In the midst of adjusting to her new life, she meets a young Hebrew girl named Shira, who has pity on her and helps her adjust to her new life. When terrifying plagues start to strike Egypt Kiya flees with the Hebrews and begins a new journey away from her many gods and finds the one true God instead.
This book has a little bit of everything in it - romance, intrigue, danger and of course the history of the Hebrews flight from Egypt under the guidance of Moses. Connilyn Cossette has made the Bible come to life and presents a believable story of the Exodus from Egypt that even Jewish readers would appreciate. If you like Biblical Fiction Counted with the Stars will not disappoint you. I highly recommend it.
One of the most important things you can do to promote your book is to get reviews. If you are lucky and have a publishing house behind you, they will more than likely send out ARC's (Advance Reader Copy) months in advance of the release date. Most of these ARC's have not been through a final edit. They do this so that when the book comes out there will already be reviews (hopefully good ones) out there to recommend the book. It is also an opportunity to take one-liners from a review and include it in the book. Another reason for an ARC is to request an endorsement for a book. These endorsements would come from people whose name has clout behind it and would be included either on the cover or inside the book. We will talk about how to get an endorsement at a later date. But today, I want to talk to those self-publishers out there who need reviews and aren't sure how to go about getting them.
Fortunately, there are many options out there for you, but take a page from the publishing houses and do what they do - get your reviews in place before your book comes out. I have made the mistake of not doing that and I really think it harms the sale of your book. If I had done my homework I would have had over 20 reviews in place before my book came out. As it stands now, reviews are trickling in but they are coming in. So, the months leading up to your release date should be all about your marketing campaign and getting reviews and endorsements. But where do you go to get them?
After you select the reviewers that interest you, the program will begin to generate a list of reviews for the books selected (which you can export to excel). Some of the reviews will include emails and a website where you can contact the reviewer and get a better idea of their interest in your genre. This is an incredible time-saver! You don't have to go out and search for your potential audience - they come to you! This list kept generating names and stopped at 19 reviewers. As you can see from the example below, each reviewer's name comes up with a website or email or both. Now all you have to do is contact the reviewer and ask for a review in exchange for a free copy of your book. How easy is that?
Finally, you have probably noticed that I didn't tell you to go to your family and close friends for reviews. There are two reasons for this:
One of the hardest things for authors to refrain from doing is defending their work. I know because I've been trying to refrain from it for over a month. And let me tell you, it is not an easy thing to do.
Unfortunately, not all the reviews you get for your book are going to be glowing. There is going to come a time when you hit a nerve and people are going to respond - badly. There are different kinds of bad reviews though. There are the ones that pick apart everything you said and demand that you justify and explain yourself (they are just plain mean). Others will be legitimate complaints about your editing job. I have read books that made me sit back in stunned silence wondering why the author did not invest in an editor. When I get a book to review like that, I contact the author privately to let her know why she won't be getting 3 stars. Not every reviewer however, will do that. A wise author will make the investment in an editor or suffer the backlash of bad reviews. And let's not forget the cover. If it screams self-published you will hear about it.
So, how do you respond to a bad review? What if the reviewer misunderstood what you said, or simply didn't "get it"? Should you go on Amazon and explain yourself? The answer is no. I reviewed a book on Mormonism once (I can't recall the title) but the author, an ex-Mormon, was getting thoroughly chewed out for calling Mormonism a cult. Many admitted to not reading the book, but only went on to encourage people not to buy it and they left a few choice words for the author. Yes, some people are vindictive and if they are prepared to hate your book, you will never be able to convince them otherwise.
Mark Twain once said, "Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." Keep that in mind if you are thinking of responding to a bad review. However, if that doesn't convince you, take a lesson from author Katherine Howett, who responded to a bad review on the reviewer's website this way:
"You obviously didn't read the second clean copy I requested you download that was also reformatted, so this is a very unfair review. My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks."
Katherine then went on to post three good reviews she had received for her book, to which others began to respond.
Anonymous said: "Wow...you blame the reviewer for not going and getting a different copy, dismiss his review, then post three more reviews from various places? Uh, can we say petty? The professionalism here is just astounding."
Anonymous said: "The author's response is a real turn-off. I'll pass, thanks."
While the comments by the author have been deleted on the original site, I remember them quite well. She then proceeded to tell all those responding to ... well... she dropped the F* bomb and elicited so many responses that at last count there were 308 comments, all negative and aimed at the author and her childish, unprofessional behaviour. The author later wrote an apology, unfortunately the damage was already done and her book started to get "trolls" on Amazon. She has since removed the book and it is no longer for sale.
What are trolls? Some are people that love to give bad reviews, like this guy who has written 276 negative reviews for Amazon. Others just like to make fun of the product/book they are reviewing. Amazon has enjoyed these types of trolls so much they have a link to them at www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001250201
Of course, this then begs the question - where do I find reviewers who can be counted on to give an honest review? I'll talk about that in my next post.
In the end, bad reviews for authors should be a learning experience in which they can improve themselves. If it is just a hateful review, it isn't worth the author's time of day so don't respond to it. Negative reviews are not fun, but if the reviewer gives a legitimate reason they can help you grow as an author.
I love to read and I am blessed to have a job that allows me to read books and review them. I have been doing this for a little over seven years now for my own personal enjoyment and now I get paid to do book reviews by an online Christian newspaper. I think I can safely say that I know how to ask for a review and how not to. But unlike most professional reviewers who work for big magazines/newspapers (who can receive up to 50 review requests a day), I work on a much smaller scale and I can take the time to respond to each and every email. Keep in mind however, that when approaching magazines and newspapers for reviews, they don't have the time to decipher your requests. It is much better to just send them a press release.
For the most part however, you will probably want to target your audience and ask them for reviews. We'll discuss where to find your audience at a later date. Today we'll start with some of the things you shouldn't do when asking a book reviewer to review your book. These rules don't just apply to professional book reviewers either, I'm sure book bloggers would appreciate you use them too.
Many of the emails I receive have only one sentence, "Would you review my book?" The author then signs their name and gives me no other information. They do not tell me the name of the book, nor do they give me any hint on what the book is about. NEVER do this. Professional reviewers will probably delete your email and bloggers will either forgive you for being so absent-minded or they'll delete it too. Reviewers do not have time to drag information out of you.
Once again the author forgets to tell me the name of their book. This type of question makes me feel like I'm being asked out on a blind date, "Do you want to go out on Friday night with what's his name?" The answer is no.
This is getting a little better. At least the author remembered to tell me the name of their book and the genre, but do they want me to review their book or go on a scavenger hunt? If you can't send me all the information in one email, why bother sending me anything at all? This is discourteous to those you are approaching. By making them search for your information you are implying that your time is more important than theirs. That will not help your review at all.
This is much better. The person tells me right off what genre of book I'm dealing with, what the name of the book is and what it's about, as well as how to reach the author. Perfect! Except for one thing — I don't like epic fantasy thrillers. Before you send out a request to a book reviewer, make sure you know what kinds of books they like to review. Otherwise, you are just wasting their time and yours.
Excuse me? You want me to review your book and pay for it too? Well, that takes a lot of nerve I must say. And yes, I have received a few of these kinds of emails. Never, ever ask someone for a review and then tell them they have to pay for the book first. It is standard practice for reviewers to receive a free complimentary book. They should never have to pay for it. Look at it this way, you are asking them to do something for free that will help you. You are asking for an honest review. If you are approaching a well known group like Kirkus Reviews for example, you would pay upwards of $400. Be thankful for those who will read your book and post a review for you, don't insult them by making them pay for it.
When you are looking for someone to review your book, whether they get paid for it (like Kirkus reviews) or not, keep in mind reviewers are very busy people. Most of the people you contact, are probably bloggers. However, even though they are not professional reviewers they are still taking time out of their schedule to review your book. So be kind, be gracious and give them all the information they will need to make an informed decision about your book.