Applause!

A review is to a writer as applause is to an actor.

And after you’ve spent a week or so of your free time reading a book, you deserve to have your say—in the form of a review.

If you’re reading on a Kindle or any other tablet, there’s an opportunity at the end for you to do just that. The review space is short and limited to a certain number of words.

I recommend using the standard critique method likened to a sandwich. You’ve heard it before: say something positive (akin to an applause), then use a sentence or two to explain any negatives, ending with another positive comment.

Now, reward the author with the appropriate number of gold stars and you’re done.

It’s easy—and super-convenient if you’re reading an ebook. But if you have just finished reading a physical copy, the simplest and quickest way to write a review is to go on Amazon or Goodreads, type in the author’s name, scroll through their listing of books, and click on the one you just finished reading. At the bottom of the screen for that book, there is a place to write a review and also read those others have already written.

Rankings on Amazon and the internet depend on reviews. They are coveted and appreciated by authors. If you have received a free e-book from Book Bub or one of the others, I like to think of a review as a thank you to the author for the free copy.

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Read Your Reviews

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Do you ever feel like quitting?

Quitting writing, that is.

Do you ever say to yourself, “Who am I kidding? My readers wouldn’t miss me.”

Do you ever play the mind game in which you list all the things you could be doing, if you didn’t write?

Sports, movies, television, exercise, shopping, art, camping, travel, crafts, learning a second language, volunteering …

Last week, I had a few moments where I thought about the “what-ifs” in my own life.

That’s when I read my book reviews on Amazon. An hour later, in tears, I thanked God for my readers. What beautiful and encouraging things they had shared about how my books had touched their hearts … changed their lives.

I was overwhelmed as I read their comments, recalling that the very reason I write was summed up in their remarks.

I felt humbled, energized, and encouraged.

I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to do what I love to do and have such a profound effect on lives.

How could I possibly quit when I have so much more to say? So many more readers to challenge, comfort, offer hope … 

So, when the days of doubt come, give yourself a shot in the arm. 

Jump on Amazon and read your book reviews.

 

Traditional Publishing

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Forty-five percent of book sales on Amazon last year were written by self-published authors.

That’s getting close to half—and predictions are for that number to keep going up. 

Still, there is an honor attached to being accepted by a traditional publishing house. These authors are viewed by some as being “real” authors—although that viewpoint is rapidly changing.

There are not as many big publishing houses as there used to be, making it even more difficult for a writer to get a book deal from a publisher. If they do, it makes it all the more prestigious. 

So, what is it that a publisher might do for an author that they cannot do for themselves?

Well, first of all there’s the imprint of the publishing house on the book cover that is akin to getting a gold star on a spelling test in elementary school (at least that’s how it was “way back when” at the school I attended).

Then, there is the fact that major publishers pull a lot of weight with the brick and mortar bookstores and are much more likely to get their authors actual shelf space.

Finally, traditional publishers may get some of their most popular authors cash advances in some cases and they often have in-house editors. 

In days-gone-by, traditional publishers did a lot of marketing for their authors, but don’t count on that in today’s world. These writers are finding the greatest responsibility for advertising their books is being placed on their very own shoulders.

So, I ask, again, what is it that a traditional publisher might do for an author that he/she cannot do for themselves?

In my humble opinion, not much.

However, if you are young and have time on your side so you can afford to wait for a traditional book deal and/or the points I’ve mentioned are important to you, then by all means polish up your query letter.

We’ve talked about the query letter before, but for those who haven’t been following this blog for a lengthy period of time, I will touch on the subject next week.

 

Now Available on Audible

 

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The Choice: Will’s Last Testament is now available on Audible. In a few days, it will also be available on iTunes and Amazon. The amazing C.J. Stephens produced it for me. His exciting voice makes the words come alive in this emotion-filled Christian Fiction book. Be sure to listen to the audio sample on Audible.     Brenda Poulos