Tag Archives: book reviews

Writing Reviews Equals Selling Power

Going into a purchase blind isn’t something people usually do nowadays. More and more, buyers look for the stars before shelling out their hard earned cash. And rightfully so, as nothing stinks worse than spending your dough on subpar products.

However, I look beyond the stars to the review itself. I want to know why people love–or hate–a product. I want to know how it fits and how it holds up. I want to know the nitty-gritty as well as the undying lust. In short, reviews are the cyber-sphere’s version of word of mouth.

So, do your fellow buyers a favor and review the products you’ve purchased. Be honest, but not callous. Or, conversely, not all gushy-mushy. Give solid reasons for your likes and dislikes. Share whether you would purchase the product again or whether you’d buy it for your Aunt Harriet. Lastly, don’t forget to mention the reason why.

The why is the key to a good review.

  • Super cute, but the craftsmanship seems shoddy. The sole separated from the shoe within a week.
  • The skirt was the perfect length for my 5’2″ frame. Too often mini skirts on me are maxi sized.
  • The phone case actually fit my LG G2. I had to search long and hard to find one that works for Verizon’s special size. (True story, which begs the question: Verizon, why is your version a different size than every other carrier’s? Seriously.)
  • Despite keeping me glued to every page, the end of this novel was a disappointment. I didn’t like that the story had no real resolution–not unless I buy the next novel in the trilogy.
  • The mugs were broken when I received them. The supplier immediately resent new ones, which my mother-in-law loves because they are smaller than most giving her time to drink her coffee before it cools.
  • Likeable characters, but no real depth. The perfect beach read that you can walk away from when you’re done.

Solid reasons that neither gush nor shame. Rather, they have a mixture of both. Now, as a buyer, I can pick and choose which products will likely satisfy me. And so can you. But only if people leave reviews for us to sort through.

Only if you and I take the time to review the products we buy.

Do negative reviews scare you away from buying a product? What types of information do you find most helpful in a review? Least helpful? Are you a reviewer, or more of a reader of reviews?

From the author standpoint, it’s been said that it takes 20 reviews (good, bad or indifferent) to impact sales and draw readers toward your writing. How do you garner reviews for your writing?

Curious minds want to know.

Shout Out for an Amazing Writer

As many of you know, AgentQueryConnect is my cyber home.  One of the things I love most about it is the sense of community.  During my two year residence in the AQ threads, I’ve met some great and talented writers.  Some have books due out next year, others are working hard with agents to get their writing in front of editors, while still others are busy honing their craft so they can someday enjoy the literary successes that await them.

And a few–like Robert K. Lewis–are already leaving a trail of bylines for us to follow.

Please hop on over to Criminal Element and read his thrilling, three-part Bar Noir.

Never heard of that genre?  Then don’t miss out on his great voice as he effortlessly takes you through a rundown of writers and the stories they told.

Got other great review links?  Pass them along for everyone to enjoy!

Anonymous Book Rants

I finished a YA novel about a month ago that I was less than thrilled about.  While reading it, I chatted with a few great friends about this book and how I love, love, loved the author’s blog and purchased the book out of a sense of loyalty and excitement.

I did not, however, love, love, love the book.  To the contrary, it took me well over 100 pages to even like the female MC a little bit.  I never cared about her before she turned bad, then she was so bad only to suddenly turn so lovable-ish.  To her male counterpart, anyway.  To me, she seemed like the poster child for Manic Depression. 

As a whole, I struggled to read the book, even though the writing was good and the premise was better.  My stumbling point?  The character execution.  Even at the very end, I never really cared about the female protag and all my emotions were wrapped up in the male’s suffering and conflict.

In addition, it was written in first person present from two points of view.  Every character switch took some time for me to get back in sync and heightened the disconnect.

That said, I read the book in about 24 hours.  Which was certainly better than another book I tried to read last month and have yet to get past page 17. 

That snooze book was a prequel to two books DD and I read in a past lifetime.  When the first book of the series came out, DD and I devoured it.  The second book she loved.  I was luke warm about it, but still read it and enjoyed it on several levels.  Yet after much begging and pleading, DD refused to read past the first chapter of book three. 

It took me several years after her bad review to even give it a try.  I picked it up last month for something to do while on the stairmaster.  I got as far as page 17, and only because I have to read while working out and nothing else was in my reach.  My beef: the third book looped back to the beginning.  Long before First Book ever took place.  Long, long before.  Star Wars it was not.

Then there was the book right after the 17 page disaster.  While I greatly enjoyed the book as a whole, I hated the ending.  It was so in-your-face not-finished that I could barely gag down the last few chapters. 

Intuitively I knew I was in for a non-complete ending.  You know the ones that say, “Well, we got some of this wrapped up, now go back to the bookstore in six months and you can buy the rest of the story.”?  Fingernails on a chalkboard annoying.

So there you have it.  Three things I hate in books.

  1. Unsympathetic characters.  Ones I never connect with and therefore don’t give a rat’s patooty what happens to them.  It makes for unsatisfactory reading.  I want to love the characters I’m ignoring my family for. 
  2. Books that are tacked on.  Those 17 pages felt like tedious backstory to a story I already read.  Oh wait, that’s exactly what it was.  You can’t hook me with a good story and then expect me to remain faithful when the last book is a moral lesson on how the first two books came about.  Along similar lines are the middle books of a trilogy.  For some reason, many of them feel like a rope bridge between a great start and a great finish.  It’s like the trilogy should really only have two books because that’s where everything good happens, but the author/editor/marketing department wouldn’t know what to call it if they did.  A literary duet, maybe?  A bilogy? 
  3. Lastly, books that are so obviously part of a trilogy or series they feel unfinished.  I hate to be swindled, and I feel like this is the biggest con game around.  Give me a book that is done.  Make me love the characters so much I have to read more.  Want to.  Love to.  Will be heartbroken if I can’t.  Do not–I repeat–do not force me to buy the next book with a cute little ploy just to get the rest of the first story.  That’s the fastest way for an author to get on my list.

That said, very few authors make my list.  I like to give them each two shots.  The first book I’ll buy.  If it falls on my naughty list, I’ll beg, borrow or steal the second one, but not buy.  If both titles leave me flat, I file the author’s name away for good.  This may not be fair, but life is short and if I never added another book to my TBR list, it’s still too long for me to finish in this lifetime.

Now that you know my novel pet peeves, what are yours?  Without  naming names, of course.  What book traits put an author on your banned list?  Once there, is it possible for them to get switched to your TBR pile in the future?  If so, how?

Links to Great Books

NEED A SUMMER READ?

  • There is a rockin’ book and blog party happening over at My Writing Masquerade.  TK Richardson is celebrating her soon to be released book with gift pack give-awaysReturn the Heart is a YA novel filled with secrecy, a dark Russian prophecy and a high stakes game of cat and mouse.   TK is an eloquent and thoughtful writer.  I can’t wait to curl up on the beach with this book. 

  • Another writer who has my attention is Yvonne Osborne.  Her blog,  The Organic Writer,  is filled with short stories, observations and poetry.  Yvonne is a visceral writer.  I have yet to read one of her posts and emerge from it the same.  She makes me think.  She makes me laugh and, at times, has almost brought me to tears.  One of my favorite things Yvonne does is write Friday Flash 55.  If you don’t have time to read a whole novel, you can spend one minute with Yvonne’s fifty-five word stories.  She doesn’t waste a single word. 
  • Need more?  Visit Lisa.  Lisa Gibson is a master book reviewer.  She is single handedly responsible for my impulse purchases and growing book collection.  Lisa mainly reads and reviews YA.
  •  A close second in terms of books reviewed is Michelle, aka Greenwoman.  Michelle loves the paranormal and fairy tale type books.  She has pointed me in the direction of many fabulous novels.  Beyond the book reviews, however, I love visiting Michelle’s blog to get my nature fix.  She actually occupies twice my normal blog time for writer friends because I am addicted to both of her blogs.  Her second blog, Quotidion Minutiae, is a photo blog of epic proportions.  Her pics tell a story sans words.
  • However, I do understand that not everyone in the world love, love, loves juvenile lit like I do.  If you would like to read books more closely aligned with your chronological age, I recommend you stop by Jean Oram‘s.  Jean is a self-proclaimed book whore with more reviews on her blog than I have phyiscal books on my shelves. 
  • Also worth mentioning is Colorado author, Patricia Stoltey.  She’s the biggest fan of other writer’s I’ve ever met.  Patricia provides the low down on other Colorado writers.  There is no shortage of book mentions on her blog. 
  • Afraid these links will only lead you to fluff?  Hop on over to Kate for in depth book dissections.  It’s a bit like being back in English class, but a lot more fun.  I’ve picked up some great reads because of her compelling commentary and great taste in novels. 

If you can’t find anything to read from these links, you’d be better off getting a hobby that doesn’t involve words.

So, where do you find books to add to your TBR pile?  What is your most anticipated summer read?