I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, March 2, 2015

How to Write a Book Review, with Guest Dina Sleiman!

Welcome Dina Sleiman to Tea and a Good Book!

 Dina is a friend of mine, and I'm thrilled for her newest release: Dauntless, a YA, medieval-set novel. More on it in a minute. But first, I asked Dina to share with us her tips on writing book reviews, which can be tricky! Thanks for joining us, Dina!

I’m sure there are a lot of readers and authors out there who love to support good books through reviews. But if you are like some of my friends, you might find the task a bit intimidating. Here are some tips that I gave my “Dauntless Launch Team” on how to write a book review and post it online. I hope they will help!

How to Post a Review

1)      First I would suggest writing your review somewhere like Microsoft word so that you can check and edit it. Mention a few things you liked about the book, but be careful not to give away any secrets. Some reviewers write a summary of the book, which is nice for a blog post, but not particularly helpful on a website that already includes the book info. The main point should be: I liked this book because…and if you like those things you will enjoy the book too. A few sentences up to a few paragraphs is a good length. These don’t have to be works of art. People like to see reviews by normal readers.

2)      Remember that a 4 to 5 star rating is helpful. A kind and thoughtful 3 star rating can also be helpful in the long run. But if you cannot give it at least a 3 star rating, please realize that you are likely hurting the sale of the book. In that case, unless you would like to speak out against the book for some reason, it is better to stay quiet.

3)      You can post reviews on a blog, or even straight to a facebook post, but posting them on review sites is probably the most helpful. The main sites are amazon, goodreads, barnesandnoble, booksamillion, and cbd, (Christian book), but there are others as well. For most of these sites, you will need to “log in”, “sign in”, or “register” to begin the process. If you don’t have a log in, you will need to create one. It is not only fine, but actually typical, to post the exact same review on multiple sites.

4)      Once you are logged into a bookseller site, search for the book and find the page where it is featured. Go to the review section of the page. Usually somewhere near the top of the review section you will see a link inviting you to write a review, but sometimes it will be hiding in a weird spot, especially on mobile devices. Click on it. It will open a place to leave a star review and a text box. Choose your stars and copy and paste your review into the text box. You will then have to preview and submit your review. These can then take a day or two to show up on the website.

5)      Goodreads is a little more tricky if you aren’t used to it. Once you search for the book and find the page, you should see a “Want to Read” button. Don’t push that if you want to review! LOL. To the right side of the button is a little bookshelf looking part of the button. Hover over that. It will give you the option to click that you’ve “Read” the book. Once you click that you’ve read the book, it should open a review screen with star rating and text box. There are other ways to get to the review screen, but that is the simplest. If you’ve pushed “Want to read” or “Currently reading” previously, you will have to go into your review of the book and edit it. Hopefully if you use the site regularly, that won’t be hard for you.  Goodreads is a really fun site for booklovers, by the way, so if you aren’t a member, I recommend joining.

6)      It is most helpful to the author if you post the reviews within a month of the book’s release. However, any positive review at any time is always helpful.

Have fun and happy reviewing!

Do you have any other tips for reviewing? What sort of review makes you want to buy a book?

More about Dina:

Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter TimeDance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series with Bethany House Publishers. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing as well, and she loves to teach at writers conferences throughout the US. For more info visit her at her primary website.

More about Dauntless:

Where Legend and History Collide, 
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent
Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

Print Books Now Available online!
Ebooks release February 24th.
In stores March 3rd.

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