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A writer pours their heart and soul into their book. Blood, sweat, and tears soak the pages as they struggle to craft just the right sentence or emotion to capture the reader and hold their attention until the end. Once they finish writing and place the book for sale, their emotions are mixed. Exhilaration vies with dread when they see their book for sale. They check their sales and rankings, fingers crossed. Will the readers like it? Will they hate it? Should I start thinking about a new career? Then it happens. The one thing they’ve been waiting for the most: the first review!

Reviews are make or break time for the writer. The readers let the writer know how they felt about the book and if there was anything wrong with it or what was great about it. No matter how much editing a book goes through, there are bound to be a few mistakes that were missed and readers see this and will write about it. Authors sit on the edge of their seat waiting for that first review. The reader lets the writer know if the characters were interesting, if the story made sense and flowed, if something was missing or unclear. Another thing a reader will notice is the formatting, especially those of eBooks. I’ve come across a few that I found difficult to read and had to give up on it. The storyline was good, but the formatting was horrible. If you do your own formatting for eBooks, make sure you run it through a e-reader before you put it up for sale!

I’ve read a lot of books and have left a number of reviews. I let the writer know if I liked the plot and the main characters and villains. If the editing is left wanting, I let them know that as well, but I certainly don’t use foul language to do so. No writer wants to receive a one star review, always aiming for five stars. I’ve reviewed both fiction and non-fiction books, each time saying something nice, but also pointing out when I didn’t like something.

When you write a review of a book you read, be polite. Don’t say something like ‘This is crap and a waste of money!’ Let the writer know why you didn’t like the book. Was it the subject matter, too much swearing or sex scenes that are unnecessary? Believe it or not, writers learn from their mistakes when someone points them out to them. Readers are the ones who let us know we screwed up and a good review will let us know what’s wrong.

There are trolls out there who like nothing better than to leave a bad review without having read the book or short story! They base their review on the length of the work and the price. Ignore the trolls, they aren’t worth your time or effort. It’s obvious they have no real life so let their reviews roll off your lizard skin.

Some reviewers like to reveal spoilers in their reviews, which I think isn’t necessary. A potential reader can read the blurb or book description, or a book sample to find out what the book is about and decide whether they want to read it.

ARCs I have no problem with. Read the book, write the review. Be honest, but don’t give Spoilers! If you are asked not to leave a review before a specific date, honor the request.

For the writers who review books they’ve read, remember to treat the author with the same respect you want. Don’t dump on them or say they should find a new career.

Paid reviews. I don’t agree with paying money to have someone review your book. To my way of thinking, any author that does that is stuffing the ballot box. Your work should speak for itself.

I know authors complain about the lack of reviews and I have no idea how to address that. It doesn’t take long to write one and with all the electronic devices people have, they could easily take five minutes away from FB, YouTube or their various games to write a review.

May the words ever flow!

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