Reviewing a Book

Pete mentioned that I'm reviewing his VB Express book. This is true - I've reviewed 4 chapters so far and overall I like what I've seen. I have to admit that since the target audience is for the beginner it's hard to read material that, frankly, is very basic. Oddly enough, the more I read Peter's writing, the more respect I have for him, because I wouldn't have the patience to write a book like that. It would bore me. It's not that material like that isn't needed - everyone has to start somewhere, and books like this are a good starting point. I just couldn't do it, or, more to the point, I don't think I could do it well.

Peter mentioned that I'm "raising the bar" with my comments and that this "translates to a stunning book." Wow...that's quite the compliment, especially since I felt like some of my comments were kind of terse - at least he still likes me! I am trying to stay nice with my commentary and point out areas where I think his book can be improved. Being an author myself getting reviews back is always hard. I know the reviewers aren't being mean on purpose; they're just trying to help me out before the book sees the light of day and people give me 1-star reviews because I suck. But it's still my work and there's always a twinge when I get a comment that makes me realize I really goofed up a section or a paragraph. I also had a really bad experience with my .NET security book I co-authored years ago during the review process. One reviewer (a well-known author that shall remain nameless) basically ripped a chapter apart to shreds and called me a "failure." When I got that chapter back, I was kind of stunned for a day or so - I really didn't know what to think. This is a guy who's books I've read and I had respect for, so I didn't know if I was a complete hack or what. To this day I still don't know why he was being such a horse's ass with his commentary, but I (quickly) learned to move on and get the chapter done. However, that experience taught me to try and be constructive with my criticisms, rather than just bitch and moan about what I don't like about someone else's writing.

I'm actually enjoying reviewing this book. I hope it's something I can do in the future. It's a way to make some money on the side and help another author out during the writing process.

* Posted at 05.25.2006 10:18:19 AM CST | Link *

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