My first mystery, Judge vs Nuts, will celebrate its first birthday, in February. Before the release, I conjured up images of reviews raving about the magnificence of my book, written by literary scholars who begged for more. My potential reviewers included authors who write wildly popular non-fiction books about the law or famous Chicago figures. Of course the occasional celebrity author or librarian would stop me on the street and ask about doing a review.
At the Printers Row Lit Fest in 2011, I attended a panel discussion with three women authors who talked about the low numbers of women reviewers. My list of hopefuls were all men. Later I approached one of the authors to thank her and asked if she was interested in taking a look at my book. I’ll come back to this.
At the early stage “book review” was synonymous with “book report.” Reading reviews daily I understand they are opinions. Most are generous, with gentle notation of areas for improvement while others are petty. Reviews can cover plot, characters, pace, grammar and more. One review blamed the publisher for faulty editing.
My understanding continues to grow along with my confusion, skepticism and evaluation of the quality of a review. Reviews come from many sources: readers, friends, and professional reviewers. If you look closely, some books are reviewed by one review reviewers. “Book cover blurbs” are short, three or four sentences that would appear on the back cover or inside the book. These are my favorite version of a review. The author benefits and the reviewer benefits
Amazon uncovered “purchased” reviews and announced authors could not review books of other authors. What? Writers are prolific readers and well suited to review books. The “exchange” book reviews are too often meaningless. I don’t make these pacts. If your friend has a book, read it before you give an opinion. We know they are wonderful, that’s why you call them a friend.
Of the two categories, requested and spontaneous reviews, I think authors need to be specific when requesting a review. Items to consider are: receipt of manuscript; word count; time frame; how you will use the review and what you want. Will the reviewer post the review on their blog or website? Invite the reviewer to tell you if they can’t meet the time frame. If your release date is pushed back, let them know.
My pet peeve of the requested reviews are the hiders. Those folks make an agreement to review your book and then avoid you when you follow up. Did they hate the book? Want it for free? Lose it? Change their tiny minds about doing the review? You won’t be able to get the answer, because the hiders, well, hide.
There are also people in the ambiguous category. When you ask them to take a look at your book they tell you they give you a dozen reasons why they can’t read your book. I’m a little naïve, so if you want me to print it out and drive it over please tell me. If the answer is no…
One of my favorite reviews is from Author Barbara D’Amato. I love her writing and her review was delightful. Her review means more to me because Ms. D’Amato went out of her way to help a stranger who approached her at a book fair, showing me how authors help authors.
Every review thrills me. When I send a sample, and get a note back saying they started the book and are laughing, even editing becomes less painful. Reviews from other authors are awesome and the reader reviews are very special. Some reviews are written in a note to the author and others are posted on blogs, sales sites and book review sites I’ve never seen.
Thank you to those who took the time to help me. Best, Una Tiers.
Judge vs Nuts is a hilariously funny take on judges, but also a scathing indictment of judicial politics. Lawyer Fiona Gavelle narrates with a wonderful, self-deprecating wit, as she goes about unraveling the murder of a Cook County judge.
Author of Other Eyes
Buy the Book: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Judge-vs-Nuts-ebook/dp/B007BSD4RU
B & N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/judge-vs-nuts-una-tiers/1108946512
Omnilit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-judgevsnuts-727807-243.html http://unatiers.com email@example.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55XqIbk0VY4
Judge vs Nuts, by Una Tiers was released in February of 2012 and posted on Ellis Vidler’s blog: http://theunpredictablemuse.blogspot.com/2012/02/book-reviews-reviewed.html
This blog has been updated.