Why This Novelist Writes Book Reviews
I’m a full-time writer and novelist, so it might seem a little foolish that I spend my time writing book reviews, too. They’re not a major source of income. I write many of them for my blog, so I don’t get any income from those reviews at all. I write at least two a month, so that’s a lot of time spent reading books and writing reviews. And these are books I read in addition to other books that I read for other purposes: fun, blurbs, beta reads, developmental editing work, and more.
So why do it? And if you are a busy novelist (is there any other kind?), why should you consider doing it?
(1) Discovery. Because I write book reviews, I read books that I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen for myself. I’m forced to discover new writers and new stories. I can’t tell you how many great books I’ve come across because of book reviewing, books I never would have found otherwise because they were with small presses or just weren’t well-publicized in our book-saturated world.
(2) Relationships. After reviewing books by authors, I’ve made some great friendships. After I read their books and write honest reviews, we’ve connected online. And now I have author-colleagues all over the globe—author-colleagues who started out as authors whose books I reviewed.
(3) Learning. Reading with an eye toward reviewing, rather than just for “fun,” forces me to pay attention to the book much like I did in my courses in graduate school. Characterization, plot, structure—I have to look closely at all of these elements of storytelling in order to write an effective book review. But you know what else happens? By looking closely, I learn from every book I read, the good ones and the less effective ones—just like I did in graduate school. How did an author pull off something I admire? I want to know. And I want to know how to do it better when it comes time to write my own books.
I know it’s hard to make time for more work in busy writer lives—in any busy life. I have two small kids and a full-time job. But I make time to write book reviews because discovering new books, making friends with new authors, and learning from every book I read is worth it.
About the Author:
Katie enjoys her three professions—novelist, freelance journalist, and lawyer—for one reason: her love of the written word. Fiction or nonfiction, Katie thrives on putting thoughts to paper and sharing them with the world. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the energy of the campus and cafes inspires her writing. She is the author of the Entanglement Series, which includes ENTANGLEMENT (Velvet Morning Press 2015), LOVE AND ENTROPY (VMP 2015), and the forthcoming CHASING CHAOS (VMP 2016). She is also a contributor to the anthology CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY (VMP 2015).
As a journalist, Katie contributes to QUARTZ, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE and other national venues, including THE HUFFINGTON POST, where she writes a monthly column on writing. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship.
Katie has published many books on writing, the most recent with Oxford University Press. A professor of writing for more than a decade, she now leads writing workshops and works as a writing coach and developmental editor when she’s not writing her next book.
Katie is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers (http://tallpoppies.org/), a community of writing professionals committed to connecting authors with each other and with readers.
Find her here:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Uxrzyr
Monthly Letter: bit.ly/pryalnews
Inquiries: katie (at) katieroseguestpryal.com
(click the image to check them out on Amazon)