Writing Reviews That Help Readers AND Writers

As an author, it can be hard when approaching the concept of reviews. You know that other authors need them, crave them, but it’s also terrifying to sit down at a keyboard and actually type one up. What if you insult them and burn a potential networking connection? What if you say the wrong thing? How can you be the right blend of informative and not soul-crushing?

At least, that’s my process when I start thinking about reviewing a book.

This is why I came up with a slightly formulaic approach to writing reviews. It allows me to feel a little less like I’m just pulling star ratings out of a hat and feel more like authors have honestly earned the ratings I give them. It also gives my reviews a nice consistent feel, which is good for readers and friends who may actually trust my opinion.

I always see the occasional post by someone who is intimidated by reviews asking, “What makes a good review? How do I do this? Help!” So, I figured I would share my own approach, cultivated from several different methods. It works for me. It may or may not work for you, but at least you’ll have seen a different approach.

So without further ado, here are my steps to building the perfect review:

Continue reading “Writing Reviews That Help Readers AND Writers”


Introductions Are in Order

You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogs, it’s that you have to actually have blog entries for it to be a blog in the first place. And if you’re going to start putting up entries of this and that and the other all over a blog, it’s generally wisest to at least start with some sort of introduction. Well, at least, better for the writer. Gives us a sense of starting and all that, rather than just jumping blindly into the middle of something.

So I figure, it’s about time I write an introductory post and get this blog actually rolling. I may or may not have a slight fear of introductions, but there comes a time when a writer eventually has to put his foot down. Or in this century, his phone. My foot and phone have both been put down, and this is my introductory post.

My name is Theodore Ashford if you haven’t already noticed. Most of the time, I go by Theo. Unless my last name gets involved; then it’s always Theodore. I’m kind of picky like that, I suppose.

I’m a writer. I’ve been writing since my teens, plus even a little before that, though my early work mostly consisted of picture book horses. My teen years were when I started getting serious and started trying to write every single day. I started with fanfiction, then moved on to doing National Novel Writing Month, then started taking writing classes in college, and finally released a book on Amazon. I would write the rest of my biography, but I don’t know it yet.

I’m someone who strongly believes in the value of fanfiction, as well as the merits of self-publishing. Probably partly due to the fact that my own professional career is steeped in both, but also because I’ve spent a long time analyzing the pros and cons of both. I’m also a fan of the theory that speed and quality don’t have to be exclusive to each other, which I know is due to my years of NaNoWriMo.

So what will I be posting here? I mostly plan on posting entries in regards to writing, either as a reference for writers who are looking to figure out their own process, or for readers who want insight into the process behind the magic. I’ll also be posting the occasional book review, mostly with the idea of analyzing a piece of writing as an author looking to better my own work.

And every now and then, I also plan on sharing sneak peeks at novels of mine that will be coming out in the future, or even just standalone short stories and poems that I don’t see working in a future collection.

I also have a spouse who’s involved in writing, and tends to be my partner and editor on certain projects, so you might see them coming in with guest posts from time to time as well.

Anyway, that’s about it. If that seems like something interesting to you, then by all means stick around. I’m certainly looking forward to all the cool stuff I have in store for you!