Monday, February 4, 2013

I Can’t Smile Without You…

As Barry Manilow sings in his song: I can’t smile without you.
So true.
I’m writing, but if readers are not reading…
And reviewers are not reviewing…
Then my words will never be heard.
That’s because almost 30% of people choose their next book by the recommendation of fellow readers on online message forums, blogs and message boards. Interestingly, only 4% of readers take the word of close personal friends or family. 1

The problem is that most readers who love a book will not write a review.  Michael Alvear in his book, Make a Killing on Kindle, demonstrates the percentage of reviews with Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, one of the most reviewed books on Amazon. It has received around 6,000 reviews!  But, when you take into account that there has been millions and millions of copies sold, the percentage comes to around .0002% of readers who left reviews.2

So then, imagine what I’m faced with?  An unknown author, no movie deals in sight, (who just wants to share a laugh, some suspense, a kindled romance and a special dog) who has a book out there on Amazon with millions and millions of other books for competition. Daunting, isn’t it?
The best way you can show your appreciation is to leave a review.  It doesn’t have to be long or detailed.  Just let other readers know how it made you feel. That alone will indicate to other potential readers that the book is worth their time and money.

If you are feeling insecure about writing a book review, follow this format:
·         Write a brief synopsis
·         Suggest the basic theme
·         Give your opinion about their writing style
·         Give your recommendation on who should read the book
·         Express how the book made you feel
·         Summarize your view
Too much?  Just include one of two of the suggestions.  Pick out what is easiest for you to write.  Don’t make it difficult.

Amazon is trying to make reviews easier for their customers.  They now have an option at the end of the book called—Before You Go.  This gives readers the option of rating the book right when they finish.  The review can then be shared on social sites instantly.  The problem is, it is on the very last page.  The reader will have to page through all the author information, other author samples, book club pages, etc. to get to that last page.  Still, it is a helpful if the reader is aware that it’s there.

The second most common answer to how readers select their next book is by looking for their favorite authors.1 I raise my hand again and ask, “How do you find those readers who will become loyal fans?”  It takes getting readers to spread the word.

The next time you’re on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, please consider looking up one of my books and clicking on like or posting a review. Again, I can’t smile without you.  I can’t laugh. I can’t sing. I’m finding it hard to do anything. 

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, I’ve just published my own sweet romance western novella—Stolen Horses, Stolen Hearts!  It’s up on Amazon and Smashwords for 99 cents.  I’d really appreciate your review on it.  Here’s more information:

Stolen Horses, Stolen Hearts

Ambitious former rodeo queen Harlee Jo Holiday must fix Oak Whitlock’s broken heart if she’s ever going to get him to help rescue her stolen horses. The only trouble is even Oak’s dog and horse can’t stand to be around him. 

Brooding Oak Whitlock can’t get his life on track. That is, until Harlee Jo comes riding in with her hopes and dreams. Between her and her stolen horses, will Oak learn you have to climb right back in the saddle?


Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense…and Dogs!
Fly into a good romance at:

1 Alvear, Michael, Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook Or Twitter).
2 The Digital Reader, How Ebook Buyers Discover Books:

Image credit: herreid / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. You are so right, Cindy. Most readers never post a review. I've been guilty of being late to post a promised reviews. Sometimes it's because it takes me so long to get through a book. My reading time is limited to the few minutes after my head hits the pillow before I fall asleep.

    Then there are those older folks (or even some our age) who are technology challenged--who don't own a computer. Most of my readers seem to fall into this category. I meet them at book signings, church, Mom's assisted living home or even at Walmart.

    I appreciate them, though. These are the ones who pat my shoulder and say, "Be sure to call me when your next book comes out, because I want one."

  2. I usually write reviews of the books I read. Because I know it's important for the writer. I know if I write something I would want an honest (but not rude) review.

    I really appreciate this format. Sometimes, I know I liked the story. Just not sure how to word it. I'll remember to put a note in about wanting the next one if I really do.

  3. Laurean,
    I know just what you mean. I have a lot of readers who are not techno-savvy and they like to buy my print books straight from me. No chance of getting reviews on-line from them.
    They tell me in person how much they like my books, but wish more people got the word.
    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Mary,
    I struggle writing reviews too! It's hard to separate the writer and the reader in me.
    I'm taking a bold step and leaving more reviews because I see how important it is.
    Thanks so much for leaving your comment.

  5. I do leave reviews. My problem is that I no longer find the time to read! Sometimes I think this techy world -and all the headache it brings- has robbed me of the precious time I used to have of strolling through the library aisles. But yes, authors need readers, and we need reviews too! :)

  6. Cindy: A nice post and important advice. I always write a review immediately upon finishing a book. I especially do for the friends from the loops who I feel I know as if you were my next door neighbor. I appreciate the reviews written on my short stories too. I probably don't cover all the points you mention, Cindy but most of them.

  7. Thanks for your comments, Miss Mae and Larry. It is very hard to find time to read while your writing. My family thinks all I do is stay on the computer. Of course, I do a lot of other things on my computer besides write and read so it probably seems like it.
    My girlfriend doesn't have a computer. I can't imagine. However, sometimes I wish I'd never seen one. :)

  8. Hi CindY. I am LDS also. I love reading and reviewing books.
    It keeps me busy but builds my libraries.
    Keep up the good work. I really appreciate all you clean writers.
    If I ever get my Blog up and going I want to follow your and Linda Weaver's patterns.

  9. Thanks, LAWonder. Much success to you. Good luck with your blog and all you do!


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