Friday, June 15, 2012

Ethos, Morning Star, and the Importance of Writing Book Reviews

I love YA novels, and paranormal, urban fantasy, action adventure... so I was delighted to add Desiree Finkbeiner's Ethos series to my reading list. Morning Star (book 1) was released on March 28th and already has lots of great reviews. It's even been a bestseller in recent weeks with over 21,000 downloads last month! If only I could dream that kind of readership for my novels... Ah, but dreaming is fun, as are reading and writing too.


Desiree's asked me to review Morning Star, which I most certainly will as soon as I've read it. She's also sent me a wonderful guest post on the importance of writing book reviews, so please read on... then read Morning Star (links below), and then review it. Here's a blurb to entice you.



When a mysterious stranger interrupts Brianna’s mundane routine, her eyes are opened to the dark underbelly of reality… immortal rogues, ancient conspiracies, prophetic revelations, savage tribes, mammoth dragonflies…

She’s thrust into a race for her life when Kalen, a warrior from Ethos, discovers that she is harboring a secret… a secret that he’d give his life to protect.

There’s just one little problem… they are tempted by a forbidden romance, which threatens to compromise a divinely appointed mission. They are faced with a choice… love eternal, or the end of the world…
 
That's certainly a big enough choice to make me eager to read. And now I'll hand this post over to the author, Desiree.


The Importance of Writing Reviews: by Desiree Finkbeiner

So you’ve just read a great book and you’re about to move on to the next title in your kindle library… but wait! Did you really enjoy the book you just read? Then why not write a quick review?

What’s that? You’re not much of a writer, and you don’t think your review would do the book any justice? I couldn’t disagree more! Authors work hard to create the worlds you fall in love with. They sacrifice time, sleep, resources and other activities to bring entertainment to your kindle or library shelf. Why not give them a pat on the back for their efforts? Believe me, it means a lot for writers to hear from their readers.

First, it gives them encouragement to keep writing. Second, your feedback lets them know what they’re doing right, and what they can improve on. There’s nothing more discouraging for a writer than to feel that their work is not appreciated by someone out there. Even if there are already fifty reviews on their Amazon or Goodreads profile, your voice is unique, and they want to hear from *you*.

Not only are your reviews important to the author, but they are important to other readers too. Your review is social proof that the book is worth taking the time to read. It doesn’t have to be eloquent or written like a New York Times review. It could be a simple statement like, “Great read! My favorite part of the book was the first kiss. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I highly recommend!”

Customer testimonials are the number one way of convincing other consumers to purchase new products. If the author wrote something you liked, then make it your mission to tell the world! You might be saying to yourself, “But there are already a bunch of reviews for this book. What difference can I make? There’s nothing I can say that other reviewers haven’t already said.”

On the contrary, the more voices that laud a product, the better. Seeing those review numbers builds the confidence of other consumers who only have so many dollars to spend, or so much reading time to devote to new books. So your voice, joined with the voices of others, only sing a louder refrain which reaches more ears.

Post your reviews where it counts: Amazon, Goodreads, your personal blog etc And be sure to share the book on your social profiles as well. There are people out there that are hungry for something new to read, so why not be the messenger bearing good news? Recommend books you like to your friends and they will be so glad you did… and so will the author.

No matter how small your network, your voice matters in the grand scheme of things. Even if only one more reader picks up on that book because of your efforts, you’ve done a great service to the author who worked so hard to deliver that work into your hands.

But if you’re interested in writing a more in-depth review, here are a few pointers that might help. There are six main points to a review that will earn you ‘helpful’ votes by other readers. If you’re not familiar with what I mean, take a moment to look at reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. You can see where people can vote or ‘like’ your review. You can even earn ranks on Amazon as star reviewers or ‘vine voice’. That means your reviews were helpful to other readers and they voted you up with points. Not only is that an honor worth bragging about, but you might even start getting free books from authors who want you to review their books! Who wouldn’t love getting FREE books?!

Better yet, why not devote a blog to your book reviews? Then post them to Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari etc. It won’t take long before word gets around that your reviews are honest and helpful, and you’ll get flooded with review requests from authors and publishers… and that means FREE books!

Here are the six components of a good review:

1. First, start by describing why you chose to read the book. Did someone else’s review influence you? Did you see a post about it on a blog, or see a book trailer online? Was it recommended by a friend? This lets the author and/or publisher know where their promotional efforts are working.

2. Describe what hooked you. Was it the hero or the plot? Did a single unique element jump out and grab you? What kept you reading? This helps the author know what they’re doing right, and helps them develop the quirks that reeled you in. You might be inclined to reveal some spoilers here, but that is up to you.

3. Without getting too much into spoilers, try to describe what your favorite aspect(s) of the story was. Could you relate to the characters? Did the plot flow well? How was the world-building? Were there some good surprises, or was it predictable? 

4. Was there anything that bothered you about the book? Was there any repetitive word use, shallow characters, a hole in the plot, a scene that left you hanging? Or was it written to perfection, enough to make you eager for the next installment? This is your chance to give constructive advice to the author on how, in your opinion, the book could have been better. 

5. Sum it up. Is there something you think other readers need to know? Was there a lot of swearing or graphic content? Do you feel it’s your duty to give people a ‘head’s up’? Was the romance a sweet romance or steamy with lots of skin? Think of the summary in terms of movie ratings. Was is PG or Rated R? Why? The summary will help other readers know what to expect so they don’t get half way through the book and find that there is content they’re uncomfortable with.

6. Finally, your recommendation. Who do you think will enjoy the book? Think demographics: age, sex, genre. Why would enjoy this book? 

Now what are you waiting for? Go review that book you just read!

Thanks Desiree, then I would add, go read another one!

LINKS:

ASIN # B007PSUV2W
Publisher: Hydra Publications (March 28, 2012) www.hydrapublications.com
Author website: www.finkartstudio.com
Author facebook fanpage: www.facebook.com/finkartstudio
Action Adventure Fantasy Book Trailer #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlrpPaNqWBo&feature=relmfu
Paranormal Romance Fantasy Book Trailer #2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wRBiwi7MDA&feature=relmfu
 

1 comment:

Cold As Heaven said...

I sometime write (short) reviews on goodreads.com of books I read. But I don't rate books. That's not necessary, I think. Words are not dangerous. Explicit language and graphic content is OK, I think, as long as it's used to show personality of a character or a setting >:)

Cold As Heaven