Mystery Monday: Views From a Reviewer (Michelle Dragalin)

Today on Mystery Mondays we are doing something a little different. Michelle Draggling is here to gives us her views on reviewing novels.

Mystery Book Reviewer

My name is Michelle Dragalin. I am a writer first and foremost, but I love to read mysteries, of any type. Many years ago I learned that one way to get new books, learn about new authors and read different genres within the mystery realm was to review books. This gives me a way to review the book and to learn how various authors write really great books.

Mystery books fall into several categories, my favorites are cozy mysteries, mysteries written by two authors that I like, thrillers and young adult mysteries. Now if you go to wikipedia or a publication site, they will divide mysteries into various different and diverse categories. Their categories are completely different, but this is how I define my categories.

As a result, I review mystery books for a few publications that deal with different sites, authors and categories. Some publications have public relations individuals whose primary job is to deal with reviewers so that they can promote their authors on various sites, blogs and within a reviewers’ social media followers. In addition to reviewing books on my site, I also assist authors in launching their books. In that case I work directly with the author and receive a hard cover book (advance review copy). I set up a site, a feed and sometimes I have set up a Facebook page for the book and then close it once the launch is concluded.

Mystery books are great! I enjoy them for the most part, but occasionally I read a book that it takes forever to go through, even if I liked the author’s previous book. In this case, there are four main reasons I don’t like the book:

  1. The story is s .. l .. o .. w. The movement of the book doesn’t move and the action is so typical that I could write the book.
  2. The main character is the exact same as another character or it is so obvious that                                 this character could not find their way out of a paper bag.
  3. The whole story has been written before or there is not a hook to keep me                                          interested.
  4. I don’t like the book.

If a book falls into one of these categories, I hate to write a review because I know how hard the author and publisher has worked to get the book to this point of completion. For this reason, I rarely review self published books, unless I know the author personally. Most books that go through a publication have several stages before they are published and as a result tend to read better. However, there are authors that are self published that I do review and like very much. So it sometimes a toss up as to how much I will like a book.

Another aspect is that I learn about new authors in the mystery genre. These authors are new, but they write mysteries with a new twist. Consequently, I get really excited because I know that I am one of the first people to get to know their work.

Sometimes, I get to know authors because they will follow me on Goodreads, Amazon or one of my social media sites. There are authors who will not let individuals review their books, again for a variety of reasons. They usually include, they are so well known that they don’t need the exposure, other reviewers have sold their books or they have been burned by a reviewer. Some well know authors who are trying to break into a new genre or style will try to have a reviewer read and then post the review so they can sell the book. Thus convincing the publisher to give them a contract for more books in that genre.

Finally, I have never received payment for reviewing book, other than to get a copy of the book. This is a very hot button for authors and public relation people. Something that I am not going to get into within this post. However, I do like reviewing books and there are some that I really enjoy.

WHO IS Michelle Dragalin?

MDA Christian, writer and a teacher.   All of my interests wrap around, intersect and mesh with these areas of my life.   I have linked (almost) all of my social media sites so we can share our opinions.  I like to write about educational technology, education, do book reviews, and the great outdoors.

You can find Michelle at  her site.




10 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: Views From a Reviewer (Michelle Dragalin)

  1. Great post, Michelle and Kristina. I also write and review mysteries, and yes, there are pitfalls when you review a book that you don’t really enjoy. I deal with it by focusing on the positive things in a book rather than the negative. Happily, I’ve never come across a book that is all bad, however, I too have learned to become quite selective when reviewing self-published books. It’s always really rewarding when I come across a new author with a brand new book that I really liked.

    Liked by 1 person

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