I’ve never spoken of this before, but I have a super power. Cool, right?
Well … not so much.
You see, my super power is crafting a good sentence. Useful, yes, but compared to bracelets that deflect bullets or x-ray vision, it’s pretty lame.
I first discovered my power in middle school, when teachers began torturing students with book reports. I excelled at all the nitty gritty aspects of grammar. While everyone else in class was grumbling over a five-hundred-word minimum benchmark, I was like, “easy peasy.”
Unfortunately, my nerdy superpower and good girl disguise never led to the kind of magical high school experience John Hughes had promised. It did however lead to academic excellence, and once I hit the adult world, my sentence-making skills finally began to garner admiration from my peers. And a few times, they even cracked opened a few doors that would have led to a career as a professional writer. Unfortunately, until I finally decided to take a stab at writing a romance novel, I was always too afraid to set my superpower loose on the world.
What’s the point of this long lead in? I’m a good writer. I may struggle with plot and conflict and gritty dialogue, but when I string words together, the sentences flow and I always get my point across.
Why then do I shy away from something as simple as writing a book review?
In this day and age, reviews are critical to the success of everything. Think of all the gazillion things available on-line. Everything from kitty litter to house paint. And before making a purchase, most people at least check out the star rating. Some (like my husband) often read most of the reviews.
In no industry is the review as important as publishing – particularly for independently published titles. I know that when I finally get around to pushing that publish button, I’m going to be hoping and praying for positive feedback, from people I know and even more importantly, from people I don’t, random strangers who happened on my story and loved it on its own merits.
Yet here I am, an avid reader, friend to many awesome writers, and aspiring indie author, and I’ve written a grand total on one book review in my entire life.
Selfish and unsupportive much?
I mean, seriously? When I finish an e-book, kindle gives me an immediate opportunity to rate and review the story. It would take like sixty seconds tops, and still, I don’t do it, all while fully knowing that when my turn comes, I’m gonna want that sixty seconds from the tens of people who purchase my book.
Well, no more. The time has come for me to put my superpowers to good use and support the many, many, many writers I read.
So this week, after reading THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS by Sarah MacLean (inaugural speaker at the super-awesome Starfish Conference), I immediately sat down and hammered out a 138-word, 5-star review. I posted it on Amazon and even created a Goodreads account and posted it there. It took me about thirty minutes to figure out how to set up my account and navigate the Goodreads process, but that was a one-time time expenditure. In the future, I expect this support of my fellow authors to take less than ten minutes per book.
Beginning today, I’m making a new pledge. Going forward, I plan to read at least one book per week by an author I know personally and submit a review of their book to both Amazon and Goodreads. I’m telling y’all straight up that I intend to do my damnedest to find something to love about every one of their books so that I can justify a minimum 4-star rating.
If by the end of chapter two, I’m not feeling the love, then I’ll delete that book and pick one by another author. While I want to be helpful and supportive to others, lying and saying something positive about a book that doesn’t make muster will ultimately be detrimental to my own career, and I simply won’t do that.
As for books I read by authors I don’t know personally, I intended to begin reviewing any I feel deserve a 4-star or better. I’ve been told that if I rate them immediately through my Kindle, I can write as few as 25 words and it’ll be a valid review. Besides, I think most authors are happy enough to receive a starred rating, with or without additional comments.
It’s time I started taking this soon-to-be-independently-published business seriously, and what better way than to put my nerdy super power to good use and become a steady reviewer? Sounds like an excellent step in the right direction. And come on! I’m a writer, right? One hundred and fifty words shouldn’t be a non-starter.
Wish me luck, and please, help keep me honest by asking me who’s book I’m reviewing this week.
Back when her twin sons were young enough for daily naps, Dawn Temple took advantage of those quiet moments to pursue her dream of becoming a published romance writer. Sneaking in an hour here and there paid off in 2005 when she sold her first book, To Have And To Hold, to Silhouette Special Edition. She managed to secret away enough time to write and sell the second book in her Land’s Cross series, Moonlight And Mistletoe, but alas, her boys outgrew naps and Dawn let go of those stolen moments with her laptop to enjoy life with her two little guys and her big guy, hubby of 21 years.
But now, as an officially retired stay-at-home mom, Dawn has once again found the time and the creative drive to return to writing, and this time around, she’s set her sights on independent publishing. Her first self-published book, Peace of Heart, is scheduled for release in 2017.