Show some love, do a book review

We all have our favorite authors, favorite genre, even favorite plot lines. Yet how many of us write reviews when we finish a book. I try hard to write reviews for every book I read. Sometimes I’m an epic fail. Book reviews don’t have to be very long. I’m not sure how many people take the time to read a long one. I know I don’t. Often we are intimidated by those professional sounding reviews that talk about things like POV. All authors need reviews. It shows publishers that the author has fans. It helps the author get noticed. Amazon gives them more screen time if the reviews reach the key levels of 50 and 100.

Your review can be a few lines, a few words even.

I loved the story.

This is my favorite author. This book did not disappoint.

I love Mail Order Bride stories, and this was delightful.

The characters were so real.

I dreamt about the story and what was going to happen next with the characters.

You don’t have to give a 4 or 5-star review. Sometimes 2 stars reviews can help with sales too.

I prefer the bedroom door closed. (Someone else might like it open.)

The story world was so weird. (another sale to those who love weird.)

I wish I’d read the first book in the series then things might have made more sense. (Possible series sale.)

Each of these comments is short but lets the author know why you gave it a lower rating.

If you are worried about typos

Amazon and Goodreads catch them and highlight so you can correct them before you post it.

The authors you love have a better chance to get more contracts with lots of reviews.

Show some love by praising their work for others to read.

It only takes a few minutes of your time to write one. I posted six this week. None of them are more than a paragraph. And two of the books were 2-stars.

It’s your opinion

Reviews are opinions and everyone has different expectations of what they want in a book. Romance readers have a hot-o-meter when it comes to sexual tension. Historical readers want accuracy in setting and culture. Fantasy and otherworldly fans may gravitate toward specific characters ie.. vampires, aliens, or shapeshifters. All of these expectations determine the kind of review the reader will give.

Some readers are afraid if they give a negative review the author may respond with angry comments. Most authors don’t. As I said reviews are opinions and an author who isn’t thick-skinned enough to handle a less than stellar review without waging a war against the commenter probably should find another profession.

Writers, do you post reviews of books you read?

No. Do you claim you don’t have time? You had time to read it. Use the review writing as an opportunity to warm up your brain for the projects you’re creating. Besides if you write reviews, those authors may return the favor.  And I am going to pretend there are no authors out there who never read. Writing reviews should be part of your marketing strategy. It shows you are part of the reading community. And readers love to talk about books.

No need to write a new review for each book sale site

Everyone can cut and paste the same review on Amazon, Goodreads, Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and any other site where you buy books. It’s especially helpful to post reviews directly on the publisher’s website.

Please, please, please write reviews.

 

 

Do’s and Don’t of Book Reviews

 

woman reading book

Write a review it takes only a few minutes.

I last posted a how-to article on submitting book reviews on Amazon. Today I thought I’d do a refresher on the concept of a review—specifically reviews on Amazon and other book sale sites. In these reviews, don’t think you must retell the story. The book ad has a blurb describing the content. So, our job as the reviewer is to express to potential readers what we liked or didn’t like about a book.

Our review can be as simple as one line.

“I could not put this book down.”

“I read it in one day.”

“Not my cup of tea.”

None of these one-liners mention the story’s content. But, it’s their honest review. A friend asks you, “Did you see such and such a movie?” Your response might be. “It was cool.” Now if you know this person and you have similar tastes you’ll go see it.

A book review needs a bit more information because many strangers will be reading your comments. Two of the one-liners above tell me the book kept the reader’s attention and the third it didn’t. Add a line or two telling why.

Describe what you loved about it. “I loved not figuring out who done it before it was revealed at the end of the book.” If I am looking for a mystery this is a comment that gets my interest.

“Not sappy. Strong female characters. Interesting twists. More than a simple romance.” I love a romance with more than two people making eyes at each other.  So, this review has my interest.

“I learned so much about life during the Civil War. Well-researched.” I like historicals that are fact filled. I’d consider reading this novel.

Some reviewers copy exact quotes from the book. That is so cool. Tells me the writer is a great wordsmith if the reader is captured by the words enough to quote them.

glasses on paper-2

What not to review

I read a review of a thriller that I found odd. “Too creepy.” She said. The reviewer added she didn’t like being scared. Not sure why she read a thriller when the whole point is to scare the reader at least a little.

Don’t bother to review a book you haven’t finished. If you do, admit you couldn’t finish it and say why.

Don’t review a book from genre you never read unless you loved it. It’s not fair to the writer. You can’t give an honest review of a genre you don’t like. There are specific ingredients that make up each genre. If you only like pie then cake may never satisfy you even if it has won a blue ribbon.

There are rare occasions when I’m asked to review a book way out of my wheelhouse. And if I am surprised that the content interested me, I mention that in the review. But often, I’ll suggest the author find someone who loves their genre to review it.

Please don’t review a book you have never read because your friend told you it was terrible and ask you to help get the word out. The flip side is true too. Don’t give a 5-star rating to a book your friend loved but you never read it. Honestly, I’ve meant people who are lemmings when it comes to reviews. This is not fair to prospective readers.

Longer reviews

There are those who write wonderful long reviews that compare the book to others in the genre or other titles the author has written. This is helpful to many who follow a specific author.  These longer reviews can often capture the attention of a new readers. If the review of an up and coming Romance novelist is compared to Nicholas Sparks or Debbie Macomber their fans will probably buy the book.

Be kind

But you don’t have to wax poet or long. Just be honest. While you’re at it, be kind. Snarky lines only give you grief. I did that only once. The feedback from the irate author and his fake friends (he wrote more criticisms of me under various names.) was not worth the time it took me to be snarky. We are not Sisko and Ebert getting big bucks to be brash, so keep your criticism mellow.

Misspelling and confusion

Be sure if you mention a character that you have the name right. Someone praised my heroine using the wrong name. It’s easy to do. We get involved in the story and then the names get jumbled in our heads later. Try to have no typos, especially the authors name. Yes, I’ve done that too. I’ve caught myself misspelling a name. Yay for the edit button.

Recap

Be honest.

Be clear.

Be kind.

Be accurate.

Don’t give a bad review for a genre you don’t read.

Don’t review a book you’ve never read.

Don’t retell the story.

Final thought

Please, please, please don’t give spoilers. As much as you want to, don’t tell me the twist details.  Save those comments for your book club.

What are you favorite kinds of reviews when you are considering buying a book?

If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I hope you’ve posted a review. If you haven’t read it yet check it out. There’s a buy link below.

secret-charades-front-cover

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage

Click here to order

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