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Reviewing chapters
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 3:27 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 43

I don't know about you. But when I check a book to review, I see a bunch of betas upload more than 4 chapters. To me, I prefer 4 chapters or less, since 5 or more are overwhelming. This past Sunday,  I did a partial crit and did read half and based my critique on it. What about you? Do you read all the chapters or do you do a partial? Do you prefer less than 5 chapters to read and review? Or is it just me?
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 5:30 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 222

I review as much as I can (or however much is there) -- or stop when I completely lose interest in a story. Whichever comes first. I will always do at least one chapter, even if I'm not interested in the story.

Do what you feel works best for you. You do NOT have to read and review the entire thing so long as you tell the writer where you stopped. Where you fell out of writing is as valuable of information as making it to the end and critiquing the whole thing. Knowing where people drop out is knowing where you can improve so future people do not drop out.

Just my two cents, of course.
AJR Sottil
Posted: Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:42 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 9

KristenH, I love how you refer to us betas... personally, I do as you do, RJB, I read at least one chapter, but If I like it, I will read as much as I can. I would love it if there were the option of having a miniforum for each writer or book, as this would enable one to review a specific chapter or chapters, instead of writing an opinion that does not say on what it is based.

I recently found a historical thriller that I loved, and read all 7 chapters so far.

As for my own writing, I am posting contemporary fiction short stories, so I don't think any reader will have a problem once I start getting some readers.

Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 2:20 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 102

When I first started on the site, I did find a long list of chapters intimidating and avoided those books. However, as my comfort level grew, I found I preferred the other way, the more chapters the better because I'd like to be the one to decide when I'm done reading.

I have a long list of books on my bookshelf so I unfollow books once I've reviewed them. It's a real pain to have to check back to see if someone has updated a story I liked. If I liked the story, I like being able to read it all at once.

If I don't like the story, it doesn't matter to me how many chapters the author has posted. I read to the point I would if I was considering the book for purchase. That may be one chapter, it may be 4, it may be 12 - the number isn't important. In my opinion, the important thing is letting the author know where you stopped reading and why - assuming, of course, the answer to that question isn't because you're trying to fit in more reviews. In my opinion, you're wasting your time and theirs if that's your objective. Critique because it's so much easier to identify and learn from other people's mistakes than it is your own, not simply to rack up numbers.
Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 3:05 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 43

Thanks everyone for sharing your comments on this. I was just wondering, if it's bothersome to others, or is it ok to stop at chapter 6 out of 12? Thanks for replying.
Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 11:09 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 222

It is ok to stop at chapter 6, Kristen -- you're the reader. If you don't want to continue reading the story for whatever reason, I think that is fine. However, you want to make certain that the writer is aware of -why- you stopped reading. This is vital for helping them improve. The main point of BookCountry is to help each other become the best writers possible.
Marshall R Maresca
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:04 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 55

Yeah, as someone who has put up long works, I think it's fine to stop at chapter 1, 4, 6 or whatever. The review of how much you read will still have value, and telling why you stopped reading can be very valuable.
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 8:41 PM
Joined: 5/4/2011
Posts: 10

I've only been on here for about a week, but I'm doing the same thing as RJBlain. I read a couple that were only about 2k, another I had to stop early, and Marshall's (the comment above mine) I read to the end of what he had, about 29k. Looks like I'm on the right track.

Yet I feel like I'm spoiled with reading. I'm waiting until my novel is completed before I post it, so the only thing I have on Book Country is a short story. Basically I offered up just less than 5k words and get a glimpse into hundreds of original stories.

Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 4:12 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 43

Kirkus, I only have a short story right now to test the waters. So far I have 14 reviews and have done on revision on my short story so far. It's gotten better reviews since then. Just need tweaks.

RJ and Marshall, thanks for letting me know. It's so hard to find one with less chapters than six or whatever. I'll read as far as I can and will give them a valuable critique no matter what.
Ilene B Benator
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 5:20 AM
That's good to know about how much to read, but as an author, should I put the whole thing on here or just a limited number of chapters? How many chapters is ideal?
L R Waterbury
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 5:35 AM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 60

Personally, I prefer ones that have upwards of 8,000 words. I don't believe I can get a really good feel for a person's work if it's just a chapter or two that's been uploaded. It's hard for me to gauge where an author is going if all I see is a short snippet. In fact, I've chosen not to review a few intriguing-looking books because the upload was so short. I just don't feel like I can offer a well-rounded and constructive critique on just one chapter of a book. For all I know that chapter isn't necessarily representative of the work as a whole. That's like listening only to the overture.
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 11:27 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 43

Ilene, you can post as many as you want, even after each revision. LR, you do have a good point. I rather just read a few chapters than a whole lot. Sometimes I get a feeling by just reading one chapter of where the story is going. You know what I mean?
Stevie McCoy
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:46 PM
Joined: 5/5/2011
Posts: 37

I read as much as what is posted before making a review unless it is hard for me to continue reading it. I have only stopped reading one story before. Other than that I bookmark and save my comments on the side until I am finished then submit my review.
I try to help give my input to improve a story so my own feeling is that if I dont read all of what is posted then I am doing the author a disservice but its really up to the reader and what they want to put into it.
I feel reviews are an opportunity to better my own writing by looking into another persons writing. So I just read everything that is there.
Tawni Peterson
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 7:50 AM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 69

It is actually refreshing to hear that some people don't read through all of the chapters. If there are 3-5 chapters I will likely read through all of them, interested or not, and review from that experience.

I always read the details page on a book first, though, just to see if it is somethin I would find interesting. This makes it easy to read all of what is posted. I am drawn to the genres I usually read and have mostly reviewed there, but I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable and spread my reviewing wings a bit into other genres.

@RJB It is nice to hear, from seasoned BC reviewer that there is grace granted to review what you can and not feel obligated to read all chapters posted. Imay be able to review more that way
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:14 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

Tawni -

I think it's okay not to read through all the chapters if, as you say, the project needs so much work that it's simply too hard to continue reading. It also may just not be your cup of tea.

This is how agents and editors read. When I was an agent, a book really had to hook me by page 50.

But I hope all of you strive to remember that the purpose of this community is to help each other get better as writers, and ideally that means giving feedback on the whole project, even if that feedback is to say why you stopped reading, and how the writer might want to go about fixing whatever the problem is.


Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:38 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 222

I completely agree with Colleen -- I will often force myself to read a chapter or two longer than I would in a bookstore. And knowing WHY a reader dropped out is completely vital for correcting it so when it IS sent to an agent, the story is able to grab them by the nose and not let them go the entire way through.

I can't express just how important I think this is -- this is one of the key points I want to know about my writing when I get a review : Why did the reader stop reading? If s/he didn't stop reading, would they continue to read? Why / Why not?
Danielle Bowers
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:24 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 279

When I post more than a chapter or two, I toss a note into the author's note stating to review what you want.
Lisa Hoekstra
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:26 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 88

I completely agree with everything everyone is saying. lol. Not a constructive response, but I felt the need to chime in.

I recently posted the entirety of a manuscript - it's around 60K long. I haven't gotten any reviews as of yet (not complaining, just stating a fact) and I hope that it isn't because people are reading a bit and saying "ugh, I don't want to read this". If so, I'd much rather they type up a quick review explaining why they feel that way, because - even though I'm sick of working on this particular piece - it'll help me make it better.

But it could also be that people are reading it, bookmarking and saving for later, in which case I'm just going to be patient.

To sum up - I think that, if you've taken the time to read even a portion, you can provide a review - all reviews are helpful!
Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:30 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

Lisa -

It may be that it's simply taking people longer to read your project than some of the others. Which would be a good sign, as it means they haven't stopped reading yet! =)
Lisa Hoekstra
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 6:49 PM
Joined: 5/10/2011
Posts: 88

Colleen -

Thanks, that's what I'm hoping!!

I'm definitely looking forward to the reviews
Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2011 5:31 PM
Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 43

Thanks everyone for your comments and sharing your thoughts. I do what I can when critiques are concerned, and reading chapters. I'm glad we all do what we can and share differently. I do read the book reviews before selecting what I want to read. For those I'm not interested, I pass.
Posted: Sunday, September 8, 2013 5:08 PM
Would seem to me one chapter is enough
Angel Reyes
Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 2:02 AM
Joined: 10/11/2013
Posts: 1

I have a quick question , im new to this site and don't know how to creat another page bc I wrote my prologue but I need another  page to write my next chapter but I don't know how , can someone help please ???:/


Lucy Silag
Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 12:13 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1356

@Angel--I can help! I am about to send you a connection request so we can get in touch directly and I can walk you through it.


Here's my email address in case you'd like to be in touch that way, too: lucy at bookcountry dot com


Lucy Silag

Book Country Community and Engagement Manager


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