How Book Reviewing is like the X Factor

September 6, 2014 Bookish chat, Bookish Fun 21

Every year despite swearing I’m not getting sucked in again, I end up watching the X Factor UK every Saturday night.  It makes me laugh, cringe and groan and it’s my guilty pleasure that I love to hate.

The X Factor


It struck me last week that reviewing a book is a little bit like being an X Factor judge minus the camera crew, screaming audience, great wardrobe and huge pay packet!  Bear with me though, it might sound like there is very little similarities BUT I present to you my argument:

How book reviewing is like the X Factor:

1.   The blind auditions – Just like the judges don’t know who will show up, I never know what book is going to end up in my inbox or thump through my letterbox.  And that thrill of excitement of what I will find never ever fades.

2.  Appearance matters – I’m sure the judges all make snap decisions based on the singers image and how they speak and they do this before they ever hear a note.  Ditto with a book request or with the book galleys on those days when you are crawling through NetGalley and Edelweiss.  The cover and synopsis are what you base your to-read choice on.  Something needs to catch your eye so you stop for a second to find out more.

3.  Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.  When a singer puts their heart on the line and goes for it with passion and gusto, it must be hard for the judges to say no.  It’s the same with books, I know the author has slaved and worried over every word.  But when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and you need to be honest about that.

4.  Criticism isn’t all bad though.  It can be constructive, the judges whilst heartlessly mocking the no-hopers, do tell people not to give up.  You can always cry, dust yourself off and work like a demon to improve.  The same goes for book reviews, even the snark can be helpful.  You can use it and come back and hit us with a great book.

5.  Drama! There is always more drama than on X Factor than on any daytime soap opera .  Ditto in book reviewing.  You never know where it’s going to kick off and sometimes some of the best entertainment comes from the fallout.  Just grab some popcorn and watch the twitter storms.

6.  The surprise star.  That’s what makes X Factor worth watching.  You want to be watching when a new star is getting ready to shine.  And ditto with books.  That book you read with your eyes glowing with excitement and that you can’t wait to tell the world about.  That is what it’s all about.


Bookish Chat : Do you agree?  Do you watch the X Factor?  Do you think my comparison holds up?



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21 Responses to “How Book Reviewing is like the X Factor”

    • trish

      I know, it’s hard not to get drawn in. As cringey as it is, it is entertaining! I’m glad Simon is back, I like Gary B but I think Simon is just better.
      Glad you agree re 4 & 5 😉

    • trish

      I’ve never seen Project Runway but I think it’s one I’d like too. I don’t watch much TV but I do enjoy the odd reality show.

    • trish

      Thanks Rita, I’m kind of kidding and kind of not! My mother always does say I could persuade someone the sky was green, lol 🙂

  1. Liza Barrett

    I don’t watch the X Factor, but this was an entertaining post; it’s definitely very true 🙂

    The only time I really got into X Factor was while I was studying abroad in Denmark. My host family’s grandkids, who couldn’t speak English yet, were pretty obsessed with watching the Danish X Factor on the weekend, which I could only somewhat understand. It was fun and a good stretch of my vocab in the language, but certainly didn’t suck me in the way it might have if I watched an English version …
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Sunday Post: September 7

    • trish

      Sounds like a fun way to learn a language as I’m sure if was evident from the body language just what their reaction really was.
      Glad you see the similarities! 🙂

    • trish

      That’s true we do give a book more of a chance; time wise at least! But we can’t deny that we are super critical and like the judges get more critical all the time. Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

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