I’ve learned a great deal since then, thanks in part to Seekerville and the wonderful people who hang out here. I’ve sailed away from Unpubbed Island, which is why Tina invited me back to share something I learned on my journey to publication.
The lessons I’ve learned are many. What I want to focus on are a special group of people who have played an important role in spreading the word about my debut novel, which includes some of you, the Seekerville faithful. Those special people are the book reviewers.
When my debut novel released last year, I learned what an important role book reviewers play. I knew they wrote reviews. That’s a given, right? What I didn’t know was how much goes into their review writing and how many other things they do.
As I reflected on everything book reviewers have done for me, I came up with five major ways they serve authors—and make the authors’ days, all at the same time.
Book reviewers are promotion pros.
Even in today’s hi-tech world, the best advertising is still word-of-mouth. When it comes to creating buzz, book reviewers are masters.
• They shout out news about cover sightings.
• They share blurbs for upcoming releases.
• They share previews and sample chapters.
• They hold online release parties.
• They interview authors so readers can meet them.
• They spread the word on Facebook.
• They tweet links to their reviews.
• They post reviews on booksellers’ sites.
• They post reviews on Goodreads.
• They post reviews on their blogs.
• They hold contests, helping get books in readers’ hands.
Book reviewers are insightful readers.
When I read reviews, I’m impressed by how deeply reviewers delve into a story. They’ve made observations about elements in my story I hadn’t even noticed. It’s evident how much thought they put into their reviews, doing many of the following.
• They evaluate the plot.
• They assess believability issues.
• They reveal key conflicts.
• They analyze the characters.
• They discuss how well the setting is depicted.
• They scrutinize the historical details of stories taking place in the past.
• They highlight interesting aspects of a story.
• They explore themes and underlying messages.
• They state whether or not a story meets expectations.
• They use labels that help readers, e.g. sweet, gripping, or funny.
• They make comparisons to other books or authors’ styles.
• They offer cautions, as needed.
Book reviewers are encouragers.
As an author, I know firsthand how uplifting it is to read reviews, especially those from readers who enjoy our work. Sure, there will be some readers who don’t care for our stories, but what I’ve found is that while reviewers might point out what didn’t work for them, they’re quick to note what they liked as well. And, oh, how we love it when they ask us to keep the books coming.
Book reviewers are sources of inspiration.
Authors can learn a great deal from reviewers. They point out our weaknesses, enabling us to improve in those areas. They identify our strengths, letting us know what’s working well. But they don’t stop there. They might tell us how they would have handled things differently or what they would like to see in future stories. Such feedback can get our creative gears turning.
Book reviewers are great friends.
As I’ve interacted with those who reviewed my book, I’ve enjoyed myself immensely. They’re bright, generous, fun people, and I’m happy to have them as new friends.
Questions for You
If you’re a book reviewer, what do you find most rewarding about writing a review?
If you’re a reader, what elements do you find most helpful in a book review?
If you’re a published author, how have reviewers helped you?
Elenora Watkins is determined to provide for herself and her daughter without relying on anyone else. Can she run a successful business after falling for the competition? Miles Rutledge finds himself willing to do anything to keep Elenora in town. But can he win her heart while putting her out of business?
Today Keli is giving away two copies of A Bride Opens Shop, one print or digital copy to a US winner, and one digital only to an international winner. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.
Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums, and the Coach Factory Outlet Store
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