Reading, Writing, Reviewing

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m going to try a new focus with this blog. Up to now, I’ve had a two post a week schedule: something about publishing on Monday, and about Writing on Wednesday. Sprinkled in between every once in a while was a review of an Independently Published book or story. We’re going to shake things up.

Why the change? There are lots of reasons, but the first and foremost is that I love to read. I generally average a novel a week, and normally have a non-fiction book on the go as I’m reading something else. Many of the books I read now are from Indie writers, and there’s a lot of great stuff out there that just isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Authors like Ryan Casey, J. M. Ney-Grimm, David Alastair Hayden and Lindsey Buroker all deserve to be mainstream–and though I can’t claim to have a large footprint on the web, I hope my profiling of these authors and many more will help raise awareness of the great work that’s out there.

Starting in February, Mondays are going to be Review Day on the blog. I plan to go for three Indie Reviews a month, the fourth Monday being reserved for something about the publishing industry. Wednesdays will be for Writing, and on the occasional Friday I’ll offer an interview with the author of the book I reviewed that week.

So there’s the plan. Now, what’s in a review?

I have a degree in theatre, but my main focus in University was English Literature. I love reading and critiquing fiction. The most important thing I learned about the process was that you have to be objective; no piece of literature is perfect. So in my reviews, I try to find both the good and the bad. I’ll enjoy some books more than others, but being able to offer both sides of the page, as it were, is important–and will go a long way towards giving credibility to the blog and to the authors I examine. Nobody’s perfect.

To that end, I’m not going to let my own biases get in the way. I’ll still read what I enjoy–and some authors here may end up with more reviews than others–but I’ll present each review as fairly as I can. No genre is right for everyone, and I’ll try to look at a book through the eyes of Everyman. You won’t find me reviewing certain genres (like romance–not my thing), so there will be some bias. But ultimately, there has to be some sense of focus for this, and I don’t want to spread myself so thin that reviewing becomes a chore. This is something I enjoy doing, and I plan to keep it that way.

I also plan to concentrate on reviews that I’d consider to be “three out of five” or higher. Those two and three star reviews don’t serve anyone–I’m not here with a so-called “poison pen,”–and don’t serve my ends of promoting great work anyway. In the interest of fairness, I will look at some of these not-so-great books, but it won’t be as often. And, just as the reverse is true, even the most poorly written literature has to have something going for it. I haven’t decided if I’ll actually have a rating system, though I’m leaning towards not. Giving a rating is a personal thing, and has a lot of consequences for the author–I’m not a professional, and won’t claim to be. Take my reviews with a grain of salt and read them through your own filter–my intent here isn’t to rank books from best to worst, but to spread the word about them in the first place. You can make your own decision from there.

So there we are. The new tagline for this blog is Reading, Writing, Reviewing–and I think it’s a stronger direction for this blog than has been here in the past. They say the best blogs focus on what the blogger loves best–and those three Rs are among my greatest passions.

And, as it happens, I already have my February reviews planned and ready to go–I’ll take a look at Lorne Oliver’s Red Island and David Alastair Hayden’s Who Walks in Flame, finishing the month with a quick overview of Lindsey Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series (which I’ve been meaning to review for quite some time). Keep your Eyes peeled!

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