Review Policy: part II

David V. Stewart wrote an excellent response to my Review Policy. He illustrates why it’s important for us to review indie authors from our side and how the left controlling tradpub allows them to shape image and narrative for new readers. Narrative control is critical and a lot of the individualists on the right have a catastrophically poor understanding of narrative and optics.

You can find the post here, On Reviews, and the Indie Movement: -An Optimate Memo, read it, and join the conversation. Also, if you are not familiar with David, he runs a very good youtube channel for writers and creators. His Keys to Prolific Creation series is worth watching and he hosts great discussions and interviews.

In the above post, David outlines his prescription for writing reviews. I will reproduce it here and I hope that more of us on in the writing community consider reviewing and promoting each other.

Here is my basic prescription for book/movie/comic/game reviews as they pertain to the greater Optimate/right/center/anti-sjw movement, given the above points:

1. Review books from authors you want to succeed and whose work you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to read anything!

2. Focus on what readers need to know to determine if they will enjoy the book – don’t just gush or say empty praise, but analyze. You want people to buy a book based on a review and actually enjoy it. You don’t want them to buy things they won’t enjoy.

3. Pass over books that are not to your taste from authors you otherwise like. If you didn’t feel like finishing a book, there is no reason to blast it. It probably won’t help a reader to make a decision anyway. Negative reviews are not as useful as positive ones, even to people who will pass on a book.

4. Talk about larger culture issues or art when it is appropriate to bring in new readers. Limit talking about things like Brand X, though – you should focus on your brand, not make your brand dependent on Brand X.

5. Be controversial and pugilistic if you wish to be. Controversy drives views, but direct your fury against evil. Minimize “punching right” and try to be kind to the Average Joe, who just wants to read a good book or play a good game. Stick to the issues – save the drama for your mama.

6. Keep your ratio of positive social discussion and review to controversy and big franchise criticism at 1:1 or better. In other words, if you do a Brand X review, you should do at least one review or piece of content that promotes the Optimate side. Preferably, three. Remember, this is to bring in readers. The left keeps their ration at near 1:0 because they control the corporate franchises and have free access to the Average Joe.

7. Review items from the past to bring in readers. Things like Conan, John Carter, HP Lovecraft, Dunsany, etc. are great topics, have deep reader preferences, and are much more open than corporate brands. At the same time, you are promoting culture you want to revive.

8. Always be better than the other side. This doesn’t mean acting nicer. This means doing better reviews, writing better books, making better arguments, and using better rhetoric.

9. Always ask what you are doing to further the movement. Focus on OUTCOMES. If what you are doing is moving the culture in the right direction, good. If so, by how much? Complaining about Brand X can be a positive, but only up to a point. After that you are just promoting the corporate brand through controversy marketing.

-David V. Stewart

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