Friday, May 20, 2011

Ah, Reviews

two thumbs up A couple of weeks ago, Wined and Died received its first review from one of the Big Four. They include Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal. I’ve been lucky enough that Sophie Mae’s antics have been reviewed by three of the BF from the beginning. Last year Publisher’s Weekly came on board, so Something Borrowed, Something Bleu hit the quafecta. (Is that a thing? Let’s just say it is, ‘k?)

This first one for Wined and Died was from Kirkus. Most of it was a concise description of the plot then it ends with:

“… a tutorial on mead and a dash of soapmaking all wrapped around a credible mystery.”

I’ll take it. And no, I’m not above posting a few pull-quotes from reviews on my website and blog, as you can see to the right. In fact, my publicist puts together a whole sheet of pull-quotes from different reviews of my books as part of my press package. It’s how it’s done, no matter if it makes me feel a bit squirmy. There are a lot of things I’ve managed to get used to since my first mystery hit the shelves. After all, no one’s going to want to read a book they’ve never even heard of, so publicity and promotion are key, even if at heart you want to stub your toe into the floor and mutter “ah, shucks.”

Since libraries make buying decisions based on information from Library Journal and Booklist, I’m always happy to see another review from those quarters. I’ve had independent bookstore owners look up my Kirkus reviews while I’m standing right in front of them after introducing myself and suggesting they might want to carry my books. I don’t blame them for wanting another opinion, of course. I hardly even sweat when it happens now.


There are lots of other great review sites online, and there are still some newspapers that regularly review books. Amazon readers offer their opinions, and as a reader I find them useful (you can usually tell if there’s a nut spraying vitriol around and can just ignore them).

Goodreads is another way to find out what people think about a book. In fact, there are some reviewers there I’ve learned to watch because of their insight and taste.

So: a whole lot of opinions out there. ‘Scuse me while I try to draw a deep breath. Mostly, I don’t think about it, though. All I can do is show up, do my job, and hope for a good reception. After that, it’s out of my hands. Might as well put it out of mind, too.

As a reader, do you pay attention to reviews? Do they influence your choices? Do you offer your opinion on Goodreads or Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Shelfari?


  1. I read the reviews, but I'm still going to read what I want to read.

    I do post my thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads and my own reading blog.

  2. I don't often read reviews before I read an author's book or buy from Amazon. Right now, I have five books waiting to be read, all from writers that I've met at conferences or at the Northern CO Writers' Studio. I'm looking forward to adding Wined and Died to my shelf alongside its companions.

  3. Dru, you're one of the people I watch for reviews and recommendations.

    Linda, I'm afraid to even count how many books I have to read -- and many are from NCW and people I've met as an author.

  4. Congratulations on getting the big 4 reviews, Cricket. They definitely make a difference for library sales.

    I don't pay a lot of attention to reviews or review snippets, although I do enjoy getting ideas for good reads from Lesa Holstine's blog and a couple of other review sites I like.

    Like Linda, I enjoy reading books by authors I've met. I often choose books recommended by friends or just browse the library or bookstores until I see something that appeals to me (often an interesting cover).

    I joined Library Thing but never go there, and I've never signed up for Goodreads, although other authors thing that's the place to be.