Step by step instructions for submitting a review--for begginers
Giving Your First Review
So you are anxious to begin reading and reviewing poems, stories, articles and other items, but you don't know where to begin, right? The following instructions should take you step by step through the process of writing and submitting a review.
You have found something that caught your eye and read it—maybe several times. Now, you would like to offer your comments on what parts of it worked for you, and perhaps offer suggestions on the parts that didn't work for you. Look below the item, and you will see the Review Box. Right above the Review Box is a place for you to select the rating you think this item should receive. I suggest you complete the review before deciding upon the appropriate rating.
Right below the Review Box, you will see a field for sending GPs to the author. This is NOT a requirement. If you are blessed with GPs and wish to send some to the author as an encouragement, you simply enter the amount in this field.
The next section is very important. You are asked whether you want to make this review Private or Public. (Leaving the box unchecked will make it Private.) I only use the Private option if I think the author would prefer that it be private. For instance, you may want to review an item which is brand new. If your review includes a large number of suggestions for improvement (as specifically requested by the author), you can send it to the author privately. This review will NOT show up on the Public Reviews Page, so no one will see it except you and the author. That means if you are reviewing for a certain group, they will not see your review and can't give you any Gift Points (GPs) for it. Some groups may give you credit if you made it private for good reasons AND you report it to the group. If you don't report it, they will not see it.
I suggest that you click on Make Public and then click on the words Set Default. This will not prevent you from using the Private option any time you choose to, but it will prevent you from accidentally making a review private simply because you forgot to check the box. Making your review Public will make it possible for everyone to see it on the Public Review Pages. Someone may see your review and give you GPs for that review.
Next, we come to the Affiliation drop-down menu. If you are reviewing for a certain group, or wish for this review to be affiliated with a certain group, you need to click on the drop down menu and select the group you want the review to be affiliated with. Many groups will give you GPs for affiliating with their group. You also help your Group get credit for your review. This is a very important step if you want your group to give you credit and GPs. You see, when you affiliate your review with a specific group, it sends a copy of your review to the group's Affiliated Reviews Pages. It still gets sent to the general Public Review Pages, but there is a reason for it to be sent to the group's Affiliated Reviews Pages.
When the person from your group who is in charge of giving members GPs for their reviews is ready to do that, he goes to his group's Affiliated Reviews Pages to find the reviews that need to receive GPs. This saves him time because the only reviews that show up there are the ones affiliated with his group. He doesn't have to scroll through pages and pages on the Public Reviews Pages. So, if you forgot to affiliate your review properly, he will not see your review, and you will not receive GPs.
Now you are ready to type out your review in the Review Box or use a review template. If you have a template, click on Review Tool. Then select the template you want to use from the drop down menu. (I have instructions for creating a template also "Creating Your Own Review Template" ). Take your time, and point out specific parts that you liked as well as specific parts that you feel could use some work. This is what makes a review beneficial to the author. Of course, everyone loves to hear praise about their work, but they don't learn anything unless you are specific in your praise. What made it work? Was it the flow? Was it the strong emotions? Were you amazed by the description of a particular character or by the vivid imagery?
For some, the next part is the hard part. Unless you consider the piece to be a perfect 5.0, you should include specific parts that need work. Would you like to have known more about a character? Did you need to see more of the setting? Was the flow of the poem a little bumpy in places? (Which places?) Keep in mind that we review each other in order to learn from each other. We are all students and teachers at the same time, which is why Writing.com is so successful.
You will learn to find a healthy balance between honest and encouraging as you grow in your reviewing skills. You will discover tactful ways to word your comments. I ALWAYS end the review with something positive about the piece. Often, I put my favorite lines there.
Once you are satisfied with your review, there are a few more steps you need to take before clicking Submit.
Before you submit your review, I strongly suggest you preview it first. Click on Preview and read back over it, looking for punctuation and grammar errors as well as misspelled words. Reading back over it can also give you a feel for how the author will read it when they receive it.
Oh, if you haven't already selecting a Rating, do so now. Please make every effort to match the rating to the comments you have made. Nothing is more frustrating to an author than to get a three-line review about how wonderful his piece is and then get a 3.0 rating. If it deserves a 3.0 rating, then your review should explain why.
Okay, NOW you can click the Submit button.
Once you have submitted your review, your page will pop back up with a statement at the top from Writing.com. Near the end of this statement, you will find a Review Link. You will only need this link if you are reviewing for a group which requires you to post a review link in their forum in order to get credit and/or GPs. If this is the case, simply copy the link by highlighting it; then, right click on your mouse, and selecting copy. Next, go to your forum and click on Post a New Message. You can now paste your link into the body of the message by right clicking on your mouse and selecting paste.
Whew! You did it! Congratulations! Do you want to see what your review looks like? You have two options. You can click on Reviews under E-Mail in the left margin menu. This will show you all the reviews YOU have done.
Or, you can go down a little further on the same menu and click on Reviews. This time you will be taken to the Public Review Pages. You can scroll down until you find your review.
The Public Review Pages are a great teaching tool. I've learned so much about how to give a good review by reading reviews from the Public Review Pages. I've picked up phrases and things to look for in a poem or a story. It's a great way for a new reviewer to learn reviewing skills.
While you're there, take a look at the top of the page. By clicking on one of the links, you can view the top 100 Reviewers or Reviewing Groups, and other related information.
Other helpful articles for new members:
Revised October 30, 2012