Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TO REVIEW OR NOT TO REVIEW … That Is The Question!


Julie here, and I have a riddle for you: what do owls, Mylar tape, and duck poop have to do with posting reviews?

Well, you see, my better half and I are blessed to live on a lake where my husband has become sort of a Pied Piper to the ducks in our cove because he feeds them twice a day. Consequently, if the man even looks out the window, ducks come flying, swimming, and catapulting from all directions—God’s truth—and he absolutely loves it, calling them his Welfare ducks. Which … does make me wonder sometimes if I need to give him a litttttle more attention …

Anyway, the down side to all of this is that now a battalion of ducks sit on our dock, waiting for the man in the black hat to feed them, which means most of that “feed” eventually ends up on our dock. Ahem …

So for a Christmas present, I decided to research deterrents for keeping ducks off docks and was ecstatic to find I could buy a fake owl to do the job. So I high-tailed over to Amazon and was aghast to learn that no, fake owls do not do the trick, but there is something that does. You guessed it, Mylar “scare tape.” And how did I figure this out? You guessed it again:

Reviews!

Now I happen to be one of those gals who absolutely LOVES reviews. I mean I love reading them, writing them, and even getting them … uh, as long as they are not the one-two-punch kind (1- or 2-star reviews). Believe it or not, I actually talk to restaurant managers on an average of 2-3 times a month, just to brag on an employee as a sort of verbal review. Because I believe that in a world where there are too many rude or mediocre service people, products, or books, we need to applaud those who go the extra mile to provide excellence.

Don’t you?

Take book reviews, for instance. Often a reader will go to great lengths to write a sweet thank you/encouragement note to an author. But many times that same sweet reader will never even think of posting a review. Which is why I will often ask them if they’d mind posting even a paragraph from their letter as a review on Amazon. Because in truth, the #1 way to say thank you to and encourage your favorite authors is to post a good review. Why? Because according to Publisher’s Weekly, reviews sell books! Want proof? Here are a few quotes and statistics I ran across:

    53% of readers are “somewhat” swayed by reviews, 18% are “very much” influenced by reviews, and 29% fall into the “not very much” or “not at all” categories. Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

     43% will wait to purchase a book if they see “low” star ratings, 38% will still try a low-starred book if they like the cover and blurb, 9% rely heavily on the stars in a review, and 11% say starred reviews are not important at all. Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

     50% of readers said retail-site reviews are the most important to them (i.e. Amazon, CBD, B&N, Deeper Shopping, etc.), 16% said Goodreads, 13% said blog reviews, and 10% said publication reviews such as RT Book Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, etc. Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

     Retail reviews, such as those found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retail sites, are the most important reviews in today’s environment. Survey by Formatting Fairies, a top formatting company founded by NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, Marie Force.

     “Reviews sell books. Don't be too worried about 1- and 5- star reviews, most readers will ignore these, it is the overall score that really counts. In the early days of your book, getting reviews is more important than sales.”  —Gary Smailes of Bubblecow, one of the leading editing companies in the world.

     “Review systems DO have causal and positive effects on sales; books with more and better reviews are shown to sell better.” A study by Cornell sociologists Shay David and Dr. Trevor Pinch.

     “Amazon reviews are just as likely to give an accurate summary of a book's quality as those of professional newspapers.” A study from Harvard Business School.


     “Reviews (or lack of them) influence shoppers in online bookstores.” Dana Lynn Smith, author of How to Get Your Book Reviewed, based on research study by the Yale School of Management

So, the good news? Reviews really DO matter! To your favorite authors, to other readers, and to you! Because if you post a good review for a favorite book or author, you are not only blessing that author with your kind words, but you are also helping to make sure they can keep writing and selling those books that you love so much.

The bad news? “Only one reader in 700 will post a review” according to Charles Spender, author of  the Formatting of Kindle Books: A Brief Tutorial, and according to Steven D. Levitt of Freaknomics blog, his estimate is about 1 in 1,000 book purchasers will post a review on Amazon.” YIKES!! Kind of makes you wonder where the other 999 are, doesn’t it?

So why don’t more readers post reviews? Well, this is just my opinion, but I came up with a few reasons why not … and a few reasons why maybe they should.

WHY I THINK READERS DO NOT POST REVIEWS:
A.)  They don’t think they write very well.
B.)  It takes time.
C.)  They don’t want to offend one author by posting a review for another. 
D.)  They can’t give it more than a 3-star review. 
E.)  They’re an author and can’t post reviews on Amazon for other authors per Amazon rules. 
F.)  They don’t want to. Now, let me go on record right now to say that is completely OKAY because not everybody likes posting reviews. I personally hate chain letters of any kind, even religious ones, so I totally understand! 
G.) They’re afraid because they don’t know how. I have had a few readers who told me they wanted to post a review and even tried posting a review, but they didn’t know how. So, if that’s you, I actually have step-by-step instructions I can send you for posting on Amazon, so leave a comment if you want them, okay? 

Obviously as an author, I would like to see more reviews posted, so I’ve been wanting to write this blog for a while now. But it was actually the fabulous graphic above (created by author Candace L. Bowser) that lit the fire under me, so a big thank you to Ms. Bowser! 

BUT ... if reviews are not your thing, that's okay. However, I would like to make a suggestion that if you do not wish to post a review for a book you enjoyed, why not say a prayer of blessing for that author instead? Writing books is not easy, and yet authors give us readers (yes, I’m a huge reader myself4-8 books a month!) so much joy, adding another dimension to our lives. 

WHY I THINK READERS SHOULD POST REVIEWS:
A.) The more reviews, the more visible the book due to Amazon’s algorithm, termed “Social Proof.”
B.)  More reviews push a book/author higher in search ranking.
C.) Amateur online reviewers and bloggers have more influence than professional reviewers. — Washington Post article on Harriet Klausner.
D.) Book reviews bring books to the attention of people who might not have learned about it otherwise.
 E.)  Book reviews help customers decide if a book is a good fit them for them.
 F.)  The more reviews, the more places those reviews appear = greater reach and selling power.
 G.) Shoppers look for some factor to help decide between books, and reviews provide that.
H.) Lack of reviews on Amazon gives the impression a book isn’t popular, therefore stunting sales. 
 I.) Reviews give shoppers more insight into a book, beyond the product description. 
 J.) Good book reviews bless the socks off of the authors! 
In summation, I’d like to close this blog today with the following Scripture, which I think sums up the BIGGEST reason you should consider posting a review for a book you love:

“So in everything, do to others what 
you would have them do to you, 
for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 
Matthew 7:12

Whether you are an author or a reader, everybody has talents they wish people would acknowledge. Whether it’s a book you write or a craft you do, it’s always a blessing to have someone appreciate your hard work.

So for me, the lesson of Matthew 7:12 is thisif you want reviews, post reviews, and if you can’t honestly post a good one, don’t post one at all unless the book is so offensive, you feel compelled to do so. Because trust me, when it comes to people’s feelings, sometimes silence is golden.

GIVEAWAY!!
Okay, it’s your turnhow do you feel about posting reviews? Do you or don’t you and if so, why? Anyone who comments is in the draw for a giveaway of any of my ebooks … OR a signed manuscript copy of my new novella, A Glimmer of Hope, which is the prequel to my latest novel, Isle of Hope, that is due to release in February.

Hugs and Happy Reviewing!
Julie


218 comments :

  1. Hi Julie!! I do write reviews. Not for every book (and I should I know!), But I'd say at least 95% of the time. I especially found out how important it is to writers when i joined my first street team. And I was afraid to write my first one, why...for some of the reasons stated. I didn't think I could write a good one (or know how to), I didn't want to offend the author by giving less than a 5 star, and if I read an especially good book...I didn't think I could give the book justice. My goal is always to get other readers excited about a book & I didn't ever want to be the cause of someone turning a good book away because of my review. So I do the next best thing....I PRAY before I sit down to write. I want God's words to come out, even if I didn't like the book that much. I never want to put the author down or make them feel like they should give up writing all together. If I don't like a book, I try to state it in such a way to make it sound like it just wasn't my style of writing or didn't resonate with me or something like that. And I do put "this is in no way a reflection of the author herself/himself". Or I just don't review that particular book....like you said, sometimes silence is golden. Thankfully I've not run into to many books I didn't like enough to review! I say if an author puts their heart & soul into a book, I certainly don't want to dash their passion for writing by bashing them if it wasn't really that good!
    God is always faithful to give me the words...every single time :-) I'm so thankful for that, because I want to be a blessing to the author just as much as they are to me with a great book! And I also pray as I read the book so that He will point anything out to me to jot down a note on so I don't forget. I love Christian fiction because there are spiritual lessons for me to learn & so I look for those & ask God to open my eyes so I can point those out in my review! I think it encourages other Christian readers to see a spiritual thread throughout the book.....because that's one aspect I look for too! :-)
    Oh, and I never read (book) reviews. I don't want them to taint what my opinion is of that book. I may skim one or two to see if there are points I forgot to touch on in mine, but otherwise, I just don't!
    Julie, even though I do write them, I'd love to have your step-by-step guide. I can always use tips. I'm a learn-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person, but I love guidance when I can get it too! Especially by people who have learned good tips themselves along the way :-) Also, please put in the draw for any of your ebooks. I'm always glad to have good reading material!

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  2. Always enjoy your posts, Julie - thank you for this one!!

    And - the answer is "YES", all readers should post reviews. They are so important, even if only a few words - and for all the reasons you mentioned. I do post reviews, however, wish I could read more quickly and had more free time, thus reviewing many more books than I do.

    I feel Christian Fiction is greatly underrated and underpublicized; I'm not a writer - yet know writing involves much time and dedication on the part of it's authors, who often don't receive the recognition or financial rewards they deserve- yet continue on in their craft. It's what they were born to do, "must" do, and what He has called them to do. Leaving a review is the least I can do - in appreciation for the many blessings reading has given me!!

    On a lighter note, I'll definitely be purchasing mylar tape and adding to the wreaths I display on my front door - in an effort to repel the birds who continually build nests in them. Had never heard of using mylar tape to repel birds, so glad you mentioned it!! Now wondering why the tape repels your ducks - is it the glare??

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  3. Hi Julie. I love reviews too! Be it reviews for books, restaurant, hotels or products, I tend to read the reviews prior to buying or using a company's services. I used to only review some books I've read, but after I blog/review books on a permanent basis and speaking to authors do I know that it really does matter and is important. Now I review 99% of books I've read some way or another - on my blog, Amazon or other commercial sites. I'm no writer - far from it, but I do hope my reviews will let others know what I think of the item in question. My way of saying "thanks" to authors and fellow reviewers that have guide me in the past.

    Mylar tape, you say?! Ok, will it work on sparrows? Every Spring, they seem to find new ways to build a nest on the eaves of the roof! And then poop all over our stoop! Will need to try the tape! Thanks!

    Thanks for this post and for the giveaway. Throw my name in for the signed manuscript! Can't wait to read more Isle of Hope!
    Happy Reading and Reviewing, all!!!
    Annie

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  4. I always enjoy reading your comments TRIXI - and I so agree with you in that it is essential to pray before writing a book review, as well as during the reading of the book. In addition to the education and pure enjoyment I receive from reading, I ask God to open my eyes to the life lessons He would have me learn, and the inspiration I can derive - from the books I read, show me how He would have me apply/use them in my life, and give me the words He would have me use in the reviews I write. My purpose in writing reviews is always threefold: show appreciation to the author for the blessings I derived from his/her writing, make other readers aware of the blessings available from the authors' writing, and honor Him.

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  5. Hi, Julie! I love your posts. Sometimes I don't post a review, not because I don't want to, or don't think I write Wei enough, but because I just want to read!

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  6. As an author, I find this to be a quandary. What is the current policy on Amazon for authors? What constitutes you being a FRIEND of the AUTHOR?

    I've read so many different articles on the topic that I am confused.

    And I am terrified all my reviews will be pulled so I have totally stopped.

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  7. As an author I don't feel like I can write reviews unless they're for authors I don't know and for books outside my genre. I think it's more than a little shady to have friends and fellow authors write reviews. I think readers deserve to have unbiased reviews and close author friends can't possibly be unbiased.
    That said, I love writing reviews! I've written almost 1600 reviews for products and books. I know readers rely on reviews to get a feel if they'll love a book or not. I try to review every book I enjoy so the author gets that boost!
    I remember when people didn't think reviews mattered unless it was a famous magazine. I love that readers have such a strong voice in the matter now and writers are taking note!

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  8. I agree with Trixi, that reading other reviews can taint your own opinion. You were in love with it, someone points out something that could have been done better, and then you think...yeah it could have been done better... So when writing reviews I won't look at anybody else's until I'm done and published it. If I were still just a reader I'd not bother looking, but now I mine the reviews for the audiences likes and dislikes etc. for my own benefit as I think on the story in retrospect.

    I did do the "I'm not reviewing at all since I'm a fellow author" thing for a bit, but I'm writing a few now when I have something to say because of the fact that I want to share books with people and as you pointed out just having a lot of them is helpful for readers looking it up when they're considering purchasing even if they don't read it.

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  9. I'm a reader, not a writer. I do post reviews, but only if I enjoyed the book. It's only my opinion after all. The book that just did nothing for me may appeal to someone else. I will not dump on an authors hard work.

    I probably should write more. I just forget really.

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  10. To Review or Not Review, That is the Question.

    Whether 'tis nobler of mind to cast self-doubt

    Or belabor an author's failings about

    Whatever topic, tome or vein

    They chose forsooth to deliver again

    I view the work from a stance, unable

    To criticize for I am of that stable

    Of horses, yes, I a writer be

    And would like for this kindness to be shown to me.

    Not all is my liking, but time has shown

    My opinions are not always simply my own

    Rather hewn by life, time and age

    They change at will, not all are sage

    And so this author will gently employ

    Sweet ways to spread good will and joy.

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  11. Hello Julie, I review all over Amazon, Goodreads, and my personal blog. Like you said when I enjoyed a book I want others to know why or why not. I have given 1 and 2 star reviews. One time one of the author's that I gave a 1 star review to emailed me for being bluntly honest. Everyone kept not wanting to offend them, but I completely explained why the book didn't work for me. I wasn't harsh or put down the author. I proved what was wrong with the plot for me. They enjoyed my review.
    I'm hoping someday when I get published that reviewers will take the time to read and review my books too. I'm a Top Reviewer on Amazon because I have reviewed over 300 books. I hope my reviews bless the author as much as their writing has blessed me.

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  12. I regularly post reviews, but then, I like to write. Although, I don't review every book I read. Sometimes it makes the reading feel more like pressure if I know I have to review it. As I read, instead of simply enjoying the story, my mind is trying to remember the facts I need to write the review. But it's nice to know that my efforts to compose those reviews are not wasted. I'm glad they help!!!

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  13. Hi Julie,

    I used to only write a review if I could give a book 5 stars. Then I studied and discovered 4 stars was good too. If I don't like a story, I just don't write a review because if you can't say something nice...

    And sometimes I just forget.

    What do you think about reviews on Goodreads?

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  14. Jackie, I agree with the "if you can't say something nice" idea.

    Sometimes a book just isn't our cup of tea. That doesn't make it bad.

    And sometimes a book is just bad, but I leave it up to others to decide.

    Now products and services are different. I give reviews when I'm either really impressed or sorely disappointed because that's not as subjective. So if I love the reasonably priced dog collar battery, yes!!!!

    :)

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  15. Hey Julie,
    I have another reason reader's don't post reviews, THEY JUST DON'T KNOW. Sometimes reader's are completely unaware of the power of a review. Before I had a kindle I had never written a review and between the time I got a kindle and found Seekerville, I had only written four.

    Since hanging out in Seekerville, I have become more aware of a reviews importance, really only in the past year did it fully sink in. In three years I've written forty two reviews on Amazon and another eighteen on Goodreads, or about three reviews every two months.

    As I look back at my review history, it appears I only review one book out of ten I read, although the numbers were higher last year. Like I said, I didn't know what I didn't know. I mainly took the time to post a review for a book that "wowed" me or a book I received as an ARC, another thing I didn't know existed until a few years ago. I'm working on improving my number of reviews and being more selective and fine-tuning my reading list will help a lot in this area.

    Writing reviews does take time and like Marriane pointed out it takes time away from reading. I'm in awe of reader/reviewers like KAV who are able to review so many per month, amazing. I know I spend too much time writing one, but I have a hard time not giving it my all. I'm going to start writing shorter, more to the point reviews, then maybe I can cover more bases.

    When I'm selecting a book to read, I definitely read review pros/cons of a book, overall score and then the dissenters, because sometimes they have interesting insights. When writing a review, I don't look at other reviews until I've post mine, so I'm not influenced.

    This is probably way more info than necessary, but some writers may want one reviewers opinion.

    I feel like I should apologize to all the authors of books I've won here at Seekerville and didn't realize I should have posted a review. I can't turn back the clock, I can only go forward, but I'll be more attentive in the future.

    So, it's obvious Seekerville is educating not only writers, but readers too. Many thanks.

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  16. Hi Julie
    I'm feeling a tad bit guilty today. I'm pretty good about posting a review if I read a book on my Kindle because they make it easy with that whole "before you go..." screen. If I read a "real" book (paperback), I tend to forget to get to my computer and post. I still need to post a review for Isle of Hope (but I swear I really thought I'd posted a review but can't find it at Amazon...*sigh*)

    This means I'm behind on a bunch of Seeker book reviews. I LOVE Seeker (and villager) books. I try to keep my reviews short and to the point because when I see really looooooong reviews, I blip over them.

    Is it a bad thing that I have problems remembering Heroine and Hero names, even minutes after finishing a book? I have problems in real life, remembering people's names, but am awesome at remembering faces. I see someone I know and think "hey, I recognize your face! but please, please, please, don't be mad if I don't remember your name."

    I've signed onto Goodreads, but, for the life of me, cannot figure out the site. So Amazon is the only place I post. I don't like signing onto all kinds of different sites because it requires passwords and I have a hard enough time remembering all the passwords I must remember for my job (fifteen letter minimum length).

    Is it okay to only do Amazon because I'm inherently lazy and use the Kindle to post most of mine?

    I need to get better. I want to support my Seeker (villager) authors big time. I've been so blessed by them all.

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  17. p.s.
    RUTHY
    love your Shakespeare. Must copy/paste it forthwith.

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  18. Great topic, Julie and obviously one that holds many opinions. I do write reviews on Amazon, but I'll admit, I'm not consistent, unless I've read the book on my Kindle...that's easy. Time seems to play the biggest factor for me, plus all of the confusion that Tina referred to in her comment.

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  19. Hi, I do review books generally only if 4 or 5 stars, maybe an occasional 3. If I'm not sure or didn't really like the book but it wasn't a horrible book, I will wait before reviewing. If I can remember the characters and storyline, then I will probably submit one. If not, I probably won't. If I have loved previous books by that author, I might give it a review. If I could just give the stars without writing anything, I would probably do more. In answer to your question of why readers don't review, B and D. I submit the same review to Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and sometimes Christian Book and my local library.
    If there are errors in the book or things that really bugged me, I don't usually point these out unless I think they will bother others. If I am FB friends with the author, I might message them about these things. Their response or lack thereof may influence the review. Getting a free book never does - sorry authors - but that will be noted.
    While I may be FB friends with a lot of authors, it's an acquaintance-ship not a friendship with if I comment on their personal life or offer prayers. If I actually KNEW an author, I might see that differently. I don't think Amazon should limit who can review but maybe people should disclose the relationship. It might matter to some people like getting a free book.

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  20. Thanks for being here, Julie. I'm an editor and reviewer. I write reviews for close to 20 books/month (between RT, PW, and my own personal blog). I agree with the importance of writing a review, but I also understand why people are leery to do so, particularly if they don't love the book. I've found that most authors are fine with reviews that aren't 4 or 5 stars, as long as a constructive reason is provided so they have an idea of what to work on in the future (if needed). I don't always connect with a book, and that's okay,but I still have to look at it objectively to state why... and not just "I didn't like it." Writing reviews can be time consuming, but it doesn't have to be. There's really no requirement on the length (for the average reader). I've become quite proficient at keeping them short and to the point, as I DO have a word limit for RT and PW. Because of that, it's sometimes refreshing (but sometimes difficult) to have the freedom to write longer reviews on my blog.

    I try to link my reviews to Goodreads and Amazon. However, with doing so many a month, it's hard to keep up at times.

    When looking for a book to purchase (to read in my spare time, which is not nearly as often as I'd like!), I do read reviews, but I don't solely rely on them. Many of my reader friends feel the same way, especially as sites like Amazon allow people to rate things very poorly (or even very highly) without a legitimate reason.

    Please throw my name in the dish for the signed manuscript. Thanks!

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  21. I usually post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. When I don't, it's usually because I can't, in good conscience, give the book a high rating and see no reason to leave a less than stellar review. If I loved the book, the review comes easy. If anyone wants to read the expert reviews, check out Kav's blog, Best Reads. I can't even believe how she comes up with such wonderful things to say that are always different and unique. It literally makes you WANT to read whatever book she is reviewing.
    Julie - I reviewed Isle of Hope for you not long ago and was disappointed in myself when I read what I wrote a few days later. I think I was sick when I wrote the review and maybe it didn't quite communicate how much I absolutely LOVED that book!! That's always my goal with a review - give someone else the impetus to read a book so they'll love it as much as me. Everybody drop what you're doing and read Isle of Hope right now!! Julie's best ever!!
    Sure would like that signed manuscript. Oh, somehow I missed reading Hope Undaunted and just bought it with a Christmas gift card. Can't wait to get to it! I have never read a Julie book I didn't absolutely love!

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  22. I was talking with a good friend who is also an avid reader. She told me she doesn't write reviews because she is not a writer. I personally love to write reviews for books I read. I hesitate if it is not a good book because I don't want to impact the author in a negative way.

    As far as reading reviews. I read the review for most products but not for the books when I am purchasing them.

    I do wish that in with the details of the books, I could know whether it is a Christian book or not. I have been stung a few times when I bought a book which I thought was a Christian book but it was not.

    I must go now and leave a review for a book I finished reading in the wee hours of the morning.

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  23. Hi Julie,
    I would love to be "in" for your newest book due out soon! I have read and loved all your books. However, I am afraid I am guilty of not doing reviews often enough. I loved your post today and resolve to do better in writing reviews on Amazon. In fact, I just did one for Sandra L. lol
    I do pray for you authors and am an avid reader!

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  24. Great post Julie and I would love to get your tips for writing reviews. I don't feel comfortable writing reviews because I am never sure if I just say how I feel about it or if I should also summarize it a little bit. Some people do such a great job. I also want to apologize for not writing reviews in the past for my Seekerville wins. I am trying to do better.

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  25. I try to leave a review for a book I like that doesn't have a lot of reviews because I know that author needs help. It's harder since becoming published because so many of the authors I read I know through social media. Sometimes I do so anyway and none have been taken down by Amazon that I know of. If I don't like a book, I don't post a review at all since I don't finish reading it and I don't think that would be fair.

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  26. I didn't write reviews (mostly because I have little to no confidence in my writing abilities) until I learned how important they are to authors. Now I am in the process of writing a review for as many books as possible (I read over 300 last year, it's going to take some time to catch up!) I'm starting with the ones I've won through giveaways or from authors through newsletters, etc. and trying to fill in with my favorites (over 100 on that list, HA!) Here's hoping practice will bring improvement because I'm committed now!

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  27. I post reviews for all of the books I read. My struggle is when I have to give it less than 5 star. I have seen books with the 1 and 2 stars and it was harsh and they had a lot of those. As a reviewer I want to be fair in my review I focus on the characters, plot, setting if something is lacking I try to point that out constructively. I guess my concern is I have read books with lots of 5 star reviews and not sure those reviews were truthful. I want to be truthful, kind and supportive. I am wondering if I should not do reviews for books with less than 3 stars.

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  28. GOOD MORNING, SEEKERVILLE!!! The sun is shining, the ducks are fed, and I'm ready to roll!!

    To kick us off this morning, let's do one of my kids favorite breakfasts when we stayed at the Lake of the Ozarks over the years: FUNNEL CAKES!!! Of course, since Mom is a meat-and-potatoes type of gal, we ALSO have maple-cured bacon, ham, sausage, Denver hash browns, and omelets to order, so dive in!!! (pun intended!) :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  29. Hi Julie,
    I am a book reviewer with several didn't publishing companies so I review every book I read even the ones I don't have to. I have my own policy not to give a book less than 3 stars unless there is something horrible in it. I love writing reviews. I also like reading them. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  30. RUTHY—I loved your poem (or is it a sonnet?). So well written, and packed with truth!! :)

    JULIE—what a great post. I'm like you. Having worked in restaurants during my college years, I definitely call a manager over to let them know when we've received outstanding service. :)

    As for book reviews. I probably don't write as many as I should. I wrote some last year for books I influenced for. I need to become more intentional about writing reviews. They take me time, and I already don't have a ton of time for writing, so reviews tend to get shoved low on the priority list. It's one of those things I want to become better at doing. :)

    I LOVED your points, and the facts you shared in this post. I had no idea! Good stuff here today! Well, when you post, it's always good stuff. ;)

    Please put me in the draw for one of your books. :)

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  31. Wow, Julie, what a great review of the importance of reviews.

    1 in 1000.

    Amazing.

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  32. TRIXI!!! I KNOW you write reviews, darlin', and GREAT ONES, too, so thank you for all you do for the authors you read! And, WOW, what a comment, my friend, jam-packed with things I want to address, but I'll only touch on a few in the interest of time.

    First of al, VERY interesting reasons why you were afraid to write a review -- not doing the book justice -- but I'll let you in on a little secret that most authors don't come out and say. But since we know I am not most authors (ahem ... I am currently being treated for hoof-in-mouth disease!), I will give you my take on reviews in two points.

    1.) FROM THE HEART. If you are a person who loves to write reviews and wax eloquent, then go for it, and I promise you the author (and other readers) will see your passion no matter how you write. But authors would KILL to have a 1-line review as long as it is accompanied by five stars.

    2.) And this is the one most authors won't come out and say, but first and foremost: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE STARS, BABY!! At least for me it is, meaning that the first thing I do when I see a book I might want in Book Bub or elsewhere, I check out the stars and will NOT buy anything less than a 4.5-star because frankly I don't have enough time to read books that most people do not consider good.

    Of course, if it's been recommended to me, I will research further and read the 1- and 2-stars to see WHY people rated it so low. And if the bad review says something like, "this is too passionate for a Christian book," you better believe I'm hitting that BUY button right now, because I happen to like passionate Christian romance. Besides, I always figure if it's published by a reputable Christian publisher, it WON'T be the "smut" the reviewer says it is (i.e. reference to a review I once received that said something like: "You can slap God's name on it and have the characters go to church all you want, but the bottom line is, smut is still smut.").

    Frankly, I'd like other authors' take on the importance of stars vs. the reviews for them, so speak up now, authors, or forever hold your peace -- is it in the stars for you??

    TRIXI, secondly, you said: Or I just don't review that particular book....like you said, sometimes silence is golden. Thankfully I've not run into to many books I didn't like enough to review! I say if an author puts their heart & soul into a book, I certainly don't want to dash their passion for writing by bashing them if it wasn't really that good!

    Oh AMEN AND AMEN, sister!! That's EXACTLY what I do, too. If I can't post a 5-star review, I don't post at all, and just to put some authors at ease whose books I have not posted a review on, I stopped posting reviews for MOST authors a while back because of that very reason -- so as not to hurt anyone's feelings. Then Amazon made it really easy and made that a rule about authors not posting for other authors, so I actually applaud that!!

    Trixi, thank you SO much for your fabulous comment AND for taking the time to bless the authors you love. Trust me -- they love you back, including moi!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  33. I began book reviewing about 3 years ago and 2 years ago started blogging the reviews https://wordynerdyblog.wordpress.com/ Mostly because I love to read and write. So it’s a great way to combine the two. With so many avenues and places to post reviews, it can be cumbersome but as you mentioned, Julie, I love to do it to bless the authors. Even if I’m not thrilled with a book, I never write anything wretched. I know that every book comes with hopes, dreams, sacrifices and heart.
    As a blogger/reviewer it’s nice to know the reviews mean something because there’s times when I wonder if it’s worth it at all. I have heard authors say they don’t like the 1 and they don’t like 5…they want the in between numbers.
    My 17-year-old daughter writes reviews too both for my blog and for street teams she’s on. I love that she’s even caught onto the idea that her voice helps authors.

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  34. Love-love-love this post, Julie!!! I wish we could get it in front of every reader out there!!!

    And a huge THANK YOU to all our Seekervillagers who take the time to post reviews!!!

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  35. Hey, BONNIE, you were up late again last night, my friend, so I am convinced you are a night owl after all!!

    You said: Leaving a review is the least I can do - in appreciation for the many blessings reading has given me!!

    See? This is only ONE of the many reasons I love you because of your mindset in blessing others. If you consider authors bleed and labor approximately SIX TO NINE LONG MONTHS over a book (or a week in Mary and Ruthy's cases ;)), it seems kind of heartless to read a book you love and then dismiss it without ever saying thank you to the person who put heart and soul into that book.

    It reminds me of my brother-in-law Chet, who ate sooooo slow, he would still be eating his salad when everyone else had left the table. Do you know that my mom would sit down with him the entire time to talk to him because she was so grateful that some faithful SOMEBODY truly appreciated her cooking.

    So THANK YOU, sweet Bonnie, for being one of the faithful!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  36. ANNIE!!! God bless you, you sweet thing, 99% is AWESOME!!! You are one of the golden girls like Bonnie and Trixi above who like to bless the authors they love or enjoy, so THANK YOU!!!

    AND maybe I should put a caveat on that Mylar tape. We have NOT used it yet, but plan to in the spring, but the reviews were so good (4.5 and above) vs. the owl reviews that I went for it, hoping the reviews will not let me down. :)

    Hugs and HAPPY REVIEWING!
    Julie

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  37. Such a good post! I've noticed a correlation between reviews and sales on my book as well. I always tell readers that they don't even need to write a full-out review; 1 - 3 sentences is better than nothing!

    Thanks for this info! Really interesting.

    Tessa Emily Hall
    www.tessaemilyhall.com

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  38. I've heard a lot of authors are afraid to review on Amazon because of their rules. Does anyone know if it's okay? Right now I post reviews on retailers, goodreads, and my blog. But I don't do it if I'm going to rate it lower than 3 because then it's generally hard for me to find the words to say something nice.

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  39. I do leave reviews. The only time I won't is if I absolutely did not like the book or product. If I can't leave a 3 star or above I won't leave a bad one because others don't have the same likes I do. Yes, I do read reviews too. I appreciate those who will take the time (& it does take some time) to review.. My resolution for this year.. get caught up on my reviews..I'm woefully behind after the holidays!
    I enjoyed your post. We loved the wildlife on our dock but ohh, the yuck that came with! Hope the tape works.. The owl in our back yard only brought in a screech owl in love.. LOL

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  40. Hey Julie! Allysia here! I do write reviews 90% of the time! Especially books I love! And your books, I absolutely love to death! 5 stars every time, I absolutely love your writing! Thank You for your wonderful writing and sharing the gospel in your books as well! Keep the books coming!
    God Bless!
    Allysia

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  41. BONNIE SAID: "In addition to the education and pure enjoyment I receive from reading, I ask God to open my eyes to the life lessons He would have me learn, and the inspiration I can derive - from the books I read, show me how He would have me apply/use them in my life ..."

    EXCELLENT point, Bonnie, for both you and Trixi in praying before you write your reviews, but WOW, Bonnie, I honestly have NEVER thought of praying before I read a book for God to open my eyes to lessons I need, so WAY COOL!! Of course, I HAVE prayed before reading a book that another author friend has asked me to read and I'm not sure if it will be any good, so I pray that God will help me to like it. AND ... if I'm not overly crazy about it or worried I really WON'T like it because I've read this friend before, I pray He will at least teach me something through it.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  42. LOL, MARIANNE -- I just LOVE you, kiddo!! And that is certainly an EXCELLENT reason NOT to post a review, so good for you! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  43. TRIXI,

    In researching Tina's question about authors posting reviews for other authors, I ran across this Amazon info, so am including it for you here, along with my step-by-step process for posting a review on Amazon, although I'm pretty sure you already know how. ;)

    HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW? (from Amazon website)

    Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.

    Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.

    Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.

    Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.

    HOW TO POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON:

    1.) Go to www.amazon.com and type in the book title and author you’d like to review in the search box at the top of the page with the little magnifying glass in it.

    2.) Click on the magnifying glass, and it will take you to the book. Click on whatever version you are reviewing, ebook or paperback.

    3.) Click on the “customer reviews” link next to the stars.

    4.) Click on the box that says “Write a Customer Review.”

    5.) Answer several questions by simply clicking on tabs.

    6.) Hover your mouse over the stars to click on the number you’d like to give the book.

    7.) Type or paste a short review (can be as short as one line) about how you liked the book and a title in the header box if you want.

    8.) Click on Submit.

    And that’s it! If it was a good review, you just made an author VERY happy!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  44. Julie,
    Thanks for a great post! I started writing reviews last year about this time. I hadn't really thought too much about it until suddenly I realized how many books I was reading and wondered how I could help in some way to encourage Christian authors as they write. I'm far from eloquent in my writing and feel very much like I'm lacking in saying the right words to convey, but I've tried harder with each review and feel better about it at this point. My main goal is to encourage new or new-to-me authors as they write. I have had a few books that have just not been great reading due to issues with flow or huge language arts issues...I'm not a professional so I can understand not remembering all of the grammar rules, but I think authors should put their best foot forward if they wish to really be great writer and if they want to sell. I look at the encouragement that I can hopefully be to authors as a hope that my children will have good books to read in the future because of their faithfulness in writing good clean reads. When I come across a book that I just can't give but a 3-star or below, I've chosen to find that author and shoot them an email or fb message and see if it's just me not understanding their POV in the book or if they just didn't realize there were issues with huge grammar issues, etc. I have never had a bad or nasty response from an author. Of course, I try my best to be nice and not be hurtful in expressing my issues and also find something good to say at the same time. There was once that I really had an issue and the author worked on it and came back to me for my opinion on it and shockingly I changed my opinion and review. I've also seen other author's grow in their writing abilities! It's been such a blessing TO me in just having my goal be a blessing to authors! I never imagined I would get to "know" so many great new/ new-to me authors on my little journey of writing reviews. I encourage others as often as I can to write reviews because I've seen such a difference with just a little review from little 'ole me! Thanks again for the great post!!! Best wishes to you on your journey too:)

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  45. TINA ASKED: What is the current policy on Amazon for authors? What constitutes you being a FRIEND of the AUTHOR?

    HERE'S WHAT AMAZON SAYS IN THEIR GUIDELINES:

    Are authors allowed to review other authors’ books?

    Yes. Authors are welcome to submit Customer Reviews, unless the reviewing author has a personal relationship with the author of the book being reviewed, or was involved in the book’s creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.). If so, that author isn't eligible to write a Customer Review for that book. Please review our Customer Review Guidelines for more information.

    I would think a "personal relationship" with the author would mean you are good friends, but it is a gray area so like you, Tina, I have stopped posting MOST reviews for author friends.

    And I hear you on the terror of having reviews pulled because it's becoming more and more common. :(

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  46. What a great post, Julie, and I love your Scripture application! I do post reviews every now and then, but I'm getting into that murky area of a personal relationship with an author. You also have a fabulous idea of sending instructions to readers about how to post a review on Amazon. Can I borrow that for when my book comes out next month? :-)

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  47. MARY JANE/VIRGINIA!! I admire you, my friend, because I am not that noble. :|

    And almost 1600 reviews??? WOW!! You are a marketer's best friend, girl, so I applaud you!

    And, YES, I was rather shocked to read that "amateur reviews" (I hate that word!), meaning those written by someone who is not a professional reviewer for a famous magazine, matter more to readers than those written by top professional reviewers.

    In truth, I found that books that top reviewers generally go gaga over, I don't like, so I would MUCH rather make my decision via "amateur" reviews.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  48. MELISSA SAID: "I agree with Trixi, that reading other reviews can taint your own opinion."

    Mmm ... this is a bit of a dichotomy for me because I see what you and Trixi are saying, especially if reviews brag about how wonderful a book is and then I read it and feel the review built it up too much, or at least enough for me to be a tiny bit disappointed.

    But on the other hand, like I said in my post, I actually DO base most of my book-buying on people's reviews except for my auto-buy authors, whose reviews I never even bother to read -- I just buy. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  49. MARY SAID: " It's only my opinion after all. The book that just did nothing for me may appeal to someone else. I will not dump on an authors hard work."

    LOL, Mary, I understand what you mean, but I did smile at your comment that it's "just your opinion, after all" because your opinion DOES matters to me and to most CBA authors out there or we wouldn't even be talking about reviews, right?

    But your point that "The book that just did nothing for me may appeal to someone else. I will not dump on an authors hard work" is EXCELLENT because you are SO right!! I have read books that have won lots of words including The Christy Award that I found myself scratching my head over, thinking, "man, I must be SO out of step with mainstream CBA!!" Of course, as an author with the tag line "Passion with a Purpose," I realize I AM out of step with the mainstream in CBA! ;)

    And great point, Mary, about "forgetting" to post reviews. I guess I "forgot" to include that. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  50. LOL, RUTHY -- TOO COOL!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  51. WOW, KELLY ... over 300 books??? That's VERY impressive, my friend, as are the high numbers several other commenters have mentioned.

    Personally, I think that's VERY cool that the author you gave a 1-star to contacted you to find out why in more detail. I actually did that once, too, and it's a VERY cool story that even includes what I felt was a gentle nudge from the Holy Spirit, but I am saving that story for a future blog I am doing on 1-star reviews (in March) because it's pretty neat how it all turned out. :)

    I will say I both admire you and wince at your mention of having posted 1-star reviews. Admire you because that takes guts, but wince because I honestly do not believe a 1-star review belongs in the CBA. Why? Because they are just flat-out hurtful when a 2-star could make your point perfectly well. Of course, you're talking to a gal whose first 1-star review came from her own mother!

    When I wrote my first book at the age of 12 (which eventually became my debut novel A Passion Most Pure), my then 9-year-old sister (who LOVED my book and wanted me to read it to her every night before bed) begged my mom to read it, telling her it was "soooo good!" A few days after I'd given my mom the book, I asked her what she thought so far, and her answer was, "I'm sorry, Julie, but it was so dry, I couldn't get past the first page." GOD'S TRUTH!! WHICH ... explains why 1-star reviews may affect me more adversely than other authors. :|

    I will be VERY interested to hear what you think of 1-star reviews after you get published (and you WILL get published if my prayers hold any sway! ;)) and possibly get one because most authors get at least one sometime in their career. OR ... even a 3-star because you have to remember that book is your "baby," so when a friend or someone you know in the Christian community gives you a 3-star, it's not the best feeling, trust me. Most people think 3-stars are okay, and I guess they are. But I don't know an author alive who wants their work to just be "okay," do you? I had a dear friend give me a 3-star on my book after I endorsed hers (with a 5-star), and although it was a "nice" review, I will admit it still stung. It wasn't right that I was offended by it, but it certainly was human. Of course, we are still dear friends today because I prayed about it and let it go.

    Fascinating viewpoint, Kelly, so thanks for sharing it with us.

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  52. Good morning, Julie! Reviewing ......yes, I enjoy posting reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and my blog, mainly to thank the author and, as you say, because "Book reviews help customers decide if a book is a good fit them for them." I do spend too much time writing a review because I want it to be just right....to intrigue readers to try a book I'm impressed with.

    I don't like the star system, but as I've learned here in Seekerville, I include the "why I liked" the book. I'm wishing for more time to read and to be a faster reader, so I can help spread the good news of Christian fiction.

    On my blog posts, I include a specific prayer to the author I'm featuring and, during our morning prayers, we pray for all Christian authors for their writing to reach others with God's word.

    My thanks to you, Julie, for your post and for the grateful heart you and the other Seekers have for reviewers. Also my thanks the reviewers out there who help me select a treasured book. Blessings!

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  53. KATE SAID: "Sometimes it makes the reading feel more like pressure if I know I have to review it. As I read, instead of simply enjoying the story, my mind is trying to remember the facts I need to write the review."

    YES, YES, YES, Kate, I totally concur!! That is exactly how I feel when I am reading for endorsement or for a dear friend -- it does cramp the reading experience somewhat, so GREAT POINT!!

    And, YES, YES, YES, your efforts in posting reviews ARE greatly appreciated, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  54. HELLO JULIE!!!!!!! Thank you for this very informative post! I find writing reviews intimidating due to my lack of writing skills. I want to express my views in such a way that the book and author are shown in the favorable way that does them justice.....

    Please put me in the drawing....

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  55. Hi Julie!

    I used to write reviews more often than I do now. I tried very hard not to write a bad review, and if I didn't like the book I always said why. But I also always tried to find one or two good things to say about it.

    I don't write as many reviews now because...well, time. I read as much as I can, but time is a scarce commodity right now. I'll always head over to Goodreads to give a star rating, though. That takes no time at all.

    But when a book is awful (oh, yes, there are some awful ones out there), I don't volunteer my opinion. I read a book recently written by a local acquaintance (no one here!), and I hope he doesn't ask me how I liked it. But if he does, I'll give him my honest opinion - but I won't put it out there for the whole world to read.

    On the other hand, if a book is ghastly and I want to warn people not to read it, then I might post a negative review.

    It would have to be VERY bad for me to do that, though!

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  56. What I meant about not reading reviews was AFTER you read the book, you'll think "Oh, let me go look and see what all these 1-2 stars say about this book I loved," and then you might rub the shine off your book love. :)

    If you only read books with a 4.5 review rating, then you shouldn't bother with my Carol Award winner, it's not that high....(Novellas tend to bring out the low rating for being short!)

    I actually post 5, 4 and 3 stars, and all of them are good. (5 means I'm going to recommend this sucker to everyone for the rest of my life, 4 star is a good quality recommendable book, 3 star is a quality book, but something made it not my favorite and I'll tell you what it is, whether it needed another edit or a plot twist didn't work for me, etc. but if that doesn't bother you, it's good.) Frankly, I don't read any of the 5 star reviews if I'm on the tipping point of buying something, I find that the 4-3 star reviewers is where I can find the more accurate assessments overall, as long as they all agree--a wild card can be thrown in there of course--the 5 star reviewers got their book love button pushed and they're going to love it no matter what flaws are--and whose books doesn't have flaws?, but it's the kind of flaws that will determine whether it's something I want to read or not, does it annoy me or am I okay with it? And 1-2 star people really should have put the book aside and eaten a spoonful of sugar though I might scan them to make sure they're all not saying that the books was an unreadable mess or was masquerading as one thing but is really another.

    Don't fear the 3 and 4 stars! They're good! If I don't see from 3-5 stars in a nice heavy tornado pattern on Amazon, I'll pretty much disregard all those 5 star reviews because I don't think enough people have read it and wonder if it's just family and friends. When that "tornado" is inverted, heavy on the bottom, light on the top or a sideways mountain range, that's a book to avoid. So it's not whether it gets an average of a certain amount of stars, it's what the range of stars looks like.

    And I'm joining you in the smut club, I got this once: "Christian authors don't need to write soft porn to get readers. Christian authors shouldn't write soft porn to get readers or for any reason."

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  57. Great post, Julie!! You know, I really like Goodreads because when I don't have time to write a review, I can at least give the book a star rating. But I do need to be better about taking the time to actually write reviews on bookselling sites.

    I don't like to try to summarize a story, but instead tend to write what I liked about it. And I think that's perfectly fine to do that. Doing that takes some of the pressure off.

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  58. Melissa, I agree about the 3 and 4 star ratings. I usually read those first.

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  59. I, too, have pretty much quit writing reviews for authors I know well.

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  60. Bonton, I had to laugh about your wreath!! Now if only I could do something to keep the little gnats and mosquitos out of mine!!

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  61. Mary/Virginia, that's a really good point about being objective and not writing reviews for our own genre and for friends.

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  62. Hi.Julie. Thank you for the fun and informative post! I must admit that when I first started writing reviews it was kind of hard for me to put into words exactly what I thought of a book. It might sound silly ,but the more I liked a book the harder it was for me to put into words. I came up with a technique,though of writing my rough ideas on paper and the review just seems to flow .Once I posted my first,got positive feedback(from you in fact :) ),and learned how they help authors it helped me to want to do more! I must admit I'm still not perfect at posting reviews,but this post has really inspired me. Thanks again,Julie and I hope you solve your problem with the ducks ;)!!

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  63. Thanks for the update Julie.

    I have also heard that people who use Facebook to log into Goodreads should be cautious. Because then GR can see your FB friends. If they are your FB friend you shouldn't write a review for them. Amazon owns Goodreads.

    However, I NEVER log into anything with my FB account as I do not want another big brother to have access to my information.

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  64. Here's the thing with the ducks.

    Stop feeding them.

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  65. Fact or Fiction?

    Higher priced books are treated more seriously and are more likely to get reviewed?

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  66. JACKIE, that is EXACTLY how I felt too -- only posting a review if I can give a book 5 stars, but you're right, 4 stars is good, too, AS LONG AS the reviewer clearly states in a nice way why they gave it 4 stars instead of 5. I've even seen some reviewers give a 4-star, but in the header, they will put 4.5 stars.

    And, YES, I am sooooooo with you on not posting a review if you cannot say something nice.

    Ah, Goodreads ... Well, I happen to be a Goodreads illiterate, so I seldom go there, and I suppose you could say reviews are a little bit more "real" there because people pretty much post what they think. But I am not a huge Goodreads fan because of several things, not the least of which is the following.

    A secular reviewer (meaning all of the books she reviewed were pretty racy secular books) gave my latest book, Isle of Hope, two stars with NO review in April of 2015 when the book wasn't even completely WRITTEN YET and it didn't even release till November of 2015. So naturally, I contacted Goodreads to ask them to reassess it. They refused, saying that reviewers have a right to post whatever they want about book. "Even if they haven't read it yet?" I asked, and they said, even if the reviewer hasn't read it.

    So ... given that flawed philosophy, I am wondering what keeps some authors from giving their competitors a 1- or 2-star just to lower their ratings. OR ... what keeps ME from posting 5 stars on author friends books before they release??? Uh ... just ethics, I guess, which is something Goodreads is apparently not overly concerned about, it seems. :|

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  67. RUTHY SAID: "Sometimes a book just isn't our cup of tea. That doesn't make it bad."

    Well-said, my friend, and SO very true!

    And agreed on products and services -- I post reviews on anything that I LOVE for anything that I HATE because I think readers should know that ... or at least I would want to know that!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  68. Julie, thanks for the excellent reminder of the importance of reviews. I didn't realize authors couldn't review for other authors. There's always the possibility that a review is written by a friend with a bias, but don't we all have them?

    So how does the Mylar tape work?

    Janet



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  69. TRACEY, thank you SO much for pointing that out, my friend, because YES, it is very true that "not knowing" is a major reason for not posting reviews, and one that needs to be on the list.

    You said: "I mainly took the time to post a review for a book that "wowed" me or a book I received as an ARC ..."

    Me, too, Tracey, so I totally understand that. And, yes, I am in total awe of reviewers like Kav and many of my blogger/reviewer friends who both read and post tons of reviews on books.

    LOL ... no apology necessary, and honestly, I was concerned that some would take this blog as a guilt trip, which I tried SO hard to avoid because that is not my intent nor the issue here. Not everybody likes writing/posting reviews. Period. And that is OKAY. But for those who don't mind posting reviews, this is simply an educational blog to enlighten you as to how you can bless the authors you love.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  70. I used to just leave a star rating at Goodreads or Amazon, until I signed up with Netgalley and started requesting books for free in exchange for reviews. Now that I've been doing it for a while, I can't imagine not leaving a review, whether I received the book for free or not! I've become friends on Goodreads with several other book bloggers and I love that their reviews show up first. I appreciate the ones that are honest about what they do and don't like about a book so I can get an idea of whether or not it would be a good fit for me. It's also been a blast interacting with authors on facebook and on blogs like Seekerville, I feel like I know them a little more and it makes me want to help support them by leaving reviews.

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  71. LOL, DEB H ... you are too cute! I promise you I did not write this post to make you feel guilty, you sweet thing, so you can let that go right now, okay? :)

    Trust me, we Seekers appreciate reviews from Seekervillians (wait ... I just notice the word villain is in that, so not sure what to call Seeker reader friends ... ) more than any others because it's not just a review, it's the support of people we love. So I want to go on record for all of the Seekers to say THANK YOU to those of you who have blessed ... and continue to bless ... us in this way.

    And DOUBLE LOL on having "problems remembering Heroine and Hero names, even minutes after finishing a book" because I thought it was just my age. Heck, I have trouble remembering my OWN character names, much less another author's, so I totally relate!

    You said: "I've signed onto Goodreads, but, for the life of me, cannot figure out the site."
    Oh, THANK GOD I am not alone in this, because I sure feel like it sometimes. I am TOTALLY clueless as far as Goodreads, which as an author, is my bad, I guess, but there's only so much time, you know?

    And, YES, YES, YES, it is MORE than "okay" to just post reviews on Amazon as far as I'm concerned because let's face it, Amazon rules the market, right?

    You're pretty darn good as you are, Deb, so thank you for all the support you've given to Seekerville -- we really appreciate it!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  72. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I love reading and I love reviewing! I love sharing my love of good books. BUT -- I'm someone who won't leave a 1 or 2 star review. I don't like the star system at all but if I really didn't like a book, I wouldn't have finished it and I don't think it's fair to post a review if you haven't read the whole book.

    So the star rating system -- really bugs me. I feel like it encourages comparison. Like if you gave Book A 5 stars, and then read book B which was really, really good too but you liked Book A a teeny bit more, do you rate book B with only 4 stars? What if you read Book B first and knew it was really, really, really good so you gave it 5 stars and then you read Book A which you liked a teeny bit more...now what? There aren't 6 stars. See -- instead of rating a book on its own merit, the starring makes you also rate it by comparing and I don't think that's fair. Am I making sense?

    NO? Fine, let me sum up by saying that I love reading and if a book has engaged me right to the end then that's a five starer to me. 4 stars are reserved for books advertised as Christian Fiction but don't have an inspirational thread (providing I liked the storyof course)or a book that has an unexpected cliffhanger ending or incomplete story threads. And 3's -- don't give out many of those but when I do it's because I've committed to a blog review program and I have to. :-)

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  73. Hey, JILL, YES, I'm discovering this is a hot topic, which actually surprises me because I thought everybody would think this blog was dullsville! :)

    Ironically, I hesitate posting a review through my Kindle, so I really need to change that as so many of the books I read are authors I don't know, so it would be good to post a review for them through the kindle, I guess.

    I would say the time factor is one of the biggest reasons for not posting reviews because as an author, I always feel I have to write a fabulous review that wows the reader, so it takes me FOREVER!! Which is also why I quit sending Christmas cards in my 30s -- I would write a book in each one. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  74. DAWN SAID: "If I could just give the stars without writing anything, I would probably do more."

    LOL, girl, guess what? You CAN on Goodreads, per my story above that royally ticked me off! ;)

    And, WOW, Dawn, you put an awful lot of thought and effort into reviews, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your idea about Amazon allowing reviews from other authors or friends if the reviewer discloses their relationship. For instance, Amazon could provide check boxes for: Family, Friend, Peer, "Do Not Know the Author" or "No personal connection."

    Great thoughts, Dawn, so thank you again!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  75. Fact or Fiction?

    Given 1000 readers per review, "A Passion Most Pure" has been read by 993,000 people?

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  76. I've been a fence rider when it comes to reviews. I so want to bless authors. But, I hadn't considered the dedication it takes! Now, I'm experiencing the journey...not yet published, but working hard to create a worthwhile story and have a taste of the absolute commitment involved. I liken it to when I first became a teacher...I had NO idea I'd be laughing, screaming, crying, exhausted and gripping the roller coaster lapbar scared to death all in one school day!

    I SO appreciate authors! And Julie you've inspired me to reconsider writing reviews! Thanks for the boost over the fence!!

    Have a fun Wednesday!! Oh, I almost forgot...would love to be in the drawing! Thanks!!

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  77. LESLIE!!!

    First, let me just say -- OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! Honestly? You read 20 books a month??? I am soooooo incredibly impressed, even for a professional reviewer, my friend, so WOW!!

    You said: " I've found that most authors are fine with reviews that aren't 4 or 5 stars, as long as a constructive reason is provided so they have an idea of what to work on in the future (if needed)."

    I agree wholeheartedly, Leslie, so great point! I NEVER mind a 3- or 4-star review (I'll be honest -- unless it's a dear friend, in which case I would have preferred no review at all) IF the reviewer is very clear and very nice about what they didn't like because you are right -- constructive criticism is often invaluable.

    Thank you for reminding us that "There's really no requirement on the length (for the average reader)" because I think the idea of having to write a long review is overwhelming to many people. Which is why I always tell reader friends that one line or two blesses authors immensely as long as they're attached to high stars. ;)

    I think may people believe they have to give a brief synopsis of the story in their review, which couldn't be further from the truth. Ditch the synopsis and say what you liked or didn't like about the book without revealing spoilers, and you've done your job well.

    You said: "When looking for a book to purchase (to read in my spare time, which is not nearly as often as I'd like!), I do read reviews, but I don't solely rely on them."

    Wait ... you actually BUY books???? ;) Can't imagine, my friend, because if I had the opportunity to send a book to a big reviewer, I would do so in a heartbeat, which means you would never have to buy another book if you just contacted the authors whose books you want to read!! In fact, my latest book, Isle of Hope, is being reviewed by RT right now, but Leslie, I would send it to you in a New York second if you wanted me to, so if so, just let me know, okay? Same goes for the signed prequel novella I am offering as a prize today.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  78. CINDY SAID: "If I loved the book, the review comes easy. If anyone wants to read the expert reviews, check out Kav's blog, Best Reads."

    LOL, Cindy, I totally concur with you, both on reviews coming easily if you love the book AND Kav's blog!!

    I remember when I read Laura Frantz's book, Love's Reckoning, for endorsement. WOW ... it was SO good (literally the only book I have EVER read that made my heart POUND so hard during a scene, I thought I was having an atrial fibrillation attack. And I do have A-Fib, so trust me, I know what that feels like. But I was on medicine at the time that stopped all A-Fib, so I knew it couldn't be that!). The book was flat-out SO good, that the following review literally leapt from my lips the moment I turned the last page:

    Stunning. Heart-wrenching. Breathless. Not since Gone With the Wind have I read an epic novel that has stolen my heart, my breath, my sleep to such a jolting degree. Love’s Reckoning marks Laura Frantz not only as a shining star in Christian fiction today, but a shooting star who soars skyward to the glittering heights of Rivers and Higgs.

    So, yes, I know what you mean about a book capturing you so much, a glowing review just pours across the computer screen!

    Oh, Cindy, you are TOO funny, my friend!! I LOVED your review of IOH, so THANK YOU sooo much for not only taking the time to read it, but posting a review too. LOL ... AND for your very kind shout-out about IOH in your comment, you sweetheart, you! ;)

    WHOO-HOO on A Hope Undaunted, my friend!! I am SO excited because AHU is my all-time favorite book I have ever written, so I hope you love it as much as I do. In fact, I SO love it, that I read it once a year like clockwork. I read in bed at night, so my hubby and I have a standard joke where he turns out his light, and says, "You almost done?" To which I in return respond: "Yeah, babe, but I need to finish this chapter first because I want to find out how turns out." ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  79. JULIE: I don't think any blog post you write could ever be considered "Dullsville", lol!! I relate to your lack of fondness for Goodreads, I post reviews there - however, it isn't my fave site for content/to navigate. Situations such as the one you related about the "Isle of Hope" review, have discouraged me also. Although, perhaps I would enjoy it more if I had time to learn more about it?? I also relate to your comment about your reviews being lengthy, requiring much time to write, and your wanting them to be perfect - I suffer from that same affliction, as you well know. I need a cure, lol!! However, you are blesssed in that you can read books quickly, whereas, I like to savor and ponder every word. Guess I'm my own "worst enemy", at times.

    VINCE: that's an interesting point about "A Passion Most Pure" - I love reading your Seekerville comments, also your insight!!

    KAV: I agree with your dislike of the rating system - it does pose a problem when one must rate multiple books he/she really enjoy and consider 5 star books, yet some may be just a tiny bit more enjoyable than others. I always enjoy reading your reviews, they are some of the most beautiful and informative (for both the reader and author) - ever!!

    MISSY: the bird/wreath issue had me truly stymied in 2015!! I have had a problem with birds building nests in wreaths on my front door each spring for several years. This last year the nest building continued through into the summer months - until then, I wasn't aware there were birds in my area building nests that late in the year. I must have removed a half dozen nests (cleaning mud off the door, landing, wreath, etc. in the process)- each time, the birds would re-build. At one point, I took the wreath down, left the door bare for a month before replacing it thinking the building season must surely be over). A couple of days later: voila', a new nest. I then admitted defeat - with a bare door until Nov., hence the reason I'm anxious to see if the mylar tape will work for me.

    TINA: "cracking up" at your solution to Julie's duck problem, gazing at the near-smile in your pic only makes me chuckle more!!

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  80. WOW, Wilani, seriously? You read reviews for products, but not books you buy? That's very interesting!

    And I hear you on wishing there was some way to tell if a book is Christian or not when I look at them because some pretty innocent-looking books I've judged in the Rita contest ended up being pretty graphic, which ticks me off royally.

    LOL ... okay, you're excused as long as you're going to write a review ... ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  81. LOL, JACKIE, I am SO glad I inspired you to write a review for Sandra, so YAY!! And we authors truly appreciate your prayers as well, so thank you for that too!

    Would LOVE to send you a signed ms. of A Glimmer of Hope, so here's to a win, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  82. Good girl, SANDY SMITH, the Seekers ALWAYS appreciate reviews, especially for those books they received as a Seekerville win, so THANK YOU!!

    I should clarify that the "tips" I mentioned are how to physically post a review on Amazon, along with some Amazon's tips I found, which I posted in a comment above and will repeat here. But I will also give you my 1-2-3 punch for writing reviews, which in my opinion, NEVER have to exceed three lines unless you really loved or didn't love the book and want to expound.

    Ready?

    1.) BRIEFLY tell if you liked, loved, or didn't like the book.
    2.) Tell WHY you liked the book -- did it move you emotionally, spiritually, teach you something, inspire you, make you think, etc. (can be as short as one line or you can go crazy with praise)
    3.) If you didn't like it or you scored it lower than a 5-star, tell WHY you didn't like it or why you gave it less than 5 stars.

    NO retelling of the plot/story necessary as the synopsis is listed above in the book description. :)

    Now, from Amazon, I pulled this:

    HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW? (from Amazon website)

    Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.

    Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.

    Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.

    Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.

    HOW TO POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON (my step-by-step I referred to in the blog):

    1.) Go to www.amazon.com and type in the book title and author you’d like to review in the search box at the top of the page with the little magnifying glass in it.

    2.) Click on the magnifying glass, and it will take you to the book. Click on whatever version you are reviewing, ebook or paperback.

    3.) Click on the “customer reviews” link next to the stars.

    4.) Click on the box that says “Write a Customer Review.”

    5.) Answer several questions by simply clicking on tabs.

    6.) Hover your mouse over the stars to click on the number you’d like to give the book.

    7.) Type or paste a short review (can be as short as one line) about how you liked the book and a title in the header box if you want.

    8.) Click on Submit.

    And that’s it! If it was a good review, you just made an author VERY happy!!

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  83. ELAINE SAID: "I try to leave a review for a book I like that doesn't have a lot of reviews because I know that author needs help."

    AW, Elaine, you are such a sweetheart!! And I'm with you on the not posting a review if I don't like a book or don't finish reading it. :)

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  84. JULIE: I so agree with your comments and review of Laura Frantz's "Loves Reckoning". Before reading it, Laura had commented to me the storyline was rather dark and I might not enjoy it (my personal thought: how could one not enjoy everything Laura writes??). It has become my fave of her books, arousing my emotions in much the same way it did you. I may not be an average reader in that I love books filled with emotion and dysfunction - always glad to read about trials of others, the methods they used in handling/solving them. They help me become more understanding and sympathetic of others, consider the method I might use if in a similar situation, and/or avenues in which I might be able to help someone in a similar situation.

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  85. YAY, BETH!!! Soooo glad this blog motivated you to post reviews, but honestly, sweetie, I wouldn't kill yourself to go back and post reviews for 300 books -- YIKES!! Seems to me that posting for your favorites would be a nice thing to do, though, and any future books you win. :)

    Commitment is good, my friend, and actually a key them in my Isle of Hope novella, so GO COMMITMENT!! ;)

    Hugs and Happy Reviewing!
    Julie

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  86. Fact or Fiction?

    For many people their most dreaded childhood experience in school was having to write a book report?

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  87. WOW, JERI, that is AWESOME, girl!!

    You said: "My struggle is when I have to give it less than 5 star."

    Oh, I hear you, girlfriend, because that's my dilemma, too. Which is why I try to not post reviews unless I can give it a 5-star. :| Some might say that's not fair because avoiding posting low-star reviews stacks the deck in favor of the five-star ones, and I beg to differ. Trust me -- the low-star reviews have LOTS of pull already, and I should know. ;)

    You said: "I want to be truthful, kind and supportive. I am wondering if I should not do reviews for books with less than 3 stars.

    It's your call, Jeri, but I never do, but then a lot of the authors I would be reviewing are good friends, so I don't like to hurt them, you know? And it would, trust me, at least from another author! A 1- or 2-star certainly is "truthful" if you really disliked a book, but not very "kind and supportive," if you know what I mean! ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  88. RACHEL, I like the way you think, girl, so it's VERY cool that you review every book you read unless it's less than 3 stars. I like that, and I think it's a sound policy!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

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  89. JEANNE T, I am soooooo glad I am not alone in calling managers to the table at restaurants!! I, too, was a waitress, so I know how important it is to reward good service. And you know what? It just makes two peoples' days when you do because I can't tell you HOW many managers have told me that people are quick to complain, but never compliment good service, which is a shame.

    As far as reviews taking time, I hear you, but you know what? I'm the kind of author that absolutely LOVES short and sweet reviews like "LOVED IT!!" and five stars because they make me smile. :)

    Aw, thanks, Jeanne, appreciate your kind words, my friend, and you are definitely in the draw! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  90. Yeah, PAMMY, it is pretty amazing, isn't it??? You would think out of 1,000 people, you would get WAY more than just one, but I'm sure that statistic isn't etched in stone either. If they survey Seeker friends, it would be WAY different!! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  91. Hi Julie, Thanks for this helpful post! I only write reviews for books I can give a 4 or a 5. I consider a review a recommendation, so if I'm not enthusiastic about the book, but I don't post a review. Authors receive enough criticism, as I know from personal experience. Not every book is my cup of tea. It may have nothing to do with the quality of writing. But if I love a book I try to post reviews and talk it up on Facebook. I'm glad you're talking about reviewing, and I hope more readers will post reviews! : )

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  92. SHAREE SAID: "I know that every book comes with hopes, dreams, sacrifices and heart."

    BEAUTIFULLY said, my friend!

    And seriously??? You actually KNOW authors who said they don't like 5-star reviews??? YIKES ... I can see that I have my work cut out for me, both in spirituality and humility!! ;)

    And, WOW, what a compliment to you, girl, that your daughter reads AND writes reviews so much at the age of 17!! That's HUGE because I have a TON of realllllllly close teenage reader friends who almost never post a review, so kudos to you for raising such a daughter AND kudos to her too! :)

    And I checked out your blog and was THRILLED to see the RAVE review for Mary Connealy's Fire & Ice on the first page, front & center -- YAY!!

    I didn't see any of my books on there, so I would like to remedy that if possible since you are an actual reviewer/blogger. I recently had a blog tour for my latest novel, Isle of Hope, and would love to send you an ecopy for review if you are interested, so just let me know, okay?

    Hugs and HAPPY REVIEWING!
    Julie

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  93. LOL, MYRA, I'm with you, and I'm doing my level best, I promise! ;)

    And I echo your THANKS to all the Seekervillagers (thanks for correcting my blunder in calling them Seekervillians!! ;)) who take time to post reviews.

    THEY ROCK!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  94. TESSA EMILY,

    YES, YES, YES!! Give me a short and sweet review any time!! Like I told Jeanne up above,
    reviews like "LOVED IT!!" and five stars are cool, too, because they make me smile. :)

    Hugs!!

    Julie

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  95. Hey, TONI, yes, you're right -- authors are a bit skittish about posting reviews on Amazon and with good reason -- Amazon will yank them if they discover them from everything I've read because here's there policy:

    HERE'S WHAT AMAZON SAYS IN THEIR GUIDELINES:

    Are authors allowed to review other authors’ books?

    Yes. Authors are welcome to submit Customer Reviews, unless the reviewing author has a personal relationship with the author of the book being reviewed, or was involved in the book’s creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.). If so, that author isn't eligible to write a Customer Review for that book. Please review our Customer Review Guidelines for more information.

    And good for you, not posting for anything lower than 3 stars! I'm with you on that. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  96. LOL, DEANNA!!! That is a hoot (pun intended) about the screech owl "in love"!!!

    As far as "getting caught up," my suggestion would be to just start anew this year with posting a short review if you like a book and not kill yourself on trying to "catch up" except for the top books you loved. Life is busy enough as it is, ESPECIALLY after the holidays, right?

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  97. Aw, ALLYSIA, you just blessed the socks off of me, my sweet friend, so THANK YOU!!! I may just have to name a character after you with your correct spelling ... ;)

    And kudos to you, girlfriend, for posting reviews 90% of the time -- you ROCK!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  98. Fact or Fiction?

    If you didn't pay for the book, you're not reading it like a typical fan because you don't have skin in the game and you're reading the book with a mind to the review and not the natural way a fan reads the book?

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  99. B HRIV ... LOVE your attitude on this, my friend, especially your desire to encourage Christian authors -- I can't tell you HOW much we appreciate it!!

    You said: "When I come across a book that I just can't give but a 3-star or below, I've chosen to find that author and shoot them an email or fb message and see if it's just me not understanding their POV in the book or if they just didn't realize there were issues with huge grammar issues, etc."

    WOW, now that is reallllly going the extra mile, my friend -- I LOVE IT!! I've had a few readers do that with me, too, and I always appreciate it, especially if they're nice about it, because readers' opinions DO matter to authors, and if your opinion can help make my book better, that is AWESOME!!

    Well, I can tell you one thing, B Hriv, you've met your goal with me today because you have been a blessing to me!

    Thank you and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  100. LOL, MEGHAN, you bet, girlfriend -- borrow away!!!

    And, yes, it IS a "murky area" when a reviewer has a relationship with the author, which is why I don't post a review unless I can give it a 5-star, but that's me. I have LOTS of personal relationships with authors, so I just couldn't do that to them.

    Hugs and SUPER CONGRATS on the upcoming release! I hope it flies off the shelves, cyber and other wise!

    Julie

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  101. SHERIDA!!! I just love you, you know that??? I don't doubt that you "spend too much time" writing a review because you've written an incredible for me for IOH AND went above and beyond in your presentation of it on your blog -- WOW!!

    And let me go on record right now as saying I am BEYOND BLESSED to hear you post a prayer for the author on your blog along with the review PLUS pray for them. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Talk about above and beyond!!

    You rock, girlfriend, and I can't thank you enough!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  102. Thanks Cindy and Bonnie! Sweet!

    So I have a question for people who do post reviews. Do you post on Christianbook.com as well as Amazon and Goodreads? If not, why? It seems to me that there are way more reviews on Goodreads, a moderate amount on Amazon and hardly any on Christianbook.com for most books. Like a book was reviewing had 117 reviews on Goodreads, 67 on Amazon and only 15 on Christianbook.com. I can't figure out why. And to authors -- does that impact your sales do you think?

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  103. CARYL!!!!

    You may find reviews "intimidating," but if you posted them like you do with your encouraging comments, with lots of (((((((((HUGS)))))))))))) and exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!, you definitely get the point across in fewer words. ;)

    You are in the draw, my friend, and thank you for ALL the support you give with your adorable comments. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  104. Hey, JAN, seriously -- no time to write reviews??? You only write books for TWO publishers, right???
    Surely that leaves time to write reviews!!!

    LOL ... I'm joshing you, of course, my friend, because NOBODY expects you to write reviews with all you have on your plate, ESPECIALLY since your brand new book, HANNAH'S CHOICE, just released ... uh ... YESTERDAY!!!!

    SUPER CONGRATS, Jan, I'm really excited for you, girlfriend, and I hope it flies off the shelves, which I have no doubt it will since YOU wrote it and uh ... it's AMISH!!!! ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  105. MELISSA, first of all SUPER CONGRATS on that Carol Award winner -- I'd rather have that anyway than a 5-star review!!

    You said: "I find that the 4-3 star reviewers is where I can find the more accurate assessments overall, as long as they all agree--a wild card can be thrown in there of course--the 5 star reviewers got their book love button pushed and they're going to love it no matter what flaws are--and whose books doesn't have flaws?"

    Mmm ... that's interesting! I do exactly the opposite. I read mostly the 5-stars (with a few 1-stars to see what people hated) because when I see lots of people going crazy over a book with lots of exclamation points, passion, and gush going on, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it because I have discovered that people who are like me (gushers with lots of passion and exclamation points) tend to mirror my taste in books. :)

    You also said: "If I don't see from 3-5 stars in a nice heavy tornado pattern on Amazon, I'll pretty much disregard all those 5 star reviews because I don't think enough people have read it and wonder if it's just family and friends."

    I have to admit, I do wonder that as well, especially when the # of reviews is below 100 because some authors have street teams that can bump those numbers up. But not always. For instance, take Francine Rivers Redeeming Love, for Instance. She has a 5-star rating for Redeeming Love with 3,440 reviews, so I'm guessing her family's not THAT big ... ;)

    LOL ... I'll tell you what. I'll be president of the "Smut Club," and you can vice-president, okay? ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. Hey, MISSY, yes ... I found that out the hard way about Goodreads when some gal gave Isle of Hope two stars w/o a review back in April 2015 -- four months before I finished writing and six months before it released. :| I agree that's a nice feature, but uh ... I hope you wait until the book is written. ;)

    Agreed about ditching the story summary. Nobody needs that -- it's up in the book description, so a few lines as to what you liked, what you didn't and slap some stars on it, and it's good. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. Ha! Well Redeeming Love is in a class of it's own. If I saw 3000 5 stars you bet I'd pick thing up!

    Not that I need to, I read it when it came out in 97 with its purple cover and the long flowing blond hair and I worked in 2 bookstores since then, do you know how many of those I handsold? Hundreds! :)

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  108. Mmm, Missy ... you're with Melissa on those 3 and 4-star ratings, huh? That's interesting.

    LOL ... gnats and mosquitos? I'm thinking some type of citronella might work?

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  109. LYNNE!!!

    I was your first review??? WOW ... I am truly honored, my friend!! I knew I liked you ... :)

    You said: "It might sound silly ,but the more I liked a book the harder it was for me to put into words."

    No, it doesn't sound silly AT ALL, because I feel that way, too, when I love something because I want to do it justice. But your technique sounds SO smart and is actually one that seat-of-the-pantsters like myself (who like to sit down and start writing a book without any planning vs. doing hours of research and plotting like plotters do) started using because I found that my books are so much easier to write when I have a thread to follow, whether that is a snip of dialogue, a few thoughts or a skeletal outline, so your technique makes a lot of sense. :)

    LOL ... thanks ... me, too, although I'm guessing the ducks don't feel the same way. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  110. Gosh, TINA, thanks for info on Facebook/Goodreads -- I had no idea!!

    LOL ... I need warnings like that because I'm such a dip at times. Once when I was sending winners copies of my books from Amazon as gifts, I wrote something like the following on the gift card:

    SUPER CONGRATS on winning my review contest.

    DUH!!

    Way to go, Julie, telling Amazon that you have a review contest going on. Sigh. Needless to say, I stopped that practice right off the bat!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  111. Fact or Fiction?

    Verified reviews are given far more weight by potential buyers because they are less likely to be written by friends, family, and fellow authors and more likely to be better selected to match the reviewer's genuine reading preferences.

    ReplyDelete
  112. TINA SAID: Here's the thing with the ducks. Stop feeding them.

    LOL ... tell that to my husband who isn't as fond of the TOTAL SECLUSION we have as much as I am, so he has this need to make friends. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie



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  113. I'm sorry to say I often get behind on posting reviews for my favorite authors (which includes the Seekers!) but do like to let folks know how much I enjoyed a book. And by the way - - am almost finished with Isle of Hope and WILL post a review!! :)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  114. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    Higher priced books are treated more seriously and are more likely to get reviewed?

    FICTION!!! Because today, most people won't pay the money for higher priced books, so you can't review books you don't read. Except on Goodreads. ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  115. JANET, yes, so you are off the hook for Isle of Hope, darlin'!!! ;)

    Don't know about the Mylar yet as we are waiting for spring. Will let you know ... if I remember! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  116. HEIDI!!!

    Did you know that you won an ecopy of Isle of Hope in the New Year's Eve bash???? Shoot me your email in a FB message or through my website, and we will rectify that pronto, okay?

    Not all books are on Netgalley, are they? I know most of the traditionally pubbed books are, but not indies, I don't think. Guess I need to check that out. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  117. J BAUGH ... You are welcome!

    Now, see? You could definitely post a short and sweet review on Amazon, my friend! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  118. KAV: my feeling is Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads are probably the most popular sites and therefore, get more traffic re: reviews, but yes - I do post reviews on Christianbook.com and love their site. They often have books a little lower in price than Amazon, fantastic sales, and often offer free shipping with $35.00+ orders. Amazon gets a lot of my business because of the free shipping, wide range of products, and other features available through Amazon Prime. However, I've ordered a lot through Christian Book also - usually keeping a list of things I don't immediately need until I have a large enough order to warrent free shipping, or come across one of their sales offering lots of Christian Fiction at bargain prices(for myself, or to put away for gifts).

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  119. LOL, KAV, you are making PERFECT sense to me, my friend, which should worry you!!! ;)

    The star system actually bugs me, too, but only because I would like a wider range. For instance, if you had the option of giving a book 10 stars, there wouldn't be many of those, but if there were, you would KNOW it's a winner.

    With 10 stars, you can give a person a 7 or 8 and not feel badly at all because that's pretty good out of ten, and then a 4- or 5-star review wouldn't seem as bad as a 1- or 2-, which would be its equivalent in my mind. So it's an opportunity to review more fairly without feeling as bad. Am I making sense? Because if so, RUN!!!

    That's one of the reasons I like the Rita judging system so much. You can give a book a rating of anywhere from 1 all the way up 10, but with percentages built in. So to your question about a book you loved and rated a 5-star when suddenly another book comes along you liked way better, well then you could give that better one a 5.5 and the lesser one a 5. In the Ritas, I'll give a good book an 8 or 9 when judging if I really liked it, a 10 if I absolutely loved it, but then a percentage or two lower to the book I really liked, but less so than the other. Clear as mud???

    Kav, let me reiterate just HOW much we love you and your reviews in Seekerville and how many people mentioned that today!!

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. Your review on IOH had some of the BEST quotes I got, which as you know, I put into memes. :)

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  120. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    Given 1000 readers per review, "A Passion Most Pure" has been read by 993,000 people?

    ROTFLOL!!!! Oh, how I wish!!!

    Loving these short but fun comments, Vince, especially since this is a subject that seems to lend itself to longer, more in-depth comments than usual on a Seeker blog. I know because usually I'm done answering comments by late morning and just answer others here and there as they come in, but I've been at this all day, and am only 3/4 of the way down the scroll bar! Mostly because the comments are true fascinating, so I am more in-depth and verbose with my answers ... a lot like my books ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  121. BONTON! That's my fox in the chicken coop smile.

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  122. KATHRYN, I am soooooo glad I have inspired you to post more reviews -- YAY!!! Sitting on that fence can be a real pain in the posterior, so I'm glad I helped push you off. ;)

    Yeah, the perspective really changes when you're on the other side of the fence, does't it??? Experience is definitely a lens to the eye!

    Hugs and you're in the draw, my friend!
    Julie

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  123. BONNIE ... you??? Lengthy reviews??? ;)

    Move over, darlin', 'cause we both know I'm right there with you, my friend!

    And I agree with you about Vince's comments -- some people have a sixth sense; I'm convinced Vince has a sixth brain because the man is not only brilliant and articulate, but funny and creative too. A definite asset to Seekerville!

    YES, Kav's reviews ARE "some of the most beautiful and informative (for both the reader and author) - ever!!"

    Don't you just LOVE that Mona Lisa pic of Tina??? I do, too!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  124. Woohoo it's a Julie post! And I may need to share this one on my blog sometime soon. Where, by the way, I do indeed post reviews :) In fact, I'm working on one for Isle of Hope amongst others.

    I love sharing reviews, mainly on my own blog but also through Goodreads and Amazon. What are the most helpful places besides Amazon to post book reviews?

    Please add my name to the dish for the giveaway! Thanks for a great post :)

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  125. TINA: yes, I surmised that about your pic, making it all the more comical!! Thanks for the chuckles you, Mary, Ruthy, and Julie frequently give me!!

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  126. Thanks for the tips, Julie. They are helpful. I will try to do better on writing reviews.

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  127. I'm a reader and I always write reviews! I know how much writers go through to write a book and feel it's the least I can do for them!

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  128. Fact or Fiction?

    Amazon's concern over authors reviewing other authors was a reaction to news reports that some authors were trashing the books of competing authors who they didn't like while some other authors were paying professionals to write great reviews.

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  129. Wow! I have learned so much from your post, Julie, and from today's comments. Thanks :-)

    Nancy C

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  130. Great post! A lot of great information for the authors and readers.

    I have done reviews in the past but need to do more.

    Thank you for the chance to win a great prize!

    Many blessings to you and yours.

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  131. Thanks for posting about this. I already write a lot of book reviews for my blog and crosspost them on Amazon and Goodreads. But I didn't realize the weight Amazon places on sheer number of reviews. Very interesting.

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  132. LOL, BONNIE ... I hear you about "how could one not enjoy everything Laura writes??" I feel the same way, and she is definitely one of the authors whose books I actually BUY!!

    And I agree -- it is definitely my fave of all her books, although all of them are wonderful!!

    No, my friend, you are NOT "an average reader," which is one of the things I love about you (among many, many other things!), and we both already know how much alike we are in our taste in books! :)

    Love you, my friend,

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  133. So how does everyone feel when you read a book that is a snooze fest or is torturous to finish? How will you review it? 1 star? Try to find the good qualities? Will you post it only on your blog or anywhere else?

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  134. I'm an avid reader and I love writing reviews. I love it so much that I hope to start my own blog soon.

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  135. VINCE SAID:

    "Fact or Fiction?

    For many people their most dreaded childhood experience in school was having to write a book report?

    Possibly, but not for this chickadee, Vince, because I LOVED anything to do with writing or reading in school. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  136. CARRIE!!!

    SO great to see you here, my friend, and I couldn't agree more. Like I mentioned in a comment above, I read a Christy winner once that won tons of awards and just couldn't understand why, so there's NO WAY I would review a book like that because for me personally, I couldn't give it a 5-star, although most people did. The bottom line?
    It was just not my "cup of tea," and obviously had NOTHING to do with the quality of the writing.

    Thanks for coming by, girlfriend.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  137. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    If you didn't pay for the book, you're not reading it like a typical fan because you don't have skin in the game and you're reading the book with a mind to the review and not the natural way a fan reads the book?

    I can't say that's true for me. If a book is great, it automatically pulls me in like a true fan whether I paid for it or not. That's what a great book does! ;)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  138. “Amazon reviews are just as likely to give an accurate summary of a book's quality as those of professional newspapers.”

    As a librarian-in-training, we're told to look at professional review sources, such as LJ, NYT, etc. But several of my professors and instructors recommend looking at amazon.com, goodreads, and other sites where the general public can give feedback and reviews also.

    An interesting thing to look at is with netgalley and so many book publishers with blogger review programs, is how or if disclosures affect how people view those reviews (e.g. getting a copy of the book for review purposes). E.g. One paragraph reviews from someone who received a book for review make me go ... "Eh ... could have tried harder." Especially if they're just "this book is great, I really liked it." I usually just dismiss those.

    I normally only end up writing reviews for books that I received for review purposes ... between school, work, and such, it's hard to do more. It's really a shame, because there are some amazing books I've read that I bought, borrowed from the library or got from other sources. But I do sometimes jot a few lines when I add it to my goodreads shelves for future reference.

    Someday I want to do a year that I write a review of every book I read, but this year is not that year, LOL. Thanks for the inspiration, Julie! =)

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  139. I've loved reading the comments here on your post, Julie! Bet you didn't know you were going to get all this discussion. :) It's fun to hear all the different perspectives and ideas. I read a lot of books and started writing reviews 3 or 4 years ago. I've probably written between 250-300 by now. I enjoy writing reviews, especially when I've loved the book, and figure it's one way I can thank the author for sharing her/his talents.

    When I read reviews on books I'm interested in, I find that I skip over the extra-long ones. I think the most effective ones are two or three short paragraphs. I agree with Julie--there is no reason to put a synopsis of the story, as that is in the blurb about the book.

    Please put me in the drawing, and if you need any more reader/reviewer/influencers, just let me know. I'd love to help!

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  140. Fact or Fiction?

    The best way to get a lot of reviews is to offer your book for free on Amazon?

    The best way to get a lot of bad reviews is to offer your book for free on Amazon?

    This is because people will quickly download a book that they would never buy without first checking it out in more depth and thus when they read the free book and it mentions doing things 'God's way', they can become outraged that they were 'tricked' into reading that 'Christian' stuff. Likewise, Christians can trash a free book in a review because they thought it was a sweet romance and when they came to the explicit sex, they felt it was their duty to give it a one star review!

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  141. JUST COMMONLY: fortunately, I've never committed to reading/reviewing a book I found to be, in my opinion, a book I needed to rate so low. If so, I would try to find good points to bring in a review - if not possible, I would contact the author, explain my reservations about the book, and ask to be relieved from reviewing it. I know numerous authors who have stated they would rather reviewers do that than rate their book so low, and negatively. If it is a book I chose to read - I wouldn't review it, my not enjoying the book doesn't mean other readers wouldn't. However, I also wouldn't even finish reading it, if it didn't hold my interest.

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  142. Oh, KAV, great question, my friend!

    I'm ashamed to say that I don't reviews anywhere but on Amazon and sometimes on ACFW's Fiction Finder. I like CBD A LOT, but I got out of the habit back when I indie pubbed A Light in the Window, and found out they would not put indie books on their website.

    And I think you're right about Goodreads having more reviews, and I suspect that's because they allow readers to just click a star rating without a review. I looked at Isle of Hope on Goodreads, and it has 101 ratings, but only 52 reviews, so that has to be why, Kav.

    As far as impacting sales, I would think it would because Goodreads is a pretty big group of avid readers.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  143. MELISSA, no question Redeeming Love is in a class all its own. But I have to admit that I have always been amazed that it has so many 5-star reviews and so few 1-stars given the subject matter, especially back in 1991 when it was first published and the Christian market was so much stricter back then, you know?

    NO question it is a fabulous book, and obviously timeless as well!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  144. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    Verified reviews are given far more weight by potential buyers because they are less likely to be written by friends, family, and fellow authors and more likely to be better selected to match the reviewer's genuine reading preferences.

    By verified reviews, Vince, you mean those where the reviewer actually bought the book on Amazon, correct? If so, then I agree with you WHOLEHEARTEDLY because family members and close friends (or close bloggers, for that matter) mostly get free books, so obviously the reviews are going to be better. Uh, except for several of my sisters, that is. One told me my 3rd book was "sophomoric" and another who gave me a 4-star on Amazon because I did not accurately reflect the horrors of war In A Passion Most Pure. Sigh. It's a romance novel, Pat -- get over it!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  145. PATTI JO, take your time, darlin' -- there's no rush!! And trust me, I totally understand the term "getting behind," because I have been consistently 2-3 days behind in emails for weeks now and can't seem to catch up. :(

    I just appreciate you reading it, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    P.S. Did you notice that both peach iced tea and peach crumble pie are mainstays in this book??? See the influence you have??? ;)

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  146. BONNIE, you are sooooo smart, my friend!! That's genius to save up orders for CBD. I truly love CBD, but I will admit the Amazon Prime has hooked me big time. Plus all my novellas and two of my books are published through Amazon, so they are not on CBD. :(

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  147. TINA SAID: "That's my fox in the chicken coop smile."

    YES it is. I will vouch for that! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  148. YAY, SARAH, soon glad you've got one coming for Isle of Hope. Anxious to see it!

    As far as the most helpful places to post reviews, you nailed the top ones except for CBD. That's a good one to post reviews on, too, and ACFW's Fiction Finder. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK,
    Julie

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  149. SANDY, you are MORE than welcome, my friend! And all reviews will be GREATLY appreciated by all the authors you post them for, trust me!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  150. VALRI, BLESS YOU, you sweet thing, you!! SOOO appreciate that attitude ... AND the reviews!! ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  151. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    Amazon's concern over authors reviewing other authors was a reaction to news reports that some authors were trashing the books of competing authors who they didn't like while some other authors were paying professionals to write great reviews.

    TRUE!!!

    (Loving these Fact or Fictions, Vince!!)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  152. NANCY C, thanks SO much, my friend -- glad I could bring some important info to the table. :)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  153. Thanks, WENDY!! Trust me, we can always do more, but time is a factor for sure, so I always just review the ones (from authors I don't know) that I absolutely LOVE!

    Blessings right back at you, my friend!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  154. Yes, KAREN, most of us didn't know that Amazon fact, so I'm glad I could bring it to light. And good for you for posting and crossposting reviews -- that's awesome!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  155. Fact or Fiction?

    The best reviews are written by those who ordinarily read the same type of book for their own private reading enjoyment?

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  156. ANNIE, good question!

    I don't review it. Period.

    BUT ... TRUE CONFESSION TIME:
    I had a good friend whose book I read and could barely get through it. Ended up skimming till the end. I wrestled and prayed about what to do because I knew she'd expect me to post a review. I finally fudged a little and wrote the review about how fabulous the setting was because it was -- it's the one thing I liked about the book. So that's what I wrote the review about. Only thing is, you can't write a review without stars, so I gave her 5 stars, but it so upset me doing that, that I stopped reviewing for a lot of friends after that except the ones whose books I KNEW I would love.

    BEING A BRUTALLY HONEST REVIEWER IS NOT FOR SISSIES!!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  157. DEB, good for you, my friend -- that's awesome!! I can't tell you HOW many young gals I've met on the Web who did just that because they love books, and every one of them except a few are still at it today, with a reader base that is off the charts. :)

    God bless you in your new blog!!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!
    Julie

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  158. Speaking of Francine Rivers' reviews: "I doubt her family is that big." HAHAHAHA! I totally laughed at that, Julie. Two friends sent me that book and I just couldn't get into it. I always take note when people mention it's their favorite book because I am MISSING the gene that makes me love that book. And it makes me sad! I want to love it. I'll probably try it again soon. Maybe as I age, and get older/ wiser, I'll finally love it!

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  159. Not sure if Kav, Wilani, or Valri will see this comment but I realized that I wrote my first comment as a reader and reviewer, not as an author, really.

    I want to say how MUCH I truly appreciate the thoughtful reviews the above Seeker villagers have written for my books. There is nothing more valuable and uplifting to an author (aside from sales and a contract, haha) than to log on and see a really nice, well written review. And a personal note (which I think Valri has sent me over fb) is wonderful, too. It's really lovely and I'm so grateful for every one of them.

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  160. JENN (Artist Librarian)!!! It's always great to see your pretty smile, my friend, especially knowing how busy you are with school and work, so thanks for coming by!

    I can't speak for everyone (obviously!!), but seeing disclosures does not sway me one way or the other. But I totally agree with you about those effortless reviews I've seen when a free book was given, especially ones like "I really liked it," which I think are pretty lame.

    MIND YOU ... they don't bother me if it's an Amazon reviewer who bought the book because I'm just flat-out grateful they posted anything, but the gals that get a free book as part of a blog tour where the rules stipulate a review must be posted during a certain time period (that's how Revell does it) and cop out by posting the jacket blurb on their blog and a line that says, "I liked it." Yeah, those types used to tick me off in Revell's blog tours because Revell is a respected publisher, for Pete's sake -- don't take advantage of them or the author.

    Uh-oh ... I must be getting tired ... I'm getting cranky! Sorry!! ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  161. WINNIE, NO, I did not!! I thought this was the most boring, least interesting post I have ever done, so I am pretty much BLOWN AWAY by the response. I've done nothing work wise
    today but comments, which NEVER happens!!

    WOW, Winnie, 300 reviews??? That's awesome, my friend, and as an author I THANK YOU!! And I have to admit, I do the same thing with the long reviews -- I much rather skim them and read the shorter ones too.

    You're in the drawing, girl, and thanks for the offer! Are you on Facebook? If so, can you friend me?

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
    Julie

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  162. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    The best way to get a lot of reviews is to offer your book for free on Amazon?

    The best way to get a lot of bad reviews is to offer your book for free on Amazon?

    This is because people will quickly download a book that they would never buy without first checking it out in more depth and thus when they read the free book and it mentions doing things 'God's way', they can become outraged that they were 'tricked' into reading that 'Christian' stuff. Likewise, Christians can trash a free book in a review because they thought it was a sweet romance and when they came to the explicit sex, they felt it was their duty to give it a one star review!

    OH, VINCE, you nailed it, my friend!! I can't tell you how many reviews I got after A Passion Most Pure was free for a year, saying that I had God all over the place. One gal pointed out that I had God on almost every page (I think it was APMP that I got that review). Anyway, I checked to see and you know what? He was!! ;) Whether it was "God bless you" or "God help me," or other phrases like that, He was in there, so she was right. She just was a secular reader and didn't appreciate it. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  163. BONNIE, I totally agree with your reviewing processes, my friend, but then no surprise there, right??? ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  164. VINCE SAID:

    Fact or Fiction?

    The best reviews are written by those who ordinarily read the same type of book for their own private reading enjoyment

    I would TOTALLY agree with that -- that's me to a T!! Or maybe I should say to an "R" ...

    Sorry, I'm tired and getting slap-happy!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  165. LOL, MARY JANE/VIRGINIA, I'm glad you thought that was funny because I did too! I was smiling real big while I wrote it and my husband saw me and said, "Why are you smiling?"

    Okay, another TRUE CONFESSION time here, but only because you prompted me, MJV. I must be missing the gene, too, because I'm with you on this. I remember when one of my prayer partners told me I just HAD to read Redeeming Love because it was the best Christian book she ever read (this was before I got published, so she hadn't read mine yet (smile), but after she did read mine, I'm pretty sure she STILL thought Francie's was the best!! ;)

    Well, I read it, and yeah, I liked it okay, but the best book I ever read??? Nope. Not even close. But I will say that Francine's Mark of the Lion series is still in my top five MOST FAVORITE series ever, and I loved all her other books, too, so she's top of the line, no question. Redeeming Love just isn't one of the books that put her there for me, that's all.

    WHEW!!! It felt good getting that off my chest, MJV ... THANK YOU!! ;)

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  166. I'm with you on that, too, MARY JANE/VIRGINIA, so we're two for two tonight, darlin'!! Soooooo appreciate villagers reviews as well, so GOD BLESS SEEKER VILLAGERS!!

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  167. I remember that we used to have a woodpecker that would drill into a gutter above my wife's and my bedroom window. We stuck a life head shot of our younger son's face on the window. The woodpecker never came back. I can send you the picture and see if it affects the ducks.

    Okay, 700 readers for every one review. I should be happy that I have two reviews for one of my on-line books, as I know it doesn't have 1400 copies sold.

    I do reviews sometimes. However, I'm lucky to get time to read books, between my job, the kids, and writing. Even then, when I do post reviews, I keep it short.

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  168. So glad you wrote this. I need to read comments and will tomorrow as was invoved with atournament all day so late to this party. Great going Julie.

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  169. I made a new years resolution to try and review as many books as I read them and post online. I joined a publisher street team which requires a review in exchange for book sent monthly and that has inspired me to review the other titles I read. Using good reads I read 100 books last year (whew) do review are a good habit to get into.

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  170. Hi Julie:

    You were sure kept busy today!
    I give you 5 stars for being such an attentive host.
    And that's a fact!

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  171. I've written six or seven reviews for Amazon. What keeps me from writing a review is that I usually read books on my Kindle app and I don't like trying to write reviews on my phone...I know, not much of an excuse! The other deterrent to review writing is that I don't want to review a book I can't give a 4 or 5 star rating to. Sometimes I review books on my blog, and then I'll use a snippit or summar of that on Amazon. I do know it's important to authors, so I will need to get my pen in gear and pass the love around a little more! Thank you for the encouragment to do so!

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  172. I love to read & review books. I found that in my earlier review days I gave a little too much away but I have never given spoilers. I now give a brief paragraph or two about the characters and then give my opinions on the characters, plot,PPB, etc. When I was in school many years ago I hated doing book reports but now I love it.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W

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  173. Julie,

    I would absolutely LOVE to have you send me a copy of "Isle of Hope" and the signed prequel novella :) Thanks for the offer. I look forward to reading/reviewing them. Should I contact Seekerville to get you my address/info?

    It's true...I do buy books occasionally. However, it doesn't happen often, as I already have a huge TBR list for when I get the extra hours in my day. (I'm still waiting for that to happen!) One of the last books I purchased was actually a gift for someone else.

    I agree about ditching the synopsis (unless it has to be included for publication purposes). For the average reader/reviewer,there's little point, as the blurb is clearly posted on Amazon, Goodreads,etc. It's not a book report after all :)

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  174. Great post! Reviews do influence my purchases a lot. I spend a great deal of time researching things, even books, before I spend my money on them. I have recently started making time to leave reviews, but think that what probably stops me the most is not really knowing how much I should say. I feel bad leaving a not so great review, especially for books, but know I appreciate those as well when I am wanting to buy something. I do agree about not using the synopsis as part of your review on sites like Amazon, B & N but think they may have a place in a blog review as it's not just right up there at the top of the screen. I might try to find a review "template" to see if that makes writing them any easier for me. Thank you for the chance to win your books. :)

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  175. Julie, I'd love to read and review your book!! And thank you so much for visiting my blog. :) I'm happy dancing....

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  176. Truthfully I have only written one review for a book completely inappropriate for the target group in my mind. I do not want my fifth grader, or any other conscientious parent, reading the gore and mischief promoted as funny by a reputable and highly sold secular company. I found the process easy enough and now am going to being reviewing books on my blog I will be starting soon. Thanks to your post I will make sure I post my review to every retail seller and book review place possible to help and will also do it for as many of the other books I read as I can. Thanks, Julie! By the way I discovered you as an author at my library over the summer and was fantastically impressed with your writing style. It is definitely a god model for improving my own. God bless you and have a great day!

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    Replies
    1. *good... typing on my phone is never a good idea.

      Delete
    2. *good... typing on my phone is never a good idea.

      Delete
  177. Wish I had time to read through all these comments! I post lots of reviews, but not everything I read, mainly due to time constraints.

    Thank you for posting the Amazon Guidelines, Julie. I've never actually seen that quoted. "Personal relationship" is rather fuzzy, especially since most of these relationships are purely electronic.

    Most of my reviews were written before my book was published in October. Then and now, I always disclose if I have a relationship with the author, for example if we belong to the same writing group or if I received a complimentary advance review copy.

    It seems like a self-defeating prospect: build relationships, lose potential reviewers.

    As a first-time author, I'm finding it very difficult to get reviews. If someone sends me a complimentary note, I ask them to please review. Even having giving away something like 4,000 download copies in early December, I think I added only four reviews. It's very frustrating.

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  178. WALT SAID: "I remember that we used to have a woodpecker that would drill into a gutter above my wife's and my bedroom window. We stuck a life head shot of our younger son's face on the window. The woodpecker never came back. I can send you the picture and see if it affects the ducks."

    LOL ... what a GREAT idea, Walt!! And, thanks, but I think a "head shot" of me in the morning minus makeup blown up on canvas and nailed to the dock is a LOT scarier, don't you? Don't answer that -- it's rhetorical! ;)

    YOU ALSO SAID: "Okay, 700 readers for every one review. I should be happy that I have two reviews for one of my on-line books, as I know it doesn't have 1400 copies sold.

    LOL ... I hear you, my friend. It'd be like Death Valley in the "L" sections of libraries and bookstores if it wasn't for Beve Lewis ... ;)

    I do reviews sometimes. However, I'm lucky to get time to read books, between my job, the kids, and writing. Even then, when I do post reviews, I keep it short.

    Totally understood! And contrary to how I write ... short is definitely sweet! Now ... if I can just convince my keyboard ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  179. SANDRA!!! SUPER CONGRATS ON THE TWO GOLDS, my friend -- I am soon proud of you both, how active you stay. I feel like Keith and I are slugs sewn to our chairs ... :(

    And, girl, I will admit there are some pretty cool comments above, but holy cow, I had NO IDEA this subject (which, frankly, I thought was a total snooze) would light a fire under so many people!! But with this many comments, it's best to skim for the cream. Problem is, this blog response has been a half-gallon container of Half 'n Half!! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  180. ANGELA SAID: "I made a new years resolution to try and review as many books as I read them and post online. I joined a publisher street team which requires a review in exchange for book sent monthly and that has inspired me to review the other titles I read. Using good reads I read 100 books last year (whew) do review are a good habit to get into."

    WOW, Angela, 100 books is WONDERFUL, especially since you review every single one -- DOUBLE WOW!!

    Yeah, publisher street teams are a very cool way to get some of the best books around, in my opinion, so good for you!!

    Happy reading, my friend, and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

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  181. VINCE SAID:

    Hi Julie:

    You were sure kept busy today!
    I give you 5 stars for being such an attentive host.
    And that's a fact!

    LOL, thanks, Vince -- that's a 5-star I'll quickly agree I definitely earned, my friend, so thanks for noticing. Like I've mentioned in a comment above (I think) I had NO IDEA this topic would light a fire under so many people OR get people to expound so deeply, but I obviously struck a vein of interest none of us knew was there. Now ... if I can just strike gold with a few more good reviews on IOH, then I'll be a "happy camper" indeed! ;) Ironically, I told my husband before I posted this blog that it should be an easy day because this is the MOST BORING blog I've ever written. Go figure!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  182. Hi Julie!
    I also go out of my way to tell Restaurant Managers when I come across good servers. As far as a book review, I tried once and felt like I didn't do it justice, and didn't want to give away the story. So what kind of questions should be answered in a review might help. Plus with ADHD it is very scary to not be able to express properly in written form.
    Justina Baisley Wilson

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  183. BLESTBUTSTREST!!! Oh my gosh, it took me several minutes to figure out your addy (yes, I'm verrrrrry slow!), but once I did, I grinned ear-to-ear!! What a totally clever addy, my friend -- wish I'd thought of it! ;)

    YOU SAID: "What keeps me from writing a review is that I usually read books on my Kindle app and I don't like trying to write reviews on my phone...I know, not much of an excuse!"

    Are you kidding??? Move over, girlfriend, because THAT'S the #1 reason I don't post reviews on my devices either, I guess because I'm such a anal perfectionist (yeah, I know it's redundant, but THAT'S how picky I am!!), so I'm with you there!!

    YOU ALSO SAID: "The other deterrent to review writing is that I don't want to review a book I can't give a 4 or 5 star rating to. Sometimes I review books on my blog, and then I'll use a snippit or summar of that on Amazon. I do know it's important to authors, so I will need to get my pen in gear and pass the love around a little more! Thank you for the encouragment to do so!

    I hear you on the reluctance to review books 3 stars or under -- I feel that way, too. And frankly, there are SO many great books out there that I will NEVER get to, so I sure don't want to waste my time on ho-hum books, you know?

    Thanks for coming by, blestbutstrest, I really appreciate it and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

    Hugs,
    Julie


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  184. CINDY SAID: "I love to read & review books. I found that in my earlier review days I gave a little too much away but I have never given spoilers. I now give a brief paragraph or two about the characters and then give my opinions on the characters, plot,PPB, etc. When I was in school many years ago I hated doing book reports but now I love it."

    Oh, man, don't you just HATE that when a reviewer gives spoilers without warning??? That's ticked me off more than once because my books always have a big twist, and a number of reviewers have actually revealed the big surprise in their reviews, so I really hate that.

    I think the brief paragraph about the hero and heroine is a BRILLIANT idea, my friend, so that's a very cool way to make yours stand out in a sea of reviews.

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie

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  185. LESLIE!!!

    I am absolutely THRILLED you even have any time to take on another read, my friend, but I won't look a gift reviewer (I figure it wouldn't do to call a respected reviewer a horse!) in the mouth. ;) You can either contact me through my website at the link below or FB message me to give me your preferred email address (are ebooks okay, I hope??). And, Leslie, I am in NO hurry, so please take your time to enjoy the story WHENEVER you get to it, okay? THANK YOU!!

    CONTACT JULIE

    YOU SAID: "It's true...I do buy books occasionally. However, it doesn't happen often, as I already have a huge TBR list for when I get the extra hours in my day. (I'm still waiting for that to happen!) One of the last books I purchased was actually a gift for someone else."

    LOL ... I certainly relate. My hubby just said the other day, "Julie, for once in your life, I'd like to see you bored, with nothing to do." HA! Not in this lifetime if you're in the book biz like us!!

    AND thank you for confirming to our readers that they do NOT have to include a synopsis or summary with their reviews -- that helps coming from a professional reviewer!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  186. LAUREN ANN,

    I don't recognize your name, my friend, so if you're new to Seekerville, WELCOME!! If you're not new, keep in mind that I have a severe case of colander brain, okay?

    Glad to hear reviews influence your buying, because they sure do mine! And I hear you about "not knowing how much" you should say, but like I told several people in the comments above, most authors would KILL for just a short 1- or 2-line review as long as it's anchored to five stars. Here's what I said to Trixi above:

    First of al, VERY interesting reasons why you were afraid to write a review -- not doing the book justice -- but I'll let you in on a little secret that most authors don't come out and say. But since we know I am not most authors (ahem ... I am currently being treated for hoof-in-mouth disease!), I will give you my take on reviews in two points.

    1.) FROM THE HEART. If you are a person who loves to write reviews and wax eloquent, then go for it, and I promise you the author (and other readers) will see your passion no matter how you write. But authors would KILL to have a 1-line review as long as it is accompanied by five stars.

    2.) And this is the one most authors won't come out and say, but first and foremost: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE STARS, BABY!! At least for me it is, meaning that the first thing I do when I see a book I might want in Book Bub or elsewhere, I check out the stars and will NOT buy anything less than a 4.5-star because frankly I don't have enough time to read books that most people do not consider good enough for a 4.5 or more.

    LAUREN ANN, YOU SAID: "I do agree about not using the synopsis as part of your review on sites like Amazon, B & N but think they may have a place in a blog review as it's not just right up there at the top of the screen."

    EXCELLENT point, my friend, because YES, I do believe a blogger either needs to include a synopsis via the jacket blurb (which makes sense -- why rewrite what professional copy writers have already written???) or in the review, but NOT on Amazon or other online review sites.

    YOU SAID: "I might try to find a review "template" to see if that makes writing them any easier for me."

    Well, it isn't a pretty template, but here's what I told Sandy Smith above:

    1.) BRIEFLY tell if you liked, loved, or didn't like the book.
    2.) Tell WHY you liked the book -- did it move you emotionally, spiritually, teach you something, inspire you, make you think, etc. (can be as short as one line or you can go crazy with praise)
    3.) If you didn't like it or you scored it lower than a 5-star, tell WHY you didn't like it or why you gave it less than 5 stars.

    NO retelling of the plot/story necessary as the synopsis is listed above in the book description. :)

    Now, from Amazon, I pulled this:

    HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW? (from Amazon website)

    Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.

    Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.

    Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.

    Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.

    Hope this helps, Lauren Ann, and GOOD LUCK in the contest -- would LOVE to send you a winning ebook because it sounds like you haven't read my books before.

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  187. SHAREE!!!!!

    I am SO excited you're here, my friend -- THANK YOU for coming by AND for your interest in reviewing more of my books! Talk about "happy dancing," girlfriend, and I don't even dance!! ;)

    I am almost three days behind in emails, but I did see that you contacted me through my website, so I will respond to you there, okay? Uh ... just give me some time to wade through the emails, okay?

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!
    Julie

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  188. Wow, so helpful. Thank you so much. I'm getting so scared now about writing reviews for other authors. Sad that we can't help each other out.

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  189. CRYSTAL SAID: "Truthfully I have only written one review for a book completely inappropriate for the target group in my mind. I do not want my fifth grader, or any other conscientious parent, reading the gore and mischief promoted as funny by a reputable and highly sold secular company. I found the process easy enough and now am going to being reviewing books on my blog I will be starting soon. Thanks to your post I will make sure I post my review to every retail seller and book review place possible to help and will also do it for as many of the other books I read as I can. Thanks, Julie! By the way I discovered you as an author at my library over the summer and was fantastically impressed with your writing style. It is definitely a god model for improving my own. God bless you and have a great day!

    WOW, Crystal, first of all -- THANK YOU for your kind words and for reading my book(s) -- MUCH APPRECIATED!!

    Secondly, GOOD FOR YOU, my friend, because nothing ticks me off more than inappropriate material targeted at too young an age. I used to always go up like a Roman candle whenever we were watching TV with our kids and objectionable material popped up on supposedly kid-friendly shows.

    In fact, I was such a stickler for this that when my daughter attended a Christian school at the age of 11, I was SHOCKED that every kid in her class but her and another boy had seen Titanic when it came out. Now Titanic was PG-13, so that alone should have stopped those parents from allowing their kids to see it, but when my daughter begged us to let her see it (mind you, she was the oldest in her class, days away from turning 12), I told her her father and I would check it out first and let her know.

    Welllllll ... I don't know if you've ever seen it, but HOLY COW, it had the F-word in it twice, a nudity painting scene, and a car scene where the windows were fogged and all you saw was the gal's hand clawing down the window like she was in the throes of ecstasy -- and this from a gal and guy who were not only NOT married, but JUST MET on the flipping' boat (no pun intended).

    So, I felt so badly for saying "no," that my hubby and I decided to get it for her birthday when it came out on video (no DVDS back then) when she was 12. Imagine her surprise when she was watching it with her friends and Full House suddenly came on during all the questionable scenes. Yep, you guessed it -- I taped over every single F-word and objectionable scene, making SURE she understood that Hollywood's idea of morality was not ours. She was SO ticked off at the time, but today she is one of the godliest women I know, absolutely on fire for God. So the teenage angst over that stupid movie didn't win in the end! ;)

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest, Crystal -- I hope I get to send you a winning copy of a book!
    Julie

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  190. CAROLYN!!!! Soooooo good to see you here, my friend!! Thanks for coming by!

    YOU SAID: "Thank you for posting the Amazon Guidelines, Julie. I've never actually seen that quoted. "Personal relationship" is rather fuzzy, especially since most of these relationships are purely electronic.

    You're welcome, and YES, "personal relationship IS "rather fuzzy," indeed!

    YOU ALSO SAID: "Most of my reviews were written before my book was published in October. Then and now, I always disclose if I have a relationship with the author, for example if we belong to the same writing group or if I received a complimentary advance review copy."

    That's an excellent practice, girl, and one I've not seen before (the deliberate disclosure that you have a relationship with the author).

    YOU SAID: "It seems like a self-defeating prospect: build relationships, lose potential reviewers."

    I agree, but frankly, I don't buy the guideline because I'm sorry -- authors today interact with EVERYONE in the industry from bloggers to store owners/clerks to readers, so it's near impossible not to have a "personal" relationship unless you're a deaf mute. AND as far as actual friends and family, not only have I had dear friends give me 3-stars on reviews, but two sisters who weren't overly enamored with my work either -- one told me my 3rd book was "sophomoric" and another who gave me a 4-star on Amazon because I did not accurately reflect the horrors of war In A Passion Most Pure. Sigh. So frankly, I'm not worried about "fuzzy" guidelines at the moment.

    FINALLY YOU SAID: "As a first-time author, I'm finding it very difficult to get reviews. If someone sends me a complimentary note, I ask them to please review. Even having giving away something like 4,000 download copies in early December, I think I added only four reviews. It's very frustrating."

    I hear you, Carolyn, and I'm a hybrid author -- meaning I have the force of traditionally published books that the publisher promoted like crazy with blog tours and endless promo behind me and my indies, but it's STILL tough to get reviews. I think the best chance of getting reviews (and where I got most of mine on IOH) is through an extensive blog tour.

    For Revell blog tours, I would have as many as 130 signed up to be on them, but for my indies, I don't have that big list that Revell has, so I just compiled names of bloggers I knew that liked my style. Doing that, I had 60 people signed up for my blog tour for my first indie, A Light in the Window, which I narrowed down to under 30 for IOH since many of them did NOT post reviews, so I axed them from the IOH blog tour.

    For IOH, I had 30 solid names, then one of the bloggers (sweet Sydney Anderson) offered to put together her own blog tour for me, so that added seven more names. Trust me, 37 reviews is nothing to sneeze at, so I was thrilled. But the way, I strongly recommend you contact Sydney Anderson (her FB link is: https://www.facebook.com/sydney.james.3538?fref=ts) because she will be happy to do a blog tour for you, too, I suspect.

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK, my friend. Being an author is definitely not for sissies -- indie or otherwise.
    Julie

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  191. JUSTINE BAISLEY-WILSON SAID: "Plus with ADHD it is very scary to not be able to express properly in written form."

    LOL, trust me, my friend, as a bona fide CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), I know ALL about ADHD, and since I am an anal perfectionist (yeah, I know it's redundant, but THAT'S how picky I am!!), I am SO with you there!!

    YOU ALSO SAID: "I also go out of my way to tell Restaurant Managers when I come across good servers."

    WHOO-HOO, girl, I am soooooo proud of you because we are definitely in the minority, unfortunately!!


    FINALLY, YOU SAID: "As far as a book review, I tried once and felt like I didn't do it justice, and didn't want to give away the story. So what kind of questions should be answered in a review might help."

    Your wish is my command, my friend, so I'm going to repeat what I told several others up above and give you my 1-2-3 punch for writing reviews, which in my opinion, NEVER have to exceed three lines unless you really loved or didn't love the book and want to expound.

    Ready?

    1.) BRIEFLY tell if you liked, loved, or didn't like the book.
    2.) Tell WHY you liked the book -- did it move you emotionally, spiritually, teach you something, inspire you, make you think, etc. (can be as short as one line or you can go crazy with praise)
    3.) If you didn't like it or you scored it lower than a 5-star, tell WHY you didn't like it or why you gave it less than 5 stars.

    NO retelling of the plot/story necessary as the synopsis is listed above in the book description. :)

    Now, from Amazon, I pulled this:

    HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW? (from Amazon website)

    Include the "why": The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.

    Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.

    Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.

    Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.

    Finally, in case you need it, here's the how to:

    HOW TO POST A REVIEW ON AMAZON (my step-by-step I referred to in the blog):

    1.) Go to www.amazon.com and type in the book title and author you’d like to review in the search box at the top of the page with the little magnifying glass in it.

    2.) Click on the magnifying glass, and it will take you to the book. Click on whatever version you are reviewing, ebook or paperback.

    3.) Click on the “customer reviews” link next to the stars.

    4.) Click on the box that says “Write a Customer Review.”

    5.) Answer several questions by simply clicking on tabs.

    6.) Hover your mouse over the stars to click on the number you’d like to give the book.

    7.) Type or paste a short review (can be as short as one line) about how you liked the book and a title in the header box if you want.

    8.) Click on Submit.

    And that’s it! If it was a good review, you just made an author VERY happy!!

    Thanks for coming by Justine!! I don't remember seeing your name before, so if you are new to Seekerville, WELCOME and please come back!

    Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!
    Julie





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  192. CHRISTINE, YES, it IS sad we can't help out other authors, but it's true if you post a review for one, then you're posting reviews for everyone and not getting any books written, right?? So maybe Amazon did us a favor ... ;)

    Hugs and thanks for coming by -- I hope it nets you a win, my friend!
    Julie

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  193. Excellent article, thank you!

    I tend to only leave reviews for things that knock my socks off, whether on Amazon or my blog. I think I did a review of one of Ruth Logan Herne's books on my blog but since I buy most of my Love Inspired from Harlequin (or borrow them from the library) I didn't think to leave Amazon reviews for them.

    Do please enter me in the drawing. I'd totally love to win a signed manuscript copy of my your novella, "A Glimmer of Hope" but would be excited to win one of your ebooks if the manuscript goes to someone else.

    Thank you for the provoking thoughts and contest too!

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  194. Hi Julie:

    You wrote:

    "I posted this blog that it should be an easy day because this is the MOST BORING blog I've ever written. Go figure!"

    Well, the way I figure it, it's the shortest blog you've ever written but that didn't work, did it? : )

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  195. I write reviews for almost everything I read. I will also write reviews for the various products I buy. Many of the things you mentioned, Julie, are very true to me. I check reviews on books before I buy them. If there are poor reviews, I will look at a few more, thinking that it might just be a preferential thing. I will say, however, I probably do not buy a book that has no reviews above a 3 star rating and I won't buy a book with foul language!

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  196. I do think it's important to review books, and I try my best to review every book I read. Last year I fell victim to not finding enough moments to write reviews, but I always rate my books on Goodreads. I did improve by the end of 2015; I reviewed the last handful of books I read. And this year I'm batting 2/2 reviews. I also always post on Goodreads and Amazon, and I sometimes share on Facebook.

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  197. I personally love writing reviews but sometimes I found it hard to write what I'm trying to say :) I DON"T read reviews before reading a book. But I know quite a few friends who won't read books unless they've read several reviews.

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