Tag Archives: Amazon

Getting Your Review On

book-reviewI’ve always wondered about how people review books. From The Guardian and The New York Times to Amazon and Goodreads (which is owned by Amazon but has separate reviews from it) reviews of novels are prevalent.

How do people go about rating a book or writing a review of it? I’ve seen reviews that are thorough and go through both the positives and negatives of novels, reviews that are no more than giant rants or superfluous praise, and reviews that are either so skeletal that they provide nothing constructive or have nothing to do with the novel.

When I review books, I find that I have two parts of myself: the writer half and the reader half. The writer half is a harsh critic. It nitpicks, deconstructing the novel and examining it on a more academic level. Is the writing good? Are there plot holes? Are the characters flat, stereotypical, believable, etc.? Is there sentence variety, correct punctuation and spelling, metaphors?

The writer half of me will rant about books that are poorly written and go off on tangents about how books like such and such should have never been published because they are everything agents and editors say they don’t want.

However, the reader half of me will look at those same books and love them. Because although they may be stereotypical, have poor world building, have characters you want to smack for either their (1) lack of intelligent decision making skills, (2) jerk behavior, or (3) some combination of (1) and (2), and are overall horribly written, I still get pulled into the story. I find myself laughing or rooting for the characters. I want to know what happens next.

pile-of-booksIf I didn’t have these two parts of myself, my reviews would be quite different. If only the writer half existed, I would have a lot more one and two star reviews (one being absolutely atrocious and five being one of the best books I’ve ever read). If only the reader half was there, I’d have a ton of five star reviews. The writer and reader parts of myself balance each other out. I have very few five star reviews and even fewer one star reviews. The vast majority of my reviews are either three or four stars, and then I get into the meat of why I’ve rated a book what I’ve rated it.

How do you go about reviewing books? You don’t have to place your reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, or other review sites to appraise a book. Every novel you read you form an opinion about. How do you mold the opinion you have?

(Photo courtesy of inkspand and pinterest.)

5 Ideas to Support an Author’s New Novel

Everyone can help support the release of an author’s new novel. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture. Small things help too. And authors will appreciate the help, especially debut authors.

  1. Buy the book. Obvious? Yeah, but there are some people who’d pirate books online. Buying the book helps with sales statistics and with getting that author a royalty. Also, if you’re interested in a soon-to-be-released novel, pre-order it. The more books are pre-ordered, the more attention publishers tend to give them.
  2. Review the book. Book reviews range from a few sentences to multiple paragraphs, sometimes pages. Read the book, write a review, and put it up on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. (You have to add your review to Amazon and Goodreads separately.) Heck, even if you just choose a number of stars to rate it, that’s better than nothing. Because, on some level, book ratings and reviews affect us as readers. For me, there are certain people on Goodreads whose reviews do influence whether or not I choose to read a novel (We’ve got very similar tastes, so if they didn’t like it, I most likely won’t. But if they loved it, I’ll definitely add it to my wish list).
  3. Use Social Media to Your Advantage. Social media is here and it’s staying, so use it. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google plus. Pinterest. Blogs. Spread the word. Let people know you liked a novel. Word of mouth is really important. It makes a difference in whether or not a book is successful.
  4. Press the “Like” Button. The more “likes” a book receives, the more it appears when someone is searching for a similar title.
  5. Set Up Connections. If you know someone in the publishing or media world, help out a debut author. This one applies more to friends than total strangers, but if you read an author’s new novel and loved it, don’t be shy with contacting them. Authors love making connections.

Any ideas to add?