Update On Our Tuesday #ShareAReviewDay Feature

I’d like to thank everyone who has contacted me about the newest feature here on The Write Stuff: #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays. So far, the response has been great, and I think the posts have been a lot of fun. This is turning out to be a good way to put your hard work in front of new potential readers.

In order to make this process easier on me, and to be sure you get the most out of your posts,  I’ve put together a list of instructions as to what I’ll need from anyone who’d like to have me share their review. You can find the information in the menu at the top of the page, where it says “GENERAL BLOG RULES & #ShareAReviewDay INSTRUCTIONS.”  Please be sure to send the items requested when you email me about participation, and I’ll happily get your post scheduled for you.

Those of you who are already contributors to this blog don’t need to email me first, but you might want to double check the list to be sure you’ve included everything needed to make your post as effective as possible.

I’m really looking forward to reading more great reviews from you folks, and don’t forget, you may submit more than one review. Just spread them out over the weeks ahead, and I’ll schedule them on the next available Tuesday.

Thanks!

Wednesday is Now #ShareAReviewDay

I think we should add a new feature to TWS, just for fun, and to help us share what readers are saying about our books. With that in mind, I’m creating  #ShareAReviewDay for Wednesdays.  You are hereby invited to choose a favorite review of one of your books, and either a) post it on TWS directly, if you are a contributor, or b) email me to set it up for you. (See Contact above.) Since I’m late getting this off the ground, I’ll run it through tomorrow, too, and next week, I’ll give you heads up the day before, so you can plan to take part. 

I’m going to start the ball rolling by sharing a lovely review I discovered on Amazon this morning. Happily, I have received nothing but good reviews for my 2nd Wake-Robin Ridge book,  A Boy Named Rabbit, and many have been truly beautiful. This is the latest of those. Hope you enjoy it,  and if you haven’t yet read Rabbit’s story, maybe this will encourage you to check it out.

And by all means, please share these reviews throughout your social media sites. Let’s get some new eyes on them.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Rabbit Stole My Heart
By writester on May 15, 2018 

“Every now and then, an author manages to write a character so distinctive and impactful, he becomes difficult to forget. Sometimes it’s someone inherently evil; other times the character is a beacon of good. But seldom does such a character elevate himself past memorable — to do so is to vault over a rather high bar. 

Marcia Meara’s Rabbit is one such character. 

I can tell you she’s written another lovely book with a solid plot. I can tell you her settings are vivid and her villain chilling. All of that is true. Yet none of it matters. 

I recommend this story because of a little boy named Rabbit who climbed down off a mountain and strode right into my heart. 

This is a heart-warming tale of love and family, one that’s sure to tug at any reader’s heartstrings. It’s also a story you don’t want to miss. It’s a must-read.”

Buy 5-Star Rated A Boy Named Rabbit HERE.

Good Reads! #BookReviews

I’m the curator of the blog for my indie press and we periodically do a book review post. This time I got a plug in for Marcia’s delightful Wake Robin-Ridge series.

25063141

What We’ve Been Reading Lately

by Kassandra Lamb (on behalf of the whole misterio gang)

Time for another round of book reviews from some of our misterio press authors. Most writers don’t get to read nearly as much as they’d like to, because so much time is taken up with their writing. So when we discover a really good book, it’s an extra special treat!

book coverKirsten Weiss ~ The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)

Supermodel Lulu Landry takes a swan dive off her balcony. Is it suicide or murder? Down-on-his-luck PI Cormoran Strike has been hired to find out.

The Cuckoo’s Calling, this first-in-the-series mystery novel by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowlings, is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long while.

Read more…  (including my review of Marcia’s books)

Make August WRITE A REVIEW On AMAZON MONTH @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews

August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews

rosie gardening 02 facebook wp

 On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams.

 The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!).  You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time.  The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

still life in chiaroscuro: opened antique book, a swan feather and a red rose in a vase

 Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book.  No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.  Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

 Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.

The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.

It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

 Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.

A review can be as short as one word.  The shortest one I have is just two 🙂

You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.

No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  I will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

e8c1205233b316c233eef8164ba54183_zpse70b3f9b

 If you have a blog and would like to spread the word about #AugustReviews, please feel free to copy and paste this blog post, provide the link to it, re-blog it, or whatever ~ many thanks, and I hope you will join in to make this idea a success 🙂

Hive Magazine Features My Review of Lee Child’s Make Me

bd236d9f767752f88aa849723c414c58
Dancin’ Like a  Bulldog Puppy, Here!

Last October, I was contacted by Vanessa Burton of the soon-to-be-launched eMag, Hive. She asked if I’d be interested in contributing my Bookin’ It review of Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher book, Make Me, saying she really loved my writing style. I was flattered, said sure, and just remembered today to go looking for it. And sure enough, there it was, on Hive’s Culture page. (Me? Culture? *Snort*)

Seeing my review in the mag was a bright spot on this gray morning, so I thought I’d share it with you.  Here’s a screen cap for a quick look, but you might also enjoy checking out the mag, too.  Hive

Ain’t Life surprising at times?

NOTE: In no way am I advocating writing magazine reviews/articles on a regular basis, without being paid for them. This was a one-time thing for me, and I enjoyed the “reprint” of something I’d already written, but I believe writers should be paid for their work, even their reviews, with only rare exceptions.

hive make me review

NEW Book Bloggers Hashtag #TuesdayBookBlog

#TuesdayBookBlog

RBRT (1)

Most Twittering bloggers know about the benefits of ‘blog share’ days; it all started with Rachel Thompson and her fabulously successful #MondayBlogs.  Now, there is also #wwwblogs on Wednesday (Wednesday women writers), #SundayBlogShare, #ArchiveDay on Saturday, and many more.

Since Rachel started #MondayBlogs, she’s been battling against people using it for book promotion; her view is that you have six other days of the week to promote your books, but #MondayBlogs is about the writing itself ~ in other words, blog posts about anything other than your book! She now states that there should be no book promotion of any sort on #MondayBlogs, not even third party reviews, which is understandable as there are so many ways in which her guidelines can be abused.

Because there are so many avid readers, writers and book bloggers who understand the benefit of blog share days, Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team is introducing a new hashtag on Tuesdays, for book posts only: #TuesdayBookBlog. The first day this will be used is Tuesday, November 3rd.

As anyone who starts a hashtag knows, the main difficulty involved is dealing with ‘hashtag abuse’ ~ tweeters who spot a popular hashtag and add it to any tweet, whether relevant or not. We will do our best to limit this; please feel free to point someone in the right direction if you see this happening.

Reading Original

So what are the guidelines for #TuesdayBookBlog?

DO post:

Blog posts only!

Book reviews ~ either for your own books, or other people’s, or book reviews you’ve written on your blog.

Author Interviews ~ yours or others’.

Cover reveals ~ yours or others’.

Upcoming/new releases ~ yours or others.

Articles or guest posts about books/writers ~ you/yours or others’.

DO NOT post:

Anything that isn’t a blog post

Blog posts that aren’t about books/writers.

Porn.

Blatant promotion of an existing publication that isn’t a proper article – in other words, we don’t want to see a blog post that consists of nothing but the cover of your book, Amazon blurb and buy links. This was one of the ways in which #MondayBlogs was abused, after people were told they couldn’t use the hashtag for tweets with Amazon links.

To get the most out of #TuesdayBookBlog:

Retweet others on the hashtag and spread the word. Hashtags work best when you do your bit, too.

The power of Twitter is in the retweet, more than the tweet. Hashtag retweets are never guaranteed, but do remember that the more you do, the more you are likely to get back.

We hope you will achieve good results from #TuesdayBookBlog, and look forward to seeing you there!

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger – Rosie Amber

FFGB Graphic

 Amber rose

Today, our guest blogger is Rosie Amber, who is going to talk to us about how and why she does book reviews, where you can follow her blog, and how you can contact her if you’d like to submit something of your own for her or her team to review. Thank you for being here today, Rosie. Now take it away, Flower Lady! 🙂

rosie gardening 02 facebook wp

Thank you for inviting me to The Write Stuff blog today for a chat about book reviewing.  I’m Rosie Amber and I run a book reviewing blog at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/
You can also find me on Twitter @rosieamber1

Why as a reader I think reviews are important

In today’s world the book market is reaching saturation point. Self-publishing and e-book opportunities have opened the doors to publishing which were once held closed by publishing houses. More and more people are buying books online where they look at the book cover, the book description and they check out other reader’s reviews.

I love reading and want to share the books I love with others, so what better way than by writing a review and posting it on various online platforms and book buying sites.

As a reviewer, I post reviews about nearly all the books I read as long as I can rate them 3* or above. Below this I won’t review, I feel a “no review” says as much as a 1 or 2*. If I’ve been asked to review the book for an author and it will be below 2*, I’ll contact the author with an appraisal of their book, with my thoughts on how it could be improved.

What makes a good review?

I write short reviews. I’ll explain the book genre up front, then if it’s not one a reader likes, they can move on. I’ll usually talk quickly about the main characters and where or when the book is set. I’ll then go on to give a bit of information about the storyline, so that readers can decide themselves if the book sounds enticing. I’ll finish with a summary of what I liked about the book and if necessary what didn’t work for me. If the book needed another run through editing I will mention that and it will reflect in my rating. It’s so important in this competitive market for writers to put out their VERY best piece of work and not rush to publish.

Running a review blog

Rosie's Book Review team 1

A year ago I filled my blog with all my own reviews, but my request list was getting long and I was being asked to review genres which I didn’t enjoy. So I created a book review team. Members join on a voluntary basis and review books around their own lives. There is no minimum or maximum number of books to read as long as they read and review a book in a month. We post reviews on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Goodreads, reviewer’s blogs and I get a copy of each review which goes out on my own blog.

It is set up so that authors provide several copies of their work and we give them multiple reviews of the book all from one place.

It is complex, I’m fielding book review enquiries from authors, managing the review requests from the team, making sure they review within the one month and dealing with any of their queries, sending out notification to the author when the reviews comes in and drafting up my copy of each review for my blog. On top of that I have my own review request list which is currently around 50 books. I try to read a book in no longer than 2 days. This is a hobby, I have to work it around family life and part time employment. All the reviewing is free with no monetary values exchanged. This is important with the current Amazon clamp down on paid reviews and fake reviews breaching their rules.

Approaching us for a review

The best type of author wanting a review is one that has found my blog, spent a good time checking out the type of books we read, the style of reviews we write and actually getting involved with some of the posts via comments and sharing on social media. I hang out on Twitter a great deal.

Then when they have got a good feel for us I’m happy for them to make contact via the contact forms. There is a good set of instructions about the RIGHT way to go about it.

It’s very obvious if a new author finds my blog, “Follows” by joining and then fills in the book request form. I get all the e-mails, the one which says “You have a new follower” and when it’s followed by a book review request I KNOW the author has spent little time checking me out.

Then when they send a copy and paste review request or they call me Amber or no name at all, I get miffed. Most authors understand I’m busy reading and living my life and I will get to their book, some are a little impatient. DON’T OFFEND A REVIEWER BEFORE THEY’VE READ YOUR BOOK!

All I ask is that authors remember the team and I are human, we do this because we like reading, we won’t like every book we read but we won’t be rude or leave a 1* and no reason why. We spend several hours reading your book and thinking about a fair review all for free and in our own time so that you might benefit from others who will buy your book.

What else do we do on the blog?

I like to put fresh ideas out on the blog, so I get involved with other projects too. Every April I take part in the April A-Z Challenge, where bloggers from all over the world blog their way through the alphabet. This is a fantastic way to meet new people and make new friends/ followers. If anyone is trying to build up their blog, I recommend taking part in this free challenge. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

I also run my own free tours, I’ve just finished the third annual #RomancingSeptember tour with fellow blogger Stephanie Hurt. Earlier in the summer I also ran a Beach Reads tour and last year I ran a #MysteryNovember tour. These are hard work but a lot of fun for all that take part.

Beach reads 0303

This October I’m running a Readathon, where I’m inviting anyone who follows the blog to read and review three books and we’ll post their reviews.

Readathon

The #FridayFiveChallenge is a quick research post for people who blog. Each Friday people write a post about a book they found online after just a five minute search. The idea is to use a search term and then scan the book covers and choose a book from its cover/ book title. There’s time for a quick read of the book blurb and maybe a look at the number of reviews, then you must make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS? The idea behind it is to look at it from a buyer’s POV. Many people now shop online for books and the thumb-nail book cover is often the first point of sale, get it right and hook the reader, get it wrong and they’ve passed you by.

There is plenty more, from my Wednesday Wing posts with tips from a readers POV, Resources for writers and posts by Avid readers, people who aren’t book reviewers but friends who say they’ve read a great book and tell you just a couple of lines about it.

Do drop in, say hello, pull up a chair and get comfy with people who LIKE books https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

Have your #reading habits changed since the advent of #ebooks?

I posted this on my own blog a couple of days ago, and thought as it has relevance to indie authors, I would share it here as well.

1796593_669443539789357_731656816_n

Like so many, when ebooks first arrived on the scene I was a bit sniffy about them – “I like a real book,” I said.

I know quite a few who still haven’t succumbed to the electronic reader, though they are a dwindling group.

When I finally embraced the indie revolution and decided to self-publish, it went without saying that I purchased an ebook reader (Kindle Fire, in my case), and downloaded a kindle app to all my devices, so I could:

  1. check out my own books
  2. check out the competition
  3. read lots and lots of books that didn’t cost much and didn’t take over every shelf/cupboard/window ledge (and under beds) in my entire house.

Next, becoming an indie author and maintaining a blog involved producing content, and after a bit of experimentation, I settled on a mix of news, reviews, articles on writing – and hosting other authors on blog tours.

As a result, I find myself signing up for a number of review tours, and reading books I didn’t originally go shopping for, but which sound interesting. And here is where I’ve noticed how far my reading habits have changed.

Sadly, I find I’m becoming less tolerant. Back in the day, when books cost £8 – £10 a copy, I would read from cover to cover whether I was enthralled or not. I’d paid for the book and damned if I wasn’t going to get my money’s worth!

Those books were, of course, traditionally published; but that doesn’t mean to say they were all good – I’ve read many a turkey and wondered how the hell it got published. But no matter how crappy it was, my habit was to always finish.

Nowadays? My habit has been well and truly broken.

My kindle is stuffed to bursting with far more books than I will ever read, and I add more daily. The majority are indie books, and many are very good.

Unfortunately, many are not.

I really hate adding to my DNF list, as I know intimately how much time has gone into writing each and every book; the passion, the agonising over whether it’s good enough, the money spent (patently not on all of them, but most). But with that plethora of reading material available, I just don’t have time to invest in a book I’m not enthralled by.

Hence the change in habit. I now give a book 2 chapters to win me over (provided I haven’t ditched it before that, due to formatting and writing errors, or construction and/or word choice I just can’t bear), and if I’m not thoroughly hooked by then, I stop and delete.

This post, like my earlier rant about cliff hanger endings here, has been prompted by a book I really wanted to like, but just couldn’t. I took it on as part of a review tour, and had to pull out (which I feel slightly guilty about), but the first chapter left me cold, and while the second was markedly better, I realised that it was the main character I did not care for, so not a good basis on which to continue.

disappointed

The concept is terrific. I scanned the book to see where it was going, and the plot looks as good as it promised to be from the blurb. But that MC? I understand the issues with writing a somewhat unsympathetic character, and this was an exiled fae, with major issues in his life that led him to be rather cold and unpredictable emotionally and in his dealings with other people. I get that. But I couldn’t warm to him, so sadly that was that.

I find that I’m also much quicker to dismiss a book on its blurb – if I’m not hooked in the first two sentences, I don’t look any further.

I find this change a bit sad, but I’m guessing there are many other readers out there becoming more discriminating too, and I take it as a wake up call – indies, polish that blurb until it can’t fail but grab the right reader (of course it must be tailored to the genre), and for goodness sake, start your book with a dynamite scene!

How long do you give a book before you put it aside? Or do you still doggedly finish everything you start?