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I REVIEW ALMOST EVERYTHING

April 22, 2015

I can’t say when it started, exactly, but I can tell you why. It all boils down to my love of writing, being able to pop off a thought almost as fast as I can think it in written form (well digitally speaking), and wanting others to know what I think of things that I read, listen to and use.

Amazon provides an outlet to review products they sell. It’s become a platform to express my opinions on just about anything, as long as it’s something they offer.

BOOKS

The first reviews, of course, started with books because that was the original product Amazon sold. My early reviews were awful. I found out how bad when I went through my wyberry to get rid of books. I did an inventory on Amazon to make sure I’d reviewed everything before I took them to the Goodwill. Those I hadn’t reviewed yet, I did an after-the-fact review based on what I recalled. Thanks to a great memory, and maybe glancing through and spot reading, I was able to jar the synapses.

During that process, I reread some of my very first reviews and oh boy! I’ve come a looong way, not only in grammar but in details and general value of the reviews. However, I’m not going to go back and change every one of them.

Some are so old, the books are no longer in print and Amazon has dropped them into a limbo status. They’re still buried in there, but if you didn’t know to look for them, you’d never see them.

I have 511 book reviews saved in my document files. According to Amazon, I’ve done a total of 985 including music and other products that almost but don’t quite add up to that many. So, I’ve done a few over the years and failed to save a bunch of them on the computer.

My ranking right now is #5,557 with a 74% helpful rating. I have no idea what that really means, but at least a few people have read a fraction of my reviews, though many of those reviews are for products so obscure, I doubt they’ll ever be read. Or, as in the case with many of them, they’re on something very popular and my reviews are buried in the mix and aren’t controversial enough to generate any interest. Oh well, I don’t write reviews for popularity, I write them to state what I think. I don’t care if anyone reads them. They’re on record “juss cuz.”

MOVIES & TV

I couldn’t leave out significant movies and TV shows when they struck my fancy. However, some of them I couldn’t review because Amazon didn’t list them. Also, many times, I just fergotted to review them. I’m much more lapse about this side of things. If I reviewed every movie I’ve seen, the count would be much more than the 94 I have in the file. I’m especially lapsed in the Saturday evening icky bugs I watch on SyFy.

MUSIC

I’ve done a lot better at music reviews. I was especially diligent about reviewing vinyl albums and cassette tapes, and even some reel to reel tapes because I’ve been burning them to CD so I could sell off the old format. After I’d burn them and then play them the requisite four times to remind me what they sounded like, I’d do a fresh review. Plus, I did reviews of any new CDs I’d get along the way, some from bands that are personal friends. My count there has gone up to 300, so far.

OTHER PRODUCTS

This category is a little trickier. It’s reserved mainly for music equipment, software and telescope gear. The vast majority is restricted to what Amazon sells. In fact, it was because of a less than stellar review I did of a high-end telescope eyepiece that I learned of an amateur astronomy forum called Cloudy Nights. I received hate mail and a thread on Cloudy Nights was started about me because of my “less than stellar” review of that eyepiece.

Once I became entrenched in Cloudy Nights, I was able to do more detailed reviews of telescope equipment, along with photos, so all my Amazon reviews doubled on to CN, but in more detail.

In total, I only have 31 product reviews and in a separate category, I have 26 computer game reviews.

WHAT SHOULD A REVIEW SAY?

There’s a certain fake reviewer which I’ve alluded to in previous articles. First off, she gives a blanket four or five star rating. Second, she copies the back blurb of the book, and that’s her review. She has something like 25,000+ reviews on Amazon and I believe is a paid reviewer. I have my doubts if she has any legitimate reviews out there and if she ever reads any of the books she puts her name to. Folks, that’s not a review.

The whole purpose of a review is to give your honest opinion of the product, whatever it is. That’s it.

However…

  1. The review should be grammatically correct.
  2. It should make sense.
  3. It should actually say something and why.

It should not…

  1. Personally slam the author.
  2. Trash the story without reason.
  3. Just tell the plot with no opinion.
  4. Gripe about the formatting of the e-book, or issues with it, or the pricing of the e-book.

The review should be about the story.

HOW LONG SHOULD IT BE?

It should be long enough to get your point across, but not so long that people skip over it. On the other hand, if it’s one sentence, people will tend to skip over it because that tells some of us you don’t have much to say, so why bother.

If it takes up the entire screen, you like to ramble and don’t know how to get to the point.

When I see a super-long review, I’ll read the first paragraph, maybe, to see what the reviewer has to say. If their writing style catches my interest, I may go on, but more than likely, I’ll stop right there.

The reviews I choose to read are grammatically correct, usually a couple of paragraphs, or maybe more but with short paragraphs, and each one gets to the point.

My reviews tend to be one to four paragraphs. I critique the story, the grammar, the point of view and the readability. I almost never reveal the plot, except in very vague terms. The only time I reveal the plot is if it has a sucky ending.

So, if you want to be a super reviewer like me, get to it!

Happy writing!

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