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A Writer On Writing: Reviewing ‘Indie’ E-books And Goodreads

The best way to support self-published authors is to give them a review.writes Sally Jenkins.

Since starting my own adventures in e-publishing I’ve started reading more self-published e-books. I’ve been doing this for two reasons:
•I want to see what types of thing people are publishing
•I want to support other writers in the same way that I’ve been supported

Taking the second point – the best way to support self-published authors is to give them a review. It doesn’t have to be a full-on 5 star rave about the book – just a few words to show that the book has been read and enjoyed (if you have enjoyed it, obviously).

A while ago I read and reviewed something which I enjoyed. The book had held my attention from beginning to end and I looked forward to picking up again each night (I generally only read at bedtime). There were some formatting errors in the text but they didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the narrative. So, when I left my review I didn’t mention these errors, I concentrated on the book’s literary content.

Now a comment has been added to my review, indicating that I should have pointed out the formatting problems and downgraded my star rating accordingly.

My first reaction to this was anger that someone had dared to criticise my opinion and I had to restrain myself from commenting back and thus getting into a public argument.

Now that I’ve had chance to calm down and think about it, I realise that I was probably wrong not to mention the formatting issues. However, my review was the first one for that book and I didn’t want to give it the kiss of death – but I did want to leave a comment to say that I’d enjoyed it.

What would you have done?

I’ve recently tried another book and found it contains several punctuation mistakes. So, I’m not going to leave a review at all, regardless of the quality of the story, because I don’t want to get a reputation for dishonest reviews.

I’ve learned a lesson from all this - ’Look Inside’ or download a sample of the book before buying to ensure that formatting, punctuation etc. is up to scratch.

Talking of books and reviews, My two short story anthologies and I are now enrolled in Goodreads. http://www.goodreads.com/ You can see us here. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7045840.Sally_Jenkins

Any tips on getting the most out of Goodreads, either as an author or a reader, would be gratefully received.


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