Let’s talk about Book Reviews
You are an author looking for a review. Do you want an honest review of your work? Or do you simply want someone to pile accolades one on the other? Do you want to listen to constructive criticism and possibly make your book the best it can be? Or do you want to rewrite the review removing any criticism and giving readers a false review? If this is the case, write the review yourself and save everyone’s time.
These are questions that you must ask yourself before requesting an honest review. Not everyone is going to love your work. Not everyone is going to agree with your philosophy or life style. When you request an honest review from one person, you are going to get that person’s personal opinion. To which they are entitiled! The next reviewer might love or hate, your book!
Please, use reviews to make you a better writer. If you get criticism, look at it seriously. Perhaps you do need to jazz up the plot, tighten up the story line, make the characters more interesting?
Readers are intelligent people who like to see more than one opinion of a book before buying. That is the reason sites like Amazon have a long list of reviews after each product.
Reviewers are avid readers. They know what sells and what doesn’t. Let them help you. Don’t argue with the reviewer or send nasty notes because they didn’t give you five stars. Don’t threaten to spread the word that the reviewer is inept and should be shunned by writers. Reviews are writer’s tools. Use them to improve your work.
Professional reviewers work hard to produce an honest review. Give these people the credit they deserve. Next time you get a review that is not glowing, read it and try to make use of the criticism. You might even send the reviewer a thank you note!
If you want to be a professional author, act like one. Writers are temperamental. This is what makes them good writers. This is a tough business and there is no place for childish tantrums over a bad review. All this does is waste both your time and the reviewer’s time. Sorry folks, but this had to be said. All the best with your book and let’s work together to make it the best it can be!
Shirley A. Roe, Author and Managing Editor of Allbooks Review International. www.allbooksreviewint.com
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World Wide Web—Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s short story “Truth, Fiction, Denial: A Big Bass Story” is a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Prose Award where it will also be considered for inclusion in Best New Writing, edited by Christopher Klim.
Klim says, “Finalists are a very small group of stories from among thousands of submissions.” Winners are announced in early fall of 2011.
Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist and poet; her fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals nationwide and she is listed as a poet with Poets & Writers magazine. She was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the 43rd and 44th Districts of the California Legislature. Her Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com and she blogs at Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites pick, www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com .
Congratulations go to Kaite O'Reilly for winning the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for The Persians, her extraordinary retelling of the 2500 year old Aeschylus play. The Persians, which focuses on the tragedy of war and how it can destroy people's identity, was performed live last year amidst burnt-out tanks at a military base in the Brecon Beacons. The Ted Hughes Award is one of the only awards to acknowledge the wide range of work being produced by poets not just in book form, but in other forms too.
EatingWell Magazine Calls for Food Features-------------------------------------------EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focusesexclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: "Where Good TasteMeets Good Health"). We are the preeminent magazine resource forpeople who want to enjoy food that is delicious and good for them.Our readers are interested not only in cooking and nutritionscience, but also in the origins of food and social issues relatedto food networks. They appreciate eating culture and traditions.They are well-read and discriminating -- yet they don't takethemselves too seriously.EatingWell's "voice" is journalistic and authoritative; it speaksto both men and women. We cover nutrition with a newsy,science-based approach. Our recipes emphasize high-qualityhealthful ingredients, simple preparations and full flavor.We are freelance friendly and pay up to $1 a word. Check outwebsite for detailed guidelines. http://www.eatingwell.com/writers_guidelinesAngry Robot Seeks Novelists---------------------------Angry Robot is a global imprint dedicated to the best in modernadult science fiction, fantasy and everything inbetween.British-based but selling worldwide, their mission is to producebooks that appeal to everyone, from post-Dr Who and Xbox fans tolong-time genre enthusiasts. They are holding an open-doorthroughout March where you can send them your unsolicitedmanuscripts. All books must be science fiction, fantasy or horror.No children's books or uncompleted manuscripts. Works should bebetween 70,000 and 130,000 words. http://angryrobotbooks.com/open-door-month-guidelines/
Dark Discoveries Open to Submissions------------------------------------Dark Discoveries is looking for short stories from 500 to 6,500words. Stories must be in the horror/dark fantasy/dark sci-fi anddark mystery veins. They are looking for powerful, well-writtenoriginal ideas and new twists on old horror conventions. Payment is$0.05 per word and is paid 90 days after publication. For moreinformation visit: http://darkdiscoveries.com/blog/submission-guidelines/
Urgently need cartoonists, for South African cartoon strips. I’m struggling to find artists who portray black characters. What’s needed are black heroes.... There are loads of possibilities. Eg; Where the subscriber can fill in the bubble captions thus writing the story board."Urgently need artists/authors who already do something like this or who might be capable of it. If this sounds like you, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:
Please state your name and location.
Khoty Mathur, New Zealand
Tell us the title and publisher of your book:
Never Mind Yaar
Southpac Publishers Ltd
Tell us about yourself:
I did a bachelors degree in science but my heart always belonged to the arts.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai. After completing my degree, the travel bug bit me and I joined the airline as a flight attendant. I flew with Air India for almost twenty years. My partner and I immigrated to New Zealand for the fun of being international and I decided I’d stay at home while the kids were young. That is when I started writing. And I’ve been hooked ever since. Never Mind Yaar is my debut novel.
When was the book released?
Give us an overview of your book.
Never Mind Yaar, is an attitude - our tendency to feel overwhelmed by the scale and nature of certain problems, give up and move on with a sigh and a “never mind”. Yaar simply means “friend” in India.
When long time friends Binaifer and Louella meet Shalini Dayal at Gyan Shakti College, Gyan for knowledge and Shakti for strength, a true friendship that transcends cultural and religious backgrounds is born. Louella is a Christian and Binaifer, a Parsi. The novel’s main plotline surrounds Shalini who is from a traditional Hindu family.
On the very first day at college her eyes accidentally look into those of a young fellow student’s and her heart is lost forever. She knows she must resist as her family won’t allow a match with a mere student. Brought up to believe her parents and autocratic grandma will choose her life partner for her, she is torn between her love for Bhagu and the safety of tradition. Binaifer (Binny) and Louella (Lou) refuse to let her surrender to the dictates of her elders, playing two very unlikely cupids.
The girls go through four years of college together, facing many challenges on the one hand but also the comfort and reassurance on the other, of growing up in the cultural, political and bewildering mosaic that is Mumbai. When a series of synchronized bombs and the racial (communal) violence in the aftermath leave them feeling badly shaken, Dr. Naakwa, the astute college principal, offers words of wisdom and healing. Why do the three friends decide the blame for the carnage lies squarely with secular Indians?
In a seemingly unrelated incident Dr.Naakwa discovers that Chacha, who runs the college cafeteria, is also the local slumlord. The decisions made by the villain, grandmother, Dr. Naakwa, Shalini’s parents and friends take the tale through to an unexpected finish.
This is how the story begins: Dr. Naakwaa of Gyan Shakti College couldn’t help smiling to himself as he looked at the sea of eager, animated young faces. They all seemed to speak at once, or so it seemed to an old man like himself, their ceaseless chatter outdone only by sudden bursts of loud laughter.
Even as they talked and laughed in their own groups, he saw their eyes covertly watching the others. An air of breathless expectancy hung about them, as if something momentous would sweep them up on a wing and fly them away to an unknown destination. Without exception, they all clamoured to go, even the ones standing at the periphery, hesitant and slightly lost though they appeared to be.
More free excerpts on Amazon.
How is your book different from other books in this genre? What inspired you to write this book?
Authors bring their own personality and the sum of their own experiences to anything they write. It isn’t any different for me.
Ever since I witnessed communal (or racial) riots in Mumbai as a young girl, I've always wanted to know why secularism, or a different way of doing things, is such a threat to some people while others are totally relaxed with those differences.
I remember, when I did find out, I felt almost liberated. For the first time I felt sorry for people who were communal minded – the ones who were fazed by others who looked and behaved different. This is what I wanted to share and it went into Never Mind Yaar in the form of a debate between two students – Is Mumbai Truly Secular.Arranged marriages are another fact of life in Mumbai. They’ve always co-existed with love marriages in India. Most arranged marriages, some of you might be surprised to know, seem to work out very well. In my book, it isn’t only the tussle between Shalini and her grandma, the traditional versus the modern, arranged marriage versus love that is relevant to contemporary India. The battle that rages within Shalini, as her emotions fight her traditional upbringing, is a dilemma that many a young Indian girl faces today too.
I hasten to add that first and foremost, the book is about the carefree and light hearted years of college, young love and true friendship between three girls from different cultural and religious backgrounds. I believe affirming and celebrating the ordinary, mainstream, middle class Indians, alongside stories of extreme poverty, male chauvinism and superstition help to give a more fully rounded picture of India as it really is.
Where can people buy your book?
Best Little Bookstore, New Zealand: http://www.thebestlittlebookstore.co.nz/product-list.php?Contemporary_Fiction-pg1-cid62.html
Very soon, it will be available in India, fingers crossed.
Are you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published?
The seeds of another book have started germinating in my mind.
If you’re self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers? If published traditionally, tell us how you benefited.
To someone browsing through a bookstore or online, it doesn’t matter how the book got published. They simply want to pick up an entertaining and perhaps, thought provoking, book to read.
“Distribution” is, and will always remain, the last bastion of reputed publishers. They are the ones who libraries and bookstores trust to provide them with good books regularly. They are spoilt for choice as they have so many millions of good authors to choose from day after day. Their minuses? Sometimes they let a better book fall through. It might be for any number of reasons like for example, the author isn’t well known enough and they can make much more from an established author who has another book in the pipeline and whose reputation they don’t have to build up – like in any business, the bottom line dictates all their decisions.
Self publishers have found infinite numbers of good to great page layout advice, front and back cover advice for their books. Getting self published is within the realm of possibility today. Once they suss out “distribution”, they will be infinitely better off. The major minuses of self publishers besides distribution are, to my mind, two others. Many self-published authors don’t feel the need to get their book professionally edited or, of the importance of reviews.
My advice to them is to start off by letting friends and family critique their book but to definitely factor in the cost of professional editing and reviews. Every penny you spend on professional editing is well worth it. Research the net thoroughly and pick the best (not necessarily the most expensive) Editor in your genre. I was, and still am, full of trepidation when I hand in my book for reviews. But the truth is, after spending so much time with my own book, I don’t have the capacity to judge its readability as much as others. Professional guidance and reviews are a chance I’ve GOT to take.
Can you share one of your marketing successes with us?
I would have to say “reviews” have been my best marketing strategy. I can’t imagine me waxing lyrical about my own book. Even the thought makes me blush. But when reviewers like Barbara Watson title my book review with, “Sensational – Stunning – Mind Provoking“ as she has done on Amazon and AllBooks Review, I wouldn’t demure or protest modestly. (Here’s my opportunity to thank you personally, Barbara Watson, for your review. I am so glad you enjoyed Never Mind Yaar.)
How did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship with us? Was the low cost a surprise? What other things would you like Allbooks Reviews to offer writers?
I found your review service prompt, professional and reasonably priced. I hope to get my book out there so people are familiar with the title, synopsis, front cover and background and their interest is piqued. I would perhaps enjoy responding to questions your readers might have about the book and about this interview.
Thank you for this interview and best of luck with your book.
Thank you too.
ALLBOOKS REVIEW INTERNATIONAL WORKS WITH AUTHORS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.www.allbooksreviewint.com