Jun 18 2012

Submit a book review!

Posted by Mathias

Have you written a review of a fantasy or sci-fi book?  I’m willing to consider publishing it.

PLEASE!  SERIOUS REVIEWS ONLY!  If the write up is nothing except you gushing with repeated OMGS, endless praise for how it the novel was “the best book ever!!!!” or, on the other side of the spectrum, needless bashing, I don’t want it.

What did you like?  What didn’t you like?  What were the strengths?  Were there any weaknesses?  Be honest, not a kiss ass or jack ass.

If you have a blog, twitter account, facebook page, etc I’ll give you a link back to you sites.  Within reason of course.  I’m not going to link to 10 different pages and profiles!  So let’s keep the links back to three or less ok?

I am especially interested in helping to promote independent and self-published authors.

Authors, please don’t review your own books and submit them!  Please!  I’m begging you NOT to do this.  But if you know someone that read it and like it, then by all means encourage them to submit a review to me at [email protected]

I am not promising that I will publish all reviews I recieve, simply soliciting them.  Nor am I saying they will go up within a minute, an hour or even a few days of them hitting my inbox.  What I am saying is that I will consider them if you want to submit them.

And in case anyone is wondering, no, I WON’T hold you to my stringent grading standards for books whereby almost nothing gets five stars.  You can have your own opinion on that matter.

Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment
Apr 16 2012

Weeding Down My Review Group

Posted by Mathias

I admit it. When I gathered up people to review my work and give me feedback on my stories that I accepted all comers. I was just thrilled that friends and acquaintances were interested. But as time goes on, it is clear that I need to prune back the group which is like an overgrown tree.

As I have recently tweeted, I let one woman go because she never had anything nice to say about anything. Every comment was snarky and unhelpful to the point of nitpicking. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she started complaining that I was “showing” where she thought I should be “telling” and visa versa. Not one passage was right to her. She also complained about me having a scene at night when she felt certain it should be during the day. Nothing pleased her and, after conferring with several others reviewing my work, I decided that she was just a bitter person who might know how to write, but who did not know how to deal with other authors.

On the opposite end of the spectrum I have today told another reviewer who “loves” everything and never has a critical thing to say about my work that if she does not start actually critiquing and start giving more than 100% kudos that I will have to drop her from the group as well. I don’t need a “yes man/woman”. I need real opinions.

I will be looking at other people in the review group over the coming weeks as well to try and make the group stronger. I want to produce a good product. The only way to do that is to have serious opinions I can trust.

Mar 27 2012

How I Rate Books I Read And Review

Posted by Mathias

Ok, so I get a really snarky email last night from someone that was not at all pleased with my review of Ian Irvine’s latest book Vengeance. I gave that book three of five stars which is a rating of average. But this upset person, obviously a fan of Mr. Irvine’s work, claimed that I gave the book a poor rating.

No, if I had given it none or one stars THAT would have been a poor rating. See, on a five star scale, three is average. That means I thought Vengeance was an average fantasy novel. I gave it that rating because of its many faults which I discussed in the review. To get more than an average review, a story has to really inspire me to give it such a lofty rating. To give you an idea as to what would it take to get higher than three stars? Well, Kristen Britain’s Green Rider got three and a half stars from me and The Alchemist got four stars which is one of the highest ratings I have ever given a story.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Executioness, the companion to The Alchemist, rated a fairly miserable two stars in my book.

It takes a lot to get me to rate a story higher than four stars. But three stars does not mean the story was bad. I see on a lot of sites like Amazon with reviews of books with people who are apparently very eager to give clearly mediocre books “five star” praise for some reason. Almost every darn book has a host of praise proclaiming it essentially the greatest story ever written. I usually ignore these glowing reviews by people that have obviously not critically read the story they are reviewing. And logic tells us that not every book can be “five stars”. Yet there are the reviews and averages ranging up in the 4.5+ star range for so many books.

I believe that I give the book a fair shake. Three stars, like I said, is an average representation of literature. The book is neither great nor horrid when it gets such a rating. It means that the author told a story and that story was conveyed in an average fashion. The story did not make me jump for joy nor did it so repulse me that I want to have the memory of having read it surgically removed from my mind. Don’t get upset with me because I did not go gaga for your favorite author’s latest release. If you really think his or her book is five stars and among the best books ever written then more power to you. I just rarely see a book that I would consider elevating to such a lofty standard.

And lest you think otherwise, I don’t even hold my own stories that I am working on among those high standards. I am not that delusional.