Multi-genre author Mayra Calvani is our guest today on Straight From Hel. Not only is she the author of the supernatural thrillers, Embraced by the Shadows and Dark Lullaby, she has been a reviewer for ten years. A regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, she’s also a member of Broad Universe, Authors Coalition, and The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.
If you’re interested in writing book reviews, whether for your own blog or professionally, Mayra has some advice for you. Welcome to Straight From Hel, Mayra.
When I was a beginner, maybe during the first half year, reading the blurbs and promotional material that often accompany review copies had an influence on my review. I think perhaps the reason is that back then I still didn’t trust my judgment of a book one hundred percent. I would read a book and find it mediocre, but then I would read all these raving reviews about the book on the back cover or Amazon and I would tell myself, ‘Hmm. Maybe I’m wrong about this book. Maybe it’s a lot better than I think.’ But as I grew more experienced in the art of reviewing and found out the truth about promotional materials and some of the misleading reviews on Amazon, I became more confident. For a period I stopped reading all types of reviews and blurbs associated with the book I was to review. Now, after being a reviewer for almost a decade, it doesn’t make a difference one way or the other. I will write a negative review even if the rest of the world says it’s wonderful. Or the opposite. A review is one person’s opinion, after all, and I can’t compromise that. Without my own personal judgment, my review has no value. So what I would advise novice reviewers is to trust their minds and their judgment and not to let themselves be influenced by the press release that often accompanies review copies nor by any other reviews that have been written about that particular book, no matter their source. Just because a reviewer from Library Journal or Booklist liked the book, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will too.
Thank you very much, Mayra.
Mayra keeps a blog, The Dark Phantom Review, where she regularly posts reviews and author interviews. To learn more about her book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, visit http://slipperybookreview.wordpress.com/. You can also visit her website at: http://www.MayraCalvani.com/. For her children’s books, visit http://www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com/.
Feel free to ask Mayra a question or say “hi” to her in the Comments section.
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