Posted on Leave a comment

Understanding the Importance of Reviews

What is the importance of Reviews? Well, it just might make the difference in how the reader views your book. And whether a purchase takes place.

In my last blog I spoke about a very nice review I received, and I mentioned Booksprout. There seems to be a growing number of review services coming online these days. I have checked out others, and most seem to want to swap reviews.

As far as I know, that is fine as long as you are not swapping type of book review, as in ‘I will review and give your book 5 stars if you will do the same for me’. That would be wrong. But making yourself available to do reviews in exchange for someone else reviewing your book does not violate any rules that I know of. The key is there is no direct link from your doing a review to you receiving a review.

That said, I like Booksprout’s approach. With them I have choices: Free to up to 20 reviews per book; $10 per month for up to 50 reviews per book; and $20 per month for unlimited reviews.

It is easy, cost effective, and it works.

But are book reviews still important?

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

I asked if reviews were still important. In a recent book I was reviewing the author had this to say, ‘any author’s marketing strategy should include the pursuit of reviews…[and] a good number of them’.

Reviews are important. Even bad reviews can be good for you. On a previous book I wrote and published I received a 2-star review. The reviewer didn’t like the book and was highly critical of it and me (the author). I could have deleted it, but I left it up.

Why?

Because it was obvious from the review that he didn’t follow reviewing rules. He skipped around and, in the end, he never finished the book. How do I know? He said so in his review (at least he was honest). But I was getting 4-star and 5-star reviews from others. So, it made a dramatic contrast.

If he had read the book through, the negative statements and/or observations he made would not have been named. In other words, the problems he cited were of his own making! He was careless, should have known better, and ended up writing a review that even a novice could see was wrong.

So, here is a review principle you might use: If you get a negative review while you are also getting positive reviews, consider keeping it on the list. Not on the top, but further down so that potential readers will already have read positive reviews before getting to that solitary bad review. There is a way to do this, but that isn’t the topic today.

Back at that time I had a different website and I posted reviews of my books on that site. It was a good practice that I got away from when I shifted to another website, but now I am returning to that practice.

In building my new website, which is using a storefront theme, I forgot about providing reviews. And in the process of time, I have lost some reviews when changing computers, but others I have now posted to the site. And I will be pursuing reviews more aggressively in the future.

Perhaps, you ask why I am returning? Because it enables readers to check out the reviews of any books they are considering. It shows the readers that I am honest by providing the negative review, but it also shows that the reviewer was quite likely off-base. (If you look for the negative review, I haven’t found it yet; it may be lost.)

Now, if there are a great many negative reviews, you might want to consider a different response. Read the reviews thoughtfully. Do they all harp on the same errors? If so, then maybe you should unpublish the book, fix the errors and then republish. If it is a major change you might need to retitle it as a new work and then seek new reviews.

I did receive another negative review, although it was more of a communication that a true review. In that review, the writer liked the book but felt some of my facts were wrong. Some of the criticism was off, in my opinion. But some of it made me take a closer look. The end result was an almost complete rewrite. So, I retitled the book and republished it. I tried contacting the man, but he never responded. But that was a case of a bad review influencing me to write a better book.

So, if you are doing a review, where do you post it?

The answer usually is Amazon. However, Amazon is making it harder to post reviews. For example, I don’t buy a lot off of Amazon within any given year. Over time, maybe. But not within a year. While I sell on Amazon, I usually like to go into a bookstore and ‘handle’ a book that I am thinking of buying.

But Amazon has installed a requirement that you have to purchase $50 or more from them in a year’s time to be able to post a review. It is unfortunate, but Booksprout for instance lets the reviewer post their review to Bookbub and Goodreads, as well as Amazon.

Reviews are a good way to influence sales. Finding a good reviewer is a little different and I may visit that subject in the future. One source of finding reviewers is kindleprenuer. But even such listings there need to be approached carefully. You want someone who works in your genre to begin with. Check them out. And definitely check out Booksprout. I have only limited experience with them, so I can’t say positively that they are the answer. Only you can answer that question.

All three formats of World of Joseph are available at Amazon. But the paperback and hardcover are available at TR Independent Bookstore where all our books are always discounted. Now that the special discount of World of Joseph of 20% ended at midnight of the 19th, both formats are still discounted the same as all our books. So, you still have great bargains!

Speaking of reviews, why not review one of my books. Next month I plan on submitting more books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

Posted on Leave a comment

4-Star Review

Here is the 4-Star Review my new novel World of Joseph received:

‘R Frederick Riddle’s WORLD OF JOSEPH: Mentuhotep Vizier of Egypt (The World That Was Book 7) it’s certainly an interesting book!

As more and more ancient Egyptian history comes to light through archaeological research we are learning more about the different dynasties and timelines. The author and some scholars make the case for Joseph of the Bible as being the Vizier Mentuhotep. The book is well written, interesting and intriguing. I did enjoy it and the authors take on the life of Joseph.

As a Christian I am always excited to find archaeological evidence that lines up with the Bible. It is also fair to note that there are those scholars who believe that Imhotep of the third dynasty is Joseph based on the similarities of their lives and achievements and timeline.

Thank you, Mr. Riddle for this intriguing book. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.’

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

That was a very nice review. In fact, it was the kind of review that can make an author’s heart sing! In reviewing the book, she indicated that it not only entertained her, but that it stimulated her brain. The use of such words as intriguing and interesting bring that idea forward. It is one of the goals of historical fiction.

Getting book reviews are hard, but getting reviews posted to Amazon are even harder. The above book review can be seen on Amazon. One such place is the eBook’s page itself.

In the past I have not been thoroughly engaged in getting reviews. At first I didn’t know how and later it was a matter of doing the work. It was also a matter of finding the right medium.

I posted an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) on Booksprout and this is the first review from there. You might ask who or what is Booksprout?

Not long ago I would not have known. This only came across my desk recently and I decided to explore it. I couldn’t be more pleased. If this reviewer is any example of the type and quality of reviewers on Booksprout, then I think I have found a winner.

Quality reviews are still desirable. And I am satisfied enough to at least plan to do more reviews through Booksprout. In my mind I am already planning to seek further reviews of World of Joseph, but also reviews of other World That Was books.

Booksprout is for both the reader and the author. The reader can go in and look for books to read with the idea of doing a review. Authors can post their books for a book review. It is win/win.

There are three plans: Free, $10 per month, and $20 per month. I experimented with the Free. The $10 and $20 per month plans allow for increased number of reviewers, 50 and unlimited respectfully. There are also protections from piracy.

It is said that you can’t have too many reviews. So, if you decide to use this service (I get nothing for promoting them), then think long haul. Don’t just submit your book and forget about it. Consider in the future resubmitting the book.

In fact, I plan on using the service on all my World That Was books and to do so on a continuing basis.

What about reviewing other author’s books?

Good question. I am thinking about doing that. I have reviewed books through Goodreads before and plan to do so again. But I see no reason for not using Booksprout as well.

The preorder of the eBook closed August 12th and now all three formats are available at Amazon. But the paperback and hardcover are available at TR Independent Bookstore where all our books are always discounted. The World of Joseph has a special discount of 20% only at our store. That special price ends Thursday, August 19th!

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

Posted on Leave a comment

Reviewing Books

The Riddle Report 06 14 2021

You are an author, and you want to get your book reviewed. Have you ever considered reviewing other authors’ works? If you have the skill to write a book it is possible you may have the skill to review a book. That said, there are a few sand traps to avoid.

I said that if have the skill to write you may have the skill to review. But that is not always the truth. In writing a book you make a commitment to yourself, but in reviewing a book you are making a commitment to someone else. And that entails a sense of truthfulness and transparency.

Let me tell you a story as an example. I’ve actually told this story before so excuse me if you’ve heard it before. Back when I wrote Perished The World That Was, I sought Christian Fiction reviewers. And that proved to be a good mood as I received four- and five-star reviews!

But one reviewer gave me two stars and it is his story I am relating. He was a young man who I later determined was a teenager at that time. He professed he was a Christian and loved the Bible. Because my novel was based on world history as found in Genesis, I accepted him and sent him a copy.

After a few weeks I received his review where he gave the book only two stars. Now normally I would not be bothered by this low score. Why? Because you can’t please everyone. However, in this case he was honest enough to relate why he gave only two stars.

And early on the review showed that he didn’t follow the unwritten rules. What are these? Here are what I believe they are:

  1. You are committed to reading the entire book.
  2. You are committed not to skip.
  3. You are committed to finishing the book reading.
  4. You are committed an honest review.
  5. You are committed to being as transparent as possible.

This young man objected to the scene where Eve was created although the wording of that scene used similar descriptions as found in Genesis and in the Song of Solomon. This may have triggered his following actions:

  1. He began skipping through the novel.
  2. He came across characters who had the same name (these were real people taken straight from the Bible).
  3. He assumed that these all represented the same person.
  4. He eventually quit reading the novel.

As a result, he was confused and decided that I was inconsistent with the characters. That would have been a serious error on my part if true, but the error was his. For example, in the Bible and in my novel, there were two Enoch’s. Because he thought both were the same man, he assumed I had been inconsistent in their character.

His skipping around also disrupted any continuity he would have gotten by reading the entire novel. When you make a commitment to review somebody’s book you follow through. You don’t let your feelings stop you!

Honesty demands that you take the time to read the book in its entirety. I am currently reviewing a book and sometimes I come across language I object to. Honesty says I continue on. I can later point out these problems, but I’ve made a commitment to review the book, so I continue in my review.

His reactions convinced me that he was not fluent in the Bible. Later in his life I think he was better, but I don’t believe I ever used him again. I simply didn’t know if I could trust him.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Should I Review Books?

The only person who can answer that is you. Ask yourself some questions, such as: Do I like to read? Am I willing to take the time to read the book? Can I give an honest review?

If you can respond “yes” to these questions, then try it out. In the end, you might throw up your hands in defeat or you may discover that you enjoy it. And if you do, you may gain a following.

As a reviewer you will want to use some of your editing skills. It is not your responsibility to do actually editing, but those skills will help you find areas where the author made mistakes and you can let him or her know of their errors in your review. It is important to remember that the author is relying on you to provide a review to help in marketing, but also help in writing.

As a reviewer you watch grammar, spelling, readability, consistency, and accuracy. For example, if you are reading historical fiction is the book historically accurate? Does the speech or manner of dress fit the period? Questions like these will help you in evaluating the story.

Finally, remember that in effect you are critiquing and promoting the book. Your words are directed at the author so he or she can improve, and, at the same time, your words are directed at potential readers, to encourage or discourage them about buying.

If you are new to reviewing, you might want to stick to the same genre you write in or genre you like to read. It could be just what you need.

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.