The Importance of Reviews

By Susette Williams

While the most common thought of using a review would be to help a customer decide whether or not to buy a product, there are other reasons for leaving a review as well. Believe it or not, writing can be a very discouraging profession. More often than not, people tend to leave reviews when they don’t like a product and are less likely to leave a review letting you know how much they do like your product, or in this case, your book.

You may have heard that musicians are moody. The truth can be said of the authors, but the reason these creative types have the ability to be moody, or have a wide array of emotions is it allows them to connect on an emotional level with the character in their book or song. That also enables them to connect with the reader or listener. For this reason, authors can often use encouragement and one way to give it, is by leaving a review of their book. While it does not take very long to leave a comment, it really does help to encourage the author when you leave a review and tell the author that you enjoyed their story, and what you liked about the story.

But what should you say in the review? It is important not to leave too much information or you may spoil the story for another reader. Tell the author what you liked, if there was a specific scene, or how the story made you feel. You want to leave just enough information that another reader can tell that you actually read the book and the author didn’t ask all of their friends and family to leave glowing 5 star reviews for them.

There has been a lot of controversy lately concerning a few authors unethical practices concerning reviews.  Principals to consider when leaving a review:

  1. You should never write reviews for your own book. Writing a synopsis, blurb, or back copy of your book is different. Reviews are generally endorsements, telling readers what you liked, or did not like, about a book. Reviews are generally left at places your book can be purchased, or in forums where book readers will read about their favorite authors’ books.
  2. You should never leave a bad review because you do not like the person or their beliefs. Also, if you have a problem with downloading a book on Kindle, Nook, etc. do not give the author a bad review. It is best to contact customer services with the place you are purchasing the book from and settle the downloading issue with them. The author has no control over this and it is unfair to rate their hard work based on problems with the distributor.
  3. It is unfair to an author if you downloaded their book as a free promo and have not bothered to check and see if the book is the type of genre you prefer to read or not. Example, if a person downloaded a book that had pornography, religious aspects or content they would find objectionable and would not intentionally set out to pay for that type of story to begin with, should not write a negative review for the book because your mindset is already against that book and its content. This is one of the downsides to offering a free book promotion—because consumers see free and then begin reading the story to only realize this isn’t their normal type of reading material. The author should not suffer because you chose something you would not normally read.
  4. A negative book review should only be left if the writing is poor, there are obvious problems with the plot, the story is inconsistent, the author didn’t check facts, etc.
  5. You should never leave negative reviews for an author because you purposely want their book to do bad. There have been some authors who leave bad reviews for competitors. When the public has found out about this type of practice, it generally will cost the unethical author sales and readers because of their attempts to manipulate consumers and their purchases.

Authors need positive reviews for encouragement and to sell books. An honest review allows readers to see what other people thought of a book and may help sway them in their decision to also purchase the book.

If an author does a book promotion, especially the free book promotions, many of the promotion sites will not carry the author’s books unless they have a set amount of reviews, and usually they must have at least a four star average rank in reviews.

The most natural place for an author to seek reviews is through customers who have purchased their books. Previous customers who have reviewed books can also be a great resource for future book reviews. Build a rapport with readers and offer them a free copy of a future book in exchange for an honest review. As a reader, you can also contact an author and offer to write a review if they will provide you with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy).

Another place an author can solicit reviews are through Facebook groups for reviewers; or groups that connect readers, reviewers, bloggers and/or authors. Also, if you are looking for more reviews and do a special book promotion or free book promotion, whenever you post about the promotion, ask people to share the information and ask them if they would please consider leaving a review.

Always be polite and considerate, whether or not you are an author, reader, or reviewer. Consider other people’s feelings, and when leaving criticism, try to make it constructive. It also helps if you can find something positive to say, because it will help to take the edge off of negative comments.

Please take the time to show your favorite authors some appreciation by leaving them an encouraging review. It will inspire them to continue writing and sharing their stories with loyal readers like yourself!

Books by Susette Williams:

 

falling in loveMaid for Murder: Deadly Business http://ow.ly/hJKp2

Accidental Meeting http://ow.ly/fR7ft

Falling in Love (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR717

Winter Chill (Seasons of the Heart) http://ow.ly/fR75F

The Quakers of New Garden (New Garden’s Conversion) http://ow.ly/fR7bB

 

Books for Children:

The ‘In’ Crowd (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fGsul

On My Own (Life With Stef) http://ow.ly/fR7GG

 

Author Website: www.susettewilliams.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Susette-Williams/182094681851446?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SusetteWilliams

 

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How to Write a Book Review the Author Will Love

By Mary C. Findley

I am a big classics fan. I have, however, recently begun reviewing book by modern authors, and especially Indie writers, some of whom I’ve become friends and acquaintances with through author and reader sites I have joined.

I have gotten good responses from the authors so far, even if I gave them the dreaded “three out of five stars.” One who was at first very unhappy with her three stars admitted that it was a very good review, she liked it, and she quotes from it as she promotes. Another author said she loved my review so much it made her cry. It’s the only five star I’ve given so far, and she really deserved it.

I’m going to use Tale of Two Cities as an example of how to write a book review by reviewing it. Mr. Dickens won’t mind.

First, an author wants you to find out the solution of his book’s mystery by reading it, not by the reviewer giving it away. In Tale of Two Cities, why in the world does that drunken lowlife Sidney Carton get to hang around sweet Lucie the whole book, almost?

The author does want the reviewer make readers interested, though. So I will just mention that Sidney has a much bigger part to play than just standing up in court looking remarkably like Charles Darnay, thus saving his life.

Second, the author wants the reviewer to get readers to like the people in the story. For this example, let me introduce you to Mr. Lorry. Mr. Lorry represents an ancient, trustworthy, boring bank, but Mr. Lorry is hardly boring. He’s vain about his fine calves, though he’s past sixty. He rescues a parentless child although he says he is “merely a man of business.” He warns off a most unsuitable suitor, protecting a young lady from an arrogant and disgusting predator. He goes along with an unknown plot for an impossible rescue. This can hardly be a service to the bank he has served his whole life, but is an extraordinary example of compassion and courage.

Third, the author knows his book isn’t perfect, though he loves it as his own child. He doesn’t mind if you tell people imperfections, as long as you are honest and have good reasons. Tale of Two Cities, like most of Dickens’ works, is very wordy. I don’t care how many people say he wasn’t paid by the word, he was. He wrote serials. He had to pad out the work to fill a certain amount space in a magazine and make a cliffhanger out of every installment to get people to keep reading. That’s a guaranteed recipe for wordiness. Some of Dickens’ books are much longer than this one, but a modern editor would certainly be chafing to trim it down. I know as a former editor I would.

Fourth, a reviewer needs to warn readers if there is material not suitable for certain ages or groups. Dickens describes people in grinding poverty virtually starving to death before our eyes. He has a careless nobleman run his cart over a small child. The noble gentleman cares nothing about it except to try to throw a coin at the father and ask why he makes such an infernal noise. People are beaten and beheaded and described as blood-covered and murderously enraged. Sometimes just the sheer callousness and indifference toward death is hard to take. However jaded young readers might be today, it’s still not the best thing for very young readers. There is no real sex. Reference is made to breasts but only for nursing children.

In conclusion, I give Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities a four out of five, because I think he could have written a better story without so many words. Otherwise, it’s probably my favorite fictional work of all time.

About Mary C. Findley

I grew up in rural NY and met my husband at college in South Carolina. We taught school in AZ, MO and PA, homeschooled, and created curriculum and videos for church and commercial productions. We have three 20-something children, and now travel the 48 states together in a tractor trailer.

Book Review PURSUED BY Lillian Duncan

By Ada Brownell

The ultimate test of a good novel is the story told, and Lillian Duncan created a powerful story with Pursued. First the attorney, Reggie (short for Regina) Meyers is in danger of losing her job because of a grammatical error on a contract.

 

At the airport on her way home, a woman accidentally whacks her in the head with luggage when she takes it from the carousel. Still dizzy from the blow, Reggie tries to weave her way through heavy traffic. She swerves to avoid a dog being chased by a child and an old pickup collides with her car.

 

She doesn’t care how handsome the driver is, she’s angry. Since her vehicle absorbed most of the impact, he offers to drive her home. After he uses some persuasion, she goes with him only to find the door to her home wide open, her apartment ransacked, trashed and the furniture slashed.

 

The owner of the pickup, Dylan Monroe, insists she can’t stay in that apartment after such vandalism. The person might be a killer.

 

Thus begins the chase. Reggie is pursued by someone who is serious about killing her.  She’s shot at, her phone is bugged, and bombs are placed on her car.

 

Although Dylan just met her, he insists on protecting her. He takes her to his sister’s house. When she’s followed there, he moves her to his parents, then to a friend’s place that is difficult to find and equipped with detection equipment.

 

It takes a while for Reggie to understand why Dylan wants to help. He’s a committed Christian and feels it’s his calling to do what he can for a person in need. Reggie, abandoned by her parents at a young age, is in need of someone who cares. She grew up in foster homes and knows little of committed love and devotion.  She fights being attracted to Dylan because he’s a farmer and she’s an attorney.

 

The story is a great read, and that’s why I give it five stars it deserves.

 

   — Ada Brownell

Author of Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal

and  Confessions of a Pentecostal

 

Review of “Deep in the Heart”

Deep in the Heart

Review by:  H. L. Wegley

Romance, faith, forgiveness, reconciliation, Deep in the Heart has them all. Like each of her books I’ve read, Staci Stallings’ new romance quickly draws you in. Deep in her readers’ hearts is where she plants her two main characters, down-to-her-last-dollar Maggie Montgomery and handsome Keith Ayer, son of wealthy, blue-blooded Conrad Ayer.

Both Maggie and Keith have deep wounds from painful childhood experiences. Maggie’s wounds are healed…almost, but Keith’s are still festering.

Coming from socially opposite ends of the universe and scarred by their past, can these two ever find enough common ground to share what each has that the other desperately needs?

Rather than spoil the story and its many surprises, I’ll let Staci’s skillful writing spoil you with her rich character development and captivating story line, combined with a strong cast of supporting characters.

Set deep in the heart of Texas, this is a story all romance readers are sure to enjoy, especially those who like a solid faith component to their romance.

Deep in the Heart will be free for all Amazon Kindle readers on April 18 & 19!

Click here to read the first chapter or here to see it on Kindle!

Author:  Staci Stallings is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection.  The full line of Staci’s books, which include Contemporary Romance, Bible Studies, and short story collections can be found at:  http://stacistallings.wordpress.com

Her romance novel collection can be found at:  http://ebookromancestories.com

Her Christian Living blog is at: http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com

Reviewer: 
H. L. Wegley served in the USAF as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He has a BS in Meteorology and worked as a Research Scientist in Atmospheric Physics at Pacific Northwest Laboratories, where he published scientific articles, reports and books. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area to pursue his love of writing by learning the craft of fiction.

The Joshua Covenant–Book Review

Reviewed by:  Ada Brownell

The Joshua Covenant

By Diane and David Munson 

If you like compelling suspense that seems to arise directly from what is happening in the world today, read The Joshua Covenant.

You’ll find CIA agent Bo Rider entangled with Iran, Hamas, and others who are determined to obliterate Israel and do significant damage to the United States and its citizens.

When Bo and his wife Julia move to Israel with their children, they are look forward to immersing themselves in history, culture and the sights as Bo does routine work for the U.S. But then evidence of a mole burrowing around in the agency and a modern-day Goliath emerge.

Will Bo and other agents survive the physical and personal attacks?

Author David Munson was a career Federal Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Naval Investigative Service (now NCIS), often on undercover assignments. Co-author Diane Munson has been an attorney for 28 years and is a former Federal Prosecutor and official with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

I enjoyed this book.

Ada Brownell

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