Thursday, August 20, 2015

Love a Book. . .Review a Book

by Shirley Hailstock

And the winners are. . .

Credit:Pixabay
During this month, Melinda Curtis and I have been discussing, with our readers, the pros and cons of horses vs cars.  Melinda's August release was about horses and mine was about a car.  It was fun to see who preferred which.  And for those people who commented, we chose two winners to receive our books.  

Tanya Agler gets her choice of one of Melinda's backlist.
Judy Newberry Ashley won a copy one of my August Heartwarming, Promises to Keep.


Congratulations ladies.  And after you read them, please post a review.  

This leads me into my blog for the day.  It's on posting reviews by readers.




Love a book. . .Review a Book

You're a book person.  Authors love book people.  I can't tell you how much you mean to us.  And you have the power to help an author.  You've just finished a good book -- what do you do?  Post a review!  Reviews help authors and readers.  Authors want honest reviews.  They may find another reader who is looking for that exact kind of story.  And you've helped them find it.  Readers, of course, want good books to settle down with for a few hours or a couple of days of pleasure.



Credit: Pixabay
What if you read a book you didn't really like?  Should you post a review?  Yes!  What you didn't find likable may be exactly what someone else finds appealing.  However, if you didn't like a book, don't trash it and especially don't trash the author.  If the book is not your cup of tea, just saying that is enough.  There's no need to go on and on about what you didn't like in the story.  We get it.


Say you started a book, but didn't finish reading it - don't review it.  It's unfair to the readers who come after you.  If you didn't finish the book, you can't give a proper opinion.  The parts of the story you didn't read could give a totally different aspect to the outcome of the book.  Without knowing that, you could be turning someone away from the best book they've ever read.

What should you do if you go to post a review and find the book already has a large number of reviews?  Should you add another one when it's obviously not needed?  The words "large number" is a relative term.  All reviews are welcome and the more, the better for the author.  It can put that book on a best seller list.  It can also help an author move up to the next level.  We all want to advance in our professions.  If you work in Corporate America you understand that annual reviews are done face-to-face with a specific person.  Authors have to rely on readers to give them feedback.  Opinions can mold an author, and provide insight into what readers want.

Credit:Morguefile
Suppose you're a slow reader and by the time you finish a book, it's been out for a while.  What good is reviewing a book that came out a year or more ago?  It has been said (and I don't know by whom) that the Internet has no end date.  Books today also have no end date.  You may have just come across an author you've never read, but you liked the book.  Give it a review.  You're not the only slow reader or the only one with a TBR (To Be Read) pile that can fill a room.  A review can revive a book, giving it a second, third, or even a fourth life.  There are people today discovering music that was popular before they were born.  There are book people who have never read a certain author.  A review could help them find that author, find a new friend or take that friend on a fictional adventure regardless of age.

As a reader and lover of books, you would love to review, but you're no writer.  If these are your thoughts, being a writer is not necessary.  Reviews do not have to be long.  Reviews do not have to synopsize the book.  A review is your opinion about the story.  It can be as short as a sentence or two or it can be as long as the novel.  I don't suggest you write an overly long review.  Readers will not read it to its end, but even if you aren't a writer, just letting the author know you enjoyed her work is enough.




Some authors ask for reviews.  You think that's a little tacky and you won't do it.  Why not?  Anything you buy these days, the seller wants a review.  If you buy something in the store, the cashier points out the survey on the receipt.  A survey is a canned review.  When authors used to do everything by snail mail, they often asked a reader to tell me what you think.  Asking for a review is the same thing.  The only difference is you're posting it online instead of putting it on paper and adding a stamp to an envelope.  It's not tacky.  It's good business sense.  The author wants to know what you think so she can make her next book better, so she can stay abreast of the market, and so she can keep her readers happy.

I'll be honest with you, authors want to make a living wage.  And reviews help maintain that.  Writing is our job.  It's not a hobby, not something we do in between meeting friends and having lunch.  Often, we miss lunch and have to give up outings with friends to complete books and make deadlines.  Taking a moment, to write a comment and post it online helps authors achieve their goal of doing what they love and being paid for to do it.

Credit:Morguefile


As M.J. Rose posted, "Give your favorite authors some online love! It's easy to criticize. Very hard to do the work. Trust me when I tell you that we all notice the positive comments and that we send you a ton of good karma when you take the time to post [a review]".




Next time you finish a book, add a little magic to it.  Drop a note online and let both the author and other readers know what you think.  Your small gesture can make immeasurable difference to an author and fellow readers.

Happy Reading.









25 comments:

  1. Good advice, Shirley. Nothing beats word-of-mouth - unless it's word-of-fingertips. I sometimes search myself on Kindle to see how I'm doing (It's horrifying to see yourself at 1,235,000 in rank) and when I'm feeling clueless and wordless, I read reviews of my old books. It's exciting to me to find a review posted this year for something I wrote in 1992 - and she liked it! I do the same for authors I read.

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    1. I usually read reviews after I read the book. I want to know who agrees with me. And I'm lucky that so far Amazon does not take my reviews down.

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  2. I do write reviews on Amazon, but I haven't signed up with Goodreads. I know, I need to get on the stick. :) One thing I always do, is email the author, when I really enjoy their book. If I read the book in paperback, I'll print their response and place it into their book. I've received some wonderful responses.

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    1. Jill, didn't you just sell a book? Why aren't you announcing that here and letting us do the happy dance with you :)

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    2. Ha ha! Yes, I did, Pam. I received a contract on Monday, through Harlequin's Blurb2Book contest. I suppose I'm still in shock. :)

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    3. I read a lot of books, the majority of them I like. I used to read from page one to the end of every book I opened, but there are so many books to read and I no longer spend time on those that don't draw me in within the first 50 pages. I don't write a review for every book, but I do for a lot of them and always a good review.

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  3. I used to e-mail the author. Id on't know why I stopped. What I do now is showcase a book in my newsletter telling my readers what I'm reading. This plugs another author and a book I recommend. As Muriel said above, nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising. And I find that readers respond to that much better than we telling them about my own book.

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  4. I do tend toward writing reviews of books that I like rather than those I didn't. Isn't that odd?

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    1. Me too. I don't write reviews for books I don't like, but since I see reviews where people say things that someone else could find positive. Once I read a review and the person said the book had too much sex in it. Well erotica and come romance readers would find that was appealing.

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  5. I try to write reviews of books I read and post them on all the sites. Thanks for a reminder that I still have a couple I need to post. And good suggestions on what to post.

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    1. When I post a review, I post it everywhere. I will go so far as to google the book title and see if there are places I can post a review that I don't know about. If it helps the authors find readers, then I'm doing my job.

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  6. Shirley, you deserve all great and good karma for years to come. This was one of the most informative posts I've ever read. I can't begin to tell you how I struggle trying to get reviews. I've sent hundreds of books to people begging on my knees for a review. Last week I received one of the most hurtful, diminishing, and shocking phone calls of my career. A friend I have known for 13 years and to whom I've sent a copy of every one of my books, to called and said," Catherine, I just can't go on Amazon and write a review for you. I don't read romances because I think they are stupid. I hope I'm not insulting you, but the whole idea that they (main character) don't just come out and say, 'I love you' is inane, boring and a waste of my time. I won't do it." There was more, but you get the general idea. A few weeks ago Karen Rock posted the "10 most insulting things to say to a writer." Like everyone I laughed till my sides hurt. Then I got this call. Believe me, I thought after 35 years of writing, sitting in grocery stores, Walgreens, Wal Mart, Airport stores, going to conventions where nobody was prepared for my appearance, being told I was not the guest of Honor after I'd donated 500 books for the gift bag, and being insulted in just about every way imaginable, I thought , naively, that I was beyond this kind of hurt feeling. For this to be over my request for a review --- which we all so desperately need to stay published-- was the end of my friendship. Thank God she didn't give me a review. This incident illustrates just how subjective reviews are. I personally never post bad reviews. I post when I fall in love with a book or author and my bar is high. I have been thrilled to be in the company and associated with some of the most talented authors it has been my honor to know. I haven't read a single heartwarming that was wanting. Some have been stellar. Some haunting. I wish us all the best reviews of our careers. We earned them.

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    1. Catherine,

      Here's a big hug for you. I have friends somewhat like yours. Mine buy my books, but they don't read them. Their taste doesn't run toward romance, and I can respect that. None of them have ever said anything as nasty or tasteless as your friend.

      I have been to bookstores (when there were bookstores) that didn't know I was coming. The person who set things up was off that day and left no instructions. Even when I confirmed ahead of time that I would be there, nothing was prepared. I felt like dirt, but I smiled and told them not to worry, I could set everything up. Luckily, they did have the books.

      However, it's good that we have each other to hug and understand our feelings when something like this happens to one of us. If you read your own reviews (I don't read mine), go read the 5-star ones and that will put you on track. Remember that Designing Women episode where the women get a gift box that opens with applause. They could open it whenever things got bad. Here's you open box. Keep it open as long as you need it.

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  7. Catherine - just reminding you that you know Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner because YOU WORKED WITH THEM! Send your uninformed friend that wonderful post by Kristan Higgins about romance and what it all means for the reader. I think people who can't express themselves in a romantic way are suspicious of those of us who can. Forget that phone call and just channel that disappointment and hurt feelings into the next book. This is old lady wisdom coming to you from the sunny PNW (the part that isn't on fire.)

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    1. Muriel, this is why I love you! Normally, I fight back-- though usually for others, but you are right she is the least romantic , compassionate person I know. Frankly I'm surprisedchow much it stung! I will turn it into my writing. And yes, is anyone wants to know, most of my villains I've met face to face, this is my revenge. Putting them in a book!!!

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  8. Shirley, thanks for your post. I started posting reviews on Goodreads and then got a note from someone saying they didn't appreciate seeing reviews by authors who are just biased in favor of their friends. And I have never put up a review on Amazon because someone told me you go to all the work and if they know you're a writer staff takes them down. So I'm easily swayed. Do the people at these sites not know we are all readers first?
    Catherine, it's just a shame the person waited so long to tell you, but maybe it was difficult for her because she likes you. I hope she gave your wonderful books to people who do like romance. And I wonder about people who can't read about romance when everyone in the world is looking for love.

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    1. Roz, you are the softest heart in the world. I think she doesn't like me at all. But your sage wish that she gave the books to others I will give that thought to the universe and hope its true.

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    2. I don't go to Goodreads. When they first came into being, I was warned against them by people saying they didn't want authors there, so I wisely stayed away. But when I post reviews, I post them there. Maybe it's hit and run, because I don't go back after posting. And I've never received an e-mail from anything about the reviews.

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  9. So well put, Shirley. Thanks for this excellent post. Hugs to you, Catherine! I have, I mean had, a friend who wasn't quite as outspoken as your former friend but could be hurtful too. The latest? "I don't read women writers anymore. I think men are better," and she was talking to me. I had to finally decide to cut that tie. So true, that it's hard to understand people who don't read romance when the world needs more love and positive stories. Am thinking of you, Muriel, so close to the fires out West.

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    1. Leigh, my dear! I think that statement is horrid. While looking at you? Ugh! Are these people off their meds? My husband says it has to do with jealousy. I think there is some of that involved. Plus just flat tacky if not a mean streak. Glad you wrote her off! These are not friends!!!!

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    2. That is mean, sexist and will cut out a lot of really good books. That makes her the idiot.

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  10. Thanks for the tips about reviewing books. I'm as much a reader as I am a reviewer. I review all books I read and post them on at least 4-5 book sites, Amazon, and my blog, Cozynookbks.wordpress.com. I've come to recognize how important it is to writers, and I want to do my part. I review older books too because I agree that someone else may discover an author's newer works because of my positive review of their older book. However, I have to admit that if I read a book that I don't like by an author that I DO like, I will skip the review. I hate the thought of them getting mad at me. ) :

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    1. Laurie,

      Thank you. I can't tell you how important that is. Hey, didn't I already say that? Well it's the truth. As a hybrid author, I am continually trying to find my audience, so I think if I give, I will receive.

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  11. I'm doing the Goodreads reading challenge, woefully behind. I pledged to read 150 books this year. (Yes, the noise you just heard was me falling off my chair). I have to rate the book in order to get credit. This is not easy. I love, love, love giving four and fives can live with myself if I give a three, but really have a hard time with those books that deserve a 1 or 2. (There's not that many.) Sometimes I wish I could do this all under someone else's name LOL

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    1. Wow, I don't think I could do that and write too. 150 books in 12 1/2 books a month. I'm lucky if I get 5 read in a month. Before I started to write, I read 20 books a months, mostly Harlequin Presents and Special Editions. They were short enough to read in one sitting. Today, I read longer books. I love more intricate plots and I love to be surprised by an author.

      As a writer, we tend to be able to figure out what is going to happen early in the book. When I don't do it and something else happens, I consider that a really good book. Of course, all the clues must be there. They can't come out of left field in the last three chapters. One of my favorites is a Sandra Brown book (EXCLUSIVE). I'd been reading her for years in category, then she went into single title and when I got to that book, I was floored by the last page. I never saw it coming. And, of course, that book remains on my keeper shelf.

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