My guest is debut author and friend Una Tiers. Una is the pen name for a Chicago lawyer, so she knows what she's talking about.
My first mystery, Judge vs Nuts, will be released soon. A year ago, when the editing process started, I dreamed of reviews raving about the magnificence of my book, written by scholars who begged for more. My potential reviewers included authors who write non-fiction books about the law or who had ties to
. Of course the occasional celebrity author would stop me on the street and ask about doing a review too. Chicago
At the Printers Row Lit Fest last June, I attended a panel discussion with three women authors who talked about the low numbers of women reviewers. That made me realize my list of hopefuls were all men. Later I approached one of the authors to thank her and asked if she was interested in taking a look at my book. I’ll come back to this.
At the early stage “book review” pretty much sounded like “book report” to me. As I started to read reviews I realized they were not a means to establish reading the book but an analysis or opinion after reading the book. Reviews can cover, plot, characters, pace, grammar and more.
Since then, my understanding continues to grow along with my confusion. Reviews come from many sources: readers, friends, and professional reviewers. Now I know that “book cover blurb” means a short piece, maybe three or four sentences that would be on the back cover or inside the book. These are my favorite. The Amazon reviews have no set pattern. Many reviews are so long they give away too much of the story or are just too long to read. Some reviews are exchanges with one author helping another. These come under heavy criticism although writers are prolific readers and well versed to write reviews. When any denied bias is balanced with pointers on making the writing stronger, I have no complaint.
As an attorney, I think the terms of the review should be specific and, yes, in writing. Items to consider are: receipt of manuscript; word count; time frame; how you will use the review and what you want. Will the reviewer post the review on their blog or website? Invite the reviewer to tell you if they can’t meet the time frame. If your release is pushed back, let them know.
The bad review is controversial. There are reviewers who think honesty means to be simply mean and write like a bear with a thorn in their paw. When asked about constructive comments, they are a defensive group. There is a group that says a bad review should have explanations. Others decline to write a bad review, meaning they write nothing. Then we have my pet peeve group, the hiders. Those folks make an agreement to review your book and then avoid you when you follow up. Did they hate the book? Want it for free? Lose it? Change their tiny minds about doing the review? You won’t be able to get the answer, because the hiders, well, hide.
There are also people in the ambiguous category. You ask them if they would like to review your book and they respond they don’t read eBooks, don’t have an eReader, can’t read on the computer and can’t print the book out. Is this another way to say no? Should you print out a copy?
Despite my efforts to date I have one review. It is short and sweet and from an author whose writing I admire. Barbara D’Amato went to great lengths to write the review for me. This was not only a testament of her understanding of the business but shows what a nice person will do to help a stranger with their debut book. It means more to me now after the other reviews fell through for one reason or another. Thank you Barbara D’Amato.
Judge vs Nuts is a hilariously funny take on judges, but also a scathing indictment of judicial politics. Lawyer Fiona Gavelle narrates with a wonderful, self-deprecating wit, as she goes about unraveling the murder of a
judge. Cook County
Author of Other Eyes
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Dying to visit
? Join Fiona Gavelle, attorney at law, as she unravels the mystery of the death of Judge Laslo King. It’s a cozy, a mystery, legally oriented, traditional mystery and over all a humorcide. Judge vs Nuts. Chicago