Friday, January 2, 2015

Professional Versus Amateur Reviewing | Poll

Mulluane | Friday, January 02, 2015 | 5 Comments so far
Back in 2008, when I first started my blogs, one of the first things I did was write a disclaimer. It went something like this:
The opinions here are all mine as are any mistakes. If I am in any way unfair to my readers, or the authors and publishers of the books I review, I'm sure that karma will exact its due. I am not a publisher, editor or literary genius so my reviews will not be expert critiques on plot, theme, voice, syntax, or writing style, they will be from the viewpoint of one reader to another. The reviews I write are not structured in any way, they come from my heart and are based on my gut reactions. And remember that we are all different, what appeals to me -- or doesn't -- may or may not affect you the same way. All I can suggest is read the books and decide for yourself.

The reason why I did this was a combination of lack of self confidence -- I wasn't sure I could do this reviewing thing -- and intimidation from reading reviews that I quite honestly, did not understand. 
The book by Blumestien on DeviantArt
The book by Blumestien
on DeviantArt

Those technical reviews contain in depth comparisons to other books and authors. They analyze voice, plot, pace, fictionalization, characterization, worldbuilding, themes and style. They use words that I don't know the meanings of but feel like I should.

And their grammar and punctuation is perfect; another thing I know I fail at miserably. It has been a long time since 12th grade English.


They generally have no passion. They do nothing to make me want to read the book. They (the reviewers) would never be caught squealing over a dragon or wanting to comfort a young witch. 

That alone makes me hope that I do fulfill a need in the book reader universe. 

The Difference...

The best explanation I have found for how I review was stated by Ashley over at Nosegraze. She describes how she reviews as "word vomit." 

That is exactly what I do! Pour out feelings, impressions, likes, dislikes, and the occasional squeal. Then I proofread, correct, add and subtract the review into something I hope is coherent.

Sadly, I know the review will still have typos that won't appear until I hit publish, an over abundance of commas and more passive sentences than Carter has pills. (Oops. Showed my age there didn't I...)

Which do you prefer, professional or amateur reviews? 
via @mulluane
Inquiring minds want to know...

In the interest of satisfying my curiosity I'd like to know what you think. Do passionate fan reviews hold value or do the more formal, analytical reviews give you more bang for your buck?

Just for fun I'll put up a poll in the sidebar. For those of you who can't see my sidebars (like on mobile) please feel free to leave a comment instead. I look forward to your answers!

Mulluane is a 55-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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Dragons, Heroes and Wizards


  1. I prefer amateur reviews as professional reviews have no heart or soul. I'd much rather know if a book made someone squeal in delight than how it compared to a masterpiece from 1802 or something. And I get the impression that after awhile, professionals lose their sheer love of reading because it becomes a job instead of a joy. I'd much rather read reviews by book lovers any day!

    1. That aspect of professional reviews makes me feel ignorant because I have never read the compared book or author. But they assume that I have so obviously, I'm not as well read as I thought. I really need to stop reading those reviews! LOL

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it :)

  2. A bit late to the party but... better late than never!

    I voted for amateur/fan, first because it's how I see myself - just a reader, someone who enjoys being drawn in by stories - and second because "professional" reviews lack what I look for: emotional involvement.

    I consider books (but music as well, and painting and the visual arts like tv and movies, why not) a medium with which creators try to build a bridge toward their intended audience, and I envision that bridge as a form of emotional connection. Without that connection there is no way that whatever the creator wanted to convey can reach its target.

    Yes, the techniques through which a creator manages to attain that goal are important but IMHO they are not the point: when you care about a book (or visual art) character, when you feel yourself captured by a certain piece of music, you care about the feeling of the moment, and not so much about the way it was effected. For this same reason I agree with you when you say that professional reviews "have no passion": I might mention in passing that a book's pacing was slow or too frantic, that the characters feel real or not, that the descriptions make a world real in my mind's eye or they fall flat, but these definitions still are related to my emotional contact with the story and represent the way in which the author managed to create that proverbial bridge and make me cross it.

    Reviewing with love (and a few squees, as well LOL) is a way to make others share in our enjoyment, and pass that joy around....

    1. You are so eloquent! Which makes your reviews such a joy to read. LOL, I'm a good 'ol country gal. I vomit words. You make music with yours.

      But we do share one thing and that is a love for what we review. Even in my less than 5 star reviews I find something to praise. Well except for The Barrow. I detested that one.

      So far amateur/fan is winning!

    2. Why, thank you! Such praise makes an old lady blush!!! :-D
      I guess that discussing topics we're passionate about makes us eloquent...

      Agreed: when we love something, it's very rewarding to help other people share in those wonders, so it's easy to find the right words.

      And YAY! for amateurs! :-)


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