Okay, I admit to being a lucky lady. Yes, I’ve certainly had more than my fair share of dramas, difficulties and bad times, but it’s 2015 and the sun is shining and I’m feeling very lucky and very thankful.
Not only has my little blog now passed 36,000 visitors, HUGE thanks to all of you who continue to visit and support this quiet corner of the internet (despite my…ahem…rather sporadic postings! 😀 xxx) but things are going well.
After having had my hopes, dreams and heart crushed by a terrible experience with my dreadful ex-publishers, that left me scarred and more than a little battered and bruised, I was incredibly lucky to have my novel, White Mountain, taken on by a new and wonderful publisher, Grimbold Books and their imprint, Kristell Ink. I couldn’t have asked for more. They are the polar opposite of my previous experiences, honest, open, very author friendly and just super cool people who place an emphasis on producing the highest quality books.
White Mountain, the first of my Darkling Chronicles trilogy, has had new life breathed into it, a wonderful new cover, new editing, new formatting, beautiful calligraphy, quality lovingly put into every page. For this and so much more, I am and will always be eternally grateful to Sammy HK Smith & Zoe Harris of Grimbold Books, for believing in me and the novel and seeing what a great book it could be in the right hands. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It IS possible to have a second chance, I am proof of that! 😀
I’ve also been lucky enough to be doing a wonderful book signing tour around Wales and the West Country, including in some very prestigious Bookseller Award winning bookshops that are used to having big celebrities signing in them, like my hero David Attenborough, extraordinary astronaut and David Bowie fan Chris Hadfield, Michael Palin, Michael Parkinson, Nigella Lawson etc., etc. In every bookshop I have signed in, I have had a fantastic and truly humbling response. People are loving White Mountain and sharing their stories and reactions to it with me, I’ve even been approached by two different people interested in trying to make it into a movie! For any author this is manna from heaven, getting feedback from readers and fans doesn’t get any better!
Yes…it’s better than chocolate and better than sex!
And there we get to the heart of this post…REVIEWS!
I’ve just received another brilliant review of White Mountain, this time from American website, Reader’s Favorite, who gave it a glowing 5*star review and even a lovely shiny 5*star seal/medal! Wow! I couldn’t be more thrilled! Check it out here folks! : https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/white-mountain
But all this got me thinking about reviews in general, probably because, like all authors, I really want and need more reviews…as many as possible, please! Lol! A fellow Grimbold author, the lovely and talented Ellen Croshain, did a brilliant blog herself on reviews, check it out here: http://wp.me/p52Vmq-36
It is true that getting reviews nowadays is like gold dust, in fact it’s tougher than that and is probably akin to trying to grab star dust with nothing but an old sieve with more holes in it than your Granny’s tights! The equalizer though, is that it doesn’t matter how big a writing star you are, authors at every end of the writing spectrum all love getting reviews and rely on them to a greater extent than perhaps the reviewers realise. Often the success or failure of a book depends hugely on getting reviews, getting word of mouth out there. Look at terribly written books like ’50 Shades of Blah Blah Blah…’ without the initial buzz, the readers’ word of mouth, it simply wouldn’t have become the sensation that it did. Ironically, even though that particular book generated a massive backlash and an ocean of critical reviews, those reviews still got people interested in wanting to find out what all the fuss was about.
I know it myself. Whether I’m shopping on Amazon, Trip Advisor or any place, I first and foremost look for reviews.
Reviews are our first post of call, that critical first impression of a product. When it comes to books, in particular, I always look at the reviews first often before I even glance at the blurb. Yes it’s unbelievably fantastic to get verbal feedback from fans and readers (please don’t stop!), but getting that feedback translated into actual reviews really DOES make all the difference. Yes it’s a hassle to do, and yes 90% of people who read your book won’t write a review or simply don’t think they can. But none the less, reviews are what all authors crave, as they know just how damn important they are.
Reviews immediately raise the profile of your book, immediately make it more noticeable to new readers and push it above the massive and saturated marketplace. Reviews generate word of mouth, interest, the sort of publicity that a struggling author simply can’t afford. Unfortunately there are dishonest and immoral authors out there that will pay individuals for reviews, particularly 5*star reviews, and what a slippery slope that is! Well, in my mind, any author that pays for reviews is not only cheating the system, but most importantly, they are CHEATING THEIR READERS. An absolute NO NO! Yes there are sites out there where you can pay, if you choose, for a quick review or wait weeks or months for a free one. I take the latter.
I’m also talking about genuine reviews. Yes I’m human and I’d love all my reviews to be glowing 5*star reviews simply because I want people to love my book as much as I love it and I naturally want the best for my novel. And yes, when someone doesn’t love the book or totally misinterprets the story, it hurts. I had a reader recently who seemed to think the whole story was a comedy! Yeap, time to grit teeth and smile – NEVER be tempted to respond guys, there is nothing worse than an author defending their book, they just end up cheapening themselves and their work and looking like an amateur idiot!
BUT, despite our sensitive nature’s and bruised ego’s, any author worth their salt actually just wants truthful, constructive reviews.
Apart from hugely helping a book, in terms of profile, publicity, even sales, reviews are also an invaluable tool for authors. A constructive review may reveal plot inconsistencies or character problems that the author and publisher simply missed, or at least give a fresh perspective on how certain aspects of the story came across to the reader. But it can also help the author to improve and fine tune their storytelling skills for the next book.
So guys…the next time you read a book that you love or have any strong and passionate reaction to, share it with others, WRITE A REVIEW and be a part of that book’s story! As Ellen so eloquently said in her blog, don’t make personal attacks on the author if you hate the book, but explain why you hated it or loved it.
Lol, I have my own groaning list of books I have to review and I WILL get round to each and every one, as I know how damn important they are! 😀 xxx