Let’s Talk About #Bookreviews Day 5 A Book Community

This August I’ve been helping support “Write a book review on Amazon” month. We’ve been encouraging readers to post a book review then, tweet the URL to the Amazon review on Twitter and use the Hashtag #AugustReviews Terry Tyler has been busy collating the review links and posting them in her Hall Of Fame  – catch up with them here  http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/

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My Book Community

Book Reviewing and reading is a big part of my life, a full time hobby, I do it because I love reading and it’s completely non paid work.

Over the years I’ve set up a book review team, where we offer the opportunity for multiple reviews for a book from one place, we’ll post to Goodreads, Amazon, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review to post on my own blog. This way a book and its author get a wide exposure opportunity. Posts get shared by other reviewers and we use #RBRT (Rosie’s Book Review team) on Twitter. More details here http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-5qu

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If you’d like to join our team, do send me a note via the contact above, to prevent the muddy waters of review swaps, we no longer review team member’s own books, but have an extensive list of sites where a member can ask for a review of their own work.

We’ve also set up the #TuesdayBookBlog Hashtag on Twitter where we support book related blog posts for the book community on a Tuesday, we encourage people to use the Hashtag and more importantly to re-tweet and share posts. The power of Twitter is in the capacity to spread far and wide measured in impressions and engagements. It’s not just our Hashtag, we encourage anyone who blogs about books to use it on a Tuesday, it has been running since November 2015 and trends on Twitter at some point most Tuesdays. Guidelines for its use can be found here http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-86n

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My next project.

Ever conscious of linking readers to authors I want to get working with book clubs, both online and off line. I feel I have access to a wide range of books and authors, many of them from the indie/ self-publishing platforms that need all the publicity they can get. I want to encourage book clubs to post book reviews either as individuals or as a club.

Some readers already belong to book clubs which meet in their communities and I’d like to get them reading more indies, trying a wider range of genres, posting more book reviews and perhaps helping set up Q&A’s with the authors about their book.

Other people might like to join an on-line book club again where there is some access to the actual book author and I’m looking at how I can make it work. If you have any comments about this project do leave a reply below or contact me via the form in the header above.

If you’ve enjoyed this series of posts, do feel free to have a rummage around the rest of the blog, we’ve also got easy to use book review templates here to help start you off on book reviewing http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-7Lq

Thanks for reading today,

Rosie

Catch up with posts from:
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.

Let’s Talk About #Bookreviews Day 1 #MondayBlogs

rosie gardening

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.

Readers reviewers

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Book Review Challenge Series – The Importance Of Book Reviews By Terry Tyler

Day 3

Today our guest is fabulous author Terry Tyler. I’ve challenged Terry to talk about the importance of book reviews as an author. Plus we’ll look at Goodreads and should you write a Bad Book Review?

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Over to you Terry.

1)      How important are book reviews for an author?

 Hugely, massively! The more the better. Doesn’t even matter if some aren’t that complimentary; they show potential readers that the book has provoked interest sufficient for people to want to write about it. It doesn’t matter if some of the reviews are only a couple of lines long, either.

 2) What are the top sites for book reviews?

I’m sorry, I don’t know! I only know about the few on which I’ve appeared regularly, which, apart from yours, are A Woman’s Wisdom, Once Upon A Book Blog, Jera’s Jamboree, Me My Books and I, Kerry’s Reviews Blog, A Lover Of Books, Murry Reviews and Interviews and Claire Loves To Read – and a few others…

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3)      Many authors have their books and an author platform on Goodreads. Why do you think it’s a good place?

 Because for some book lovers it’s their main social networking site; some review only on Goodreads, not on Amazon. Whereas other social networking sites are populated by people with varied interests, you know that anyone on Goodreads who isn’t an author promoting is an avid reader! I’ve ‘met’ a few of my regular readers on there.

 4) What else does Goodreads provide for readers that you are part of? (ie Groups, Reading challenge, giveaways)

I know there are a lot of these sort of things but I don’t have time to get involved with them. I do always fill in my ‘currently reading’ bit, and review a book as soon as I’ve finished it, but I’m not as active on the site as I might be. I like to produce at least 2 titles a year, so my time for reading based activities is limited. I have heard it said, though, that the supposed author/reader groups are often just taken over by writers plugging their books, with no discussion.

5) With the KDP self-publishing platform on Amazon, plus its world-wide buying power, this makes it a top site for books. Do people still need to post book reviews on Amazon or will discounted prices keep books selling?

Amazon is the most important place for people to post them. I can’t underline too much how important they are, especially for the independently published author. Amazon is the place where most people buy books from; that’s where the reviews need to be seen, as well as on book blogs and Goodreads.

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6) What would you like to see in a review of any book?

Reasons why the reviewer did or didn’t like it. It doesn’t have to be a clever literary critique, just their opinion, and in their own words, not using all the review clichés; ie, please don’t tell me that a book has ‘flawed characters’. If I’ve read that once….! Everyone has a flawed character! Most of all, a review should be honest. I’ve been caught in the past, buying books that sound from all the reviews that they’re going to be excellent, only to find them full of wooden dialogue and grammatical errors.

 7) Have you ever paid for book reviews? Are they considered “Professional” and important?

I wouldn’t dream of it. I don’t know how they’re considered by other people, but I’d say that if the only way you can get reviews is to pay for them, then maybe you ought to re-consider your book, or your approach to marketing. I believe there are sites when you can pay for 5* reviews. Awful! Recently, someone approached me on Facebook, saying that if I sent him review copies of my books he would write me 5* reviews for them. I asked him how he could say that, when he hadn’t even read them, and blocked him.

8) What’s the best way to deal with a review from someone who didn’t like your book?

Do nothing. People are entitled to their opinion, and also to express it.

9) Do you think anyone can write a review? Do they have to be a minimum number of words?

Amazon reviews have to be at least 20 words long – and yes, anyone can write a review. Just a couple of lines saying why you liked it is so much appreciated by the author. No-one should feel they can’t write articulately enough for a review. Just say what you think. If you stayed up all night reading it, tell us! If it reminded you of another author’s style, or another book, or a film, tell us that, too. It all helps the potential reader make up their mind.

For me, the ideal review is about two or three short paragraphs long, but shorter ones are just fine. I’ve even got a two word one on Goodreads: “Loved it!!!” That works for me!

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10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books? 

My Amazon UK author page HERE and my Amazon.com page HERE

Thank you for asking me my opinion on this subject, Rosie, and I hope these answers have been of interest to you and your readers!

Thank you Terry, some of those questions were gruelling!

Not on Goodreads yet? What’s all the fuss about?

Lots of us talk about posting reviews on Goodreads, but what if you don’t know much about the site?

1) Goodreads is free to join. Its a huge community of people who like books.

2) It launched in 2007 and it aims to help people find and share books they love.

3) It boasts over 25 million members, has over 750 million books added to its shelves and has over 29 million book reviews. Just look at the difference in those last two figures.

4) You can make friends, follow authors, follow books you like, search book categories, join in book discussions, join groups and get book recommendations.

5) Each year they run a reading challenge and you can set a number of books you’d like to read each year.

6) If you have a blog there are widgets you can use linked directly to your Goodreads site.

7) As an author I have a personal page and an author page and my blog posts are linked to post on Goodreads.

8) Goodreads and Amazon now work together so if you are an author, it should be easier to get your books to show on Goodreads.

9) Good for readers. Many authors promote free giveaways of their books on Goodreads.

Over to you. tell us how you use Goodreads or ask a question about the site.

Book Review ChallengeNegative and Bad Reviews

I can guarantee this is going to cause a scene.

So what do you do if you really didn’t like a book? People who slam a book and its author publically are often called Book Trolls.

Firstly put yourself in the shoes of an author, someone who has toiled hard over their book, you don’t know the mountains they’ve climbed to get this far. Personal, physical, emotional mountains, how would you feel if this was your life’s work?

So you can still write a review, it will be challenging. Find points that you did like, perhaps the overall story, a strong character, a funny moment. You might have liked the first chapter, perhaps it was full of promise, even if it all went down hill from there, still say what you liked.

You can say things didn’t work for you like a fight scene or a love scene. Or you had trouble picturing the mystery building. Some fantasy and sci-fi books need to really make the reader understand new imaginary planets and realms. I once read a book which read like an arcade game with characters leaping from level to level in huge cavernous spaces, it felt 2-D and I longed for depth in the form of the descriptions and the senses, like smell and hearing.

My best advice for a book you don’t like, is LESS IS MORE. If I wrote my favourite character was the mother-in-law and she had a minor part in the book, then I’m hoping the author might pick up that the main characters hadn’t hit the mark. If I said I really like the first three chapters, then there is a hint that the rest of the book may not have lived up to my expectations. If you’ve struggled to write perhaps 10 lines then there probably wasn’t much that made you jump up and down, leave a shorter review.  However you still haven’t been rude about the book.

Ultimately the top LESS is MORE tip. If you can’t find anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. No review speaks volumes. If you’ve been asked to write a review, be polite and say the book wasn’t for you. If you bought the book and didn’t like it, move on there are billions more books out there. Anyone who has publically slammed a book SHAME ON YOU!

Lastly, if you are an author who has received a vicious negative or unfair review, DO NOT react. It will be upsetting but you won’t win any battle with the reviewer. Walk away, and be the better person.

(I’ll own all that I’ve said above, but it is just my humble opinion)

Tomorrow we’ll being meeting book reviewer Diane Coto who blogs at Fictionzeal, Shelfari and I’ll be going down deep into reviewing a book.

Saturday 28th June – Book Reviewing by Diane Coto from Fictionzeal + Shelfari + Going in deep, talking more about reviews.

Sunday 29th June – Book reviewing by Ionia Martin from Readfulthings + The importance of book reviews by author Adrienne Vaughan +Reviewing to Amazon + Gearing up to write that review.

Monday 30th June – The Importance of book reviews by Lizzie Lamb + Authors should walk to the book reviewers side of the fence.

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