Monday, September 06, 2010

Blurbs and Reviews

Everyone needs an editor. ~ Tim Foote

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

I have two things on my mind today: blurbs and reviews.

I was looking around a new eBookstore today, and clicked through on some covers that caught my eye (I'm a big cover person ... if I find the cover repulsive, I have a hard time buying the book. I know -- not fair, but there it is) and the first one I clicked had a grammar error in the first sentence of the blurb.

I wouldn't buy that book if it was the last book on earth.

Seriously, if a publisher, editor and/or author took so little care (or had so little knowledge of grammar) that the blurb -- a short, 200 word ditty -- had a glaringly obvious error that my daughter would catch, what will the rest of the book be like?

A blurb is your first impression (except maybe the cover) and you should want to put your best foot forward. If neither the author or the editor noticed the error, then I'm truly afraid the rest of the book will be abysmally edited.

How sad. And, perhaps it's not a good assumption to make, but I do. When I see a blurb littered with errors (and I see more than you'd believe, since I read every review released by LASR/WC/Aurora) I want to cry.

Once I got as far as buying a book, opened it and found a wrong word usage in the FIRST sentence. Same goes on this -- the first sentence should be where the author and editor are most alert. And if this error was RIGHT THERE, then what must the rest of the book be like? I closed it and deleted it off my computer.

Life it too short to waste on bad books. What do you think? Am I being too tough?

I also use reviews as a resource. Not just the ones we post at LASR/WC/Aurora, but others as well. A comprehensive, well-written review will sell a book to me.

One of my reviewers has started a blog discussing reviews, and yesterday she posted on one of my biggest pet peeves: the "synopsis review", i.e. a 'review' that does nothing but retell the story, with little or no real opinion given. I'd love for your input and what you think about that.

I had a review done for one of my short stories that was nearly as long as the story itself and was literally a lengthy synopsis of the ENTIRE story, including the ending (which was written to be a surprise). I was flabbergasted. And upset. Not only was it not a "review" at all -- the reviewer never said one thing that she liked or didn't like, not even a "I liked this book" at the end -- but it gave away the ending (and the entire storyline ... why bother reading the story when you know Every. Single. Thing. that happens?). After much agonizing over sounding like a prima donna author, I finally emailed the reviews site and expressed my dismay that the reviewer had given away the ending. The reviews site deleted that part, but left the rest and it remains a review that I never point anyone to. It was absolutely awful. Sadly, this site's reviews are mostly written in this fashion, and it breaks my heart for the authors.

What do you think about reviews as a reader and/or an author? Am I being too sensitive?


You Judge People Based on Evidence

You know better than to judge a book by its cover, and you don't make snap judgements about people either.

You look at the facts, and you try to make educated choices. You never mind admitting that you're wrong.

It's hard for you to trust people that you've just met. You always need to get to know people.

You never go with your gut, but you may be surprised. Your intuition is probably more dead on than you realize.

That's pretty much spot on.



Ceri Hebert said...

I have a need to go check my blurbs!

And yes, you have every right to be upset about that "review". I wonder if an author could complain about it and have it taken down. It's wrong of them to have posted the ending of the story.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

It's so thrilling to get that review, to find out what someone else thought of your work...only to have it be a synopsis. Makes me wonder if the reviewer even KNOWS HOW to write a review? I don't think you're being too sensitive, but then again, I read my reviews and want to cry when they are so...synopsis-ish.

Tori Lennox said...

I don't think you're overreacting. I'm behind 110%!