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

 

An Ode to the Hopeless Romantic

By Suzanne Williams

I am becoming a hopeless romantic, and I thought that’d never happen to me. You see, I am the girl who watches all the guy movies, the ones with car chases and explosions, gory battle scenes where heads get lopped off. I’m the one who says, “I love that!” when at the end of the movie the good guy decimates the bad guy entirely.

Chick flick? Puh-lease. You can’t get me to watch them. What’s the purpose of a movie where the entire plot is “Will he get with her or not?” No, I need action. I want to be on the edge of my seat, gripping the couch cushion. Well, to a point. There was this one movie where the good guy just couldn’t get his act together until the last scene. I didn’t care for that so much. But I think you get my point.

Yet here I am a year into writing fiction and I, lover of suspense and action, am writing romance novels. Whodathunkit? It’s funny really because it fell in my lap all at once, and I truthfully didn’t see it coming. I had this idea for a novel with a war theme. I ran it by a friend who said, “Write it.” Trouble was it had a distinctly romance theme, and I didn’t know beans about writing romance. For that matter, I didn’t know beans about writing fiction. Two chapters into the story that became painfully evident.

So I did what I always do when up against a wall, I began to study. Now, there are two forms of study a writer does. The first is reading articles on how to write. I’ve read tons of those and have bookmarked them all for future reference. The second form is reading. Reading is by far one of the most important things any writer can do to learn their craft. And not simply reading the good novels, but also the bad ones. Of course, you don’t know until you begin to read it if it’s good or bad, but it’s in the reading you start to see story structure, plot  lines, and all the nuances of what works or fails more clearly.

One of the worst books I read taught me the most about what not to do. The further into it I got the more I knew what I wanted to avoid in my own writing. Another book I read more recently partially succeeded. It had a great storyline and believable characters. However, the author made some minor mistakes that if corrected would have greatly improved the story. I learned from that book as well. But I think the best thing about reading is when I find a real gem. That’s the book I would never have read except I wanted to know if the author could pull it off.

My most recent gem is “Descended” by Dana Pratola. I’ve never been a paranormal romance fan. There’s something weird about semi-human/supernatural beings falling in love when I still struggle with the “falling in love” part in humans alone. Yet she did something in this novel that I was not expecting. She made me believe. I was sucked in from page one and believed every word she’d written. This despite my brain’s need for facts and truth (I’m a history nut). Somehow through her words, I threw out all my concrete knowledge of life and said, “Yeah, this could happen. I can see it.”

I asked myself afterward why that was. What did she do that other authors had failed to do? And the answer came down to two things. One, she made paranormal romance Christian, clean, and morally right. I didn’t think that was possible. Two, the attraction between the characters was as much physical as it was in their heart. I have a distinct problem with romance novels where “he” is looking for a “wife” as if she’s a vase of flowers.

And while I’m on the subject, I also have a problem with a romance novel where the physical overtakes what’s in the heart. Now, I’m sorry folks, but sex (yes, I said the “s” word) is not the end all in a relationship. As a Christian, love and marriage, commitment and the uniting of two hearts, comes first. There isn’t any other way to write a good romance novel because the physical soon fades away, and then you’re left with what?

I’m enjoying my foray into fiction – loving it, in fact – and I like to think it’s making me a more well-rounded writer because I know now what I like to write about and how I like to write it. I can write it better, and I understand what I’m doing more often than not. I’ve also made great writer friends, met some wonderful, supportive readers, and expanded my bookshelves incredibly. But most of all, I’ve become a hopeless romantic. I see now the value of, “Will he get with her?” And to me that’s worth more than words.

But don’t expect me to give up my action movies.

MISSING. The story of three generations of one family tied together through love, loss, and war.

Adele Davis’ husband, John, went missing in action in Vietnam. Five years later, she meets Stephen Sanders and falls in love. Yet should love again? Or does she dishonor her husband’s memory?

Amos and Elizabeth Sanders’ son, Andrew, left home to fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. But he never returned. A strange series of events returns him to them along with something far greater.

Doug and Molly Sanders both have secrets. What happened to him when he parachuted into France on D-Day? And what happened to her? Will their secrets destroy them both?

Romance and a Cup of Tea

by Suzanne D. Williams

So there I was, Kindle in hand, ready to read, and my thoughts went something like this:

Ah, a romance story. This should be good. Chapter one, enter main male character. Rugged cowboy who used to live here. Gotcha.

I clicked. Next page. Enter female character. Oh, I like her. She has a bit of a past to overcome. That’ll keep it interesting.

Chapter two. Male character stumbles across female character. Chemistry. Yes. I see where this is going.

Chapter three. Wait! He has a past too, and his traumatizes him. Fun. Will he overcome it? Will it drive them apart? (Of course not. It’s a romance novel. They’ll get together.)

Click. Chapter four. Chapter five. Chapter six. Yawn. Wait. I’m bored? What happened? Click. Chapter seven. All is resolved between them.The family thinks he’s great. He’s overcoming his obstacles. I glance down at the percentage meter. Thirty percent? What happens in the rest of this book?

Chapter eight. Stop. Why am I reading from her brother’s point of view?

Chapter nine. I don’t care he’s eating catfish.

Chapter ten. Hold up. She does charity work? You’re just now telling me this? What does that have to do with him and her?

Chapter eleven. Big cataclysmic event. I rub my hands in glee. Maybe the author will drive them apart. Make this more interesting. No? What? The streets of the town lay which direction? The little old lady had what happen to her? Volunteer fire department? And who’s the blonde girl?

WHERE’S THE COUPLE AT?

Oh, that’s right. They’re great. We fixed them by chapter seven.

That’s when it hit me. Writing plot in a romance novel is like brewing a good cup of tea. (You say, “How about coffee?” But I don’t drink coffee and I’m writing this, so I say “tea.”) A good plot boils the story down to the perfect concentration. Too weak and the reader becomes lost. The story rambles. It’s no longer a romance. It’s a … story about an entire town. It’s not him and her fixing what lies between them. It’s “and then we went here, and then we went there, and then this happened.”

My favorite plot advice uses the words “but” or “therefore” to determine what happens next. Never slip into “and then” or the story will fall flat. The biggest “and then” problem in a plot is usually spanning time. If the story covers many months, it’s not necessary to fill in all the gaps. Often, it can be done subtly. They met in the spring, but aren’t married for a year. If nothing happens during the summer, I don’t need an entire chapter that serves no purpose. Instead, concentrate the flavor.

Where the characters are in the plot, should tie to where they were and where they are going. In a romance, each scene needs to be about them or to affect them. Leave all the little stuff, what other characters may be doing, to the reader’s imagination. After all, people don’t read a romance to know how the family is or what the town looks like.

Use each event to condense their relationship to its finest level and forget the other stuff. Put me in his head and in hers. Make me love them individually, then bring them together, overcoming the odds stacked against them. That, my friend, makes for one tasty cup of tea, and one I’ll long remember.

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother. She writes a monthly column on digital photography for the Steve’s Digicams website. She is an author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She also works in graphic design and is a professional proofreader.

Book Title: MISSING

Author’s Blog: http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

Amazon site for the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DFT1VS or http://www.amazon.com/Missing-The-Sanders-Saga-Volume/dp/1475294913/

Create Space site for the book: https://www.createspace.com/3867174

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSYgV1vWLYY

 

Interview with Author Dawn Byrd

We are delighted to have Author Dawn Byrd with us today. Dawn tell us, how did this story come to you?

Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I love a good mystery and I love romance, but you don’t find the two together very often. Also, there are very few books available with college-age characters. I pitched the idea of combining all of the above to Desert Breeze and the rest is history.

That’s interesting. Please tell us more about the journey to getting this book published.

I had already published several books with Desert Breeze when they opened a young adult line. I’m excited that they liked the idea for this new series.

I’m sure our readers would like to know more about you. Please tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs. I love sour things….pickles, lemons, sour candy. I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don’t miss mine at all.)

We have two things in common, I love dogs and sour things. So tell us, What is your favorite writing tip?

Write something every day. All of my books are written in 30-day marathons. I decide how many words I want to write in 30 days and map them out on a calendar, so I can keep track of where I am and where I need to be.

I totally agree. So, what are you working on now and what’s next for you?

I’m working on my December release, which is the third book in the “Identity Series.” It’s called Double Identity and is about two seventeen-year-old identical twins who never knew about each other. One, raised by her mom, is a Christian, the other, raised by her father is a wild child. When the two meet up and the wild one falls for the Christian one’s boyfriend, sparks of the worst kind begin to fly.

It was a pleasure having you with us today. Any parting comments for our readers?

Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Zoe is thrilled when she lands her first paying case until she learns she’ll be going undercover at a local blood bank. The fact that she faints at the sight of blood makes working there more than difficult. Who would steal blood and what would they do with it? Is her creepy vampire-like coworker using it in a cult ritual?

When Zoe learns that Nate will be working undercover with her, she’s overjoyed. She soon finds that the gorgeous Rikki’s attraction to Nate is too distracting and considers throwing him off the case. Zoe questions his loyalty even as Nate proclaims that she’s the only girl for him.

Nothing is as it seems and Zoe has no clue who can be trusted. Who’s stealing the blood? Is it the director? The vampire-like guy with the fangs who wears all black? Or, her gorgeous co-worker who has a thing for Nate?

K.Dawn Byrd, Author
When painting with words…expect the unexpected!
BLOG: http://www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com
WEBSITE:http://www.kdawnbyrd.com

%d bloggers like this: