Charlene Ross, author of FROSTED COWBOY, is here today to talk about authors, Amazon and reviews. Get ready for post that is mix of humor and honesty!
And after reading the post- if you enjoyed it- FROSTED COWBOY (available for purchase on February 8th!) may be your cup of tea!
Guest Post by Charlene Ross
The Proper Way to Thank an Author
(AKA The Importance of Amazon Reviews)
I have a confession to make. I hate writing book reviews. There it is; my dirty little secret exposed for the world to see.
I hate writing book reviews.
In the first place I never know what to write. Simply summarizing the book sounds like a grade school book report, plus I’d hate to give away any spoilers. If people want to know what a book is about all they need to do is read the synopsis supplied by the author or publisher, they don’t need me retelling them.
And to say, “I really liked this book,” is just… well… lame.
Of course the goal is to inform people why I liked a book and sometimes if a book is particularly moving or funny or beautifully written, I find it (somewhat) easy to describe how the book made me feel, why I loved it, and why I think someone else will love it too. But other times, most times actually –even with books I couldn’t put down- I find it a struggle to figure out what to say. If you want to know the truth it feels a little bit like homework. (And nobody likes homework!)
But I do it anyway. Within a day or two, while the book is still fresh in my mind I will log onto Amazon and write a review. Why do I torture myself with something I find so unpleasant? Because it is my way of both paying back and paying forward.
I pay back the author by writing thank you note (in the form of a review) for the beautiful gift of whisking me away from my ordinary suburban life.
And I hope that I’m paying it forward in a way that will give me good karma (and good reviews) for my book in the future.
By the way, I never write bad reviews, even if I absolutely hated a book. I know how hard it is to write a book, and what it feels like to get a bad review (hint: like a stab to the heart & gut at the same time). If I don’t like a book my way of paying it forward is to not write a review.
Some authors never read their reviews. Another confession: I am definitely not one of those authors. I’m not saying that I obsessively log into all the sites where my book is currently being reviewed several times a day to see if anyone new has loved it (Yay! Break out the champagne!) or hated it (Boo! Take a swig from the freezer vodka!) and base my entire feeling of self-worth on what some anonymous person has to say about my beloved first novel that I toiled over for years. Only a crazy person would do that! I’m just admitting to you that I do read them.
But whether the author reads my thank you note to them or not I know that my Amazon review matters. The more reviews a book has, the more eyes there will be on it. Amazon works on an algorithm and when a book has a lot of (positive) reviews it gets moved into the “you may also like” category that you see when you order a book.
Thoughtful reviews are even more helpful. (Hint: more than a grade school book report or an “I really liked this book.”) When people click “yes” on that little button that says “was this review helpful?” the book gets an even better ranking.
So I try my best to thank the author by writing a review that is helpful and will tell a potential reader what it was about the book that moved me or made me laugh out loud or fall in love with the characters.
My first novel, FROSTED COWBOY, is coming out February 8th. It’s a romantic comedy about a woman who reinvents herself with a fresh start on her love life and her career. You can find out more about it here. I hope that if people like it they will be kind enough to write an Amazon review (even if they find the task particularly unpleasant). And if they don’t care for it? Well, I hope they’ll pay it forward by kindly keeping quiet. (I mean, I wouldn’t want to give them any homework!)
Charlene Ross, a Los Angeles suburbanite, is co-author of The Making of a Picky Eater and has been featured in Skirt! Magazine and on NPR’s This I Believe series. Before life in the suburbs she backpacked through eighteen European countries, lived in London, worked in the music industry, and became engaged on stage at a U2 concert in Verona, Italy. (Bono even kissed her!) Now she drives carpool, embarrasses her children by dancing “in the pit” at free cover band concerts, and works hard at keeping the spark of her 20-year marriage alive.
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T