“Thank you for your application to be a *** reviewer. Unfortunately, although you are an excellent writer, there are places in your writing that do not read like a native English speaker. Although this does not diminish the quality of your writing, it is something that will cause a problem with our authors. As a result, we are unable to offer you a position at this time. Again we thank you for your interest and wish you the best of luck in your writing career”.
The above quote is an email I received, several years ago, from a website where you can join. Not only joining but, you also offer your time to review books… for free.
I smiled when I read those words. I will explain later why I smiled.
While this smile arose on my face, a new idea came into my mind.
I will write an article:
- about reading books,
- about being a reviewer and
- about being an author who needs reviews.
From the beginning, I want to state that I respect the opinions of the website that sent me this email. My article is not at all a replica; not at all. The only reason for writing this article is my desire to write about a New World; a world in which we will not need a specific language to communicate to one another.
I am an empathetic person. I have this gift, and I am using it in many areas. For this reason, I smiled with all my heart when I saw the reply some days ago.
It happened to find out about this website that is offering authors reviews for their books.
Being an author, you always depend on the reader’s opinion.
If the reader likes what you wrote, you can build your personal brand and sell your work.
Of course… this is one of the reasons for which you are a writer: to build a brand through your work. There could be multiple reasons for wanting this, but I don’t intend to talk about them now.
Now, don’t tell me that you are doing this only for fun or because you have to put your heart into words. You have your own reasons and believe me it’s not a crime to have them.
But, let’s not talk now about reasons and let’s come back to the main point here: to write a book review.
We already stated that an author depends on the reader; because this author needs to touch the reader’s heart.
What is even more important here is the fact that the reader depends even more on the author.
This is because the reader has an internal hunger and thirst that only a real writer can solace.
It is similar to the affirmation “Without a creation, the Creator doesn’t exist”; it’s similar but not identical, because in our case the creation is the book.
So until now we have a Creator, a creation, and a beneficiary of what was created. The symbiotic relation in nature can happen instantly, and both parties seem to need only one another. But… sometimes to maintain the relation we need a binder; the glue to bond both sides together.
Since we are talking about a book and its glue, here comes the reviewer. He is the one person who can tell the author what the reader wants, and at the same time he can tell the reader if the author’s creation is worth the read.
To do this, the reviewer has to read the book, and based on his knowledge make a review; meaning a report about the book. If the report is favorable than the reader will know that in his hands has just arrived a treasure for his soul; so the hunger and the thirst which invaded his being will be calmed down for a while. Instead, if the report is not favorable, the author will know what he has to modify in the future in order to be able to touch the reader’s heart.
To do this report, the reviewer needs two things; on the one hand he needs to know how to express in words his ideas and on the other hand he needs to make an objective analysis.
Until now I talked directly to your brain so that the logic will be satisfied with the role played by each involved person. From now on I will address both, your brain and to your heart. I am doing this because, in this New World of which I am talking about, the best communication is made through the heart. Yes, I am dreaming of a World like this.
I mentioned at the beginning that I smiled when I received the rejection email. Not because I am somehow feeling superior or anything like that but because as I said I am empathetic. And this gift instantly told me that even if the email reply was sent by a real person, it was not a result of his own thinking.
To better explain what I mean, I will say that the website is giving this kind of answers to anyone who lives in a country outside their own interest. This is not the only field of work in which people ask for communication skills.
Inquiring about good communication skills is not a wrong thing, and it’s normal for the world that we live in. But… I am talking about another kind of world, better than the one in which we are using the average five senses. I am talking about a world in which we can communicate to one another through our hearts most of the time.
In this world, a book reviewer will not need to be an expert in a specific language, but will need only to sense the author’s heart and to express in words all that his interior is hiding. Doing this… and only doing this… can a review be objective. When the reviewer connects to the author’s mind and heart, all analyzing done by him will be very good, perhaps even his best subjective comments.
I am pleading here for the glue which is represented by the reviewer.
Being an engineer, also, I’ve become an expert in several areas, one of which is welding. You heard it well; welding technology. Everyone has heard about this field of work but maybe not everyone knows that welding is a complex process; it is a science in itself.
There are different types of welding technologies, but almost all of them are based on three necessary elements; the existence of two materials which must be connected and one filler which most of the times is called a welding electrode.
Can you guess which of the three elements above is the most important in laying down a successful weld? You probably know it, but I will still mention it; the most important one here is the electrode element.
In case that you are wondering why, I will tell you; the reason is that it has to contain elements which can be found in the two basic materials. If this filler which I like to call it glue, doesn’t have the chemical composition found in both involved pieces, then the weld will practically destroy the parts which must be connected; and more than this, even if the chemical composition is good, in the event that the intensity, the position, the speed and a few other elements are not very well handled, what result can’t even be called a weld anymore. The incredible high heat developed by the welding arc is practically burning the materials needing to be connected and finally no connection can be made; instead we will obtain a deep and “fascinating” destruction.
Has this been boring until now? For some of you maybe yes, for others maybe not.
Then let’s go back to our theme: the author and the reader who must be connected and the filler called a reviewer. As I already said, this reviewer has to convince the reader that it is worth his time to read the book and to explain to the author what he needs to do in the future to attract the reader.
Until now it’s been so simple! But… I add here a big “But”.
If the reviewer is not a good reader, he will never know what a reader wants from a book and for sure he will never convince a reader to open the covers of a book.
And if the reviewer is not a writer also, he will never know what a writer’s heart contains.
And even if he is a reader and a writer at the same time, until the reviewer connects directly to the author’s mind and heart, to dig, to feel, to understand what is behind the writer’s words, he will never succeed to make an objective analysis.
And not being able to do this, he will influence the two involved pieces and will succeed to burn one or another, or in the worst case both of them at the same time.
Now… tell me something please… do you somehow think that the language used in this process matters? Yes, it matters because you can’t convince a Chinese person to read a Greek book if the only language spoken by the Chinese is Dutch (this is somehow a joke… don’t take it literally 🙂 ).
Of course, the language matters as a basic necessity.
But I am asking you as a reader... if you read a review in which somehow the language is not perfect but the substance touches your heart, will you start to read the reviewed book?
And I am asking you as an author… if you receive a review in which you really see that your heart was read in all its hidden corners, but the expressed language has some lacks due to the reviewer’s mind first thinks in his native language, will you follow his advice?
Wait… I mean… the end of the old world and the start of the new one to come. 🙂