The best way to thank an author is to leave a review.
If you follow my blog regularly, you'll notice that one of my regular features is the Blogger Salute–it's my way of saying thanks to the countless book bloggers who spend time not only reading the books, but also writing thought-provoking reviews.
However, and this is a big however, I sometimes forget to thank the hundreds and hundreds of readers who without any reward of their own take time to post a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Goodreads. This is my official THANK YOU! Those reviews are often how new readers decide whether or not to chance a book by a heretofore unknown author. I can't begin to tell you how important these reviews are. Not only do they influence other readers, but the frequency with which they show up also influences some of the retailer algorithms which in turn means that my book pops up when someone is looking for a book in that genre.
What is a review? In short, it's nothing more than your thoughts on the the book. It can be as short as a sentence or two saying that you enjoyed it or didn't, that it kept you turning the pages or not – or – it can be paragraphs detailing what you liked or didn't like about the book. More often than not it's just a few sentences saying something like I enjoyed this book because the characters touched my heart. It doesn't have to be fancy or eloquent, it simply has to be true.
The next time you get an e-mail from Amazon or one of the other retailers asking if you'd like to review the book you've just read, please click yes! It's an awesome way to share your thoughts with other readers and I know I will wholeheartedly thank you for doing it.
It's celebration time…Spare Change now has over One Hundred 5 STAR Reviews on Amazon. And that's not where the story ends…almost 80% of the Goodreads Reviewers who have rate the book gave it either four or five stars.
To celebrate this monumental event, I'd like to share the 100th review with you. It was published on Musings Down Under. bu an Aussie Reviewer. Nice to see this book traveling so far….
An ingenious, edge of the seat and humorous story,January 8, 2013
I read my first Bette Lee Crosby book just a few weeks ago, and it was an excellent read – so quickly snapped up the offer by the author for a free copy of another book when she contacted me after she read my review. I was a bit worried that I may not enjoy SPARE CHANGE as much as the first, `Cupid's Christmas,' as it is a completely different genre. But my worries were foundless. SPARE CHANGE is an ingenious, edge of the seat and humorous story. I was hooked from page one and not let go until almost the very last page. The first quarter of the book concentrates on Olivia and then her relationship with Charlie Doyle. Olivia is ruled by superstition, and there is nothing worse in her opinion than the number 11 – so when her husband dies on the 22nd day of their marriage (twice 11) after giving her an unlucky opal she is distraught, but accepting of her fate. She hits rock bottom mentally until she finds the support and strength of will to pull herself out. Not once does the author make the reader feel depressed or overwhelmed with the actions in the book. This is more evident when Ethan's life is revealed to the reader in the second quarter of the book. My goodness that child goes through hell – and I shed a tear for him as he witnessed first his mother's murder and then his father's. But this little chap finds the strength to save himself when he realises the murderer is going to silence him and so ends up with Olivia around the half way mark of the book.
I really liked reading about how Olivia's relationship with Ethan developed; after all they are so different. She is a mature woman who is scared of the number 11 among many other things, and who has always disliked children. He has been to hell and back and is a foul-mouthed, independent and prickly young boy. Ethan is also aged 11, which is not a number Olivia is comfortable with.
There is a Christian focus to the story, and I can see why the epilogue may not be appreciated by non-believers, but I like closure and this was closure for me – a fitting end to all that went before. While there are scenes of sadness, violence and despair; there is humour and friendship enough to overcome the darkness. The two damaged people have to band together, accept the help of friends and learn to trust in order to save Ethan from being silenced by the murderer.
It is so exciting to have The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Select Cracks in the Sidewalk as their book of the month for January – but of course few things ever run smoothly. Apparently there was a problem with the Sisterhood Group and it was shut down for a day or two…but smile…it's back again. If you were a member of the Goodreads Group Sisterhood of the Traveling Book and were planning on participating in the group read, please rejoin the group. The door is open and you'll be welcomed back.
In the unlikely event, you're not planning to read Cracks in the Sidewalk, the alternative Book of the Month read is Slammed by Coleen Hoover.
This promises to be a fun and exciting discussion…especially since I'm going to let the participating readers in on my secrets of what is true and what parts of Cracks in the Sidewalk are purely a figment of my imagination. Hmmmm…about that son-in-law…. rejoin the group and stop by to be part of the discussion. I promise you won't be sorry!
This article was contributed by Ekta Garg, a professional writer who edits manuscripts, writes for TheBollywoodTicket.com, numerous other publications and her own site The Write Edge. To learn more about Ekta and her work, visit http://thewriteedge.wordpress.com
“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” Arthur Plotnik
Celebrated author Arthur Plotnik shared these words about the meticulous, painstaking work editors do. And while most aspiring authors may cringe at the thought of allowing someone else to touch their manuscripts, the fact remains that a good editor can help bring out the best in your work. The trick comes in trusting your editor’s instinct and understanding that while s/he isn’t perfect, your editor wants to help you and your story shine.
As a writer myself, I understand the apprehension in allowing someone else into the world you have created. After all you’ve spent months—possibly years—with these characters. You’ve stayed awake late at night outlining key chapters and living through your characters’ trials and triumphs. In some cases you’ve gotten to know and love these people and their situations more than your own family. You’ve argued with your characters, cried with them, cheered with them, and sighed in relief as you wrote those important last two words: “The End”.
And then, all of a sudden, a real-life person comes along and introduces himself or herself as your editor. You watch as your editor eyes your manuscript with something akin to glee. And you start to feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck as you realize this person actually wants to make cuts to your story. How can you possibly leave your baby in the hands of this person, this, this…editor?
The key here is to understand exactly what an editor does. A good editor does not want to make cuts to your manuscript simply for the sake of making cuts. An editor’s job is to read carefully through your work. S/he looks for the necessary elements, those essential descriptions and sections of dialogue that help your story fly. And then s/he takes out the rest. And if your editor has done the job right, you won’t even be able to make a distinction between your work and your editor’s careful paring of your story.
That’s not to say allowing someone else to evaluate your story is a comfortable process. At times the edits can almost inflict a physical sensation. Imagine a snake that has just shed its skin. The snake has left the old skin behind, but how does it feel immediately after disposing of the unnecessary article? The wind probably chafes and makes its body prickle. Yet after a short period of time, the snake feels comfortable and doesn’t remember the old skin at all.
Much in the same way, editing takes away layers of writing that no longer belong to the essence of the story. When you begin writing your manuscript, it’s important—crucial, even—to allow all the words to appear on the page. Don’t think; just let the words come. Keep them, and give your writer’s self a free hand to include as many words as you want.
Once the manuscript is complete, the editor has the mammoth task of searching through all the words, peeling back all the layers, to find the heart of the story. As your editor works with you and with your manuscript, you will feel—actually feel in your skin—the words being stripped away. The loss of the excess words will sting, but soon you’ll realize your editor’s handiwork. And you’ll realize those words were just that—excess.
An editor is an essential member of your writing journey. It is often said that good writing is actually rewriting. Writing a story from the heart takes courage; rewriting that story to make it the story it is meant to be takes audacity. And a good editor will give you the mettle to be audacious.