I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information including RA for All's EDI Statement.

Monday, November 21, 2016

RA for All: Call to Action-- Write Better Reviews

This week I will be catching up on short reviews of the books I read on my own this year [ie, wasn't paid to write a timely review].  Using my own advice from all of the lectures I give and what I have learned writing dozens of reviews for Booklist over the last 16 months, I am going to start a new review format.

I thought this was a good time to remind all of you that we ALL need to rethink what information we record about the books we have read [or speed read]. So, I decided to lead by example with today's Call to Action.

My goal is for this change in my reviews to serve you better as you help readers. Think of these altered reviews as a 5 minute speed reading of the book. I am aiming to give you the most useful information you would need to hand sell this title to a potential reader--whether you have read it or not.

I will begin with the author and title and then paste in the publisher's description from Goodreads [with a link]. This will mimic what you would see if you had the book in your hand.  Then I will write a review that is all about who would want to read this book. So whether I liked the book personally will not matter; instead, I am writing the review to the books BEST reader. I have always done that, but this will be more obvious and succinct now.

I will keep the three words that I encourage all of you to do whenever I am asked to stand up in front of people and talk about anything RA related, and of course the readalike suggestions.

I work very hard to provide a different experience from vast majority of book information out there. Why? Because as someone who worked in a public library at the service desk for 15 years, I understand how busy you are. I want you to know about as many different books as possible, but I also want the information you get about those books to be easily transferable to a patron. My blog is here to help you as you help readers. That goal has never changed. 

I hope this tweak in my reviews will help you to help your readers more efficiently and effectively. I also think it will help me actually review more of the books I read.

But most importantly, I hope I will lead by example and encourage all of you to be better about writing down what most matters about the books you have read-- even if it is only the top three adjectives that describe the book. In the end, it will take less time because you will actually record less, but you will gain so much more use out of what you spend the time to record.

Oh, and find a way to do it in the cloud. I suggest Goodreads if you already have an account. But wherever you can search it and retrieve it easily. It doesn't matter if you wrote something down if you can't easily pull it up when a patron is in front of you asking for a good book.

The rest of this week [except Thanksgiving] will be examples of those shorter reviews. I am calling you to action today, but I will answer the call myself tomorrow.

You can always pull up every book I have read and reviewed/written about by using the What I'm Reading tag and the Book Discussion Books tag.

For more Call to Action posts, click here.

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