I have the great pleasure to host the delightful Sabrina York on my blog today! I asked her for her insight on the importance of reviews...and how to write one.
Sabrina's words of wisdom:
Okay. I admit it. I am a slacker.
I’ve probably read a thousand books—by authors I adore—and I never wrote one review. Not one. I never sent a thank you to a publisher, never wrote a fan letter. Nothing. I just gobbled up their words like a voracious ouroboros and then, when I was done, picked up the next book.
And to be perfectly honest, there is nothing wrong with that. Most readers, even very happy readers, never write a review.
I just didn’t realize how important they were until I was published myself.
Writing is a very solitary pursuit. We shut ourselves in and pound out words and agonize over phrases and rip our hair out at the roots when editing. We are never completely 100% happy with what we write.
So after all that, imagine the bliss to hear from someone who read the book…and loved it. Saw some glimmer of perfection woven into the fabric of the story.
It is the most heavenly feeling.
But there are more reasons—than pleasing an author—for writing a review. According to CustomerLobby.com, 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before purchasing. In The Marketer’s Guide to Customer Reviews and What They Matter so Much, Cheryl Conner reports that “According to Neilsen’s 2012 “Global Trust in Advertising Survey,” 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, whether from strangers or from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.
By writing an honest review for a book you’ve read, you are helping others make their purchasing decision. And if it is a book you loved, perhaps pointing them in the direction of their next great read.
That is a powerful feeling.
Keep in mind, people don’t always pay attention the number of stars. They are looking for quality, usable information provided in the review. Some people like to read both the positive and negative reviews to get a more complete picture of the book.
Aside from all that, authors know: reviews sell books. If you want to help an author you love, writing a review is a great option. And it doesn’t need to be fancy!
How to write a book review
Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to write a book review.
“Book reviews are highly personal and reflect the opinions of the reviewer. A review can be as short as 50-100 words, or as long as 1500 words.”1 In fact, my favorite review of all time is a gif!
“A book review is a description and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling.”2 Above all, when reviewing fiction, do not give away the story.
Here are some things to consider:
Make sure you include the essential information about the book: title, author, type of book/genre or themes. If you a posting on a blog or other site, include buy links.
Share a bit of the author’s blurb or write your own short encapsulation of the story—without giving away any spoilers.
Remember, spoilers can ruin the experience for the next reader. Let the story unfold for them as it did for you.
While you’re writing, think about “grabbable snippets.” If there are short sentences or phrases an author can easily grab, they are more likely to quote your review in their own promo. If you are posting on Amazon, the Amazon folks are more likely to snag a snappy quote to feature. For example, here is a snippet on my Smoking Holt Page. I did not choose this—Amazon did:
“Smoking Holt is the 3rd book in the Tryst Island series by Sabrina York and the hottest one, yet. ”
Tina M. Reiter| 1 reviewer made a similar statement
Examples of review quotes I did grab:
"Rebound had some serious SIZZLE to it. I LOVED it!" –Insightful Minds Reviews
"Smoking Holt is...SMOKING!" –Three Girls and a Book Obsession
"I love this series and it just keeps getting better and better!" –Goodreads Reviewer
“These characters are people who could be friends and neighbors…” Gaele, Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer
Can you see why I selected these quotes? I share them in articles I write, in media kits and even put some of them on the back covers of my print books.
Here are some other things you may decide to include in your review:
Did you like the author's voice or style?
Did you enjoy the Hero/Heroine? What did you like or hate about them?
Did the plot and pacing work for you?
Was the ending satisfying?
How did the book affect you? Did it make you cry? Did it make you angry? Did it make you want to read more? Share quotes you loved or give examples of something that made you laugh.
Were there any elements another reader might be looking for—or NOT looking for?
Would you recommend this book to others? Why? Or why not?
Use specific references or quotations to bring your review to life.
For a more scholarly approach to review writing, check out this article: http://www.lavc.edu/library/bookreview.htm
But whether or not you decide to write a review, there are other ways you can support authors you love:
Like their author page on Amazon.
Put their books you your wish list
Share their covers on Pintrest, Twitter and on Facebook
Comment on blogs they post, or guest post
Provide extra media on Shelfari, Goodreads and Amazon
And support reviewers you love! By liking the review or clicking “Yes, this review was helpful” you can help them by raising their ranking on Amazon!
1 Los Angeles Valley College: How to write a Book Review, http://www.lavc.edu/library/bookreview.htm
2 Los Angeles Valley College: How to write a Book Review, http://www.lavc.edu/library/bookreview.htm
(note from ELF: Be warned, Amazon has some weird system and doesn't seem to count your yes votes to increase ranking if you enter more than 4 or so for the same reviewer)
Check out Sabrina’s most recent release:
Making Over Maris
Wired, Book Three
When über-nerd Jack asks Sara to make him more attractive to women, she can’t say no—even though it’s an impossible task. He’s shaggy and doughy and hopelessly inappropriate. He has no style or emotional intelligence but he’s a good person. And a great friend. What Sara never expects? Beneath all that fur and geekiness is a steamy hunk just waiting to emerge.
Jack takes Sara’s regimen very seriously, working out and losing weight until he feels like a new man. He even complies with her command to shave his beard—because Jack didn’t ask Sara to make him over so he would be attractive to other women. He only wants to be attractive to her. They go on a series of fake dates, each hotter and more sinful than the last. It’s not long before Sara discovers Jack’s secret desire to be dominated and what began as an arrangement becomes something amazing—something that could be real.
Inside Scoop: Our hero appreciates Femdom—with the right woman. Our hero doesn’t appreciate perfect strangers grabbing his junk. Ask nicely first, ladies!
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
GET IT NOW ON ELLORA’S CAVE
GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
About Sabrina York
Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, writes naked erotic fiction for fans who like it hot, hard and balls-to-the-wall, and erotic romance and fantasy for readers who prefer a slow burn to passion.
An award winning author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers, her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to BDSM to erotic horror. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!
Win Sabrina’s MEGA Romanticon Swag Giveaway http://sabrinayork.com/win-sabrinas-romanticon-2013-fantasy-basket/ (deadline December 30th)
Favorite Quote Contest: Win a tiara!! http://sabrinayork.com/?p=1329
Download my FREE Teaser Book! 75 pages of blurbs, excerpts and reviews for all my hottest books: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/
Newsletter & contest: http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/
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Books by Sabrina York
Adam's Obsession (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora's Cave)
Dark Duke (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Brigand (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave) —Coming soon
Dark Fancy (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Dragonfly Kisses (Tryst Island Series) (Erotic Contemporary)
Extreme Couponing (Ball & Chain)(Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Fierce (1Night Stand Series) (One Night Stand, Decadence Press)
Five Alarm Fire (Erotic Contemporary for the High Octane Heroes Anthology, Cleis Press)
Folly (Erotic Regency, Ellora’s Cave)
Heart of Ash: A Tryst Island Erotic Romance (Erotic Contemporary)
Lust Eternal (Erotic Fantasy, Ellora’s Cave)
Pushing Her Buttons (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Making Over Maris: 3 (Wired) (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Man Hungry (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Rebound (Tryst Island Series 1)(Erotic Contemporary, Available on Amazon)
Rebound is now available on Smashwords
Rising Green (Erotic Horror, Ellora’s Cave)
Saving Charlotte (Erotic Contemporary for the Smokin' Hot Firemen Anthology, Cleis Press)
Smoking Holt (Tryst Island Series 3)(Erotic Contemporary)
Training Tess (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)
Trickery (Erotic Contemporary with Magical Elements, Ellora’s Cave Hex Line)
Tristan’s Temptation (Erotic Contemporary, Ellora’s Cave)