Expectations and a Reviewer’s Rubric

When I first started my website, www.benjamin-m-weilert.com, I knew I wanted it to be a repository of reviews for all the books I’ve read and all the movies I’ve seen. I have some of these reviews scattered across the web, but I wanted a single location where all of them could reside. A single place where I could control these reviews. Now that my website is almost a year-and-a-half old, I have accumulated over 250 reviews on it. These reviews range from nights at the Colorado Springs Philharmonic to audiobooks to movies to books received from authors and/or publishers. As most of my reviews, I provide a “star” rating to help visitors to my site determine if the piece of media is worth their time. Early on, I based most of my ratings on an intuitive “hunch” of what I felt the work deserved. This scale (from 0.0 to 5.0) is mostly subjective and, while this is still largely the case,...
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How to handle a bad review

You can’t please all people all the time. The best you can do is please most people most of the time. This adage is as true in life as it is to writing. Some readers will love your book, others will not. We all love to receive glowing reviews, as they boost our confidence, but what about those readers and reviewers who don’t care for our book? While I’ve received a few bad reviews for my books, as a reviewer of books, I have had to write some bad reviews. If your book is out there for the public to read, you have to expect to receive a bad review eventually. There are two ways to deal with these negative reviews: the right way and the wrong way. How you handle bad reviews says a lot about who you are as an author. My first one-star review was for my first book, First Name Basis. While I was upset that I received this bad...
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Dear Young Adult Fans

Calm down. I know you sometimes take it personally when someone doesn’t like a book that you love, but that’s the beauty of life: people are allowed to have differing opinions. When it comes to the Young Adult (YA) genre, I recognize that it’s not written for me, as the demographics of the genre sway more toward women than men. By the same token, I know most women aren’t going to read the science fiction or fantasy books that men seem to enjoy (this has its own problems, which I’ll get to later). With the enormous influx of YA books hitting the marketplace after the success of the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, there are plenty of books to choose from . . . and not all of them are well written. Regardless, I still occasionally pick up a YA book that seems to have an interesting premise in the hope that it’s the rare gem in the sea of mediocrity. When I first started...
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What to avoid when asking for reviews

For almost a year now, I’ve been writing reviews of books and posting my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. At first, I began doing this because I started signing up for giveaways on Goodreads. My plan was to read the books, review them, then use them as prizes for the participants of National Novel Writing Month in my region. When I realized it was also easy web content for my website, I dove wholeheartedly into these reviews. After all, I had been writing movie reviews for many years, so 300+ words on a book I just read shouldn’t be too difficult. What I did not expect was that soon people would be contacting me to review their books. When I received my first request to review a book, I was flattered that someone had found my review on Amazon and decided that they liked my review enough to send me their book to review as well. However, I soon realized what...
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