Alfie Dog have just launched a new competition. To take part you need to download a short story from the site (I'd love it to be one of these) write a short review (30-50 words) and send it in. There's £100 for the winner. There's no entry fee, but you have to pay for the story. Most of them are 39p.
Me. £100 for just a few sentences? You must think reviews are important!
Rosemary. Reviews are incredibly important. We live in an age where 'word of mouth' has gone both electronic and global. When you are finding work, by new authors in particular, it gives you an idea of the quality of the writing.
Me. What do you think makes a good review?
Rosemary. A good review is one that gives the next reader an idea of why the story is worth reading without telling them what happens. It might well prepare the reader to have a box of tissues handy if the story is emotional, or warn them to choose where to read the story if they are likely to laugh out loud or even suggest reading in daylight a long time before bed for a horror story! There is nothing worse than a spoiler in a review. A teaser can work well - a comment on a particular hook that had you spellbound, but giving away what happened next is like stealing the punchline of a good joke.
Me. Who are reviews for - readers or writers?
Rosemary. Reviews are for readers. They are great for writers to have an idea of what is working or for that matter not working in their writing, but essentially they are there to give other readers confidence that the story they are looking at is one they will enjoy reading. In some ways, it is the same reason we include a blurb written by the author and the opening of the story. They give the reader a taster of what they will find within.
Do you agree with Rosemary? Will you be entering the competition?