We love our readers, and we’re thrilled you love us, too! We’re thankful for every person who comments on our blog posts, follows us on social media, and buys our books. Some of you have become friends, street team members, and prayer partners, taking the love to whole new levels. Thank you! Without readers, authors are nothing. But what would readers do without authors? As a reader, I don’t want to find out.
Today I want to offer some tips for sharing the love.
Why review books?
Reviews aren’t for the authors. Some authors don’t even read them — gasp! I watch mine for the first week or two after a new release, then scan from time to time to get a general feel for the tone. I don’t check every day to see if a new one has been posted or have the number of reviews for each book memorized. Who has time for that? It can totally sidetrack an author, making her prone to self-doubt with a low review and, possibly, pride at high ones.
Reviews are for potential readers. They tell those looking for their next read whether this story is worth them spending their time and money on, and why.
What should you say?
How the book made you feel. What emotions did it evoke? We read romance for entertainment, primarily, though with a Christian story, you’ll often also find something deeper as well. Did this book make you feel hopeful? Like you’d just had a great vacation to a fictional land? Like God’s love became sweeter to you?
Here’s your review writing prompt: “I loved this book because…”
There’s no need to detail the plot. The potential reader has likely already read the book description at the top of the page. She’s interested, but not sold. Right now she is more interested in knowing whether the author handled that story line well than to have it repeated.
Please, no spoilers. A general rule of thumb is not to give details about anything that happened beyond the first quarter or third of the book. If the author didn’t mention a particular twist in the description, please don’t offer that information to potential readers! We want to hold back some surprises.
Exemption: if the book hit a Hot Button with you and you feel others should know about it, consider mentioning it, but wording it carefully. I dealt with infertility in one of my stories, but didn’t put that in the description, as it didn’t come up until quite late in the book. If you, reader, felt sucker-punched by that turn of events, think about how to word it in the review without spoiling it for others, yet still protecting others who might be vulnerable. It can be tricky!
A review doesn’t need to be long. One to three sentences is fine. More is also okay, but don’t think you can’t write a review because it will take too long. Simply write how the story made you feel.
A review should always be your honest opinion, not what you think the author wants to hear. However, consider the old adage: if you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all!
If you were given an ARC (advanced reader copy) or review copy (and did not also pre-order/buy the book), you MUST legally say something to the effect of: “I was given a copy by the author (or publisher), and this is my personal opinion.” Use your own wording, but it does have to clearly state that you weren’t coerced to say anything at all, let alone something positive. The words “in exchange for a review” are no longer acceptable on Amazon.
Where should you post?
Most readers think first of Amazon, and that’s a terrific place. There are others, as well. Amazon has country stores, so consider posting on amazon.ca (Canada), amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), and amazon.au (Australia) if you qualify to. Reviews placed specifically on those sites rank higher in those countries than ones pulled in from amazon.com.
If the book is also available on other platforms, feel free to post the identical review there. Nook, Kobo, and iBooks all allow reviews. (Tip: if you borrowed the book on Kindle Unlimited, you won’t find the same book for sale elsewhere.) Goodreads is a great spot for a review as well.
But the best gift you can give an author is simply recommending her book to your friends, not only strangers who might be surfing online stores. Here are some ways:
• Tell your real-life friends.
• Recommend the book to your local book club.
• Ask your library or church library to buy a copy, or ask if you can donate one.
• Talk about it online.
• Post your review in Facebook review groups and on your timeline. Engage in book discussions on Facebook and offer your favorite books when applicable.
• Share author’s posts on Facebook. Share Inspy Romance blog posts, too!
• Tweet about it, pin the book, blog about it.
• Add the book to lists on Goodreads.
• Take a photo of you reading the book (digital or paperback) and post that.
• Loan your paperback to friends.
• Join an author’s street team, or offer to moderate a Facebook group with her.
Inspy Romance readers, what do you think? Do you have any other ways you know of to help support an author you love? Authors, do you have something to add to the wishlist?