Why I’m Openly Reviewing Now

As an author, I get nervous every time I hand my book(s) over to a reviewer.  I mean, you know ordinary readers are going to have an opinion about your book, but in the case of reviewers, you’re asking for it.  Being on this end of things is nerve-wracking and fingernail-diminishing.  I know this.  And it’s why I’ve really, really taken to reviewing for others.  I know to be gentle but honest; I know you couldn’t care less how smart I try to make myself sound when really all you want is something people can understand so that they end up clicking “add to cart.”

I’ve always loved seeing how people create.  I love finding a new, unique voice or a new way someone tells a story.  I originally started reviewing just for the pleasure of exposing myself to the world of indie writers in order to see what they/we were coming up with.  And, I felt the need to “walk the talk” when it came to being supportive of my fellow writers.  To my great delight, I’m enjoying the experience more than I expected, and I’ve connected with some authors and made “friendlies” as we swap tips and advice and gushes of appreciation for each other’s work.

So, now that I have 2000+ followers of my blog, it seems like I should take the opportunity to help promote other authors as much as I can.  I’ve been reviewing quietly on Goodreads and Amazon for a while now, and it only makes sense to post reviews here too.   (see HERE for some of my favorites so far.)

Interested? Because I’ve been flooded with requests and I DO promise to purchase every book I review, I will be requesting a small $$ just to recoup my costs of buying all these books.  Yes, your book might be for free on Amazon, but someone else’s book might be more than I would even price my own, so hopefully it will all balance out and I won’t go broke.  PLUS, I hope other authors will see it as an opportunity to support each other, if that makes sense – allowing me to buy other people’s books for review.

Anyway, here’s my basic thought process on reviewing:

  • I don’t believe in a Perfect 10, but a solid 5 I have come to accept.  (Why aren’t there halves as options on most sites?!)
  • I will finish anything I say I’m going to read – this just seems like the decent thing to do.
  • I don’t think there’s a good scientific approach to rating – whether you get a 4 or a 5 might just depend on my mood at the time.
  • I try to be as eclectic as possible – this helps me as a writer, if nothing else.  I have been delighted by some books I would’ve never picked up if their authors hadn’t asked me to read them – mermaids to zombies.
  • I DO try to be objective.  By this I mean not letting “I would have done it THIS way” thoughts creep into my head.  The beauty of self-publishing is that authors are free to tell their stories their way.  I will try very hard to respect the work for what it is, not what I think it should be. (As an author, I know the temptation of thinking I could do it better my way…and it drives me nuts that readers who do NOT write assume they could do it better.  “Those who can’t do, teach.  Those who don’t try, critique.”)
  • I’m sure not every book I’m given will be a gem.  And, quite frankly, I’m not going to lie and give good reviews.  I don’t want to plug something I don’t honestly support.  That’s a big part of why I don’t blindly retweet or Goodreads recommend authors I haven’t read.  When I DO post a review, it will be something I genuinely recommend.

Anyway, I’m not the only author/reviewer with an English degree.  I’m not the only author/reviewer who’s been writing for 10+ years.  I’m certainly not the only author offering reviews.  I’m just happy to be one of many voices hoping to help promote good work. And I DO know what I’m talking about, and I WILL be likely to understand your story the way you intended.   Mostly, I’m just incredibly grateful to my “friendlies” who have been supportive of my work, and I’d like to pay it forward.

If you’d like me to review your book (or if you know an author who might be interested) check out the more technical information HERE.

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About Sunshine Somerville

I'm the author of "The Kota Series" and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I work as a medical transcriptionist from home. When not staring into a computer screen, I enjoy reading, painting, and being outdoors.
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