The Four Stages of Book Reviews (and What I Learned from Them) by Karin Beery

Today I’m happy and excited to welcome author Karin Beery as she shares insights into book reviews.

Like many novelists, I started writing because I love reading. I wanted to write my books, though, so I did what most normal people do: I signed up for classes, bought books, and studied the art of writing fiction.

The more I learned, the more inadequate I felt (there’s a lot to know about writing a novel), but I’m a rule-follower by nature, so I couldn’t wait to start practicing all the new techniques I was learning. I also thought it might be nice to see how well other people follow the rules, so I decided to start reviewing books.

Talk about eye opening. I went through four stages as a book reviewer, and those experiences have helped me become a better reader and writer.

  1. Repulsion: I couldn’t believe all of the terrible writers with published books! So much telling and head hopping, not to mention stereotypical characters. How had these people gotten published?
  2. Self- Righteousness: After accepting that bad writers sign book contracts, I made it my mission to show other readers why those books deserved two-star reviews. If I could just educate the readers, they would understand.
  3. Depression: I read so many books with similar characters and similar plot lines that I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I forced my way through novels just to say that I’d read them, but I no longer enjoyed reading books that so blatantly ignored the rules.
  4. Revelation: And then I found it – a story so captivating that I ignored the passive voice and skipped the clichés because the book opened my eyes to the truth: story really is You don’t have to follow every single rule 100% of the time if you have an original, engaging story that keeps your readers’ attention.

Now I can read a book and enjoy it as it was meant to be – a made-up story written to entertain. Don’t misunderstand: there are still some truly horrendous books out there that never should have been published, but there are countless others that tell fun/exciting/sweet stories that deserve to be enjoyed (even if the author overuses contractions).

I’m glad I know the basics of fiction writing, and I strive to honor the rules as often as possible, but now I also realize that a couple of telling paragraphs won’t ruin a book.

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About Karin:

Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,




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