This is the fourth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.
I’ve heard self-published authors mention before that one of the most valuable ways to support them is to write a review. An honest review can help an author sell more books.
There are many ways to share a review. An easy place to begin:
- at a book club
- in person
I mostly think about online reviews after a book purchase from an online retailer. If you have a blog, you can write up a review too. I do this every Friday through the Perfect Picture Book Fridays list.
Book clubs are a great place to share reviews. When I lived in Texas, the local library hosted a monthly book review. Trust me, it wasn’t like a book report either. A couple of times, I was grilled about the books I shared. It kept me on my toes and really tested my affection for a book.
Word of mouth or “in person” recommendations are always good. I find the kid lit community is wonderful about sharing titles.
Reviews are a great place to learn about writing too. While some reviews can be nasty, there are often little nuggets of information writers can glean about the craft — characters, story development, and even genre.
Reviews often teach us that some readers will never be pleased with our stories. A little proof of this (and maybe a laugh too) can be found on Marc Tyler Nobleman’s site. Take a few minutes to watch children’s authors reading reviews.
How do you review books?
Reading: I finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and went straight into Insurgent and Allegiant. I could NOT put it down. After the Divergent series, I may take a break this week from fiction. I’m leafing through the pages of the Lines of Defense Poems by Stephen Dunn. I still have The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on my Kindle. I read the picture book Stick! by Andy Pritchett a very cute story at around 15 words.
If you missed any of the Reader University posts,
- I share why I’m doing Reader Universtiy here.
- My first post Reader University: Try
- My second post Reader University: Read
- My third post Reader University: Name
Susanna Leonard Hill says
I am not a god reviewer, really. I don’t like to say anything bad about something I know someone worked hard on, so if I don’t like a book, I don’t review it. I am too familiar with how much the hard words can sting 🙂 Thank you SO MUCH for those videos of authors reading their bad reviews – I’m sorry they got them, but they are so funny, and it’s so nice to know that books as wonderful as ALL THE WORLD and ORIGAMI YODA get bad reviews too 🙂
Susanna, I love Tad Hills talk about a review about Duck and Goose. I was almost in tears, because the review clearly showed the child loved the book.
Teresa Robeson says
I used to be like Susanna and wouldn’t put out reviews because I didn’t want to say anything that wasn’t glowing. But now I do write review (mainly on Amazon and Goodreads…I like Goodreads because you can just rate by stars without having to write a review. Sometimes I just don’t have time to write something). While I don’t write anything nasty, I try very hard to be honest about how I feel.
The problem does arise when reviewing friends’ books because I tend to rate them high just because they are friends. :} Honestly, I’d rather not have to rate friends’ books but I can’t refuse when asked.
I really to need begin using Goodreads. If you can do stars. Of course, a 3, seems like it might need explanation. I hope one day I have a book and I’ll be like “Teresa you MUST review it.” hee That’s stinky mean, isn’t it?
Sue Wang says
Reviewing a book I enjoyed is definitely more fun than a book I didn’t like reading. I review books to spread the word and good energy. For books I dislike -there is always something constructive to say about that. Given the time it takes I am less likely to write a full ‘negative’ review though. I too like the star ratings.
You make a great point about the time involved. For some of the really BAD, BAD, BAD reviews, I wonder how much time is spent on those. After reading the Divergent series, I found several interesting reviews about the writing, story arc, etc.
Erik - This Kid Reviews Books says
Yay! I’m good at this step! 😉