Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Your Voice Counts...

I am often asked by readers about reviews. “Do they really matter?”… “I wouldn’t know how to write a review”….or something along the lines of “What if I don’t like the book?”

It happened this past week. Someone saw a Facebook comment I made about getting a review on my birthday. I said it was the best present ever! The person reading my post responded with, “How do I write a review?” 

It’s a fair question. A good question. Authors aren’t insulted by it at all. In fact, it is great when someone asks. We love it! Here are a few guidelines to help you, though.

Three Basic Guidelines:

1. Write an honest review. Even if you don’t like the book, be honest. Don’t sugarcoat it. 

2. Be specific as to why you did or didn’t like the book. “I liked it because I grew up in Door County and it brought back sweet memories.” Or  “I didn’t like it because I like books with explicit sex scenes and bad language. This one was too sweet.” Of course neither of these are real reviews of Libby’s Cuppa Joe but if they were, the specifics would help other readers decide if they would be interested in the book or not.

3. Choose a “star rating.” I kind of go with the 
            one star = “Yucky, I couldn’t stand it.”
            two stars = “A good story idea but it was poorly written.” 
three stars = “Meh…the book was okay but I could take it or leave it”
            four stars = “Wow…this was pretty good”
            five stars = “Wow!!! I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone!”

This is just me…you can determine your own criteria…but your stars and specific comments should go hand-in-hand.

How long should the review be?
There is no set length. I will share, however that short reviews are often read by many, whereas longer reviews are glossed over. I have an author friend who received a review so long and detailed there would be no need for anyone to read the book! You don’t want to spoil the plot for other readers. And more words doesn’t always mean better.

Where can I review the book?

You can review a book on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else it or readers hang out. For example, Libby’s Cuppa Joe is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as for purchase through the publisher, Ambassador International. Copies have also been purchased directly from me. 

So let’s say you came to a book signing and purchased a book from me, the author. Can you still leave a review on say, Amazon? Sure. Simply say in your review, “I met the author at a book signing.” 

One more word of advice…be sure you are reviewing what you think you are reviewing. One author’s debut novel received a glowing five star review. In the comments however, the reviewer wrote, “I’ve read every book in this series and they keep getting better and better.”  The author, though at first thrilled to see those five beautiful stars, came crashing down. “What series?”

Now for the “How-To”(I’m using Libby’s Cuppa Joe as the example since it is my newest release.) This would be after you read the book of course.

Go to 
·      Type in Libby’s Cuppa Joe in the search bar. I hyperlinked it to the title here so you can click on it.
·      See where it says reviews? You can click on that link or scroll down to where it says “Review this Product.” (hint: it is under my picture and a few ads)
·      Choose the “star” rating: remember…one is yucky, two is not so good, three is “meh”, four is pretty good, five is great, or “Wow, I’d recommend it to someone.”
·      Write your honest comments. Your comments need not be long, just honest and match your star rating. You get the idea.
·      And if you didn’t buy it on Amazon? No problem. You simply say, “I bought the book at a book signing”…or  “I met the author at an event”
·      That’s it. Submit your review.

Do Your Words Matter?
Of course a book receiving many reviews advances in rank and tends to draw in more readers. But another big “plus” is that feedback helps writers grow in the craft. We learn what you like and don’t like. We know when we’ve hit the mark or missed it completely. Sometimes your comments lead a writer to craft a sequel or explore one of the secondary characters more in-depth in a subsequent novel.

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