Tuesday, August 30, 2016

To Rave Or Not To Rave?

As writers, we often read and review books for other writers. It's not as easy as it sounds. Writers are editors. We notice things general readers do not from underdeveloped characters to missing commas. On the other hand, we know how important 5 star reviews are, and we want to be supportive to our fellow writers. Today, author Stephanie Faris has some advice for such endeavors.


Stephanie Faris: 

I’m not a book reviewer. I’m a writer and a reader. However, like most authors, I realize the importance of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Nobody wants to be that author with zero reviews after our books have been on the shelves for six months. So, like most authors, I regularly post reviews for books on Amazon and Goodreads.

However, I know readers who have no desire to write a book. They’ll never know the awkwardness of signing books next to the author they’ve flamed on Goodreads. They’re free to give scathing one-star reviews, which other readers will cheer. If you’re an aspiring reviewer, here are a few tips to help you get started as an online book reviewer.

1. Decide Your Goal

Do you want to build a large following of fellow readers who watch for every review you post? Or do you just want to warn others before they waste money on bad books? Your answer to those questions will determine the next steps you should take.

2. Emphasize the Good

Whether you’re giving five stars, one star, or something in between, it’s important to spend some time saying what you liked about the book. Even the worst book has something good, so mention that before diving into what you didn’t like.

3. Don’t Rewrite the Book

If the book was good, but you would have written it differently, it may be a sign you should be writing your own book. As it is, readers don’t want to know about a book that doesn’t exist. The only option they have is to read the book you’re reviewing, so focus on the elements that work/don’t work in that book.

4. Finish Up with a Summary

Some of the best reviews have a section at the end that summarizes the strengths and weaknesses in one sentence. Ms. Yingling does a great job of reviewing on her Goodreads page and, in fact, I often go straight to her when I’m looking for a great book to read.

With all of that said, I review as an author. If I don’t like a book, you won’t see a review of it from me. It’s either five stars and a glowing review or nothing at all. However, my agenda is merely to support other authors. I personally have found that it’s bad networking for one published author to give another published author bad reviews, but that’s up to each author to decide for herself.


Stephanie has two new children's books to share:

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 


Want to win some of her books for free? Get clicking!

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Do you review books? What do you think of Stephanie's rule of posting only 5 star reviews? Do you think a 4 star review is helpful or hurtful to an author?