As some of my writer friends will know, I have recently purchased myself a Kindle. Yes, admittedly I was for years one of the "Eww, e-books, how sterile and dreadful" people. I talked about the tactile experience of printed novels, the satisfying heft of them in my hand, the nostalgic smell of the binding glue.
So what's changed? Nothing, really; I still like books you can use to tone your biceps, and I can still occasionally be found in a quiet area of the library, furtively sniffing at book bindings.
However, you can't beat an e-reader for convenience. That baby slips right into my handbag and barely weighs more than my makeup bag (I realise I'm inviting jokes about wearing a tonne of makeup!). I can store hundreds of novels on my Kindle, and - I'm told - I can even subscribe to magazines in e-book format. What's more, because I take it with me everywhere, I read more: I actually use those annoying five-minute down times when I'm waiting to pick up my husband, or sitting at the doctor's, to zip through a book.
I'm downloading my books from Amazon and Smashwords at the moment (if there are other amazing sites I should know about, please share). And today I did my first batch of reviews on Smashwords! (Still haven't figured out how to log back into Amazon to complete the reviews... why do I ever vary my passwords?!)
One thing I realised as I wrote the reviews, is how careful I am now that I am a writer. In my former life, as a non-writer but prolific reader, I was probably a lot more cavalier about reviews - or I didn't bother to write them at all. But now my attitude is Hey, this person put their heart and soul - and craploads of time - into writing this novel/short story. The least I can do is write a fair and balanced review.
The dreadful knowledge that comes with being a writer is that Critiques Are Scary. It doesn't matter if it's a friend's once-over of your draft, a beta-reader's crit, or a read from an agent. They're all scary, and they can all cut right to the bone.
I tread, therefore, lightly. My method is to pretend that I had written the novel, and see how I would feel if I read the review. It leads to some carefully-chosen words and several edits before I finally feel justified in hitting "Submit."
How about you, Gentle Reader? Do you find the time to write reviews? If you're a writer as well as a reader, has it chnaged the way you treat reviews?
PS NaNoWriMo Update: After a marathon effort today to play catch-up, my word count is 18 766, which, as the helping NaNo calculator tells me, is 1706 per day since November 1st!
Basking in the glow of her own verbosity,