Book Review Requests

Since I’ve self-published my first book I’ve been running around like a madwoman (in cyberspace, of course, so it’s not like I’ve gotten out of breath) requesting reviews of as many readers as possible. Here’s what I’ve learned.

First of all, friends are invaluable, for moral support, encouragement, and a sympathetic ear. There are many people I’ve met through this blogging game, writers and readers, poets and philosophers. No, I’m not taking the piss (ockerism, see ‘joking’). Blogging is probably once of the best tools for reflection on the world and the self, as it’s both a way to record important events and thoughts (like a diary) and a forum for discussion of such topics with a variety of people, many of whom have strong curiosity and are open-minded.

Secondly, people want to read, but there are a LOT of books out there. I’m taking the same attitude to this as I took to when I was out of work: apply, apply, apply. If I approach a few bloggers a day or even every week, I’m going to consider that progress. Bethany Hatheway, a fellow indie author whose book I reviewed here, gave me invaluable advice that I should expect about a 5% response rate. It was sobering but I naively hold onto the belief that this advice has prepared me for eventual success.

I have signed up for The Indie View and within a three days I’ve received six requests from people to review their books. I am not a fast reader – I manage about one book a week when I’m working, maybe two when I’m not (although holiday season means lots of family to visit, so I’m not spending as much time reading as I hoped). So now I’ve had some experience with what I’ve always known – it’s impossible for reviewers to read every book that they’re asked. And then, not every reviewer is interested in reading every book. It’s honestly been a better database for authors to approach me rather than the other way around – I haven’t had any luck with using it to gain responses about my work.

However, it was only through authors approaching me to read their books that I found out about Reader’s Favourite (the link takes you to a review of the book I was asked to review), a website that utilises the huge number of readers out there to review everyone’s books. I highly recommend checking them out. I have found similar websites since but they all seem to ask for exhobertant fees in exchange for a review. Reader’s Favourite is, by contrast, free. I haven’t heard back from them since my initial application yesterday, but they seem genuine, and I highly recommend checking them out.


So that’s it for now! I shall update as I discover more…


I’ve finally worked out my Goodreads star-rating system

I was never that comfortable with Goodread’s recommended way of using their star-rating system. If you need a refresher:


Basically, all that says to me is:


I found it confusing, and the many readers on Goodreads all seemed to have a slightly different way of doing things. But since I had to attach a star rating, I had a go, and kept having a go until I worked out my own method. It ended up being based on whether the book made me want to read anything else by the author.

This is the fruit of my labour:


One Star:

Many people give this to DNF books, or, more accurately, books they COULD not finish. This makes sense to me, but at the same time I personally don’t like to leave a review for a book I did not finish (I just don’t think it’s fair, since I haven’t read the whole book). So I will never give a book a one star rating, because if I couldn’t finish it I cannot review it. Simple as that.


Two Stars:

There was something very wrong with this book. Maybe it was confused (books can be confused too), maybe there was a glaring plot hole, maybe the pacing was buggered, or maybe I was just SO disappointed that my emotions got the better of me and I gave it two stars. That happens. Culprits are often authors jumping the shark and cozy mysteries where the mystery only gets a mention at the beginning and the end of the book. That’s a pet hate of mine. Maybe it’s unreasonable of me. Either way, I didn’t care for this book.


Three Stars:

I enjoyed it enough, but I don’t love it. I expect other readers might like more than me. I recognise it was a well-written book in its genre. Maybe it was just an easy pulp read that’s like junk food (who’s gonna give McDonald’s more than three stars as a restaurant? Even at it’s best?). I will not actively seek out another book by the same author, but if I happen across the sequel I might give it a quick once-over before deciding to buy/borrow it.


Four Stars:

I want to read the sequel, and will check out anything else by the same author. It was a really, very good book, but maybe there was a part in the middle where I tuned out or got a little bored. Nonetheless, this book has made me excited to see what’s next. Will recommended to other readers.


Five Stars:

Five stars does NOT mean I am frothing at the mouth for this book. Five stars does NOT mean this book is Harry Potter where everyone is going to love it to bits. Five stars just means that it was perfect for me. The book did what it set out to do, and did it well. There is nothing here that I can think of that will make this book better. I was entertained, from start to finish. It doesn’t have to change my life. Sometimes five star books make me laugh, sometimes they make me cry, and sometimes they make me angry, but whatever it was, I got what I wanted out of this book.

Of course, most of my five-star books will have some sort of a happy ending. I prefer to be happy. At least, for the most part.