Please help me welcome today’s guest with an interesting article on reviews…


Every writer knows that word of mouth and reviews can propel a new book into success. (At least six reviews are recommended for debut day.) So you enlist your best friends, beta readers, critique partners, and family members to review your baby. Pretty safe odds love rolls in for the “newborn!” LOW RISK only to biased honesty.

No time to bask in the lovelight. You create a media kit, blog, tweet, guest post on social media, organize a street team, host a launch party, do book signings, readings, advertise… everything it takes to announce and promote that book in the frenetic search for READERS. Competition is always huge when supply exceeds demand for books. A supply created, in part, by a flood of eBooks and the rise of Indie authors in the last few years. Does Amazon really have millions of books in their online catalog? Add review magazines and online review sites to the mix, and REVIEWERS are also in demand. It’s a Catch 22 when good books need to be discovered but discovery…and sales…often depend on reviews.

When the organic reviews are slow coming in, you DO have options to jumpstart. With no strings attached, paid reviewers will insure an honest review, but it’s a marketing expense that can burn a hole in your pocket. Kirkus and Chanticleer charge hundreds of dollars for a review—with no guarantee to even recommend the book. Still, you do have the option to post…or not if the review burns a hole in your heart. HIGH RISK for the expense.

“Nagging” is another option. A kinder word is “trolling.” If I know someone who has purchased a copy from me, I might ask for a review weeks or months later. Posting on FB, Goodreads, in your newsletters and emails, even on business cards you can gently “nudge” with links directed to your book sites. In the stash of prints I keep on hand to sell, I insert a little card in each book with my site links, along with a friendly review request. Readers who know you will not want to comply if they didn’t like your book, but even readers who loved it may feel unqualified to post a review, or unable to understand the process if they don’t navigate social media. MODERATE RISK to pride/friendship.

Networking with the brotherhood is another option. You’ve been inspired by other writers, followed their blogs, rubbed shoulders with other Indies or authors published in your Press. You share and commiserate with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “the only way to have a friend is to be one.” Can that be twisted into “the sure way to get a review is to write one?” Doesn’t every author swap reviews on occasion, particularly if they value an elevated review count that Amazon is sure to notice! If you swap with a writer in your genre, chances are good you already like their subject. And even if the book does not meet your rating standards, you can always find something nice to say after a short synopsis—minus any spoilers. Only another writer can appreciate the fact that writing a book is an accomplishment in itself. VARIABLE RISK to time consumed…and qualms about trading equal star ratings.

Whoever said “Reward never comes without risk” had to be a writer…or a cliff diver. Same thing, sometimes. (Diving into my newsletter and books is no risk. Promise!)


Thank you, Cj. Wonderful information! Readers, Cj would love reviews on The Accidental Stranger…


Jessica Brewster is being watched…and things go missing from the remote Wyoming home she shares with her toddler. In a freak accident, she shoots the bearded thief stalking her before she recognizes the mesmerizing green eyes that belong to the only man she ever loved.

Has Mitch bridged time to find her? In a race to save his life and change hers forever, she takes him into her home and heart. But his memory loss and puzzling clues curry doubt and expose mystery and danger. Is he truly her son’s father or an irresistible stranger in her arms?


Cj’s Bio:

Born and raised in Packerland, Cj moved west to the medical mecca in Rochester, MN where her writing career bloomed with published award-winning stories and articles to her novel series inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Rescued horses, dogs, cats, children and one patient husband have motivated the heart of Cj’s craft. Though living on a country hilltop haven for decades, she has ventured down on occasion to climb a Jamaican waterfall, float in the Dead Sea, kiss the Blarney Stone and research settings for her next novel.



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17 responses to “REVIEW RATINGS– RISK or REWARD? by Cj Fosdick

  1. pamelasthibodeaux

    What an interesting way to look at reviews.
    Good luck and God’s blessings


  2. Reviews–I’ll quote what a friend told me once about her husband. Can’t shoot him; can’t live without him. 🙂 I recently got a really, really awful review complete with a full-fledged spoiler so the topic is a bit raw for me at the moment. I just wish reviewers would try to be constructive when they don’t like a book instead of nasty…or telling the entire plot through their negative point of view so no one will ever want to read the book ever again. Ever! Anyway, your story sounds great! I love the Outlander series (and TV show) I’ll have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree totally. Wouldn’t it be nice if Amazon would remove those spoiler reviews? The review I count as “worst ever” was by a former friend my daughter fired. She admitted she didn’t read my lst book when confronted. The “revenge” hurt all of us and Amazon wouldn’t remove it when I explained the situation. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting article and the book is intriguing…I’m into the variable risk

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jenna Barwin

    Very interesting – thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Constance Bretes

    Great discussion. I’ve had a couple of bad reviews and I felt really awful for a while afterward. But when someone takes the time to leave a positive review, it puts me on top of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reviews scare me to death. Asking for them is an absolute risk, you’re right. Wish they weren’t so important. Thanks for sharing and your book sounds great!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post.
    The review thing drives me crazy. I hate “trolling” my friends to get reviews, but I do. They are a necessary discomfort in our business. 🙂
    Loved Accidental Wife (and left you a 5 star review), and I’m sure Accidental Stranger is just as enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice job of highlighting the value and pitfalls of reviews. In addition there is the fact that, even with excellent reviews, your books may remain undiscovered. It can be very discouraging, but most writers, I believe, have that part of their soul that simply needs to write.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks M.J. Discovery is tough when supply exceeds demand and marketing gobbles up 50% of creative writing time. But I think a book with a lot of reviews DOES attract attention. I live with the hope that Amazon notices, anyway. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, reviews are a slippery slope for every writer. Every time I see another review has been posted, my heart flutters!. I have been very lucky to have received only a few of what I call “bogus” reviews: One which gave me a 2 because her Kindle broke while reading my book and one who called my Southern Gothic a routine Western. Thanks for a relevant post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Susan. I always read reviews before buying a book and I think most author/readers can spot a “bogus” review or identify someone who either didn’t understand the story or really weren’t qualified to write a review in the lst place. Poor spelling, punctuation, and interpretation are dead give-aways in a review. One reviewer said my lst book was a cliffhanger. Actually, the cliffhanger was in the preview of Book #2.


  10. The dreaded reviews. You can hate ’em, but we need ’em! Thanks for the post that pretty much covers what writers feel. Intriguing blurb!

    Liked by 1 person

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