Book Review: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

Welcome to Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards, who are on a blog book tour for The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. Hosting my first blog book tour guests is a treat coming just after the end of my own tour.

Mayra will check in during the day to answer questions, so ask away. What would like to know about book reviewing? She can answer questions about the value of book reviews and how authors and publishers can get reviews for their books. She can also help both established and beginning reviewers with the art of reviewing.

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
Twilight Times Books
Copyright 2008
ISBN: 978-1933353227
Paperback, 186 pages, $16.95; also electronic formats (PDF, HTML, Palm), $5.95

If this is a useful book review, the credit goes to The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. If it’s not, the blame goes to me, the student, not to the teacher.

Although I’ve written a few reader reviews at, I’ve never written a reviewer review. The authors explain that reader reviews don’t “follow the structure or organization of a review written by a reviewer… .“ (page 70) The book explains the differences between reader reviews and professional reviews as well as the differences between book reviews and book reports, critiques, and press releases. Explanations and examples showcase different kinds of reviews based on such considerations as length, tone, and genre.

Mayra Calvani, a multi-genre published author, and Anne K. Edwards, mystery author, have been reviewing books for more than ten years for a variety of publications, both print and online. They have written the book Mayra wished was available when she started reviewing. Beginning reviewers will learn the basics, and established reviewers will improve their craft with the tips and advice.

But you don’t have to be a reviewer or aspiring reviewer to benefit from this book. Authors and publishers who wonder whether it’s worth the time and effort involved to seek out reviews or who want to know how to get their books reviewed will find answers here.

Part One, The Art of Reviewing, covers the keys to being a good reviewer, writing reviews, definitions and examples, ethics, ownership rights, practical tips, and more. The section devoted to starting a book review site will probably be of interest to a smaller percentage of readers than the other sections. The extensive table of contents makes it easy to read sections of interest and skip others. The section on the controversy about bloggers writing book reviews will be of special interest to bloggers.

Part Two, The Influence of Reviews, doesn’t offer as much actionable information and some of the material seems repetitive. However, it may be helpful to anyone interested in how reviews influence libraries, booksellers, readers, and others.

Part Three, Resources, lists more than 150 print publications and online review sites broken down into categories. The advantage of reading the e-book is that the URLs are clickable links, making it easy to access the online sites. Though the list is focused on opportunities for reviewers, it can be a good resource list for authors and publishers seeking reviews for their books as well.

I can see why The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a finalist in the 2008 Best Book Awards. Reviewers, authors, and readers will all find it useful as a resource. I will refer to it often as I write more book reviews—and I predict my reviews will get better and better as a result. Highly recommended.

You’ll want to visit other stops on the blog book tour for The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. In the meantime, though, be sure to leave a comment. Welcome the authors to A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye and ask any questions you have about book reviewing.

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