- Common courtesy reviewer rules are things like good communication, follow up, scheduling, planning, tidiness, professionalism, kindness, integrity. That sort of stuff that I feel I need to have and be.
- Situational reviewer rules are what I call the rules that are given from the sources who offer the review books and tours. Accepting their review or signing up for their tour means I agree to their rules. Stuff like, complete the form, send in topics and interview questions (in a timely fashion), post on time, share and crosspost, send links, etc.
- And lastly, my own made up rules. These are rules that I’ve put in place to make me a better reviewer. I’ve learned these from observing other reviewers and I’ve learned some by trial and error.
It’s my own rules that I want to focus on.
Up to this point, I’ve probably given the impression that I am someone with some long $30 phobia word behind my name and my reviewer life is flat and dull and awful.
Well it’s not- at least not to me.
See, when I say I have rules, I have rules like:
- Reading should be enjoyable so only read it as long as you enjoy it. This translates to- be more discriminate about what books you accept and for Pete’s sake stop reading if you are feeling tortured with boredom, irritation, or anger. DNFing or setting a book aside is not the end of the world and you really need to get over that issue with having to finish a book once you start.
- You hate seeing a huge review book TBR pile so stop snagging every shiny to cross your path. Learn to say no sometimes. Finish what you’ve got and then get more. Show proper book envy to others and keep a long wish list.
- You committed to reviewing someone’s book so you owe them a timely, substantive, and honest review. Even if you have to re-write the sucker ten times to remove what is possibly a thousand word fan gush or a reader rant. And on the flip side, you are a reviewer, so you owe readers an articulate, honest assessment of the book. Emotion is okay to a point and explanations, as difficult as they seem, are in order. Try not to lose sleep over that book that you just can’t quite put your finger on why it just missed in some way.
- Put your review commitments on a list and set up a schedule. It is too embarrassing to come across a review book a year after you got it because it slid through a crack and the author or whomever gave it to you was kind enough not to brow beat you for not writing them a review.
- Reviewing doesn’t have to be dull and shouldn’t be since it’s a hobby and not a job. Have fun and put some personality into it. Non-dictionary sounds and words are perfectly in order.
- Be willing to try something new, but remember your limits. Reach out for new authors, new settings, new genres and blends, characters, tropes, but don’t submarine a poor author and book when you know you have pet peeves and hard limits.
- Reviewing is not an isolated world. Reach out to others, respond to their reviews, learn from them, but don’t steal from them. Hang out and chat with folks, but set that timer because Facebook and Pinterest are time stealers. I only went on there to… does not work for an excuse.
- And for the love of Dove Dark Chocolate, don’t get your blogging partner’s email address wrong for two straight weeks after knowing it for years so she panics after seeing an empty mailbox and thinks there are no reviews done while she is away in Florida.
See? Rules. Good things and not painful at all.
What about you? Are you a rule person? Want to share one or two that you find helpful?