Welcome one and all to our Book review challenge, I just want to thank everyone who is supporting this series it means so much to me. So what have we got for you?
I truly believe that books and book sales are changing as people browse virtual book stores to buy their books. This is where the book review really will 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 in the last week “Since I starting writing my book I’ve come to realise how important book reviews are” well, we’d be well on the way down to the nearest bookstore to stock up on books!
So today I’m in the spotlight talking about book reviews and giving you some simple easy tips to start you off book reviewing. I’ll get you thinking about reading a different genre and we have a guest piece from Melissa Newman at Martin Sisters Publishing.
We’ve been busy signing readers up who want to read and review one book from the line up we have to offer. There are still copies available of many of the books.
Thursday 26th June – Book reviewing by Bodicia from A Woman’s Wisdom + How to download a PDF file of a book to your kindle+ non-fiction reviews.
Friday 27th June – The Importance of book reviews by author Terry Tyler + a look at Goodreads + A bad or negative review, should you write it?
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 + 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.
Let’s find out more about Rosie Amber’s book reviews.
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 write for 2 local magazines and post 5 selected book reviews to each magazine per month. The magazines go out to 7000 readers in my local area and both have on-line versions. (Featured authors tell me they love this because they can visit my book review pages from all over the world)
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.
3) What format do I like books to be in for review?
I really like paperback books best, but I also enjoy using my Kindle as an alternative. I do understand the cost of sending books to reviewers, so I accept books in Mobi or PDF. 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.
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. Sometimes I’m specific about the genre of the book, but not always because people can make their own choice about what they might like to read. Often at the end I say what I liked about 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 that is full of all the book plot I find there is nothing left for me to discover myself, so I would not buy and read the book. I won’t say I don’t like a book in the review, but I may say if I found parts difficult or challenging to read. There are ways to use words so that hopefully they don’t offend the author.
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. I may let them know that the book didn’t suit me and I feel I’m unable to write a review for them.
12) Do I work with any publishers or groups who regularly ask you to review books?
No, I have reviewed a couple of e-books for Sainsbury’s and a book for booktrope.com. Otherwise it’s just my 2 local magazines.
13) Tell you about any book which I’ve recently read and reviewed which really impressed me.
Roy Dimond writes some fantastic books which make you think about yourself deeply and the world around you.
Guest Piece from Melissa Newman at Martin Sisters Publishing
I asked Melissa about the importance of book reviews from a Publisher’s point of view. Here’s what she had to say;
1) When an author approaches you with their work, do you ever research them to see if they have written and published any other books?
Yes. We do research authors. We like to see what they’ve written and how or if they market themselves. If they do it’s a big plus for us. Some writers believe that once the book is published then the heavy lifting is done – not so. The heavy lifting is just beginning. Your work is not truly complete until someone reads it; and for that you need to market your work.
2) If you saw an author had previously self-published a book and had several book reviews, how many reviews and what ratings would impress you?
We are not turned off by self-publishing but if an author has self-published we like to see that he/she has implemented a good plan for reaching potential readers.
3) When reading a book review, what types of comments would make you feel it was from a genuine reader and not just a friend of the author?
Genuine readers don’t usually use cliché’s, hyperbole and what I like to call “sales speak.” They are honest about their feelings toward the author and his/her work and it shows.
4) How important are book reviews to the book industry?
Book reviews are extremely important to the book industry but just like everything else in marketing, when the message is obviously controlled then it spoils the book review industry as a whole. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool and if you give readers a platform to speak opinions then book reviews work – when those reviews are paid for and the message is controlled, they don’t.
5) Would you ever consider representing a book that had previously been self-published?
Martin Sisters Publishing may consider a book that has been previously self-published but it’s not likely. The initial launch of a book is crucial – that’s when you get the most “oomph.” If it has already been released the “oomph” is gone and it’s much harder to build an audience.
Thank you so much Melissa for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. Find more about them here http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com/
Easy tips for writing a book review – I’ll look at it again in a deeper article later in the week.
1) Have a note book and pen handy.
2) Make a note of the Book Title, author, publisher and date you start the book. You might want to state the genre/ category the book falls into.
3) The first paragraph – what did it tell you? Note down names, places, time frame, any first impressions you get.
4) The first couple of chapters may well introduce lots of characters, note them all down they may be significant later.
5) As you go through make small notes or just use 1 or 2 words about the main events, such as a tournament, a party, a wedding, new job, a journey, etc to jog your memory when writing the review later.
6) At the half way stage of the book you should now have a good feel for the book. Is it fast paced? or Slow? Are there several characters narrating? Are there a couple of places or time frames being used? Can you guess where the book is leading? If its a thriller or mystery, are you being lead down dead end routes just when you think you’ve guessed the plot?
7) Has the feel of the book changed since the start? For instance a thriller may turn very sinister.
8) For the second half of the book, there may be less notes to make, you know the characters, the know where the book is set. Note any twists and turns in the storyline. After half-way the book will be well into the story I probably won’t use much of this material now for my book review because I’m in danger of adding spoilers and giving too much away.
9) The end. So after you’ve read the last page, how do you feel? Sad? Elated? Enlightened? Frustrated? Some books have cliff hangers leading on to the next in the series. If this is part of a series does it have you wanting to grab the next book? Did the ending surprise you?
10) Now think about a review. Think about what you would personally look for when choosing a book? What do you like to read on the back cover of a book? Or in the general description when you buy on-line?
11) Try writing no more than 10 lines to start with about the book in a way which would entice yourself to pick it up. Some reviewers start a review using the published book description and then go on to talk about how they liked the book.
Or perhaps you didn’t like the book, try writing a bit about the plot and the characters, but say how they didn’t work for you. Think about your choice of words, someone has spent hours writing and producing this book. If you really have strong reasons for disliking a book, no review may be kinder than leaving a rude one.
Genres; Moving out of your comfort Zone.
Be aware that many, many books these days cross genres; YA thrillers, romantic mysteries, historical adventure. There are so many sub-genres within the book world that you shouldn’t be blinkered and limit the type of books you try. There is just so much choice out there now with the explosions of e-books and self publishing.
Be adventurous and come out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Challenge yourself to read something new or an old classic. I even read a “New Classic” recently. Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
is marketed as a New Classic by Penguin. Throw in a non-fiction book every now and again, mix it up and if you’ve been in a rut lately you might just be inspired by some of the new up and coming authors. I think we’ve a great selection for you here on this series.
Tomorrow you’ll hear from Bodicia a book reviewer who blogs at A Woman’s Wisdom, downloading a PDF file of a book to your kindle and non-fiction reviews.
Do you fancy an adventure in the forests of Windemere with young warrior Luke Callindor sent to protect the heir of Duke Soloman? REQUEST A COPY OF BEGINNING OF A HERO BY CHARLES E. YALLOWITZ (Fantasy) (2 copies left)
How about a modern twist on Tudor history? Relive the life of Henry VIII through the eyes of Harry Lanchester and his merry wives. REQUEST A COPY OF KINGS AND QUEENS BY TERRY TYLER (Contemporary) (1 copy left)
Are you in a romantic mood? How about a romantic Highland fling? REQUEST A COPY OF TALL, DARK AND KILTED BY LIZZIE LAMB (Romance) (2 copies left)
Or how about a romantic romp with journalists in Norfolk with wedding bells in the air? REQUEST A COPY OF BOOT CAMP BRIDE BY LIZZIE LAMB(Romance) (2 copies left)
Want to escape your superpowers? Null City is they place to be in this New Adult paranormal fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF ONE WAY FARE BY BARB AND HANNAH TAUB(Paranormal NA Fantasy) (1 Copy left)
More tales from Null City, can be easily read as a stand alone or part of the series.. REQUEST A COPY OF DON’T TOUCH BY BARB TAUB(Paranornal NA Fantasy)
How about a bit of history? England 1647, civil war and Matthew Hopkins sweeps through the land as the Witchfinder. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BLACK HOURS BY ALISON WILLIAMS (Historical)
Could you see yourself at a tournament of Gamesmen as they play a game of Comet? There’s a mystery man and a potion maker in this fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BIRR ELIXIR BY JO SPARKES (YA Fantasy)
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Can we tempt you with a spiritual quest? Albion, is the oldest name for Britain. Wen and Don take you on a mystical journey through Myths and Legends of these blessed Isles. REQUEST A COPY OF THE HEART OF ALBION BY SUE VINCENT & STUART FRANCE ( A spiritual quest around England) (All copies have now been requested)
Crime? The first book in the Georgie Connelly crime series. Join feisty documentary film-maker Georgie as she dangerously plans to expose Gentleman’s Clubs. REQUEST A COPY OF BUSINESS AS USUAL BY E.L.LINDLEY(Crime) (2 copies left)
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How about a murder mystery set in a coastal resort in Maine? REQUEST A COPY OF DEATH IN A RED CANVAS CHAIR BY N.A GRANGER (Murder Mystery) (All copies have now been requested)
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TJ Therien has his fantasy book for FREE on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Nook), so no limit on the number of copies but he’d still like reviews. (Fantasy) Only
British Adult comedy comes in the form of the Derek series, we have the first book available as a kindle download for UK reader/ challengers only. REQUEST A COPY OF PLEASE CALL ME DEREK BY MAC BLACK (British Adult Humour)
1867, the American Wild West. British raised girl Annie meets wild man Colt McCall after a stagecoach crash. Fantastic cowboy romance. (Voucher from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com to download the book.) REQUEST A COPY OF AN ENGLISHWOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical romance) (1 copy left)
1924, the English Shires. Jazzing flappers and a half share in a million acre ranch in Texas. (voucher from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com to download the book.) REQUEST A COPY OF THE 20’S GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical Romance) (2 copies Left)
16 year old Jade discovers her Grandmother was murdered. She sets out to find the mystery commune killer. REQUEST A COPY OF JADED BY KRISTY FELTENBERGER-GILLESPI.(YA Thriller) (1 copy left)