Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reviews work both ways.

As most are probably aware I have just released my third book onto Amazon. Now, three books hardly constitutes 'seasoned pro' in the world of writing but I am still pretty happy with where I am right now; four WiP's, all 1/2 to 2/3 written.

As always the drive now is to get those reviews on the board, get the feedback and look to the future. During an alcohol fueled brain storming session I came across a site called 'bookvetter.com' which kind of struck me as being obvious but then it dawned on me that I wasn't seeing the wood for the trees.

I'll explain: As mentioned earlier, I've just released my third publication - INVICTUS Part 1 - Also, over Christmas I wrote over 100,000 words of the Elementals WiP, before that I was writing RR2, INVICTUS Part 2 and a completely new story that I've already decided will not see the light of day. That's a lot of writing and all of these will at some point be touted for reviews and feedback. 

Bookvetter.com is not the poshest site, nor the most advanced in terms of functionality BUT it is simple and seemingly effective. The basic premise is 'help others to help yourself' - no frills and no gimmicks, it's back scratch time.

For the last three years I have been frantically writing story after story, pounding various websites, social media and contacts to harvest those illusive reviews, the one thing that I haven't done is read! In other words my focus has all been very one way - how bloody selfish of me!

Bookvetter.com operates a points scheme - you enter your book for reviews BUT you don't get to see them unless you've earned 'review points'. How do you earn review points? I hear you ask - YOU review other books. It's a very complicated structure - You review someones book and someone reviews yours - dead complicated eh. I know this not a new concept, but it is one that I had forgotten to consider.

So, I uploaded INVICTUS Part 1 with the appropriate information (genre, content summary, graded for profanity, violence, sex etc) then submitted it. Part of the joining process is to list your own preferences for reading material (along the same lines as above), Behind the scenes the site offers a list of up to 5 matches for books that meet my reading preferences with view to me actually reading one of them. And then I did something amazing - I read a book! All that writing and I hadn't read a single book in three years. And, it was amazing for a few reasons:

1. I got to read a very good book from a first time author.
2. That author was elated to receive my review (I remember that feeling myself!)
3. I learned a lot. Sometimes, reading other books, seeing other writing styles is a great way of honing your own skills.
4. 2 Review points earned.

To review a book you just need to be a reader, there is no special badge or qualification required. If you read it, give your honest opinions, highlight the good bits, identify any obvious area's that weren't so good - boom, review done. From that the author and I have now linked, a contact made, another avenue opens up. It really is very therapeutic, very productive and a great way of contributing back.

It all sounds so simple and obvious - so obvious I really didn't look at it - my bad!

I think it's a 'life' thing, people are so focused on their own progress that it becomes "take...take...take..." Whereas the old adage "GIVE & take" really does apply and is much more beneficial.

Oh, that book? "View from the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale" by Elizabeth Horton-Newton Well worth it's 5 stars, very recommended.

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