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Monday, 8 April 2013

Book Reviews: The Good and Bad Apples

April L. Blanding
AKA Vogue!

So, you’ve finally finished your manuscript (congrats!), have decided on a publisher or have chosen to self-publish and are looking for your first shot at marketing your product. Aside from social media, which is the quickest outlet to reach an audience, you learn that the next most common marketing tip out there is to send your book to reviewers.

Yes, this means that you will be providing a free retail copy of your book, gifting an ebook or even sending a PDF file to book lovers across America and beyond. Then, you start, “the wait.” The wait is the waiting period from when the book reviewer gets your book, reads it and then finally posts their review. This process can take months, but there is no greater feeling then when you see a four star or five star review on your newly published novel. Even, a three star review, if written professionally with constructive criticism can become one of your favorite book reviews.

Nevertheless, there are always bad apples with good apples. These are the book reviews that you did not solicit; the ones that are written unprofessionally, with rude and uncouth remarks that make you question the sanity of these individuals. You know these reviews, you’ve read these reviews and perhaps, you may have even written one. Maybe, these reviews were not left on your book, but you have seen them.

These reviews feature comments such as, “I’m seriously getting fed up with these authors,” “I’m a big fan, I can’t believe you wrote this bad book,” “Don’t waste your money on this book, wait until it’s in the library,” or even, “If I could throw this book out of the window and run over it 5 million times then I would.”

The worst book review that I have come across is not even a legitimate book review. An Amazon user gave a book a 1-star review simply because the book was only available on Kindle. This review prompted me to take a look at Amazon’s guidelines for Customer Reviews. Reviews as such should not be featured on any author’s product.

However, when you are the author, how do you deal with these reviews? Quite naturally, we may want to contact the person and give them a piece of our mind. Still, our feelings have been hurt and our brand has been slightly tarnished. Personally, I believe that the best way to overcome the burn is to vent, get it out of your system and move on. Sometimes, we give so much attention to the negative that we lose sight of the positive. Remember this, every wound heals over time.

Nevertheless, what I would like for readers who leave the “bad apples” to understand is this: The author (s) who wrote the book you are reading is human. We are not invincible and we are not superhuman. Just like you, we laugh, we cry, we get mad, we get nervous, we make mistakes, we learn from our errors and in a nutshell- we have feelings. Take a second and think about what you are posting before you hit submit. This does not mean that you can’t voice your opinion, but there is a line between constructive criticism and being cruel.

For all of you authors out there, keep your head up, keep writing and keep working towards your goal. No one can stop, but you!

The Ace of Diamonds
by Vogue

Since his release from prison, Brookstone’s most notorious drug lord, Jay Santiago, has been hard at work rebuilding his life and empire. With two businesses under his belt and one in the making, Jay is readily known as one of New York’s elite men. 

While the root of his financial status lies in the newly rebuilt Santiago cartel, Jay is determined to expand his wealth. After reconnecting with an old comrade, he believes that he has found the one thing that could increase his fortune and allow him to leave behind the dangers of his criminal enterprise for good. 

However, as Jay’s new business venture begins to come to fruition, he quickly learns that the one material object that he loves the most could lead to his biggest downfall yet.

Put your name in the rafflecopter below for your chance to win autographed copy of Diamonds are Forever. Open to US/Canada only. E-copy for International.

Author April L. Blanding/ Vogue
Vogue is the author of Diamonds in the Rough and Diamonds Are Forever. A native of Greenville, South Carolina, she is a graduate of Winthrop University, possessing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Vogue currently resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina. 

Excerpts from The Ace of Diamonds

Carmen stared out the window as Kane’s Jeep backed out of the driveway. She wanted to  call him to come back, but she knew that he wouldn’t. While they had cleared the air on one issue, another one had surfaced. This one, though, she couldn’t fix. She was nine months pregnant and Nyla was coming regardless of how Kane felt. He might not have liked the idea, but he knew when they renewed their vows that she was pregnant. He seemed okay with it then, but obviously the whole thing was an act.

When his car disappeared out of the gates, Carmen began to think that her marriage wasn’t going to survive. If Kane was running out now then she knew it would be worse when Nyla came. Jay would be around more than ever and she would be forced to communicate with him. There might even be times when he had to come to the house. The distance between her and Kane would only grow.

Carmen pulled the curtains closed as she made her way back to the bed. She sat down, and tried to fight back her tears. She and Kane had been fine until Jay’s lawsuit, which sent them spiraling back into a place that neither one of them wanted to be. Carmen wanted to come up with an answer to fix everything, but she couldn’t. Softly crying, she did the only thing she knew how; she prayed to God for guidance and strength. She told herself that this would be the last time she would allow Kane to leave. After tonight, she would put her foot down. If she wanted to save her marriage, she had to act like it, now or never.   


  1. I really enjoyed this post. I always try to write fair, comprehensive book reviews.

    Hope the tour is going well!

    Pit Crew

  2. Thanks for hosting! Since writing this post, I've heard some new stories of bad reviews. It seems some reviews are left due to a personal problem with the author and is not 100% reflective of the book. Now, the question is, can you trust book reviews?

  3. Great post Vogue. Thank you for hosting today Louise :)

  4. This was a great post, I know that I have had reviews that I found challenging, and yes, there is hurt that comes from reading the words that may be less than perfect about this creation that you've put out there for all the world to see. But I used the informations as fodder for my next book, and I found that I was the better for it. The second installation in my trilogy, received overall higher ratings, and I know it was a direct result of what I learned from the previous experience. So I believe it is how, the author reacts and uses the information(If it is constructive advice) Thanks and all the best!

  5. I think Diamonds Are Forever is great. The best known is Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend but that is not a good title.

  6. @Michelle, I definitely agree. I received a three-star review on my first book and the reviewer was correct in most of the things she said. In fact, I have re-written/edited the book using some of the constructive criticism she gave. To be honest, it is one of my favorite reviews because it was written with class and honesty.

  7. @ Sherry- I definitely wouldn't have used Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend as a title, lol.

  8. Hmmm sounds interesting! I haven't seen this book around yet but thanks for the post! Ellie - Pit Crew.

  9. I don't like to say it, but I think it's other writers who write disparaging reviews. These so-called reviewers aren’t offering anything to the readers who read them for information, they are just they out of spite.

    So, yes, that’s one of my pet peeves to.

    Thanks for appearing on WWBB though, and good luck on your tour.

  10. OMG! Such terrible typos in my reply.

  11. I know that even 'professional' reviews can be nasty and mean. Some people just don't know how to give constructive criticism. lol I once got rated low all because there wasn't enough sex in the book.

  12. That crazy, Rebecca! Shows what we're up against. :(

    With the birth of the Internet and social media, 'reviewing' has taken on a new life.