I first started my blog because I love reading and I had heard about a site that gives bloggers advanced copies of upcoming books. My first thought was, seriously? How cool would it be too get a free book in exchange for a review? I have always left reviews for books that I have purchased but this was a fun new world for me to explore. There are a ton of sites for book bloggers and I jumped in with full gusto. And so, almost five years ago, Destination Amish was born….
I read once that reviews are hugs for authors so I try to give as many hugs as I can. Although, I have slowed (semi-retired) down quite considerably from reviewing on my blog, I have two lovely ladies who give out plenty of hugs. Now, just because I say I have slowed down from reviewing doesn’t mean I do not read. I read a wide variety of books but leave the majority of Amish fiction books to Susan Ferrell and Sue Laitinen.
Most publishers require reviewers to have a blog plus leave your reviews on various retail sites if they send you a book. This is not a harsh stipulation. It’s actually a very easy thing to do and considering that bloggers get books that are retailing for fifteen dollars or more, it’s the least we can do. The reviews should be thoughtful and not just simply posting a blurb from the back cover. We need to create some buzz … spread the word about our favorite authors! Well, unless you absolutely hated a particular book, which let’s be honest, not every book tossed our way is a winner. I am sure when you dislike a book you are not too keen on singing its praises from the rooftop but there is a way to voice your opinion on a book you disliked without ripping it to shreds. Constructive criticism can go a long way. Susan, my reviewer extraordinaire, does this quite well! I love the fact that she is able to give her two cents about a book and just because she received a book for free, she doesn’t fluff up reviews. She once said she “hopes publishers and authors really want honest reviews, not just someone to blow air in their sails.” An honest and fair review means just that: honest and fair. Sue, who I dub “The Comma Queen”, can’t stress enough how much a review helps an author … they aren’t rich, no different than us. Reviews help sell a book!
I have a couple of questions for non-bloggers: Do you leave book reviews on retail sites? If you have won a book from an author or a blog, do you leave reviews? I hope so! It is a quick and painless act of generosity so “hug” away! If retail sites are not your jam, and you are on Facebook, post on the author’s wall and let them know you read their book. Easy peasy!
I was looking back at my old reviews and they gave me quite the chuckle. Some were short while others were too long but that’s ok! The main thing is that I wrote a few words and I felt great about it. If a particular book moved me to tears or made me fall in love with a few characters, well, I want readers to know that the book should be next on their reading list. As the saying goes … between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be …. I couldn’t agree more.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”