“Read It? Then Review It!”, by Susan Helene Gottfried (West of Mars)

Rockin’ author Susan Helene Gottfried has endeared herself to giveaway-hosting book bloggers by promoting their contests on her Win a Book blog. She’s also made groupies out of many readers with her short fiction about the heavy-metal band ShapeShifter, which she has published on her main blog, West of Mars, and in two collections (so far). Susan is working to get her full-length novel about the band, Trevor’s Song, into the hands of those groupies (and other readers!) as soon as possible, so stay tuned for the Trevolution!      

Please welcome today’s guest blogger to The 3 R’s, as she speaks her piece on why posting your book reviews is important to authors!

I need to start off here, before I (potentially) get all preachy on you, by thanking my friend Florinda for allowing me to come rock your reading habits with some of my thoughts. I hope you’ll ponder them for (seconds, minutes) days to come.

Yeah, I can be this full of myself at times. Never fear; these habits don’t last long.

With a new book coming out soon, I’ve been making lists of all the various things I can do to promote it and build a really good buzz. I can line up a million guest blog posts, interviews, and signings; and I can give away hundreds of copies; but when you get down to it, none of that matters without the help of a special group of people who grossly underestimate their power: the reader who reads for the sheer love of books and reading.

It’s not just ANY power we’ve got — and yes, even though I’m an author, I’m also one of these avid readers. That’s how I’m able to see our power. Let me show it to you: we’ve got the ability to build an authentic buzz about books we absolutely love.

I know. I know. I can hear you saying you’re nobody special. The people who review for the New York Times, they’re the special ones. They get paid, and being paid gives them an authenticity you think you lack.

Not so.

I say this because when my book club is on the fence about whether or not we should choose a certain book, the suggestion is made to check the book-related social media sites. Check the online bookstores. Read the reviews that have been posted by other people. Let their views help us decide.

Now, of course, many of these reviews I’m looking up are written with an agenda. Friends often write glowing reviews. Some book bloggers, I’ve heard (I’ve yet to meet them), will only say good things about truly awful books, in the hopes that doing so will curry favor with the publicist who requested the review. And then there are the nasty people who trash books for the simple sake of being nasty. I haven’t met any of them yet, either, and so far, I’ve been lucky enough to keep my books off their radars, as well.

Good thing we’re smart people. We know the best reviews pick out the good as well as the bad. Dismissing a book for being formula isn’t acknowledging the way the author bent the formula to work for her. Proclaiming every book you read to be the best ever isn’t honest. You’ve got to hit a few clunkers every now and then.

That’s why I’d like to encourage each and every one of us reading this post to take a few minutes whenever you read something you really like. Write a strong, balanced review. There is something good in every book, even if it’s only that the author stopped writing it. Likewise, there’s something that could be better, too. You could like a character more. It made you nuts that the woman who only wears dresses professes to be an avid bicyclist.

Go ahead and be heard. Write reviews. Post them wherever you can. Tell your friends about that great book. Talk to total strangers in book stores and at book sales. You are a reader, and that’s something to be proud of. What you think about a book matters, maybe more than you know.

When you share your opinion, you’re helping an author reach a new reader or establish a better reputation. Or if the book is a stinker, you’re saving someone time and agony.

We authors can’t do it without the help of our readers. So please, if you think your opinion doesn’t count, think again. And then post it.

*A note from me: In order to encourage some of that review-posting she’s talking about, Susan is offering readers of The 3 R’s a special coupon code to download her second book, ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes — Year 2, from Smashwords.com (in e-book only, for any e-reader format) – use code The Demo Tapes: Year 2 — GT92A

If you can post a review of the book at SEVEN different online sites and send Susan the links, she will not only link from her website to the online bookstores and blogs your post appears on, she’ll also send you an autographed print copy of either Demo Tapes — Year 1 or Demo Tapes — Year 2Fine print: You may post the same review at multiple sites. Posting a review on two different versions of the book at any site (such as GoodReads) will not count as two; each home site must have its own distinctive address. You may ask Susan to post something at her Rocks ‘n Reads blog, be it part of this offer or another book entirely. Sites such as BookCrossing, Shelfari, and the online bookstores count, as do the sites that directly sell Susan’s books (print and digital). Offer expires September 1, to give you time to read and post — or whenever Susan runs out of copies of The Demo Tapes. Offer open internationally and yes, reviews posted previous to this offer count in your seven sites.

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