Tips For Reviewing Books

As authors, we become embedded in the literary world. We’ve read hundreds of reviews and written scores. We forget sometimes that not all readers are this hard-core, and are a little trepidatious about dropping a review online.

What you may not know as a reader is how your review makes our books more visible to other readers. A certain number of reviews are required to enter promotional lists on Amazon and elsewhere (this bar keeps rising). Readers also say the total number of reviews (not the rating) is a primary factor in deciding to take a closer look at a book.

 

General Advice:

Honest: Be bluntly honest. Leave a review for other readers, not the author. If you don’t mention a problem you’re just setting another reader up for disappointment and potentially generating worse reviews for the author in future.

Fair: Try to evaluate the book thinking about that other reader. What do they need to know to choose this book over another (or not)? If there was something that bothered you, try to make it explicit, Eg:”There wasn’t enough romance for me” rather than “It was boring.” (Also, if you received a free book, an ARC or a review copy, it’s good practice to mention this at the start of the review.)

Size Doesn’t Matter: Make your review as long or short as it needs to be. If you have an essay in your heart inspired by the book, go ahead. If you just want to drop a quick note saying you enjoyed the read, go ahead. Generally positive reviews can be shorter because they don’t need to explain (Tolstoy effect).

 

Where To Leave Reviews:

The best place to leave a review is Amazon:

Amazon: Chaos Bound (.ca) (.co.uk)

Amazon: Curse Bound (.ca) (.co.uk)

Goodreads is also a great place to leave reviews:

Goodreads: Chaos Bound

Goodreads: Curse Bound

Links to other stores, both online and off, can be found on the book pages:

Chaos Bound

Curse Bound

Please also consider voting for our books on Goodreads lists. Readers often use these lists to find other books in a specific genre.

Duplicate Reviews: It is completely appropriate to duplicate your review across multiple stores/sites if you would like to reach a broader audience. For example: Reviews on Amazon local stores (ie. Amazon.ca) will not show up on Amazon.com.

 

A Special Note on Cultural Awareness / Appropriation:

We want to represent multicultural societies in our writing, but we’re well aware that we can’t know everything there is to know about cultures outside of our European-Canadian upbringing. We’re bound to make mistakes. We encourage feedback in these areas and promise to take it as a learning experience.

 

Word, Ingram and Missing Fonts

I hit a snag publishing Curse Bound to Ingram Spark. Their file check flagged a missing embedded font. I checked the Fonts tab of the file Properties in Acrobat Reader and it looked like all the custom fonts we’re using embedded OK.

It took me a while to realize the problem:

pdf-embedded-fonts2

Notice how “Times New Roman” at the bottom of the list does not have “(embedded subset)” after the name.

This is because Word 2013 does not embed the Times New Roman font into PDFs when it creates them. This is reasonable behaviour in most cases where someone simply needs to read the doc, since T.N.R is available everywhere, but it confuses the Ingram scanner since it requires that all fonts be embedded.

The solution here was to find the few lines where we’d accidentally left the font set to T.N.R. It’s not actually used in the book, It was just lingering in a few blank lines and couple of the section headers.

Word’s Advanced Find feature was handy for finding where T.N.R was being used. There’s a “Format…” button at the bottom of the Advanced Find dialog where you can select a font to find and it will show you all the places in the document where that font is used. (Just make sure there’s no text in the “Find what:” field, or Word will search for that instead of the format).

Cheers

Curse Bound – Now Available!

Curse Bound Cover

Curse Bound, the second book in the Mist Warden series and sequel to Chaos Bound is now available in ebook form at Amazon.

Publishing a book is never going to be easy, but this second book was less traumatic than the first. In large part due to our friends, new and old, who have continued to help us improve our writing and have confidence in our stories.

Our editor Penelope Jackson somehow managed to be even more amazing this time, going above and beyond to suggest adding two extra scenes that hugely improved the flow of the story.

And thanks again to Derek Murphy for another gorgeous cover. This is Adriaan’s new favourite, though Rebecca is still partial to the Chaos Bound cover due to her adoration of the colour green.

Book Signing!

Book Signing at Tea…and other things (110 2 Avenue W Cochrane, Alberta, Canada) from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

Join us on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to celebrate the release of Chaos Bound. Adriaan and Rebecca Brae will be at Cochrane’s beautiful Tea…and other things (110 2 Avenue W Cochrane, Alberta, Canada) from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

Browse an amazing selection of teas from around the world, buy a book, and enjoy the musical stylings of Mike Holden on piano (his new CD will be for sale too)! There may also be some Easter chocolates, but this is an unconfirmed rumour :)