The Gift of a Good Book Gush

From Writer Unboxed:

Tonight, many of us will celebrate Christmas Eve. I’m one of them. I’ll gather with my parents and brother and our spouses and mostly-grown children for dinner and maybe some games. My parents have downsized and we no longer have a table large enough for all of us to do the traditional hot oil fondue (why, yes, I grew up in the 70s). But it will be good to be together, especially after last year’s Zoom situation.

Even those of us who don’t do the Christmas thing can’t avoid it–advertisers make sure everyone knows that this is the month for giving and getting gifts.

In the U.S., after a month of being told gratitude makes us happy so we must be grateful for what we have, we have a month of being told gifts make us happy so we must buy the absolutely right hot gifts for all the people we know and plenty of them or they and we will be unhappy.

Why, yes, it does make me roll my eyes.

But it does feel good to give and to receive. So let’s lean in to that good feeling in the next year: let’s give the gift of excitement about stories.

I’m talking about a piece of writing that’s short and easy to finish (unlike novels, which are neither, or short stories or poems, which are only short):

A review.

It doesn’t have to be a formal review in an actual publication. It should be nowhere near a school book report. Just a simple, “I LOVED THIS,” and why. Gushing about a book you loved on social media or Goodreads or bookseller site is a gift to the author and to the readers who pick it up based on your recommendation. If you know the author it’s even better, because you’re giving that gift to a friend.

. . . .

So what do you get out of writing a review for someone else?

Besides the pleasure of having read something really good,

  • you get to encourage another writer,
  • you may get to help them make a sale or rise in those sales algorithms,
  • you get more people who can talk with you about that great story,
  • you get a reputation as a booster of fellow writers
  • which may, in turn, get you people willing to gush about your projects.

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

1 thought on “The Gift of a Good Book Gush”

  1. Be very careful about reviewing in one case: you live/write/read in a small exotic niche (like indie mainstream fiction, of course), and you know you may need/want/relish a review from another member of your rarefied cohort.

    Because if two of you review each other, you both lose all credibility, and the reviews may even be discarded by the ‘Zon. Or anything that smacks of it.

    On one hand, it’s too bad – because only another writer can have the same intense awareness of what you’re doing and how well you did it – and it would be nice to hear if you hit their mark. But readers rightly feel that if two authors gave each other 5* reviews, there may be some funny business going on.

    And hell hath no fury like a writer who receives a 2* review from someone to whom he gave 5*.

    Finally, two writers giving each other low ratings is risible.

    My experience is the earned kind.

    Outside of your own genre, possible, but still fraught. Relative to the rest of the world, ‘writers’ is a small pod, and what goes around will undoubtedly revisit in a while. The flaming wars between certain traditionally published authors have been apocalyptic.

    Best not to. Even though you would probably be the best possible reviewer for a particular book.

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