Letter to Book Reviewers

Dear Book Reviewers:

I love your enthusiasm for my books, I appreciate your support, and I’m especially thankful you took the time out of your busy day to review the books and post the reviews, but . . . must you give away so much of the plot? A review is not a synopsis and readers do not need you to reveal every major plot point of the book. And they especially do not need (or want) you to tell them how it ends. What people want is a reason to read the book, and if you tell them too much, you have taken away any reason for them to read it, in which case you have done us all a disservice. And I am sure that was never your intention.

I don’t mean to sound harsh or ungrateful, but I spend a lot of time mapping my books, slowly revealing the truth, each new revelation dependant on the one that comes before, so that by the end of the book, people end up believing (at least for the moment) that the story is true. If surprises are revealed out of sequence, it breaks the chain of evidence. So not only will readers know what to expect, they will be robbed of the unique experience of believing something foreign to their everyday lives.

As a general rule, if you must, you can mention things that happen in the first fourth of the book, and for sure you can hint at what will happen in later chapters without mentioning specific events, but anything beyond that is a spoiler and should be noted at the beginning of the review. (For example: “This review contains spoilers.”) Those who don’t like surprises will continue reading your review. Those who do like surprises can choose not to read it.

Recently I’ve asked a couple of you to remove spoilers from your reviews, and you kindly and graciously agreed, and for that, I thank you. Others of you refused to change a word, saying you stand by what you said. I did not ask you to change your opinion. I merely asked you to remove the spoilers, which did not merit the abusive reply.

For those of you who don’t like my books, that’s fine, but please don’t write a dismissive review based on what the books are not. My books are not romances, (though all contain a romance of sorts) so do not expect them to follow the genre conventions for romance novels. My books are not apocalyptic, so do not expect them to follow the conventions for such stories. If you need a tag for the novels, call them thrillers, call them suspense, call them conspiracy novels, or you can call them “typical Bertram.”

As Malcolm Campbell said of Light Bringer, it is “typical Bertram: plots within plots, multiple characters with multiple agendas, fast moving, more than enough mystery and intrigue for everyone.”


Pat Bertram
author of Light BringerMore Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. All are available for Kindle on Amazon.