Reviewers Needed

January 18, 2015 | By | Reply More

OK, you’re here because you enjoy Science Fiction and probably or maybe its grey sisters, fantasy and horror, and some or all the sub-genres. Hopefully, you’re also the one with a reading habit and pick up some of the books we review and want to become a reviewer. If you live in the UK, even better. If you live elsewhere on this island Earth, then there might be some digital possibilities so don’t totally despair or groan with frustration but you’ll need to follow some ground rules, so read on.

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So what makes a good reviewer? It does help if you can sum up a story plot without giving away too many spoilers. That’s called a synopsis or précis. It’s the bit you read to see if a book’s plot takes your fancy to read it for yourself. It’s a balance between plot and characters because different people feel attracted to them. If you then have an opinion as to whether a book is good or bad or indifferent, then you have to give some balanced comments before giving a final verdict.

Doesn’t that look easy? You would think that this would mean many people would become reviewers. Actually, it’s also the freezing block for many people who think they can review because you end up with a reading schedule where at the end of each book you write about it. Unlike elsewhere, I tend to let my team select from the pile of outstanding books and occasionally suggest something that matches their taste. There’s even some latitude to include books that you’ve picked up yourself, although letting me know ensures I avoid duplicate reviews.

Sounds relatively easy but you can’t just email me and say you want to review. I need to see a sample review to see how you write and can present yourself. Look at the reviews on site if you haven’t already to get a feel for how it’s done. The comments we get back invariably include ‘thoughtful’ and ‘honest’ that we’ve ended up living up to. Even if you don’t think it’s quite the equal of them, still let me see it as I can point out what you’re getting wrong and how to get it right so you can try again. I’m good at teaching the rules of grammar but don’t depend on what you remember from school to get it right. You’d be surprised how getting it right all the time is good for your CV.

For my part, most of my editing is correcting grammar but if there’s something I don’t understand or think you’ve missed out, I query and you amend. As reviewers, we are here to point out what’s available on the market, both good and bad. Unlike other places, the geekiness means we’re not afraid to look at earlier books and actually get some book series read. If you commit to a book series, though, I do expect you to stay with it. If you hanker for other mediums like CD or DVD, some might be available but primarily I do need book reviewers to save my creaking floorboards.

Having ‘book reviewer’ on your CV is actually a good quality to have. It gives you something to talk about at interviews, shows a level of literacy and ability to write. Added to that, some of my current team have also interviewed authors they’ve reviewed and even getting some article writing experience. I believe in developing my reviewers skills as much as they want.

Feel tempted? I’m not saying it’s an easy ride but I’m pretty sure if you read, you’ll get through more than two or three books a month and you get to keep them afterwards.

Now, e-mailing. So as I avoid getting spam mail, my e-mail address below has a few words in it to fox automated e-mail name searchers: gfwillmetts at sfcrowsnest.com  Convert the irreverent word and string into a complete string of letters for the correct e-mail address. In the subject column put the legend: ‘This is a test review for SFCrowsnest’. If you don’t do that then I won’t receive your review.

Remember:-

Synopsis

Assessment

Evaluation

Opinion

Honesty                       we’re complemented on that.

Don’t forget to read the other guidelines related to the mistakes I often see so that you don’t make them neither.

The Illuminatii help me, Uncle Geoff wants me for a reviewer. You might even turn out to be good at it.

© Geoff Willmetts 2015

Editor: SFCrowsnest.org.uk

Category: Culture

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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