Saturday, June 28, 2014

Natalie Finnigan - guest blogger today

Quote of the day:  
                                        "If a book is well written, I always find it too short."
                                                                         -Jane Austen

I would like to welcome Natalie back to Storywraps and I know you will be very interested in what she has to share with you today.

The importance of reviews...

So you've bought a book, read it to your child, re-read it the next day and then every day for a month. You now hate the book with a passion, but your child still loves it and insists on it as a bed-time story for weeks on end. Have you ever written a review about it?

Many people don't (I certainly didn't think about it until writing myself) but reviews are incredibly important for an author. Whether you've bought it from Amazon, borrowed it from the library or from your local bookstore, there will be a way to review the book. It could be on the book store's website or Goodreads, or the author's facebook page or their own website. Whether you've loved or hated the book or even just thought it was okay, most Indie authors wait with baited breath for the reviews to come in.

You've poured your time, energy, imagination and (quite frequently) money into producing a story, you've published it, and then you wait. Maybe you run a free ebook promotion, maybe a competition but, as an Indie author, you wait...and wait...and wait. Then the reviews start coming in - and this is your first chance to hear what people actually think of your work. Not friends and family (most people will have seen programmes like X-Factor where the family swears they are the next Celine Dion whereas they are actually tone deaf!) but real people, who've spent time (and maybe money) getting and reading your book. These are the people you want to like your work. Did the story work?  Did you like the characters? The illustrations? Does your child want it read time and again. A positive review fills you with joy. A negative review plunges you into sadness (but frequently then makes you want to do better). There will be times, as an Indie, you consider giving up. Then a positive review comes in and you stick at it just a little bit longer. The feedback, from the readers, is incredibly important for a writer...and, although maybe a harsh view, if the feedback is mainly negative, well maybe writing is not for them and they should look elsewhere for a positive outlet for their creativity.

Only by reviewing can you influence what is out there. If what's bad is not identified, then an author can never improve. If the good are not supported, they may not realise they are good and may give up. And this is just the influence you have on an author. Then there are the publishers and promoters.

Many promoters and publishers will not even consider a book without a significant amount of positive reviews and reviews, in what ever format, are incredibly hard to come by - just ask yourself, out of all the books you've read in the last year - how many did you review? What about your friends? Do you know anyone who offers an review? It takes your time and it takes your effort, which is why it's so appreciated by those writing and publishing.

So does it have to be a positive review? No. Does it have to have 5 stars? Not unless you feel it's worth it. If there is something positive to say, please say it. If there isn't anything positive to say, please say what didn't work for you. Most authors I speak to would prefer some feedback - however it comes - than no feedback at all.

Finally, and maybe to most important reason to review, is for yourselves, and other readers like you. When looking for a new book, or a new author, I'll quite frequently read the reviews. If they are all positive, I read the book and, if it's rubbish, I feel very disappointed and it puts me off trying new authors. If there is some criticism of the book, I might still read it, depending on what the criticism is...but at least I can make an informed choice. Only by guiding fellow readers can we hope to start making the good books more visible and the poor books less so.

So, especially if it was a freebie download, please consider repaying the pleasure (or disappointment) you had when you read your latest book - and find somewhere to leave a review.

(p.s. I like mine on Amazon or Goodreads! Thanks :-) )

About Natalie:

Natalie Finnigan was born in Suffolk, England, and re-discovered her love for writing rhymes after the birth of her son, Alex, in 2010. Having already published two short, rhyming picture books based on three characters (Alex, Dragon and Spider), Natalie is enjoying branching out into other picture books and is currently writing a pre-teen novel to be used as a teaching text for English as a Foreign Language.

Have an awesome weekend everyone.  Read on and read always.  See you back here on Monday.  

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