{Guest Post} The Proper Way To Thank An Author by Charlene Ross


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.

Where to find Charlene: Website and Twitter.


Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

traveling with t sign off picture

11 thoughts on “{Guest Post} The Proper Way To Thank An Author by Charlene Ross

  1. They are very good points. I sometimes downgrade a review if it really is unhelpful. I do agree though that it can be tricky to leave a quality review which is helpful. However one liners or clearly paid for reviews seem much easier to spot now that I’ve spent years reading them.

    Do reviews help? Well when it comes to kindle books, for me it certainly does and I consider the reviews and ratings before I click the buy button.

    As an author myself I must admit to reading reviews for my book. Overall when I see all the 5 and 4 stars I feel as though my efforts are worthwhile and the comments are fabulous. I just wish there were more book sales too 😉

  2. Dear Charlene, I am so glad to read your post, for being honest and saying you hate to write reviews, that its like asking someone to do homework. It just dawned on me that it does feel like that sometimes, however, I do write reviews and I like to write them. I don’t ever write a review if I hated a book – I wouldn’t want to be an author and read some of those terrible one star reviews just to say how much I didn’t like their book. My anxiety as a reader comes when I have quite a few books going and feeling like I better step it up a notch to get a review done. It takes time and I try to get them done as soon as I finish one. And then, I think of how long it takes an author to write, and all that work, then editing, and re-editing, I am in awe of how dedicated you all are. What I do like to do is to send a message to a author to say how much I am enjoying her book, what I like, that she has not been forgotten because sometimes its a long time till I get to all of the books on my TBR list! I often wondered if authors read reviews, I know some do not, but I also like to think they want to see how a reader felt about their book and what they had to say. So thanks Charlene, I am so glad to know you understand how difficult it is at times to write a review…and what to say, how a book makes one feel, it helps us readers know what counts. I do love to share how a book made me feel with my friends on Facebook, on Blogs, and Twitter, its my pleasure and my way of saying thanks.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! It’s funny, I love to read so much, and I love, love, love to talk about a book when I absolutely love it (actually, I just really like to talk! 🙂 ), but for some reason I just get that homework feeling when it comes to reviews! I think it’s awesome that you send a message to the author of a book you’re enjoying. I know it makes me so happy when someone tells me they enjoy my book.

      And also, thank you for your kind words. It does take a lot of hard work and dedication. But it’s so worth it. And it’s so nice to know that it’s appreciated.

  3. juliecgardner says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this one, Charlene. Reviews can be helpful and insightful and integral to a book’s success, but it is work, no matter what!

    Thank goodness for the reviewer who commented above; sounds like she is on the author’s side!

    Good luck with the launch of Frosted Cowboy! I’m sure you’ll have no shortage of people who fall in love with you and your writing.

  4. momssmallvictories says:

    Charlene hits the nail on the head. As a book blogger/reviewer, it’s always difficult to think of genuine and unique things to say without giving spoilers. I also dislike writing negative reviews and won’t do it. I know I wouldn’t like negative reviews on something I wrote, I can only imagine what an author feels. I am also horrible about cross posting reviews so Christine is inspiring me to get those done I need to catch up on!

    • I’ll be honest- by the time I review on my own blog, share on social media, work out my schedule for social media sharing for future posts and let all the publishers/authors/etc know the link is live- cross posting to Amazon and Goodreads happens- but not as frequently as it probably should. I don’t mind negative reviews, exactly. I try to not get all negative- but if a character is getting on my nerves- I mention it. But I try to pair any negative with some nice points- just to keep it fair and balanced!

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