On my Facebook page, we've been talking about book reviews. Some people love to leave them, others feel intimidated by them. But unless you're a professional reviewer, leaving a book review
should be as easy as talking to a friend.
Book reviews are vitally important to authors. Reviews help other potential readers make that final decision on whether or not to purchase. Without reviews, the chances of a book selling more than a handful of copies are minimal. The more reviews, especially positive ones, the more copies the author will sell. And if you want an author to keep writing stories you enjoy, he/she needs to sell the ones already out there.
Some basics on writing an engaging review are below. But first--the what not to dos.
1. Don't attack. It's okay to not like a book, and to say so, but think carefully before you type. Is there a fundamental problem with the work itself? A lot of typos, disjointed writing, a fatal flaw in the plot? By all means, say so. But if it's just not a genre you enjoy but it's otherwise well-written, you might consider not leaving a review at all.
2. If you're an author, don't use a review as an opportunity to promote your own books. That's extremely unprofessional. Putting your author or buy link in the review marks you as a rank amateur who has no clue.
3. Don't post a bad review for an author who is on a best-seller list in order to try to drive that author farther down the list so your favorite author can rise higher. Seriously, that's the same as bullying, and we all know how bad that is.
Now on to the what to dos..
1. This is not a book report. Shed all those old phobias you've carried around since grade school. Unless you're a professional reviewer, you don't need to recap the plot of the book in order to leave a review. What other readers are looking for is your personal opinion about the story. Did you love it? Why? Was it the story itself you loved, or the characters? Would you read it again?
Would you read more by this author or are you anxiously awaiting the next book in the series? Write that.
2. Be quotable. Ever wonder where those quotes on the book covers come from? Or those in Twitter posts? They come from reviews. A quotable sentence or phrase is what every author hopes for. Some of my favorites from my newest release, The Bluest Eyes in Texas, are:
"If you have never read one of Tori's books, be prepared to be HOOKED!!! "
"The Bluest Eyes in Texas is wonderfully written and will leave you wanting more."
"There are twists and turns and heartwarming surprises as well along the way."
"…a heartwarming, challenging story where each person has to cowboy up to find happiness."
"You feel the characters pains and triumphs, laugh and cry with them, and genuinely feel like part of their story."
3. Just do it! It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be eloquent. Those 4 or 5 stars mean a lot. The rest is gravy.
See how easy it is? You will be helping others find a great book, and you'll be helping authors, not only by encouraging them to continue writing but also by helping them sell more books so they can. Also consider leaving reviews in more than one place--Amazon, Apple, B&N, Smashwords, Goodreads--wherever people go to find books or to talk about them. You can also help by posting on Facebook and Twitter, joining an author's Facebook page, signing up for their newsletter.
Get involved, connect with your favorite authors, help where you can. You'll find it enhances your reading experience, and if you're an author, you'll see others begin to do the same for you.
Comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Bluest Eyes in Texas and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Tori Scott has been seriously writing with an eye toward publication for 12 years, though she's been spinning tales and writing poetry since elementary school. She is a former Golden Heart finalist in the prestigious RWA writing contest, a winner in several regional contests, a finalist in the International Digital Awards, and a semi-finalist in the Best Indie Books of 2012. She lists several publications among her accomplishments, including a featured Christmas story in Woman's World magazine.
She loves reading, swimming, photography, traveling, and especially writing, and she loves hearing from her readers. Most of her books are set in Texas because she was born in West Texas, raised in North Texas, and now lives in East Texas. She tries to write what she knows...and loves.
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