Finding my voice

In June and July, I started writing this blog. Then, I looked for a way to focus my writing. Since then, I’ve posted a couple of book reviews and have recently been reading indie and small press books like a demon! I signed on for a 15 indie/small press book in 15 week challenge on Goodreads called the Fall for the Indie Book Challenge (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/141931-fall-for-the-indie-book-challenge?ref=ru_lihp_cm_tp_2_mclk&uid=1865157826). If you’re looking for some great new reads, come join in! The challenge just started on September 1, and even if you don’t blog, you can post your reviews on Amazon or Goodreads and give some indie/small press authors some exposure!

Funny thing, though, is that while there was a bit of conversation and commenting around my first few posts here, I have not gotten any feedback on the reviews (which I personally think are really not all that great, but I’m pretty hard on myself). So I decided to write a personal entry to see what would happen — market testing and all that. Maybe, really, I love to read and think about the books, but I’m not very good at reviewing them? Or maybe, I need to find my voice.

This concept came to me just a couple of days ago, as I read a prequel snippet of my friend Meredith Stoddard’s book, The River Maiden (which, by the way, I can’t recommend highly enough. Here’s a link to my preliminary review, based on beta reading the final manuscript: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22395004-the-river-maiden). At any rate, I read the bit that she sent out and realized that she provided some details about an event that takes place “off-screen” in her novel, the details of which are never FULLY described, although there’s enough detail to provide a clear idea of what happened during that event. That event was critical in the formation of the personality and character of her main protagonist. So I asked whether or not she really felt it was wise to give that away to people who hadn’t read the book. She does think that’s a good strategy, and I’ll be interested to find out how it turns out.

It occurred to me, in that moment or two, that I need to examine how my voice in this blog is evolving. Maybe I’m not a “book reviewer”. Maybe, instead, I need to write longer, more analytical evaluations of books. Because really, that’s what happens when I read something I love. I analyze parts (or all) of it.

So, I’d love some feedback from you, my silent readers. Is the direction I was taking in reviewing books something you found interesting? Which of the entries have you read here that you liked, or didn’t like and WHY did you feel that way?

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Finding my voice

  1. hi, Wendy,
    I haven’t commented on your reviews because they haven’t been on books I was interested in reading. I also found the reviews to have a lot of spoilers and to be a little bit too much like book reports – I’d like more opinion and discussion and less synopsis, if that makes sense. do you read the NY Times Review of Books? or other book reviews? maybe that will help you find your voice. take care, Susan

  2. Wendy

    Thanks, Susan. I do read reviews, and that was one of the things that got me thinking I needed to do something differently here. I have tried to stay away from spoilers, but perhapsi need to be even more careful. I appreciate the feedback! I

  3. Thanks for the mention, Wendy. I like the idea of more analytical reviews. So many of the “reviews” I see these days on blogs are more plot summary than actual analysis or opinion.

    The challenge is the level of attention that people tend to give to blog posts. We’ve been conditioned by the internet and television to absorb information in short bursts. If the post is too long people may lose interest after the first couple of paragraphs. If there is nothing to look at but a wall of text, then people may lose interest even faster. It’s not easy to fit an indepth analysis into a few hundred words.

    As for feedback on the reviews, it might be hard. Other readers might not feel right commenting if they haven’t read the book. As an author, I very rarely comment on reviews except to say thanks. We’re told by almost every author we know not to respond to bad or indifferent reviews. Author discussion forums are loaded with examples of authors making idiots of themselves by responding angrily or sometimes crazily to bad reviews. We don’t want to be that author. Now, if it’s a good review, then I might stand on my virtual chair and shout to the whole internet, “Hey, look at this!”. And I will thank you profusely and buy you a dram the next time I see you.

    It takes time to build an audience. I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and I still don’t get a lot of feedback on posts unless they’re about Outlander or spinning wheels.

    • Finding that sweet spot where I can convey a greater depth of thoughts and analysis without the reader hitting “a wall of words” (I like that. I think I’ll adopt it ) is going to be a big challenge for me. But one I think I want to take on. Thank you for your feedback, Meredith! I appreciate it!

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