Category Archives: Book reviews

When you’re writing historical romance  (or anything historical), please research.

I’ve been writing Regencies, and the material on the Web which is available at a click is mind-blowing. To repeat… the material is available at a click. Yes, confirm information  from a few sources, but do try to get your facts right. You’ll make mistakes. As a reader, I’ll forgive a lot, but not a constant stream of errors.

I enjoyed this review, although I wager the book’s author didn’t:

“4) Here’s a few more – they are installed in the house owned by the Marquess, formerly belonging to his grandmother, and none of the society gossip-mongers wonders about this? And her mother’s old friend, Lady Caroline, offers to get them vouchers for Almacks? Not if she isn’t a patroness she won’t. And what is the deal with a bunch of men suddenly paying visits to the 5 women in their home? Without ever being introduced, since they had not yet been into society? I don’t think so. Just as they would have had a hard time being invited to the Duchess of Dorset’s ball without having been properly introduced and vetted for their acceptability into society first.”

My apologies to the book’s author for calling out this review. I haven’t read the book. For all I know it’s excellent,  but  I’m using the review to point out the importance of research.

If you’re writing historicals, read others’ reviews of books set in your time period. You’ll soon get a feel for the woeful mistakes which rile readers.

Here’s what annoys me about this kind of thing: the author spends a lot of time writing the best book he or she can. With just a tiny amount of care, the book could be so much better — and sell better — and one-star reviews could be avoided.

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How to Get Ebook Reviews Without Slitting Your Wrists


Writing a book? That’s great. You’re very busy with your book, but now’s the time to start thinking about reviews, and preparing for them. Not only will your reviews lift sales, but if you go about getting them in the right way, you’ll also get readers. This is a good thing for the future.

Study Goodreads’ reviewers carefully

I’ve just written an article about increasing ebook sales, in which I discussed Goodreads’ Author Program. Join Goodreads, and create your author profile.

Once that’s done, look for books which are similar to yours, and which sell well. For example, if you write contemporary romances, find hot-selling books in that genre on Goodreads. Choose the books which are most similar to yours – in plot and voice. Read the reviews.

Ideally, you’ve read the top-selling books in your category already. You have an opinion on them. Find reviewers whose taste is similar to yours – they like the books you do, and dislike the books you dislike.

Make a list of the reviewers. Then approach them one by one (don’t send out boilerplate messages.) Comment on a couple of reviews of theirs which you enjoyed, and explain why you enjoyed them.

Now ask for a review. Explain that you’re self-publishing if that’s the case, or which company is publishing your book if you’re going with a publisher. Make it clear that you can live with a less-than-wonderful review, if that’s what the reviewer gives you. You’ve read their reviews, you respect them, and are interested in what they’ll say about your book – good or bad.

Reviewers are busy. Many authors want reviews, which means that there’s every chance you’ll need to wait months for yours. Assure the reviewers that you’re happy with what they give you, and you don’t mind how long it takes for their review.

(Your ebook will sell for years, so it hardly matters if the reviews take time to trickle in. You’ll get a sales boost with every review, so your patience will be rewarded.)

Approach book bloggers

Book bloggers with popular blogs have huge numbers of books to read. As with the Goodreads’ people, look for bloggers who share your taste in books.

Before you approach any book blogger, become a constant reader. Comment on reviews they’ve written. All bloggers appreciate comments. They’ll love the fact that you stop by, and you’ll be known to them before you ask for a review.

Follow the same routine as above. Be friendly and open, and make it clear that you’re interested in what they think of your book because you respect them. And tell them that you’re happy to wait. 🙂

Be emotionally prepared for negative reviews

Some authors don’t care about bad reviews. It’s water off the proverbial duck’s back. Other authors care deeply. If you’re overly sensitive, think about why that may be so. Not everyone will love what you’ve written. Some people will hate it, because it triggers something in them.

Be prepared for bad reviews because the reviewer just dislikes the book.

That said – do minimize bad reviews you can avoid. I wrote about proofreading to avoid one-star reviews.

Ensure that your book’s formatted well, and edited, before you go hunting for reviewers.

Getting ebook reviews is fun. Each review helps you to build your readership. Be grateful: reviewers take time to read and think about your work. With any luck at all, you’ll get some wonderful reviews. Good luck with writing your book.

Reviews Are For Readers, NOT You

creativity into cash

Yesterday, I chatted with a writer who’s getting her first book ready to post on Amazon. She’s panicking about the possibility of one-star reviews.

Here’s the truth, as Author, Jody Hedlund: Should Authors Stalk Review Sites? says:

“If we’re checking Amazon or Goodreads or blog reviews, then we’re going to eventually hear a lot of negative stuff.

The trouble is, we tend to take lower ratings very personally, whether we want to or not. We let the negative comments dig in and discourage us. Even if we have thick skin, those comments still seem to worm their way inside. And sometimes they hurt, even fester.”

Jody Hedlund makes an excellent point: “Review sites are for readers… The reviews are NOT intended for authors (for feedback, instruction, critiques, etc.). ”

You may have written a book, but the reading experience is personal

I tell writers to skip the reviews and never read them if they know they’ll be affected by what they read. Only you know how personally you’re likely to take negative reviews and comments.

You shouldn’t take negative comments personally, because it’s not about you.

If we’re talking about fiction, the reading experience is subjective. You wrote the words, but the reader has the experience. Once you’ve published your book, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t say to a reader that they’re wrong about what they feel.

On the other hand, if you’ve written nonfiction, it can be useful to check reader reviews. If you’ve left something out that readers need you to cover, not a problem. Write a second edition.

If you’re new to publishing, you will take all negative comments much too seriously. Your bruised ego will eventually toughen up. You’ll realize that you wrote something. It’s now available for readers. Yes, you want readers to enjoy your work, but as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but… 🙂