This blog was posted on November 21, 2017.
"The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic" - Oscar Wilde
An old saying states that a good review makes or mars a book. It means that the marketability of a book, is largely dependent upon the review comments received or ratings given to it. Literary critics, also known as reviewers, are at a constant tiff with writers, for their radically opposite expectations from a work of art. While a writer may have a million reasons to promote his work, a critic (who might have also been a writer at some point of his career), may find several areas lacking in literary merit or artistic value. However, times have changed, and so has the idea of book review or literary criticism. While positive criticism has always signified a green signal for new releases, negativity too has made its way, with unforeseen results.
Negative criticism goes a long way in creating a teaser impact in today’s literary scenario, where the author is very much alive, and at times, more vocal than his words on paper. The writer grabs a whole lot attention that was unexpected, but definitely not unwelcome. It does contribute significantly to higher book sales. Readers are very much amused by negative feedback or controversies.
Book review sites today publish reviews of renowned authors, and also leave a considerable amount of space for new and aspiring writers of one or two book fame. These sites often give these budding writers a fair chance to make their mark in the literary circuit, for paid review service or free review for guidance.
The reader can take his own pick, depending upon his purpose of reading. There are sites like Literary Hub, with deeply engrossing reviews written by learned scholars or intellectuals, as well as The Book Geek, which has review posts written in free-flowing text. TheWriteScene, invites reviews by readers on recent releases or popular authors. You may go for a downloadable review post about your favorite author’s new release, or read through the short weekly review posts in Talking of Books. Most of these sites also invite review posts or comments from readers. Some of them also offer paid review service. Here we have discussed some of the leading players in the fray.
Goodreads, established in 2007 is an online book review and recommendation portal, where people can read, post reviews, rate, recommend books or journals. Registered members can also post questions or share opinions on their favorite books or authors.
Goodreads has tie-up with some of the top notch online stores such as Audible, barns and Noble, Kobo, and Apple iBooks. This allows the users to download and read on their Mac, iOS device or any other handheld device. The best part is that you can download the books in your preferred format and read at your convenient time. Goodreads also allows you to look for the book in your nearby libraries. It tracks your location by local pin code and displays the names of nearby libraries where the requested books/journals may be found for reading.
The site is not only user-friendly but also encourages large scale user interaction. Subscription to Goodreads is free and comes with a number of benefits, such as updates on new releases, hot deals, giveaways, news and interviews, literary events, and ChoiceAwards. Users may create communities, take part in discussions, quizzes, and also write. Log on to https://www.goodreads.com/ for more information on book reviews.
The Book Geek, a fast growing literary blog and book review site publishes reviews of recently published fiction works, mostly young adult fiction. Other genre works reviewed include science-fiction, romance, historical, fantasy, and thriller novels.
Books are reviewed by in-house reviewer team at The Book Geek. Usually new entries in the market are reviewed by their choice of subject, readability, and literary excellence and given tea cup ratings. While 1 cup indicates a poor rating, 5 signifies an excellent rating. Most books reviewed by the team of young bloggers and writers, get a rating between 2 to 4. The approach is casual, breezy, and follows an easy conversational tone. You get a feeling of almost sitting next to the reviewer and talking. The Book Geek also has a reading list of the books with best ratings.
You may also get your writing reviewed by The Book Geek team for free. The site is rich in content and dynamic in approach, and shows potential for being one of the top book reviewer sites in UK, for and by young adults. Log on to http://thebookgeek.co.uk/reviews/ for more details on book reviews and updates on new writings.
A well-known online portal for literary news, ideas and discussions, Literary Hub is also immensely popular as a reviewing site for contemporary literature. The Book Marks section in Literary Hub garners important literary updates from established national broadsheets, literary magazines, regional weeklies, and literary blogs in the US and logs their book reviews. A book is reviewed by at least three outlets, each of those reviews is assigned an individual rating (Rave, Positive, Mixed or Pan). Based on these ratings, a cumulative result or rating of the book is decided upon, and the book becomes part of Book Marks database. The books are judged by literary merit and published with pull quotes of the reviewers. The reviews also include trade reviews of the books, along with their literary quality. The readers in Literary Hub can click through to navigate to the full review at its source. The readers may also post their comments or opinion about book(s) in the What Did You Think Of section, and share their views on various social networking sites. Literary Hub gives away Readers’ Club Daily Giveaway, a chance for Book Marks fans to receive an advanced reader’s copy of the anticipated literary best sellers titles of the year ahead, weeks before the publication date.
Literary Hub has tie ups with publishers, journals, bookstores, and non-profits, that accounts for updated information on books, and honest reviews. For more updates on literary life, click on http://lithub.com/the-best-reviewed-books-of-2017-so-far/.
IndieReader, launched in 2009, is primarily aimed at reviewing self-published writings and nurturingauthors, mostly first-time writers and young talents, with editing resources. BookShare, a suite of marketing and visibility services, by IndieReader, offers professional services in book review, book marketing through in-store promotion and social media marketing.
IndieReader publishes reviews of best sellers and new releases in the market. The book reviews are simple, crisp, and easy to understand, free from grandiloquent language or excessive jargons. Usually, a book is critically assessed for its theme, characterization, language, treatment of subject, literary devices made use of, and overall literary quality. IndieReader book reviews serve as a guide for students and writing professionals as well as avid book buyers, wanting to lay their hands upon the next release.
Writers can also get their writings reviewed by IndieReader’s team of professional reviewers (that include journalists, teachers and librarians, and established writers) at $225. An additional $25 fee is charged for books over 100,000 words. Standard review by IndieReader takes about 7-9 weeks. It expedites your review to a 4-6 week turnaround, with an additional charge of $75. IndieReader receives compensatory charges for reviewed books and the sold copies. You may browse through http://indiereader.com/ for more information on book reviews, book marketing, and the Discovery Awards, by IndieReader.
One of the most popular news agencies and news networks in the Middle East, Middle East Monitor, is also widely known for its candid book reviews. The detailed reviews of books (which are mostly on Palestine, its internal turmoil, and political landscape), are long, effusive, and critical in nature. The reader has a holistic understanding of the book, and not just its storyline. Middle East Monitor reviews also have links to related current issues or recent news postings. The reviews written mostly by Ramona Wadi are not only informative, but also opens up a plethora of questions on the reviewed book.
Middle East Monitor also encourages its readers to post questions on the book or the book reviews, paving the way for constructive literary debate. Primarily targeted at the erudite literature lovers, Middle East Monitor is a reliable literary guide for critical discourses.
They may also share the review posts, through different social media channels. For more information on the book reviews published in Middle East Monitor, log to https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/category/reviews/.
Talking of Books, a product of Dubai Eye, is a popular Dubai-based news and book review portal. The site chooses one best seller or new release every week for review. The reviews are short, crisp, and to the point, touching on the narrative style, theme, techniques, and overall literary merit of the book. The review also includes a brief on the author. The readers in Talking of Books can also stay in touch with the author on social media. The site provides links to their genuine profiles and author pages. They can also listen to podcasts on Talking of Books. This means readers can listen to audio clips of their favorite books, on the go.
Talking of Books holds regular literary talks on 103.3 Dubai Eye radio station, every Saturday. The discussions are critical and include global issues. Log on to http://dubaieye1038.com/talkingofbooks/ for more updates on book reviews or upcoming literary events.
TheWriteScene, an established name in Dubai literary circuit, is well known for its candid and free flowing book reviews. Regular articles are published on best seller titles, with a special emphasis upon the Middle East market. Reviews of both established writers as well as budding writers are published, making way for young blood to make their mark as writers or literary professionals. While most book review sites have a team of in-house reviewers for contemplative discussion on books, TheWriteSceneinvites review posts from readers.This not only encourages the art of review writing, but also paves the way for honest book criticism.
Reviews received as part of crowd-sourcing, goes a long way in creating a niche space for TheWriteScene, in book reviewing or recommendation. The reviews, assessments, opinions, call what you may, are impartial, unabashed in their simplicity, and direct in approach. The idea of a reader reviewing a book, like a reader, and not in the garb of an erudite literary critic, is also intriguing. You get recommendations of books by lesser known authors. You get an easier understanding of the fantasy novel series, you were planning to buy.
At TheWriteScene, you may also get your writing reviewed by in-house editing professionals, contributors and guest bloggers. No charges or subscription are required for manuscript review. Log on to http://thewritescene.com/ for more details on recent book reviews and literary discussions.
Book review has come a long way. From being a critic’s favorite activity, to a writer’s take on another, book review has evolved as an art on its own. The art of writing literary reviews, for both the learned reader, as well as the casual book lover, has matured with time, and has gained the status of a lucrative profession, as much as a writing or editing professional. Professional courses are available for honing the skills of a would-be reviewer. More than the command over language or erudition, it is the love of literature, and ability to explain concepts in simpler words that matters in literary review. This explains the reason why more and more online portals today are relying upon reader’s feedback, than a scholar’s comment.