So this week the spotlight is on Jodi Webb. Jodi reviews books for Sacramento/San Francisco Book Reviews as well as on her blog; Words by Webb. She also organizes WOW Blog Tours at; www.wow-womenonwriting.com and, in her spare time, is writing a World War II era novel. She dreams of a time when there are 48 hours in a day.
Don't I agree with her in that last sentence, haha. So Jodi suggested a few topics that were all awesome. But one stood out to be since it was epic.
As a blogger and reviewer, how do you feel when you have to review that is bad? I, along with everyone else, want to know exactly how you feel and what you do.
I love being a book reviewer. Each month I'm sent a list of hundreds of books and, depending on what I'm in the mood for, I choose a few books to read and review. It's great! Except when it isn't. The book, that is. I can't just chuck the book in the corner and say, "I'm not reading this anymore." The editor is expecting me to deliver 200 words by the 22nd. No excuses. Being a writer and a mom (mom's want to hug you and make everything OK) complicates being a book reviewer. I usually go through a few stages as I'm reading a book that isn't very good.
- It'll get better - I'm a hopeless optimist when it comes to books. I'm sure there's only that one mistake or the dialogue will get better. Whatever the problem is, I'm sure things will get better if I just keep turning the pages. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't.
- Maybe it's just me - Am I not getting the humor? Is it that I don't like the book or am I just cranky overall because I had to shovel 5 inches of snow? Let's take a deep breath and be objective. IS it really the book? Sometimes it is.
- How could you put your name on this? - I'm embarrassed. Did the author not see the final draft? Did some horrible editor rip it to pieces? How did this happen?
- Why you and not me? - Now I'm mad. You can get this published and I can't get an agent to look at my stuff. Where is the justice?
- What will I do? - I live my life trying not to hurt anyone's feelings. Being an author I know about super-sensitivity for your work. Maybe I should just say I like it and not devastate some poor, hard-working writer. Who would know?
- But what about the readers? - I buy books. With three kids (one in college), two dogs, a house, etc. I have limited funds for filling my bookshelves and limited time for reading for fun. I don't want to waste either. How would I feel if I shelled out $24.95 because all the reviews praised a book and it, well...stank.
- Balance, balance, balance - Reality sets in. I have to write a review. I have to find something good about it but I also have to warn readers about the not so good stuff, gently to protect the author's fragile ego.Reviewing books is like juggling: authors, readers, editors, the writer in you. They all have a stake in the review. People refer to reviews as good and bad. What about fair? That's what I try to write. Reviews that are fair, pointing out the good and bad, allowing readers to make an informed decision. Good luck to all you budding reviewers out there!
I think Jodi described exactly how everyone feels when we have to write a review. You just feel bad when the book is horrible and don't know what to do. And then you start wondering how the hell they got published and you won't even be looked at. But then you start looking for the good things and how they could improve. I usually write about how the author wrote their story and how it came out onto the paper and how I feel about the it. I don't say it's good or bad because in all honesty, it's not only about me. What I find horrible, another might find perfect. I think the key to writing the perfect review is to be fair. Give both sides of the story but don't make your opinion the only opinion. Make it so that the readers will give it a shot for themselves.
This was a pretty fun interview to read. I can tell that reviewing novels is something Jodi loves to do and I wish her all the luck in finding a good agent for her novel!
If you want to be interviewed, send me an email at the email address on the side. In it, put your name, age, blog and some suggested topics. I'll send you an email back and bam! Magic happens. Be sure to comment and check out Jodi's blog and follow! And stick around when we get more interviews next week!