How to write a book review without making the writer cry

Hey, saw this and it’s totally on point for the recent discussion we’ve been having about reviews, and my admonishments to all y’all to leave a blinkin’ review for all the books you read, good or bad.

And D.E. is so right about being… well, not cruel. Be nice. Review the book, not the author.

For me, it’s a bit harder, because I think that if a book has been out for a while, the cosmetic stuff should have been fixed– typos and homophones, for one thing–and such like that. I think it reflects on an author if they choose to issue revisions to fix junk that is just errors. Then we can move on to looking at the content, not the stuff that keeps annoying me enough to stop my mental process of reading.

Also, that stuff your law prof said about written/typed/recorded stuff is spot on. Those private emails? Aren’t. Those notes in the file for personal use? Aren’t. Everything is discoverable, some is more discoverable than others.

D.E. Haggerty

A while back I wrote a blog about how to request a review which led to an avalanche of review requests in my inbox (I’m still sorting through those!). But what about the other side of the coin? How do you write a review? And who cares anyway? It’s your opinion so why do there have to be any rules? I don’t think we need to have hard and fast rules, but there should definitely be some guidelines. In this age of instant communication, feelings get hurt because everyone is hurrying, hurrying, hurrying. People shoot off text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets without thinking about grammar let alone how their writing may affect others. Common courtesy doesn’t seem to matter in the digital world.

I had a law professor who I didn’t like one tiny bit, but I always remember his advice. It sounded something like this: Everything you write…

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4 thoughts on “How to write a book review without making the writer cry

  1. Thanks for re-blogging! When I woke up and realized that just because I’m an educated woman doesn’t mean I don’t need an editor, I went back and had all my books edited. Cost some time, money and a bit of work, but totally worth it. The problem with notes in a client’s file is this ~ When you ask your assistant to make copies of a document, he may not see that’s he’s actually taking your personal marked-up copy and using it! Major OOPS! And sometimes you may want to use emails to prove a client’s diligence. Not easy to do if the client is being belligerent.


    • You’re welcome. And you just nailed it – the reason we all think we don’t need editors, those of us who think that. Because we’re smart, so no editing needed, right?

      Fresh eyes.


      • Exactly! Funny thing is – we had a policy at my law firm to always have another lawyer review docs so I should have been used to it 🙂 Of course I didn’t always follow the policy as I wrote in a different language


        • And once you step outside procedures, then you get caught by those same things the procedures are meant to prevent. At least, that’s my experience with the legal stuff, and same thing here. I’m decent at self-editing, but I still miss stuff.


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