Let’s take a moment and look at book reviewing from a different set of eyes, shall we?  The eyes of an author. 


Reviewing a book, regardless of the genre is actually harder work than one may think.  Reviewers in this business are not paid, so we’re not bribed.  That being said, I believe that we have an ability (unlike music and movie critics) to give an actual honest review.  But through an author’s eyes, we have a slightly different, sometimes clearer, sometimes cloudier perspective.  Let’s examine that.


As an author, we know what sells by what our publishers tell us and by what our author friends tell us from their houses.  We see what readers are buying based on chat loops and message boards such as the Coffee Time Forums.  We know our craft better than readers do since we practice it every single day!  We know what good form is, when the rules of writing should be followed and when they should be broken.  We know about plot bunnies and how a hero can go from point A to point C by route of a third unseen route!  We sometimes know what to expect when reading the work of others, because hey, we’re all authors and speak a similar language! 


But then the flip side of that is that well…we’re authors.  We have the potential to be critics due to stylistic differences of opinion.  We have the capability of being biased against a publishing house for one reason or another.  Sometimes, we don’t know when to NOT interfere! 


Hopefully as author/reviewers, we tend to exhibit more of the positive attributes I mentioned, rather than the bad ones.  But if you’d like to make our job easier and probably get a better review, here are some pointers.


  1. Make the story compelling.  If I’ve read the description to a non author friend and they say “oh, it sounds like this movie I just saw,” the next question had better be “what’s different about it?”
  2. QUIT HEAD HOPPING!  This one should be obvious.  It’s not. What detracted the cup from a book I recently read was the amount of character Point of View switches.  The author was clearly talented enough to craft a well written story, I believe she was probably talented enough to get her point across without all the head hopping. 
  3. Make sure you do your research!  If your story is about something I as an author know very well, then your story must show either my viewpoint, or a different viewpoint with obvious reasoning.  If you have a story with material I am not familiar with, you’d better have either wrote a convincing enough story for me not to fact check, or given me a reason why it’s not important enough to bother with. 
  4. I had BETTER NOT be eating popcorn while reading your orgy scene.  If you have alternative sex in your stories, it better be HOT!  You as an author do not have to be swinging from the chandelier when you get your groove on, but know that your readers will NAIL YOU if you write bad sex scenes in erotic romance. 
  5. Proper labeling of the book – this one is not so easy to define since marketing can be tricky for an author.  Make sure the widest possible label can apply to your book so that you’ll get a wide audience, obviously but don’t label your book a gay ménage swinger book when gay doesn’t really enter into the equation.
  6. On that note, make sure when you’re writing m/m romances, that men actually fall in LOVE!  Queers love too damnit!  And in our stories, we want to SEE that love!


I think this about sums it up for me.  Hopefully it’s given authors something to think about when they write the next book that ends up on my desk for review.


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