The Importance Of Good Reviews

A good review helps buyers make up their minds about buying a book. I’m convinced of that fact. Years ago before I even thought about publishing my books, I let my friends read my manuscripts. Some of them were kind enough to put a review note in the notebook when they gave it back simply because they liked what I had written. But wisely, I kept all those reviews. After I published, I gave books to people and asked them to give me their reviews.

I found a man online that reviews Civil War books. I emailed him about reading my book "Ella Mayfield’s Pawpaw Militia". He didn’t reply. Perhaps, that was because, my book is fiction based on fact. The reviewer only reads nonfiction books. One woman said she reviewed mysteries. I emailed her to ask if she would read "Neighbor Watchers". She said she was very busy at the moment, but if I wanted to send the book she would get to it when she had time. No promises when. That was a year ago. She must be really, really busy. I’ve never heard from her.

My books are sold on Amazon. The buyers don’t bother to review my books after they read them. Now I could take that as a negative thing and be glad they don’t want to give my book a bad review, or I can think they just don’t want to bother. I go with the latter. Amazon won’t let me put the reviews people have given me in the review post, because I am the author and seller of the books. What I did was start a discussion in the community connected to each of my books. I put every review I received in my discussion so that prospective buyers can find them if they scroll down to the bottom of the page. Along with that, I look for every discussion that I might be able to fit one of my books into and describe the book. Amazon mails me new posts in each of those discussion groups. I can tell my entry helps because I sell a book or two right after I have posted.

The same with ebay. I sell two books on ebay – "Christmas Traditions" and "A Promise Is A Promise". Each time I sell a book, I notify the buyers that their signed book is on its way. Along with that I ask that the buyers let me know what they think of the book if they have time. Many have gotten back to me and requested that I continue to write my Amish stories. Therefore since "Christmas Traditions" has been selling on ebay for almost a year, I had plenty of reviews to keep adding to the listing.


"A Promise Is A Promise" is my newest book. I needed reviews. So when I was looking for a websites to advertise on I found a website started by HarperCollins Publishing (Authonomy) for writers to submit their work. Writers trade reads and decided which five should be on the editor’s desk each month on the front page of the website for the publisher’s editors to look at. I put both my Amish books on the site and have been overwhelmed with offers to trade reads. Also, many good suggestions have come my way about how to get up the ladder to the editor’s desk. For awhile, I have made my way through the reading trades, but that takes time. Not many of the manuscripts are to my liking but are popular it seems with others on the site. Perhaps, I would need to be English to appreaciate the stories. Most of the authors are from Great Britain.

All I read is a chapter or two to get the substance of writing and how the story flows then leave a review for the author. In return, I’ve hit the jackpot. I’ve gotten many very detailed, good reviews about my books that I can use. Because these are authors and not just readers, they are great with writing critiques. Much better than I am. Thankful though I am for the reviews I had accumulated, the ones I’ve gotten from readers and friends are, "I love your book. Couldn’t put it down until the end." Those reviews help to bolster my confidence and spur me to continue to write to my latest ones are much more detailed.

Here’s one from authonomy for "Christmas Traditions" (An Amish Love Story) ISBN 0982459513

This is an informative and intelligent piece from a human interest point of view. Your writing is atmospheric and your narrative comes across as natural, believable and very vivid. Margaret is already so likable, but I’m not so sure of Levi. I think any story which helps its characters to emerge out of their self-indulgent ways to greater understanding and a fuller compassionate existence is worth a read.

A Promise Is A Promise" (Nurse Hal Among The Amish) ISBN 0982459505

You’ve done it again! This is a very well written, intricate and richly detailed tapestry of Amish life. Maybe its just my personal preference but I do love stories like this about a way of life based on faith, convictions and honesty. It’s a beautiful story that had my rapt attention all the way through. A compelling read that I found hard to put down once I started.

Some authors have put me on their bookshelf which is a step up to the editor’s desk. Do I expect to get to the editor’s desk? No. That wasn’t my goal when I signed in, but I didn’t tell the other authors that. My goal was to get reviews that would interest my buyers in buying my books.

I’ve had one negative review from authonomy but I took that with a grain of salt. The criticism had to do with some conversational words I used that makes "A Promise Is A Promise" believable as a regional story in southern Iowa. The English critic listed a few of those in a negative light. I thanked the man for his help, because he wasn’t looking at my story from an American viewpoint. If I wanted to I could have taken his story apart in the same way since Brits have a particular way of phrasing that goes with living in England. Also that writer may have been so close to the editor’s desk, he didn’t want to give me a good review. I might creep up the ladder and get to the editor’s desk before him.

I know the reviews help on ebay. Each time I add another one, I sell a book right away.

When I revised "Christmas Traditions" and sent it to a different printer I put one of the best of the reviews in the front of the book. I am very proud of all my good reviews. I always reply with a thank you note and encourage readers to keep them coming.







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