Being First Matters

Sunday, March 05, 2017
Being first matters, and no, I'm not talking about sporting events and competitions (although the guy on the left was pretty happy to show off his swimming medals for the sake of this article). I'm talking reviews. I usually read books before they are published and have an opportunity to review these books before most people get their hands on them. I didn't realize what a privilege this was until recently. During a recent blog tour, I got behind on things a bit. I lent out my copy of a book and others had a chance to review the book before I did. Because I also helped promote the book, I read each and every one of those reviews BEFORE writing my own. I've never struggled so much in my life to write an honest review. It took me forever to get my thoughts down on the page.

I would type something and then a little voice in my head would say ' didn't someone already mention that in THEIR review ? ' and I would rack my brain trying to think of who it might have been that said that. I would scour those other reviews to make sure I wasn't plagiarizing...and then I would fall even deeper in the rabbit hole. When I finished my review, I was quite timid to publish it because I was still afraid it sounded too much like everything that had already been said. I concluded that being first matters and if you can't be first, don't read other reviews before writing your own.

Now that I have had this experience, I would update my previous article titled: Tips for Writing Reviews from an Amazon Top Reviewer and add a 5th tip:

5) Being First Matters - If there are other reviews of the same book or product, don't read them until after you have created your own review. This allows you to be absolutely genuine and sincere and your judgment won't be clouded by the opinions of others.

What advice to you have for writing reviews? What experiences have helped shape your review writing process? If you aren't currently writing reviews, what's stopping you from sharing your thoughts and opinions about books and products?

Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you!


Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due in fall 2017), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog about turning lemons into lemonade! 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--I do the same. I don't want to have my opinion influenced by anyone else. After I'm finished, only then will I read another review.

I'm even doing with my WIP. It's a historial novel for middle-grades, and I have a YA novel on my stack of books to read (it's about the same event as my manuscript). I am finding it hard to resist the temptation, but I'm not going to read it until I'm finished with (at least) my first draft.

You're right. Being first is important sometimes.

Margo Dill said...

Agree! I used to write a book review column and it was very hard if I read anything about it before writing mine!

Mary Horner said...

Good advice, Crystal. When exploring a topic for a blog post I have the same problem, so I may read snippets or definitions or stories, but try not to look at too much material before I write about it.

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