November 28, 2015

Book Reviews We Love, And Why – A Message to Readers

photo of book covers at libraryby Toni Leland

Reader reviews are the tiny victories for any author. Or not.

Sure, we all love those 4 and 5 star ratings, and we most certainly can learn from the 3's and 2's. Sometimes.

Remembering that a book review is simply someone's opinion or reading preference helps take the sting out of the not-so-great posts. BUT ...

The reviews I love the most are the messages from my readers that tell me why they loved a particular story. They also tell me what I'm doing right, and when I do it wrong. Valuable feedback!

I recently had three such reviews, each of them thoughtful and encouraging.
A reader posted on Amazon about Deadly Heritage, 

a story of family deceit and long lost love. I read this reader's comments over and over, loving that she "got" what I was trying to convey.

"... being from Oklahoma and a huge Quarter Horse owner and fan, I really appreciated the authenticity of both the location and the knowledge of horses. Very realistic and believable."

So I feel connected to this reader through my story. I can picture her reading and nodding, gasping and possibly holding her breath as the plot unfolds.

A recent visitor post on my Facebook Author Page was equally heart-warming:
"We met at Equine Affaire last week and I purchased Gambling with the Enemy, not knowing what would happen in Paris that night. ... When I got home, I began to read the book ... Chills down my spine for a few reasons, mainly 9/11 and my personal connection to WTC. I could not put down your book. ... engaging, intriguing thriller, so believable."

This review was especially good for me because, when she bought the book, I worried that it was not a good choice for her introduction to my work. So much for second-guessing!

Another visitor post on Facebook was from a woman who read Balancing Act. "As a former Chicago carriage driver, and a rider for the Noble Horse Theater, that book was frighteningly accurate. I loved it!"

A perfect example of why I take so long to write a story! Getting it right is more important than "getting it out there."

Regardless of the number of stars, when a reader takes the time to write something – even if it's just "Good book!", they are providing an author with encouragement to continue putting those words into stories, or working to make them better.

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