One of the most important ways you can show appreciation for a book you have read is to leave an honest review. Readers have NO IDEA how important it is to a book's, or author's, success to have as many reviews as possible. And you are being incredibly helpful to your fellow readers. 

A new study shows that people making buying decisions rely more on the number of reviews than the star rating. So even a bad review (again, if it's honest) counts in helping both the author and other readers. 

But a lot of people (I'm one of them), just don't know what to say. We can be intimidated by the multi-paragraph analysis some people write. But shorter is better, so don't let that stop you. Here's a quick cheat sheet:

- Did you like the book? Or not? How much or how little? Or did it just leave you feeling, meh?

- Was there anything, in particular, you liked or disliked? A character, the setting?                      

- What kind of reader might like this book, and would you recommend it to them?                      

- If you feel you cannot give the book five stars, please give your reason; other readers will wonder if you give a great review but less than five stars. 

This does not have to be complicated or lengthy; here's an example:

4 stars

"I really liked 'Pub Dogs of London.' I didn't know pubs in London had their own dogs, and most of them were super cute. Now I want to visit London and these pubs. But I'm only giving this book 4 stars because the photos were kind of smudgy. If you love dogs, like I do, you would like this book too."

See? Easy peasy. But one last thing: PLEASE don't reveal any spoilers. You know, like, "I really liked this book, but I wish the hero didn't die of cancer at the end." 

When you leave an honest, helpful review like this - particularly for a book with less than 100 reviews, the author will love you forever and I believe (but I have to check) an angel gets it's wings. 




Did you ever wonder how some books show up with a bunch of reviews either before it's available, or soon after? How do all those people get the book, read it that fast, and then leave a review? And, while you're noticing this, a lot of those reviews are left on the same day, or within a few days of each other....What's going on? Seems fishy, doesn't it?

Nope, those reviews are all legit. Authors who are savvy marketers put together what is known as a Street Team or Advance Reader group.

These are folks who have usually signed up for the author's email list and/or have asked to be an Advance Reader. They get the book a couple weeks or a month before the release date - for free - with the understanding they will let the author know of any typos or mistakes. It is also understood they will leave a review. This cannot be an explicit agreement, but it's the right thing to do.

Advance Readers, or the Street Team, can also promote the book to people they think might like it, using social media or word of mouth. Some authors have to-die-for Street Teams that hold release parties, arrange author appearances, and advocate for the book to their local libraries.  

If there is an author you love, especially if they are not already a Big Name, ask to be an Advance Reader or if they have a Street Team. Just be sure you are willing to fulfill your obligations - many authors watch their Advance Readers carefully and drop the ones who aren't helpful. 

 If you would like to be one of my Advance Readers, send me a message at and I'll add you (as long as you're already on my email list). I usually have projects coming up that could use reader input. 


I'm Pretty Jazzed About This.....

Publishing independently means you do everything yourself or hire it done. So far, I've been doing a lot of the book production on my own and learning as I go. But I like to think I know my limitations in terms of time and ability. 

So, I've hired out the art for my book covers. With the crash of traditional publishing, there are a lot of cover designers now hanging out their own shingle. That's how I scored Christian Bentulan of Covers by Christian to do the cover for Lioness of the Dust. I'll have him do at least two more books in the Scarab Prophecies series. 

But my big news is that I was able to get in the queue of the cover designer who did the covers for Stephen King's backlist (as subsequent editions come out) as well as John Le Carre. He has a 6- month waiting list so I will have him do at least three covers for my series after the Scarab Prophecies. Which I will get to in 2018. I won't tell you who it is yet, but he is from London and a real sweetie. 



The First Draft

All writers work differently. 

Some breeze through the first draft and feel they've arrived - they dread revision and editing and polishing. And they either pay someone else to do it, or they go ahead and publish and their distaste for revision shows. 

Others relish polishing and revising. Taking the rough stone and making it shine. This is where I land. Today I finished the first draft of Lioness of The Dust and I'm really excited to get about the revising and polishing. If you've downloaded the excerpt, you have a taste of what the final draft will look like. 

I'm also excited to announce that I'm working on a novella: The Caves of Damora. This will only be available as a free download for my Readers Group or for those who purchase Lioness. I'll have further details later in September. But for now, if you haven't signed on to my Readers Group list, don't wait! I have more exclusive stuff planned.