Why You Should Write An Honest Book Review

Book reviews are important

Author Annette Youngby Annette Young

Do you enjoy a riveting read? Do you love settling down with a good book and whiling away a few hours? If so, do you know just how important it is to write a book review once you have finished reading? Whether you loved it, hated it, or, are just plain indifferent, your views count. If you are not a writer, then you won’t have a full appreciation of the energy, dedication and drive that goes into writing a novel or, a non-fiction book. The author has to be totally committed to the end project, it’s a tough job even if the writers who go on to achieving their dreams of publication, love the written word.

In this digital age, there are now millions more books out there. That’s great from a reader’s perspective but it makes it tough for a good writer to progress up the rankings of those publishers such as Amazon or Smashwords. Many people think that a good book will always do well, but, it’s not the case. Even the most dedicated of readers cannot hope to trawl through the thousands of books in any particular genre. People always tend to look at the top of the list, and let’s be honest, how far do you think about scrolling down? You may be happy to read a book from an unknown author, but you may be more confident investing in a book by someone who is well-known and who has manged to transcend the ranks. The books that are lower down the rankings may be absolute gems, but it’s possible and likely, that the author doesn’t know how to market their book, doesn’t have the time to do so, or, does not have the funds for a professional marketing campaign.

This is where the book review comes in. Your opinion counts. It doesn’t matter if you are reading the book and really struggling to get into it, nor does it matter if you couldn’t care less if you ever see that author’s name again, you are entitled to explain your views and to help others make an informed decision about buying the book or not. The number of reviews are so important, they help the author to sell more books, they enable the author to promote their books more on certain sites because some won’t accept books with minimal or no reviews. Hence the importance of an honest book review by you.

I would always recommend an honest but  not cutting review. You may have seen some highly personal and derogatory comments by readers about an author’s books or worse, comments made directly about the author, there’s no need for that. If anything, it shows the reviewer up as being particularly unpleasant. But analysing why you liked or disliked a book can be useful for the author too.  Let’s say you read a book by a new author and enjoyed it, but, you noticed there were numerous spelling or grammatical mistakes, you can mention that in the review. For example; ‘ Great book but I did notice quite a few spelling mistakes which became a little distracting.’ If the writer has any professional pride, they will very quickly make some serious edits to the book before uploading it again ready for republishing. Perhaps you found the characters were not very realistic or the story-line just dragged on and on, you can make your point. It’s your opinion.

I hate giving bad reviews myself but I am always honest. I understand the hard work that has gone into writing a book so my reviews are never about making the author feel bad. I may say:

  • I did not feel a connection with the characters
  • I felt that their actions were unbelievable
  • The opening chapter was a bit weak but the book picked up the pace later
  • The ending was very obvious
  • The writing was repetitive in places
  • It was well-written but the story-line was not really engaging enough

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a connection with other writers. I know how tough it is to work so hard on a project and then to have  a review that is more than a little upsetting. When I had my first books published, I lived in fear of a bad book review. My first ‘less than glowing review’ was extremely upsetting, I couldn’t believe how the reader could have failed to notice that I sweated blood and tears while writing it, but when I have compared that review to those received by other authors, I realised I got away lightly. Some people sadly enjoy the power of giving poor reviews, but honest ones would be welcomed by most authors.

You may think that most readers will leave reviews but I had a conversation with a friend recently who is an avid reader and she told me that she never comments on books if she doesn’t like them. I was horrified by this. A writer – whether the book was well-received or not – deserves to have some feedback. Out of courtesy, the book review should also be written in an honest but not unkind manner. A well-written book review is really useful for the author and as much as we all want readers to sing our praises and say we are the best writer in the world (or something like that) we know that writing is a craft and we never stop learning, so sometimes, a less than glowing review can be useful.

The main thing to remember is this:

  • If you liked the book – say so
  • If you would read more books by this author – then tell the world
  • If you didn’t like the book – say why
  • If you noticed any terrible mistakes – point them out

But do not, under any circumstances think it’s acceptable to vent a personal attack on the author.

A book review really is so important and it can make a huge difference to the book becoming popular and being found or, languishing way down at the bottom of the rankings. So you can see that your opinion really does count.

 

Writing Rituals – Does It Work? An Honest Review

By Martin Schmalenbach

What Is “Writing Rituals”?

“Writing Rituals” is a productivity guide for commercial writers and copywriters. By using it’s 5 Writing Rituals, the author, Nick Usborne, claims “you can turn things around very quickly, and achieve a dramatic increase in your productivity. This means you’ll get more writing done faster, and earn more money, every day, every week, every month and every year.”

The Sales Pitch

I’ll let Nick speak for himself:

Few of us write to our full capacity.

I know there are times when I don’t.

I have been a freelance copywriter for almost 30 years now, and still have productivity problems from time to time.

I also know I’m not alone. I have corresponded with dozens of other commercial writers and copywriters over the years, many of whom have the exact same problems.

These productivity challenges apply to people writing copy, web site content, blogs, white papers, business reports, essays, college papers, e-books and any other non-fiction.

I came across Writing Rituals via a recommendation on the ‘warriorforum’ forum. At just $17 it’s priced cheaper than many other manuals. I do a lot of writing for many outlets, AND I suffer way to often from lack of focus and procrastination (is it me, or is it an age-related thing – seems to get worse as I get older!). So buying it made sense for me.

You can see the rest of his sales pitch on his web site, which can be reached through reviewhub.info .

He also has a great little affiliate opportunity. And yes, I’m gladly an affiliate too!

You get 50%, which is excellent, all handled through ClickBank.

And the icing on the cake? Nick provides affiliates with a number of articles to help with the pre-sell process, and these are great articles in their own right anyway!

What You Get

You get a 46 page PDF document, nicely laid out, pleasing on the eye. And no fluff.

Style

The style is relaxed, and very empathetic – Nick clearly appreciates what it is like to have writer’s block for example. It’s easy to read, easy to access, thanks to the page numbering, use of space, and signposting – using a mix of heading styles and relevant graphics to indicate where each section starts & stops.

One of the last pages summarises the 5 rituals in a very useful format. In fact, I’ve printed this page out, laminated it and stuck it on the wall in front of my desk in my study!

I particularly like the story of Nick’s brother, a cabinet maker, and how he achieves what he does. Through this device we quickly get to grips with the rituals, what they are and why they are necessary. And this helps the rituals stick in the mind. Now, if only more writers of eBooks did the same…!

Content

The essence of Writing Rituals are the 5 rituals themselves, which are:

clear your mind – remove distractions.

visualise the outcome.

get fully loaded – get all the information you need for the job, allocate time.

start writing – start anywhere!

stick to the plan

The manual shows you HOW to achieve these rituals. And they ARE rituals and not habits because, as Nick himself points out,

A habit is a repetitive behaviour that we pick up for better or for worse. Some of our habits are good, others are bad.

A ritual is also a repetitive behaviour, but it is conscious and deliberate. And it has a deeper meaning.

For example, Nick describes the use of tools such as mind mapping, to help visualise the outcome. Students of Solutions Focus may take a different approach.

A big part of the philosophy is self-discipline and the management of time and workload. You may want to also use Get Things Done by Dave Allen, and Goal Directed project Management, to assist you here. What I DO like are the little snippets of advice that are the ‘difference that makes a difference’. Perhaps these could be highlighted more, although these may only be MY differences that make the difference FOR ME!

And I just love some of the tips he provides in Ritual #4 – Start Writing – really simple, practical ways to get going. There are at least 4 that Nick highlights, and 1 or 2 of them are ‘off the wall’ – enough to make all the difference!

Nick gives good examples of applying each, and explains how each supports the other, and why following them in the given order can really make a big difference.

Applying It In Practice

I actually followed Nick’s 5 rituals in writing this review. Bearing in mind I have been writing for 20 years, have a number of articles published internationally in ‘learned journals’ as well as popular or ‘main street’ magazines, and use my writing to generate an income, you’d expect me to be able to turn something out quickly. And I can. Just not consistently enough for my liking. I almost always produce high quality material, but sometimes it can take an age until I’m satisfied and the client is too.

So what impact did Nick’s 5 Writing Rituals have on my productivity?

A huge impact! In fact I went away and wrote some other stuff using these rituals, just to check I hadn’t experienced a fluke! I hadn’t. I got to where I needed to be much more quickly in every case, usually between 25 and 50% quicker than usual, and with me feeling so much better about my efforts too – and that’s a big factor in overcoming any prolonged period of procrastination and writer’s block. And I have just had a bout of prolonged writer’s block too, so thanks Nick for helping me out of that one!

I found it very easy to apply these rituals. There are only 5 to remember, and I found that each ritual helped me apply all the others, and develop some self discipline too – I don’t have too much of that at times, despite serving in the military many years ago!

I’d say give them a go, you won’t miss out on anything if you do, and you are more likely to gain a lot instead.

Pros & Cons

There are other eBooks out there that have a lot of depth, or breadth about them. Or are actually pretty thin. I’ve seen some people comment on the fact there is nothing new here, nothing earth shattering, etc. Well, perhaps. Certainly there is nothing here I’ve not come across before. But this is the first time I’ve come across them in such a format that they’ve had a huge impact on me.

Others may think that $17 for 46 pages of nicely laid out text with a fair amount of white space is too much. Perhaps. You have to judge for yourself. My preference is for spacing.

For me, I’d have liked some stuff on how to write better copy. But “Writing Rituals” never set out to do this. It’s a productivity guide – nothing more. You can use these rituals if you are writing a 1 page sales page, or a 100,000 word novel – they are equally valid and useful.

Personally, spending $17 on a well-laid out and structured, mercifully short manual that helps me in a real and practical way to radically improve my productivity is money well spent. I hope it will be for you too, if you buy it. And, as it’s sold via ClickBank, there is the usual 56 days refund policy.

The only fault I can think of, and I had to think hard, is a lack of a contents page. This is usually a hot button for me, but wasn’t so much this time. Maybe it’s because it’s a naturally accessible book, in my opinion? Oh, and perhaps just a little bit more on managing your workload and projects – though the danger then is this is no longer the highly focused eBook that it currently is…

Summary

This eBook does “what it says on the tin”, at least, it has for me. If you are looking for how to write knock-out copy, look elsewhere.

If you are struggling at times to get things done with your writing, to overcome the latest bout of writer’s block, and to up your productivity hugely, then this is for you. Buy it, and then USE IT!

OK – that’s nearly 1300 words. I gave myself 2 hrs to do this, not the 6 hours I usually take, to write this review. Now it’s over to you!

Ratings

Value For Money **** (4/5)

Readability/grammar *** (5/5)

Usability **** (5/5)

Application/practicality ***** (5/5)

Relevance ***** (5/5)

Overall **** (5/5)

Martin Schmalenbach is a relative newcomer to Internet Marketing. Having navigated the sheer volume of material and advice, he is now reviewing the many tools and systems. Read more reviews at [http://reviewhub.info]

You can read Nick’s sale page and get your own copy through the reviewhub.info site.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Writing-Rituals—Does-It-Work?-An-Honest-Review&id=1084739]

3 Great Summer Reads

By Patricia Anne McGoldrick

Summer reads are always top on my list for vacation plans.

Sure, it is great to visit the heritage sites, travel to the shores of lake and ocean; but, there is something special about settling down in a comfortable spot with a cool drink and an interesting book.

Fiction writers have a knack for taking us to haunting locations, introducing us to memorable characters facing conflicts in the now and then. Authors, Susanna Kearsley and Rosamunde Pilcher have a particular talent for this.

Kearsley, takes the route of historical romance in The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden. From page one in her books, she invites the reader to journey with present-day characters who somehow have a connection to the past. No spoilers here but, if you like stories that have a time element to them, you will not be disappointed. You will, also, grasp the historical settings in myriad details included by Kearsley who was nominated for the 2009 RITA awards plus a more recent win of the 2010 Readers’ Choice Historical Fiction Award.

Both Kearsley books take the reader to British settings in the present and past. The Winter Sea delves into Scottish history in the Eighteenth Century with its political turmoil connecting to the present in Kearsley’s romantic fiction. In The Rose Garden, the American main character Eva is drawn to Cornwall for reasons explained in the story. The magic of Cornwall comes through in this novel, definitely a great respite on a rainy day!

My third recommendation is a novel from the 80s, award winning Rosamunde Pilcher’s book The Shell Seekers. This best-selling novel is, also, a captivating read from start to finish as it traces the story of Penelope Keeling and her family through 20th century decades of troubled war-time years, summer days at the beach, a Greek island, Scotland’s Edinburgh and Penelope’s own country cottage in a small British village.

Pilcher’s portrayal of Penelope’s youth, as an only child growing up with a talented artist father and loving beautiful mother are intertwined with segments of Penelope’s own marriage and lives of her grown up children. This novel has been translated into a movie version,starring Angela Lansbury; however, if you want to savour the whole story, read this book.

By the way, upon rereading The Shell Seekers, it has stood the test of time! You may even want to check out Rosamunde Pilcher’s other novels and short stories.

These works of fiction by Susanna Kearsley and Rosamunde Pilcher are definitely the type of books you want to add to your vacation supplies. They will provide a great get-a-way to be sure!

Patricia Anne McGoldrick is a poet, writer, and freelance reviewer.

Author website: http://www.patricia-anne-mcgoldrick.com/

Blog: http://pmpoetwriter.blogspot.com/

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?3-Great-Summer-Reads!&id=6314297] 3 Great Summer Reads!