I’m involved with helping to spread the news that August is write a book review on Amazon month, this week I’m going to post some themed book reviewing posts to encourage more people to leave those all important reviews.
I truly believe that book sales have changed as people browse virtual book stores to buy their books. This is where the book reviews really help sell a book in a market place full of millions and millions of books. If I had a £1 for every-time someone said to me, “Since I starting writing my book I’ve come to realise how important book reviews are”, well, I’d be well on the way to spending that money stocking up on books!
1) Where do I post my book reviews as well as this blog?
I choose to regularly post my book reviews to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I also write for 2 local magazines and post 5 selected book reviews to each magazine per month. The magazines go out to over 7000 readers in my local area.
2) What type of books will I consider for review?
I enjoy romance, paranormal, humour, murder mystery, mild thrillers, spiritual and YA/NA books. I will read both non-fiction and fiction. Book reviewing has also widened my preferred reading genres and I do touch on sci-fi, historical fiction and many sub-genres of all those mentioned.
3) What format do I like books to be in for review?
I still enjoy paperback books, but my Kindle is now heavily used. I do understand the cost of sending books to reviewers, so I accept books in Mobi which I can upload to my kindle. Authors can also gift me books or send me a voucher to cover the cost of buying their book.
4) What’s the first thing I do when beginning a book review?
I have a note book with me when I read books and I write down the title and author, the day I begin the book and I start noting character names and places, jobs, relationships etc as I go through the book.
5) How do I proceed after that?
Then I’ll note down specific events from the book, or small phrases or even things I don’t understand which may become clearer later in the book. I usually fill an A5 sized sheet with notes per book. Occasionally I’ll write more.
6) Is there an average time I spend reading a book?
I would say 2 days per book.
7) When I’ve finished a book do I write the review immediately? Or wait a while?
I always try to write the book review straight away while it is fresh in my mind. However if a book has troubled me and left me doubtful about certain points or areas, I might skim read a few reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and see if others agree with me or not. Although this isn’t always helpful if a book has received a handful of only glowing 5* reviews and nothing else. Glowing 5* reviews from family and friends stick out like sore thumbs and can put off new reviewers who would genuinely like to leave a review but feel intimidated. Much better and more genuine for an author to have a range of star rated reviews for their work.
8) Do I start a new book before writing up a review? Or do I ever read more than one book at a time?
The only time I might start a new book before writing a review is if I’m away from home. Occasionally I have more than one book on the go at a time, but the second book would usually be a non-fiction book which I could pick up and put down and is possibly one I’m reading for pleasure rather than review.
9) What points do I try to write in a review?
I like to tell the readers who the characters are, perhaps outline where and when the book takes place. I might hint at some of the plot developments and drop in a clue or two as to what happens. I try to entice the reader to go and buy the book. I’m also specific about what I thought the genre of the book was early in the review, so that a reader can move on if they aren’t interested in that genre. Often at the end I say what I liked about the book or who I think would enjoy the book.
10) What do I try to avoid putting in any review?
I try to avoid spoilers and telling the reader too much. If I read a review or a book blurb that is full of all the book plot I find there is nothing left for me to discover myself, so I wouldn’t buy and read the book. I may say if I found parts difficult, challenging to read, or areas which I didn’t think worked and occasionally I’ll recommend another run through editing, no one wants to spend money on a book which has more than half a dozen errors. However I won’t publically trash a book, there are ways to use words so that hopefully they don’t offend the author as long as they can look objectively on their work and the review.
11) If I find I really dislike a book, would I write a negative review?
No! People have spent a lot of time and effort writing their books. If my review is going to be 2*’s or below I write an appraisal for the author, highlighting areas where I had issues which I send privately to the author. Sometimes this goes down well other times it doesn’t. Common areas are lack of editing, in content and the written word, a proof reader really is a vital asset in today’s competitive market. Other times it is from newbie authors who have spent so long in their writing cave that they haven’t kept up reading within their genre, seeing how writing styles are moving and yes their is even “fashion” in writing too. Just this week I was asked by an author how he was expected to know that opening a book with a dream scene marked him as a newbie. Opening dream scenes have been written so many times I’m afraid, they really are no longer cutting edge writing. Authors also need to be aware of key words which mark their writing as pretty basic, my examples are from Rayne Halls book “The Word Loss Diet
“. Look, turn, see, stare, glance, sigh, smile, really, quite, started to.., began to…. When I read a book on kindle I can easily ask it to count the number of times a particular word is used and some are definitely like red rags to a bull. In the last few months I’ve read books which average no more than 300 pages; one had 1060 uses of the word “said”, another 67 uses of the word “sigh” and a third used the word “smile” 127 times. My point is they make reading them repetitive and they run the chance of boring the reader.
12) Do I work with any publishers or groups who regularly ask you to review books?
I do, recently I’ve reviewed for; Brook Cottage Books, Curiosity Quills, Aria Fiction, Honno Press, Stargate Novels, Publishing Push, Book Publicity services, Bonnier Publishing and The Blue Harvest Centre.
Tomorrow I’m talking about writing a review for a non-fiction book.
There’s still time to join the #AugustReviews campaign.
1) Write a review for a book you’ve read,
2) Post it on Amazon,
3) Tweet the URL of the Amazon review and add #AugustReviews and @TerryTyler4
4) Not on Twitter? No Problem, send me the link using the contact form above and I’ll send it on to Terry, she’ll get it up on her Halls of Fame.