Category Archives: ACFW

About Those Book Reviews

More of What Readers Need to Know

Reader

via Flickr Laury Rouzé

I posted about this before, but today I read an article in the ACFW newsletter that I think might  best help explain to readers why posting book reviews is critical to authors. I’m reposting here with permission. If you, too, think it’s helpful, please share.

Reader’s review provides at least 4 key benefits for a book and its author via @acfw & @cynthiaruchti Click To Tweet

ACFW Tidbits

by Cynthia Ruchti 

Do you write book reviews? Some say a reader’s review provides at least four key benefits for a book and its author:

1.     Credibility. When publishers, retailers, libraries, and prospective readers see a large number of reviews for a book, they know the book has drawn a measure of attention.

2.     Visibility. Algorithms of online retailers like cbd.combn.com, and amazon.com dictate that books with large numbers of positive reviews will obtain a more prominent visual presence on their sites.
3.     Quote resource. Many authors share snippets of a positive review to help others get a feel for the book’s tone, theme, or impact.
4.     Persuasiveness. Reviews can entice prospective readers, retailers, and libraries to purchase books they might have bypassed without the review.

via Flickr GotCredit

via Flickr GotCredit

If you’re a published author, you’ve no doubt seen both beneficial and what might be construed as harmful reviews. You may have asked others to post a review for your book. Have you also provided a guideline for the kind of review that would be most helpful? Consider using these tips when writing reviews or when inviting others to review a book for you:

·      For a blog or online retail review, if the teaser for the book or the book’s back cover copy is already part of the blog or book information visible to those who will read your review, there’s no need to repeat that information. An online review is not a book report. It’s a reaction to the story and its impact.

·      Resist the temptation to reveal any element about the plot or characters that will spoil the book for other readers. Few things make an author cringe more than having a reviewer give away an important plot point that took two-thirds of the book to set up.
·      Keep it as short as you can and still communicate what you need to or are compelled to say.
·      Don’t change your review in response to what others have said about the book. Be genuine. But do skim other posted reviews to ensure you’re not merely repeating what has already been said. Your review will be most meaningful if it adds another dimension to the reviews’ “discussion” about the book’s merits.
photo by denise carbonell

photo by denise carbonell

·      Limit your comments about the story to the story. If your book was damaged in shipping, or you never have liked that genre (and still don’t), or if page 211 was missing in your copy, or the margins on the Kindle version were messed up, that’s not a review of the book. Those comments need to be directed elsewhere.

·      Watch carefully for what the stars mean. Don’t inadvertently give a book a one-star rating because you think that means it’s a top-notch book, first place on your bookshelf. Take time to make sure you’re communicating accurately.
·      Don’t forget to include a review on Goodreads.comand FictionFinder.com.
Thanks to Cynthia Ruchti acfwrelations@acfw.com for allowing me to reprint this.

If I Won…

awardAnd the Winner is…

Last weekend the annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference was held in St. Louis. If you write Christian fiction, you’re probably a member. If you read Christian fiction chances are some of your favorite authors were in attendance. It’s become the premier conference for Christian fiction. I’ve been several times (didn’t go this year) and the gala (which I keep calling the awards banquet because really that’s what it is) is an incredible celebration of Christian fiction.

ACFW Award Categories

The Genesis: Recognizing great unpublished fiction in various categories. (For a list of winners go here.)

Lifetime Achievement Award: This year awarded to novelist Robin Lee Hatcher.

Agent of the Year: This year my very own agent won, Chip MacGregor!

Editor of the Year: Vicki Crumpton, Revell

Mentor of the Year: Martha Rogers

Volunteer of the Year: Julie Klassen

The Carol Awards: Awarded to outstanding novels in various categories.

For the list of winners, go here.

If I Won

Books by Cindy Thomson

Books I’ve written or contributed to.

I’ve never been nominated. By the time I joined ACFW I was already published so not eligible for the Genesis. My novels have not been nominated or even entered. But that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about what I might say should one of my books ever be considered for an honor like this. There is usually not time for an Academy Awards-type speech, so this might not even be possible. But…, just for grins, here’s my acceptance speech. (I would probably change it a million times, so consider this a first draft!)

Being Thankful for Words

Like most people who stand up here, I never expected to win. Well, “I” really didn’t win anything. The award is for the book you saw blown up larger than life on the video screen. It’s the words inside the cover that somehow managed to speak to readers, sometimes in ways I never expected. It’s the characters who speak words that readers experienced as either something they would also say or something they need to hear. It’s the fictional dream that I first dreamt and then shared with my fellow authors and early readers. Their feedback turned my fictional dream into something I could then present to my agent and my editors, who dreamt it too, but not exactly in the form I presented to them. They added, changed, and developed it–keeping my original but making it better. What won today is the dream that each reader who opens the book grasps based on his or her own perceptions and experiences. That is not something I could create and make happen. It’s a book miracle that could only come from the hand of God. Not scripture, but story. Everyone has one, everyone can relate to one. I’m thankful for the words that came. Thank you for celebrating the power of story!