Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Reviewing

So probably everyone knows what a book review is, where a reader can offer their opinion and rate a book for others to see. It can help anyone interested in the book in many ways, such as seeing if its popular or poorly received, part of a series (sometimes it won't be clear what number in a series it may be and reviewers will often clarify) or maybe even the seller's description of the book is misleading. Reviews can be extremely helpful, for the reader as well as the author!

Many don't judge a book based on its reviews, or not solely on them, which is what I tend to do, because after all, a review is a person's personal preference. Someone is going to love the book you hated and vice versa, which really rocks when you think about it. But even so, reviews are a tool that can be absolutely vital to the success of a book... and they are a bear to get!

Relying on readers to write a review is like hoping there won't be celery in the tunafish. There WILL be celery 9 and a half times out of 10 unless you politely ask the cook not to sully your sandwich. I hardly ever leave reviews on Amazon and while I always rate a book on Goodreads, I don't always leave a review. Honestly, before I started trying to sell my own books, it barely even crossed my mind. Then I waited, and waited... and waited... I even hoped to see some "eh, it could have been better" reviews if nothing else, just to see that someone had an opinion. One of our books has had 2k downloads (most from free promotions) and only two reviews. What?? =(

Ok, so I had to do some serious looking into this review business.

I assumed wrongly that one had to pay for professional reviews; I thought that a publisher would pay people to read the work and post their opinions. I have learned now that while some people do pay for reviews, it is unethical and I will tell you why. It's like a false confession. You pay someone to read your book and then they write you an awesome review instead of letting your book stand on its own and earn its reviews, whether they be good or bad. By paying for a glowing review, you are essentially lying and it sure won't help you as an author to become better, or to know what your readers want to see in the future.

How then do you get reviews?

Well. It seems you can just wait and hope, or you can ask for them. Join groups at Goodreads or join some forums of readers and ask if anyone would like a free copy of your book in return for their honest review to be posted to somewhere like amazon. You can also offer the same on your website, blog, twitter, facebook or other social media outlet. You can have a giveaway or a contest. Or you can search the internet for book reviewers and submit a copy of your book. Remember, though, these people are generously donating their time, so be polite and grateful, even if they didn't enjoy your work!

Knowing now how hard it can be to get even one review, and how hard an author has to work (this is likely less of a problem for big name authors) to get reviews, I decided that I would offer to review self or indie published books now and then. After all, we writers are in this together right? Maybe? At the very least, I know how it feels to want those reviews and how weird it can make you feel to go out soliciting for them!

If you are interested in me reviewing your book, contact me HERE at Goodreads. I will be happy to read your work and post an honest review to, Goodreads, and any other place you might like (so far Barnes and Noble won't let you post reviews unless you're a paying customer and I have not yet bought from them), as well as here to my blog with a link to a place where said book can be purchased. If I find that I would give your book less than 3 stars, I won't rate or post a review unless you insist. This is because I see no reason to leave such a low rating that might negatively affect your sales when it's really just my opinion.

To note, I do not do those big long synopsis sized reviews. I feel they give away too many details, even if they can't all be technically called spoilers. What I do is offer my opinion without giving too much away, and this usually results in 1 -5 paragraphs. Please allow about 2 weeks before you start wondering where my review is, but feel free to contact me at any time to ask how I'm enjoying your book so far. I don't mind at all. =D

Also, I will review anything but it's best that it falls under my own genres of preference. Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror, and Apocalyptic/Dystopian. I will also read sci-fi and fantasy, especially if it is mythology based, dark noir, and Young Adult if it has paranormal/fantasy/preternatural elements. I do like thrillers and mysteries and will read some historical romance (especially if it's vikings!) and erotica (just not horror related, as in walls of ravenous genitals attacking people), but I don't enjoy political based thrillers and mysteries, or contemporary romance. I also don't want to read memoirs, poetry, or other non-fiction works unless they are related to hero animal stories, books about autism, service dogs or the science of the weird and freaky and/or paranormal and unexplained events.

Some of my favorite authors and books:
The Hollows series by Kim Harrison; The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne; The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan; the Zombie Games series by Kristen Middleton; and anything by J.A. Konrath/Jack Kilborn, Brian Keene, and Jeff Strand.

Last but not least, if you would like to return the favor and/or are interested in paranormal romance or sci-fi romance, check out these books HERE. I'd love to send you a free copy in exchange for your review.

Happy reading. =)

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