Why take the time?
Depending on how you look at it, I am fortunate enough to see both sides of the publishing industry, author and publisher. This can be both advantageous at times and disadvantageous at others. I was an author first; published by another company, and between book signings, speaking engagements and discussing with others the reasons I even bothered to write at all, they indirectly taught me how to become a professional author. The desire to start a company that operated much like a traditional publisher and yet cater to writers from all walks of life consumed my mind. So I pulled my titles, hired someone to re-lay them and create a logo, brought in a business partner and between the two of us we operate a relatively nice sized organization.
Over the years, many things in this industry have changed. However, I have noticed something that hasn’t changed, reviews or the lack of them I should say. The importance of book reviews discussed countless times, is a significant one. Let me be clear, I am not referring to people that make a living or habit out of reviewing books. Nor review circles (not discounting those) but consumer book reviews. People that generously donate their time and write a review because the book that they just read made them laugh, cry, think, angry, mad, frustrated, or simply entertained them in the way that the author had intended.
I know you’ve heard countless people say that they love a certain book, right? I have. I’ve even sat in groups with others and discussed great books people have read. I’ve been fortunate to have people stop me in grocery stores to tell me that they loved my last piece, and I am humbled and grateful for every kind word they have ever said to me publicly or posted on social media. Like most writers (or I hope this is true), I have shared manuscripts with the world that I am pleased with and yet have pieces that I do not put in print at all. The pieces, the books that authors (including myself) know are going to capture an audience, they are special. It can take years of evolving as a writer to get to the point as an author that we know that we’ve written that one piece.
The words that we intentionally wrote, with purpose and placement, did their job. Reeled in our audience and captured the moment we had intended, whatever that might be. Unfortunately, if we tell people how great we think our book is, it can seem rude and obnoxious. Sometimes, regardless of the eye rolls and shaking of the heads, we have to suck it up and tell others about our book(s) and how great we think the story line is because it is the only way to get the word out about our work.
Why do people get frustrated when we do that? Because that incredible piece, the one we nailed, we wrote it. In their minds it’s inevitable that we’re going to say those words. But you’d be surprised. Sometimes we have manuscripts that we are incredibly disgusted with and wouldn’t print even if, like me, had all the opportunity in the world to do so. Not to mention, readers typically do not know that there were multiple drafts of the one that we managed to nail finally.
I do not believe that our readers don’t care about the books that they read. It is possible that they think their voice or review does not matter at all. That other people are reviewing the book, so they simply do not need to put in their two cents when Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com offer them the chance. You hope as a writer that they enjoyed the book, and they shared it with someone else at least verbally. However, I wonder if they understood, really understood, the importance of such reviews if it would make a difference.
A consumer review, much like a trade review, is valuable, especially for a new release or an author that is trying to build a platform. It not only assists with future sales by allowing other potential consumers to make a decision about the book, but it aids as a source for online outlets to assess if they should assist with promotion, as in recommending the title to their customers.
A review shows others that a real live consumer, not a friend, fellow author or colleague, enjoyed the writer’s work. It can take months if not years to write a book, but only a few minutes to write a review. Reviews are truly like an unexpected gift for your favorite or newly found author; a valuable gift, that is cherished and recognized by the author each time they receive one. Trust me; authors check their reviews and are grateful every time a reader takes the time to share a positive word about their work that they value so much.
The Greenlee Project is a captivating fictional story addressing critical real-life issues that tweens and teens face today. Bullying and cyber-bullying are part of our society that has tragic consequences for many. Amanda M. Thrasher, is a talented author, who has delivered a story that is both compelling and also thought-provoking. You can feel the emotions of each of the characters as the story unfolds along this journey. It will leave you with the desire to change the world around you and to talk to others about the increasing severity of bullying and cyber bullying. With the discussion questions included, this is an excellent choice for book clubs and middle school language arts classes. Such a critical and important story. – Lisa Keefer Robinson- National Safety Council
The Greenlee Project is a touching and chilling cautionary tale that every teen should read. Amanda M. Thrasher gives us interesting and compelling characters, a well-crafted plot, and a breathless pace. Her teens are so real that you will feel as if you know them personally. Normal adolescent insecurity and thirst for acceptance trumps friendship and consideration, leading to a nightmare. – Dr. David A. Bedford Ph.D Instructor at TCU
I understand it is possible you’ve read books that you’ve struggled to finish for one reason or another. Being both an author and publisher, my criticism of such work could be twice as harsh, but it’s not. Knowing how hard it is to write a good book, story line, plot, dialogue, I find myself trying to find something positive about the work, anything. So easy to be critical. Did I like the characters or a chapter or the initial story line? Finding something positive is encouraging. I believe writers entertain and educate the world. They write the books, screenplays, movie scripts, songs, news, magazine articles, they inform, and write the textbooks that educate our kids to list a few. If words or music are involved a writer contributed somewhere along the line and without words, look at all the entertainment, research, and education that would be lost.
Write the reviews, take the time, often only takes a few minutes. You may just find a lovely ‘thank you’ in your inbox. Receive an autographed copy of the book, or just know it was noted and appreciated by each and every author. “You write the review, and we’ll write the books. Thank you in advance!” – Copyright © 2016 Amanda M. Thrasher