You Better… You Bet… How To Get More From Your Beta-Readers!

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While we are talking about reviewers… we should talk about beta-readers. Beta-readers are one of the most popular ways for authors to get feedback on their work. It’s always a good idea to find out how people will react to a book, or story… and beta-readers provide a valuable service… but how do you get the best out of your beta-readers? Try these tips for size….

Finished Product

A beta-reader is still a reader who may tell other readers about your book. It’s important to treat your beta readers well, and that begins with what you ask them to read. Don’t give them your first draft. In fact, be sure that what you give them is the very best writing you can produce on your own. Write your draft and set it aside for at least a week. Go back to it and rewrite it if you need to. Then set it aside for another week — again. Revise, revise, revise, until it isn’t remotely possible for you to do any better.

Format Perfection

Before you send your manuscript to your beta readers, ask them what format they’d like it in. Beta readers might want to print your manuscript or read it on a Kindle. If they prefer the latter option, send them instructions for how to get your manuscript on an e-reader. Do whatever you can to remove any obstacles that will prevent your beta reader from carving out time to read your book. Don’t just dump them with a word document.

What Would You Like?

Before you send your book to your beta-reader try to work out what you’d like them to look for. Maybe it would be a clever idea to develop a checklist with questions you’d like answers to. Do you want readers to comment on the strength of a plot line, or the development of a concept? If you create a specific list of questions around content, beta readers won’t spend their time punctuating sentences. Adapt your revision checklist to meet the needs of each book your write.

Personality Personally?

it takes a great deal of time to read and respond to a book. And your beta readers will have opinions that might sting a little. Be gracious for any feedback a beta reader gives you, even if you don’t agree with it. Ask yourself, “Will addressing this comment make for a better book?” If so, take their advice and apply it to your next revision. If not, whatever you do, don’t defend yourself. Your beta reader already knows your position (you’ve done as you’ve seen fit, as evidenced by your manuscript) but they don’t agree. Thank them for their comments and move on.

Ten Tips For Helping Out Indie Authors

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Writers are always looking for help with getting the word out about his books. If you’re looking to help an author you may want to take a look at this list of easy things that can be done to help your favorite indie author out. These are all easy-tips that will go a long way towards getting that author in front of a wider readership.

  1. Write a review for an online bookstore. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even copy and paste that review onto several of your favorite shopping spots.
  2. Add the book to your Goodreads shelf. And when you write the review for the online bookstore above, copy and paste it onto Goodreads too.
  3. Write a blog review and then invite your followers on Facebook and/or Twitter to come over and hear what you think.
  4. While reading the book, post comments on Facebook or Twitter about what you’re reading and what you like about it. Make people curious about the book you’re reading!
  5. When finished reading the book, let your followers know your concluding thoughts on the book and include a link to the author’s website or book page.
  6. Write a review for a print newspaper, magazine, or newsletter.
  7. Donate your copy of the book to a public, school, or church library, or ask them if they’d be willing to purchase a copy to add to their system.
  8. Offer to host the author on your blog. Ask unique and interesting questions that you think your blog readers might enjoy. Be sure to invite your friends and family over to “meet” the author.
  9. Start a discussion about the book over on Goodreads in one of your groups. You could even consider asking the author to join you for a question and answer session.
  10. Most importantly… talk about the book. When you’re genuinely excited about the book with others, then they’ll want to check out the book for themselves.

Tips For Writing Reviews For Writers

Reviewing

Have you been asked to write a review for an author? Are you unsure of how to proceed? I thought this might be an appropriate time for us to talk about the process of reviewing a writer’s book. It seems like a daunting task to share your thoughts about a writer’s work—especially if the writer is a friend, or relative. It can also seem impossible to share any negative feelings you have about the book. This blog article is my attempt to try and share some advice about the process of writing reviews. I hope you enjoy it.

Any review that you write should be constructive, whether it’s positive or critical of the book. Try to balance what you liked… and what you didn’t like to give a fair argument.

Try to be authentic and share your unique opinion with the reader through your reviews. Your followers and publishers want to hear what you think of the book, and in your own voice. Treat this as if you’re talking with a friend, or stating your case at your book club.

Try to avoid being hurtful in your constructive criticism–authors are people too! Being unkind is not the kind of criticism anyone needs.

Try to not include spoilers in your review. This can irritate readers who are looking forward to sitting down to read the book.

Keep in mind that some review copies have not gone through their final stages of editing, so you may spot some grammar or spelling mistakes – but those will likely be corrected before the book goes on sale.

Remember to proofread your review for grammar, spelling mistakes, typos, etc. before publishing it.

Ask yourself these very important questions…

Do you want people to read this book?

Do you think this is a book your readers should skip?

Do you want your readers to become a loyal follower of this author or publisher?

Have You Tried These Book Review Sites?

writerAs authors, we are all looking for places to get our books reviewed. I thought it might be a good idea to put together some of the more promising places to get your book reviewed. If you are looking to get your book reviewed—why don’t you try some of these?

Kirkus Reviews

This site is the perfect place to find hidden gems, up-and-coming authors and debut novels that are worth their weight in gold. Get involved with the reviews and enjoy the book club feel of Kirkus today.

Book Reviews For Mums

This blog not only provides a darn delightful read, but also acts as a support network for those mums and dads who are taking their first tentative steps in the world of parenting. Mums and dads share their informed thoughts on children’s books, parenting books and books that stress the importance of well-being for the whole family.

Love Reading

An absolute must-read for all lovers of books, this website has a seemingly endless collection of fascinating book reviews covering works that are suitable for children and adults of all ages. A book review site such as this one could well become a staple read for lovers of good books, if it hasn’t already.

Katy Moran’s Book Review Blog

For bookworms and budding authors alike, Katy Moran provides an enjoyable read in terms of her take on a wide range of books, as well as tips and hints on getting a novel published and the process of creating a novel, ‘from paper to printed book’.

What are your favorite book review sites? Leave your suggestions below!

 

Spotlight Review: The Dragon Children: Prophecy

“The Dragon Children: The Prophecy” from Hannah Byrnes keeps the reader hooked, and puts many other books in this genre to shame…. Seriously… This is good stuff!

Okay, I admit it, first off; I do love reading this genre. When I saw “The Dragon Children” I knew I wanted to give it a chance. I read about one book a week… so I can judge whether or not a book is an easy read. What made this book an easy read for me was that the story is so well developed. It really is a joy to read something that drives itself along. You don’t have to force yourself to keep reading.

However… what led me to really become a huge fan of “The Dragon Children” was something many authors overlook. It was the characters. This is a book with extremely well-developed characters and that makes this book a delightful read… a fantastic read.

Kai was my favorite character. You will love him too.

So… what do we have here? We have a book with a great concept, the story unfolds well, her dialogue is great. She pulls it off.

Need I say more?

Okay… I made it clear that I really like this book? You’re not convinced? Magic? Dragons? Prophecies?

You must be hooked by now…

My suggestion is if you want to read this book, and you certainly should, prepare yourself for a journey that will become rather addictive. You will become involved with the characters, and the story. You won’t find your mind wandering away from the story. This is the kind-of book that lingers with you long after you’ve finished reading it.

No…. I won’t tell you about the story. I’m not going to give you any spoilers this week. Okay… okay… I’ll put more information about the story below….

The Dragon Children:

The Prophecy

Hannah Byrnes

 

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Decades ago, a war raged in Dragonsreach. The Iron King’s giant machines destroyed a whole flight of dragons. Now only two dragons and their nest of eggs remain.

Kai is the shy, studious son of a TV Astrologer. Pony-loving Bridget hates maths and wants to be a Knight. They are the Dragon Children, destined to restore man’s faith in magic. Their arrival means that an age-old prophecy may be fulfilled, and dragons will rule the skies again.

After a legion of iron birds attack, the dragon eggs are lost and Bridget and Kai are separated. Each sets out on an perilous quest leading to dragon hordes, mysterious wizards, invisible temples and ancient magic before facing a deadly foe who is not what it seems.

Getting Started With Reviews

reviews

With more, and more books being released every day on Amazon it’s important to try and find every angle that will help with your book promotion. There have never been more opportunities than there are today. The question is… how are you going to take advantage of the opportunities that surround you to gain more reviews for your book?

Book reviews help spread the message about your book. When people review your book, and enjoy it, their review can encourage others to buy your book. A poor review can also help readers make up their mind about your book. There is literally no bad review. All publicity is good publicity.

The first step towards gaining more reviews should be organization. Just as you organize your thoughts before you start writing a book—you should organize your review process. I would suggest starting by putting together a reviewer kit.

What’s that?

A ‘reviewer kit’ is exactly that. It’s material for would-be reviews that you can send to them via email to help them review your book:

A PDF of your book.

Press release about the launch of your book. Try to make it sound like a story you would read in the newspaper.

Cover letter. This should be a brief introduction to you and your book, but keep it short.

Photos of the book and author. You’ll need high- and low-resolution images if you’re approaching both print and online reviewers.

Author bio. This is a good place to show your qualifications, particularly if you’re a nonfiction author.

Once you have these items collected together you can begin your hunt for reviewers. We’ll talk about that next week.

Working With What You Have To Gain Reviews

reviewsReviews are critical to boost your marketing performance in many ways. This includes your SEO performance and your reader experience. By approaching readers at the right time, via email, social media, or even inside your book, all your efforts may pay off. Have you tried these top tips for review success?

Offer compelling incentives for your readers

Readers are constantly bombarded with requests from authors they are associated with. Before asking your readers, make sure you offer something that has a high perceived value. Do not hesitate to offer an incentive to those who leave comments and reviews on your books. Feedback is valuable!

Ask your readers on social media

Social media forever changed the relationship between author and reader, and users are now very vocal when it comes to sharing their experiences with products; both positive and negative. With Amazon, it is now easier than ever for a reader to express an opinion. Positive, or negative, invite your readers to share their experience of your book.

Follow up with personalized emails

At the right moment, it is vital to seek advice from readers on your books. Once a reader makes a purchase, receives the book and reads it, their level of interest is at its highest. Therefore, it would be a good time to contact them then via email and ask how their experience was. With the book, still fresh in their mind, it is very likely they will provide an assessment of your product right away.

Don’t forget the product itself!

When you are getting ready to upload your book to Amazon… don’t forget to put a note inside your book asking for people to share their thoughts about your book. This can be as simple as a note in the copyright, or even a mention of reviews in the foreword.  Don’t forget to always offer attractive incentives, the investment will be worth it!