If you’re anything like us once you have finished a book that has left you with one heck of a major book hangover, you want to climb the tallest mountain and shout “OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!” Ok, maybe NOT climb the tallest mountain, more like drive to your local book store, tell a few strangers about the “must read” book that they need to buy or bore your non bookaholic friends into submission and tell them all about the incredible book you have just finished and once you’re done with that…… you tweet and Facebook the heck out of it and post your review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads.
For us, we wanted to do more and take our reviews beyond those three main sites (Twitter, FB and Goodreads), we wanted to create a place where we could promote our love for books, give a shout out to talented authors and give other Bookaholic’s heads up on books that we have just read.
One of the most common questions that we hear from other bookaholics is, “How do I start reviewing books for authors?” and we rattle off a list of must haves:
You must have an insane love for books
Have a blog (or page on your blog) dedicated to book reviews
Have time to read as well as time to post a review
You must love books (I know I said that already)
NetGalley and Blogging for Books are just two sites (among many) that allow bloggers the chance to read and review books before they are published by approving an ARC (Authors Review Copy) and in return……you must write a review.
If you get denied an ARC don’t take it personally
Honestly, the first time I received an email that my request for an ARC was denied I took it personally. It seriously bummed me out so I spent the few days (and weeks) tweaking my blog. After awhile, I soon learned that there are several reasons why a request for an ARC could be denied. I soon found out that many authors or publishing companies only have a limited amount of copies to give so once they are gone there gone or your blog may not be up to par.
There are only two reasons I’ve ever denied a blogger an ARC. This first is rare. If I suspect some sort of indiscretion, like suspicion that the person feeds piracy sites, makes copies to give to their friends for free, or hordes books that they never review, I’ll say no. Authors are a tight knit community, so if something like that happens it gets around fast. The second reason is if I believe the book is a poor fit for the blogger. For example, if a blogger reviews mostly contemporary romance and their last several fantasy reviews were unfavorable, I’m probably not going to send them my fantasy book. ~ Author Genevieve Jack
More times than none, you will get approved for an ARC but word of warning, don’t take on more than you can chew….or in this case, read. I learned this the hard way….when I first joined NetGalley and saw all the books that were available I was in book heaven but it did become overwhelming…..soon I had 8 books on my shelf that needed to be read by a certain day…..and I found myself stretched beyond my limit, with work … family … and my desire to escape in all 8 books until they were completed was a bit tough, but I got it done.
Honesty is the best policy
Nine times out of ten you will love the book you have chosen to read or been asked to review, but then there are those rare occasions that you will be left disappointed because either you couldn’t get into the story, the plot was scattered or it was just not your cup of tea…..so then what?
You’re expected to write a review for the author or publishing company, you gave your word…… but you’re stuck. Honestly, I struggle with having to tell an author that I just couldn’t finish their book or I just didn’t enjoy it. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings ….. heck, it takes a lot to put out a book.
We have read some ruthless reviews, hurtful and unnecessary statements to the author about their book. Creative criticism is key but it doesn’t need to be filled with vile statements. So when we review a book that we couldn’t quite get into we focus on the good points, we keep it professional and send a brief review.
Readers aren’t going to enjoy every book that’s published. However, if a review is less than favorable, I personally don’t like it brought to my attention in any capacity. I had someone on my first blog tour way back when dislike my debut novella. She was gracious enough not to post the review until the end of my tour. As much as I was disappointed she didn’t enjoy the novella, it meant a great deal that she delayed the posting if only for a few days until my tour had finished. Life’s too short to surround myself with negativity. ~ Author Cecy Robson
You sign up, you show up
One of the best ways to promote a book that you have just read or one of your favorite authors is to take part in upcoming blog book tours, cover reveals, book promos or release parties that the author may be holding. This is also a way for you to establish yourself and your blog within the author community.
“What if my laptop breaks, I get sick or I have a family emergency ?”
Sure life happens and you are unable to take part in the tour on the day you signed up for. If you can, email the author or tour promoter. Believe me, they will understand…… they will not hold it against you.
Authors love bloggers who are genuinely excited about their work. Most of the time, they will never turn away someone who wants to be involved.
What you shouldn’t do is sign up and forget about it or promote another book for the same day that you had originally signed up for with author “A”. It doesn’t look good. I think I take it more personally then the author…..it’s the authors’ day or week to show off his/her work and they have counted on you to help.
“What if I didn’t finish the book and can’t meet my deadline?”
That’s easy. Contact the author or tour promoter. Ask if you can just post a promo or share an excerpt of the book and then post your review at a later time. It’s that simple.
My side of the closet may be a hot mess (ok it’s not that bad) but when it comes to my books, reviews and upcoming book tour events, I’m organized.
I make sure I never double book a review/cover reveal post.
When I start reading a book I have a notebook right beside me to keep track of characters, events, unexpected character deaths, plot twists, excerpts and my thoughts while reading it. I do this because once I finish the book, a couple of days may go by before I can get to the review or I know that in a month or two the big release for the book is coming out and being knowledgeable of the book helps.
Keep your blog organized as well. It’s always a good thing to preview your post before it goes out for all to see. Ask yourself these questions:
Does my page take forever to load? (Does it remind you of the day of dial up internet) if so, then your files are too large or you just have way too much on your page. When I come to a page like this, I don’t even bother to wait.
Is it too cluttered? Too much “stuff” takes away from what your overall goal is….which is to give the book that you just read the attention it deserves.
Again, PREVIEW YOUR POST. Do a quick spell check, sure no one is perfect but it only takes a minute. Remember the author and publishing company may read your review.
Trust me ….. being organized is the key.
Join a street team
No, I’m not talking about a gang ….. A “street team” is normally started by the author…. it’s a place where fans of the author can gather and gab about the recent book or upcoming book releases. It’s a bit more personal than the authors actual Facebook page.
Give credit where credit is due
Link the book that you are reviewing to the authors home page and include a link to their social media sites.
It also helps if you state where someone can purchase the book with links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble attached.
I also like to include an “About the Author” section to my book review post, it helps the reader identify with the author just a tad bit more.
One last piece of advice …..
Have fun with it
Series: Stand by Me #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Photo: Sara Eirew Photography
Cover design: Najla Qamber Designs
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Jolene’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My thoughts :
Straight up and Dirty is a book that I’ve turned to year after year. It’s been my go to bowl of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – the late night phone call to my girlfriends – the wine that chills me the fuck down when I think life couldn’t get any worse, the words on the pages have become that soft, cuddle blanket, the foot that kicks me in the ass and says, “Shit could be worse now get the fuck up and take a shower.” and no this isn’t one of those self help books claiming to reshape your life with cheesy affirmations, no this is real life. This is her life.
Straight up and Dirty has seen me through 1 ½ marriages and a couple douchebag boyfriends. I’m surprised that I’m not sitting next to Stephanie Klein somewhere in a cozy little joint in NYC sharing friendships gone bad, marriage and relationship war stories….because shit, we have plenty to get us through a few appetizers, the entrée, desert and a few after dinner drinks…..hell, we’d probably close the joint down.
I came across Stephanie years ago while surfing the internet when I was still foreign to the term “blogger”, I was amazed at how raw one person could be. I truly admired her ability to just throw her life out for all of us to read. I was thankful.
I wasn’t alone.
Here she was displaying her life, her trials, her kick ass-grab the world by the balls moments and not giving two fucks what people thought. I loved it. That’s when I stared at the countless journals I had lying next to my bed with my life, my trials, my kick ass moments written on those pages and thought how therapeutic it would be to just put it all out there. Maybe my story, my deep dark moments could possibly help someone. That’s when I became a blogger and that’s when I picked up Straight up and Dirty.
Straight up and Dirty is a memoir, the story of a blogger, writer turned author. It’s a story about survival during a marriage that ended in betrayal, coping with a mother in law that could rival any villainess in a Disney flick, it’s about picking yourself up after divorce and rediscovering your self-worth while throwing yourself back into the sea of dating (again and again), it’s about still having hope after those small penis moments and knowing things could be worse. I mean, you could be Minetti, the small penis man that made it into a book.
Minetti. His last name even sounds like it means” small penis” in Italian. You know he’s doing the best with what he’s got; you feel it in the stubble of his pubes. You’re certain he’s trimming to make it look bigger. He must know he’s little. But he doesn’t have a fancy car or fancy voice. He’s genuine, and it’s sad because you can’t move past it.
Take it from me, this book is a must read. It’s my Pride & Prejudice, my go to book when I just need to feel ……less alone and it’s hilarious!
You don’t believe me well ……. read on :
“Klein’s sense of humor is downright wicked…In the end, Klein’s is a great, fun read.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“50 Must Summer Reads” — Entertainment Weekly
“beneath the wisecracking tales of solo supermarket shopping, phone therapy and Hamptons houseshares, the raw emotion about her divorce and nightmare mother-in-law rings true. Plus, any girl who can pen such gems as, ‘I wanted to verb his noun’, deserves respect.” –Marie Claire UK
“Stephanie Klein is so gut-wrenchingly honest that it’s embarrassingly entertaining to read her oh-so-real stories, even if you haven’t experienced what she’s gone through” — Jane Magazine
“Popular blogger Stephanie Klein’s raw account of divorce at age 29 is refreshingly honest and funny without delving into cheesy chic-lit territory. You’ll easily relate to Klein– even if you don’t have a ‘wasband’” — Marie Claire, 10 Best To Do
A foodie who sometimes abuses hair care products, STEPHANIE KLEIN is an acclaimed writer and photographer with a cult-like following. Her work has been published internationally in the UK, Europe, India, Australia, Japan, China, and elsewhere, and her blog, Greek Tragedy, is visited by more than 400,000 readers a month. Klein’s photography is on permanent exhibit in New York’s Hotel Gansevoort. Her first memoir, Straight Up and Dirty, is currently in development as a half-hour comedy series. While she enjoys living in Austin, Texas, with her husband and twin son and daughter, she’ll always be a New Yorker.
Jolene’s Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My thoughts :
Being a urban fantasy junkie, I’m still shocked that I hadn’t come across this book or this author, until now. I mean, seriously she’s been around for quite a few years and while scrolling through Amazon and Goodreads, I was astounded……vampires, angels, demons….shit, where in bloody hell have I been?
Sure, I’ve been busy….well, distracted with life and all its messed up glory but I could have found solace in the worlds Author Brenda K Davies creatively paints months ago. I could have fallen deeper into my book coma and hid away behind the pages instead of getting annoyed with the books that didn’t take me far away from my reality.
Let me just start by saying that Good Intentions was fucking fantastic! Just imagine your world being flipped upside down, everything that you thought you knew and were told growing up, were lies or fabricated. The country that you love has been ripped apart by war (so you were told by news media) and now, it’s about survival. Until one day, you are traded for scrapes by your own mother and torn away from your family….it is then you learn the truth. The truth about your existence. The truth about good and evil. Angels and Demons. It is then you embark on your journey and realize your purpose. Ohhh and throw in a few sexy demons to boot.
See, pretty good shit.
One of my favorite moments: This is between River and Kobal. Kobal his helping her tune into her abilities.
If she figured out how to harvest the life around her, I was fairly certain I’d be lying in the middle of the field a hundred feet from here. She couldn’t know her fire wouldn’t have an effect on me, but if she learned how to turn that pulse of life into a weapon, she’d have me on my ass, and with the look on her face right now, she may keep me there.
“I am trying!” she snapped. “Maybe you could show me a better way to do it instead of barking at me to feel the pulse and try harder! I’m not Luke Skywalker; I can’t just feel the force like he did.”
A stab of jealousy tore through me at the mention of another man. I’d never felt jealousy before, never expected to experience the searing heat tearing through my chest and making my blood boil. My claws extended and if he’d been standing before me, I would have killed him.
“Who is this Luke?” I demanded.
She rolled her eyes. “He was a character in a movie I saw once, years ago.”
“You humans and your infatuation with fictional characters.”
Her eyes narrowed on me. The shadows rimming them made their color a deeper almost midnight purple. “You demons and your dickhead comments.”
Brenda K. Davies is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Vampire Awakening Series, Alliance Series, Road to Hell Series, Hell on Earth Series, and historical romantic fiction. She also writes under the pen name, Erica Stevens. When not out with friends and family, she can be found at home with her husband, dog, and horse.