1/26/15

Free Demonslayer Comes to Nook!


For the first time ever, one of my ebooks is available on Barnes & Noble for the Nook e-reader.  You can grab it for free here.  (Middle school counselor Joshua Thompson starts out as a good guy, but will he stay one?  Hmmm...)

I never realized B&N also provides you with a handy online reader to read ebooks in.  It's a really easy way to enjoy any Nook book without owning or using the device itself.

The rest of the Demonslayer series will join #1 on B&N as I release the books.  Other places to find Demonslayer are listed on its page here, although Amazon still hasn't turned it free.  If you've got five seconds to help me out with that, click here to learn more.  I'd appreciate it!

1/22/15

Why Should I Leave a Book Review?

The easy answer: it helps everybody from authors to readers to booksellers to the people leaving the reviews.

But how, exactly?

I don't usually share much about the writers' side of publishing or how I get my books all the way from an idea in my head to something readers can get their hands on.  But I believe reviews are too important to the reading and writing communities not to pull the curtain aside.

What does a book review do?

For people who haven't read the book, reviews give them insight into the book's content and quality.  Book browsers want to know if they're going to like a book before they buy it, and reviews are one of the things they look at.

For other people who've read the book, reviews by others provide new perspectives.  Reviews can validate other readers' thoughts or be completely different. This creates connection and discussion.

For authors, book reviews are amazing.  They can open doors to marketing and advertising opportunities we can't use otherwise.  They provide feedback on our work that helps shape what we publish and how we write it.  Some authors decide which series to focus on based on how much reader interest they get, which can be partially measured by reviews.

Booksellers benefit when they sell more books, which reviews can definitely set in motion.

People who leave reviews not only sharpen their skills with each one they write, but they open up opportunities for themselves to get free copies in exchange for honest reviews.  Some authors contact reviewers and bloggers directly for this.  Some websites like Goodreads make it easier for readers who leave reviews to win the book giveaways they enter.


What if I don't want to leave a bad review?

You can use the same question I ask myself when I leave reviews: Is the information I know now something I would've wanted to know before I bought this?  In other words, would your own poor review have saved you from spending time and money on a book you didn't end up liking?  If so, consider reviewing it.  Low ratings won't automatically kill book sales - I know that from experience.  But they can add to the overall picture of how readers react to the book.


What if I don't have time?

Try leaving a short review, especially if you loved or hated the book.  You can always go back and write more later.  Even if you don't, at least the author will know what you thought.  Your review still counts, and it's still appreciated.

What if I don't like reviews and surveys and sharing my opinion?

You don't have to leave a review, but the process is kind of like voting.  Those who participate shape the future.  If you loved a book and chose not to review it, maybe it has no effect at all.  Or maybe the author gives up or doesn't write anything new in that series.  Maybe a book you didn't like and didn't review ends up on a best sellers' list with a high rating you don't think it deserves.  More writers are publishing than ever before, giving readers the unique power to boost books they like over ones they don't through the support of their reviews.

If you need some ideas to get you started, you can check out my post with tips on writing a review.  Thanks for considering adding your voice to the reading and writing community.  As an author and a bookhead, it means a lot.

1/14/15

How To Write A Book Review

The first-ever National Readathon Day (using #timetoread on Twitter) is just around the corner on Saturday, January 24th.  Participants (maybe even you) will read for four hours in the middle of the afternoon in support and solidarity for literacy.


Reading is awesome!  I got hooked as a kid and still love the thrill of finding a new favorite book.

But the truth is a lot of readers don't take the time to review what they read even if they liked it.  Why leaving reviews is important will be a post for another day, and other authors/bloggers have covered it, too.

Leaving a review is easy and can take less than 5 minutes.  You probably already know the 5 W's from speech or English class, so just use those to help you.  Answering questions like these will write your review for you:

Who - Who makes up the story, and how do you feel about them?  Who's your favorite character?  Or your least favorite?  Did you identify with the main character?  Did you fear/hate/fall in love with the villain?  Did each of the characters stand apart, or did they mesh together without individual personalities?

What - What is the story about?  Did you like the plot?  Did it move too slowly, too fast, or just right?  What surprised you?  What made you laugh/cry/feel nauseous?  What made you recommend the book to a friend - or what would keep you from doing so?

Where - Where does the book take place?  Did the details make you feel like you were there?  Did you want to travel there?  If you've already been there, did you like the author's version of that place?  Did the book stay in one location or jump around?  How did you feel about that?

When - When does the book take place?  What interests you about this depiction of the past/present/future?  Did events happen in an order that made sense?  Did they happen out of order and make sense anyway?

Why - Why do events happen as they do?  Why do the characters act the way they do?  Are these reasons explained?  Are they believable?  Did the premise of the story confuse/surprise/hook you?  Would you read more books by this author?  Why or why not?

There's also a bonus opportunity for the single H:

How - How does the writer tell the story?  Do you like what the author chooses to show and chooses to let happen off the page?  Do you like the words the author used?  Was the story told with dynamic, boring, or casual language?

I hope the next time you finish a book, you'll at least consider leaving a review for it.  You already know the questions to ask yourself about it.  You've spent hours, days, weeks, or more reading it. What's another five minutes to tell the Internet and the author how you feel about it?

Click here to learn more about National Readathon Day.