I have been reviewing music (LPs, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, blu-rays, concerts) since 1984 and books since 1999. It all began with albums and novels I liked myself, bought or borrowed. Later, I got the opportunity to write for music magazines and received early review copies. With books it’s the same. I borrow a lot of (new) books from the local library and have several online resources like books24x7.com. In the past years I joined a couple of review programmes set up by publishers (see post on the reason why review copies are free) or online libraries like Librarything. On top of that lots of artists and authors contact me directly asking to digg their works and review them.
Subject matter expertise and subjectivity rule
Yes, it helps when your knowledge and experience with certain musical styles, artists careers, writing styles, great examples, etc. can be brought into the review. While each review is a reflection of my personal opinion, I enrich my findings with references, hyperlinks, discographies, related artists, earlier books, books on the same topic, etc. There’s no guarantee that every review is 100% positive. It’s easy to become critical and loose sight of the quality. At the same time the independent position of a reviewer that doesn’t get paid or fired for his work has both advantages and disadvantages. No propaganda or hidden agenda can be found in my reviews, neither a please-you-all attitude.
Authors and artists deserve an honest opinion. Like every feedback it has to be constructive, fact-based, regarding the work and not the person behind. It’s a natural reaction to defend yourself upon hearing negative sounding comments on your work, as if you’re personally attacked. I agree with the author that commented on Ceinwenn’s Unwelcome feedback? blog post: maybe it’s better to react online if you’re feeling you’re attacked. Otherwise emails and requests on review sites like the one below (I will not disclose the author’s name or book here) are a perfect example of the possible harsh tone and missed opportunities to ever read anything from him/her again:
Author: “Are you serious? You post 1 star reviews?? Please remove these review immediately as I find them extremely offensive.”
Me: “Please respect 2 values at stake here: freedom of expression and independence of reviewers.”
Author: “Too bad you have such a narrow view on life, and live so abrasively. Your freedom of expression needs a little bit better basic English applied to it.”
Still want feedback?
Since I don’t have a narrow view of life, let my professional work, blog, photos, online profiles, engagements and hobbies speak for themselves, I’m still open to listen to your music and read your books. If you’re open for my review, please send your fruits of creativity: music (mp3), books (EPUB, PDF) are welcome.
- Unwelcome feedback? (ceinwenn.wordpress.com)
- Do you use LibraryThing? (derbypubliclibrary.wordpress.com)
- Digging that LibraryThing (thelibraryandme.wordpress.com)
- Can You Judge A Book By It’s Cover? (mylibrarycardworeout.wordpress.com)
- No Comment. YES!!! COMMENT!!! (bookjourney.wordpress.com)