I’ve been reviewing books for authors and publishing companies for several years now. I started doing this back in 2008 when Thomas Nelson Publishers launched their Booksneeze program for bloggers. They send me a free new book; I read it, then I review it on one of my blogs and a consumer website. I’ve been on their top five list since August 2010.
I enjoy reading. I love free books! And I like writing reviews in order to match up friends and readers with books I hope they’ll really love.
I should’ve been a librarian.
The reviews I’ve been most excited about, though, weren’t the ones I wrote because I promised to in order to get a free book. My favorites were the ones I wrote just because I loved the book, saw value in it, and wanted to share its message. These reviews thank the author for saying something that touched my heart.
Now that I’ve written a book of my own, I understand how much this kind of thanksgiving means. Many authors write because they are passionate about the message they have to share. They want to get that message into as many hands as possible. I wrote Home Is Where God Sends You because I desperately want to encourage women who move often to let God use this circumstance to help them and their families draw closer to Him each day. I want to help them discover Paul’s secret for being content anywhere (Philippians 4:11-12).
Yet books, the vessel that carries an author’s message, cost money. In fact, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s prices for paperback books have risen in the past few months. Books that used to average about $10 now cost $12 and $13. For this reason, people hesitate to buy a book unless they know something about it. They depend on good reviews from people who aren’t the author or publisher or a publicist. They want to know if readers like themselves found the books they are interested in worth their time and money.
When you write such a review, you give the author a great gift! You encourage other people to read the message of their book.
When I write book reviews for my blog, I usually aim for at least 200 words. This is the minimum requirement for Booksneeze, so I’ve made it my standard. But Amazon only requires 20 words! This means you don’t have to write a full blog post in order to recommend a book; just click on a star to give the book a rating from 1 to 5, then tell why you recommend it for others to read. (Unless I’ve made a commitment to review a book in exchange for a free one, I only review books that I can rate with a 4 or 5. On the other hand, if I really like a book I’ve accepted in exchange for review, I’ll publish the review on several sites, not just the minimum I agreed to.)
I don’t know if you’ve read Home Is Where God Sends You, but if you have and if you liked it, please consider reviewing it on Amazon, BN.com (Barnes and Noble), and/or Goodreads. If other books have blessed you, consider reviewing them for their authors, too. Your voice makes a difference, and the authors appreciate it. Make it a fun practice! Whenever you finish reading a book you’ve enjoyed, take just a few minutes to bless its author with a review.