I originally started writing book reviews on my blog to fill up an otherwise empty page for a given day. And back then, I would wax poetically and write in excruciating detail as to why I liked (or disliked) a particular book that I had read. I didn't mind offering my opinion on what I had read because I knew that more often than not, people would say, "Interesting" and leave it at that. And on the occasion that I had decided to review a book from a writer that I personally knew, I was very careful to make sure that I sounded positive in the stuff that I didn't like and emphasize that what I didn't like was due to personal taste and nothing else.
Eventually doing book reviews on my blog got to be a chore and the last book review I'd posted was in 2010 (I believe), while the last music review (yup, even explored that for a bit) was in 2012. And there, another aspect of this blog was shunted to the side never really to see the light of day again.
Or so I thought.
In early 2012 as everyone knows, I sold my book to Solstice Publishing, and one of the requirements that I needed to fulfill was to review one book from a fellow Solstice writer per quarter. I figured that this would be no problem to do. A snap, one might say.
The first problem that I had, was, as you can probably imagine, being able to write something pithy, concise and most importantly, have it clock in under 250 words. That one I was able to overcome after digging way down deep into the inner recesses of my memory and channel both my chat room persona and my Facebook persona.
The second problem that I faced, was getting used to the fact of offering my opinion on a given book. This, believe it or not, was extremely hard to do get used to. I really had no problem in offering my opinion on a writer I had no connection with, but when it came down to offering an opinion on a book written by someone I knew, it became wickedly difficult.
But, as they are wont to say, I buckled down, and so began my other niche career of writing book reviews. Overall, between this blog and what I've posted on Amazon, I have written about 30 book reviews.
Even though I have the same procrastination tendencies for writing book reviews like I do for editing/re-writing, there has been a pleasant extra silver lining in all of these writings: my personal writing has gotten better.
Having to work with a tight word count has forced me to tighten up my grammar and summarize my point quicker.
So for those of you who might be reading my blog for the first time and are thinking about dipping your quill into the game of writing, give serious thought about writing book reviews. It's the safest way that I know to work on your writing without getting into trouble.