And the winners are. . .
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.
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.
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.
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.