Should You Enter Your Book in a Giveaway?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

As Indie authors it is important to make the most of your marketing dollars with the primary goal being to increase sales, followed by the need to develop/boost your fan base.  One of the easiest ways to promote your book is to enter it in book giveaway contests. Here are some of the benefits of participating in a book giveaway: 

·         A no-cost or low-cost way to introduce your book

·         Stimulates awareness and interest in your book and brand

·         Generates leads for potential readers

·         Cultivates new relationships and widens your fan base

·         Generates book reviews

·         Leads to future sales and word-of-mouth marketing

We encourage authors to enter their titles in our monthly book giveaway, which we offer at no cost. It is an excellent way to keep the buzz around your title going on the social media networks. We also tweet, post and pin the contest information on all of our social media pages!

Additionally, you can increase the effectiveness of your book giveaway by promoting it on your own website. Tweet about the event, post it to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to generate further interest. Fans and followers are more likely to write book reviews. They also lead to future sales and will promote your work.

Be sure to personalize the experience after the contest. When sending out your book to the winner(s), slip a note inside the cover congratulating them on winning a copy of your book. Let them know you hope they enjoy reading it and that you would be grateful for a review, if so inspired. 

 We currently have slots available beginning with our December 2018 giveaway!

For more information on our book giveaway contest and other ways Reader Views can help promote indie authors, visit our Services for Authors or email us at



2018-2019 Literary Awards – Don’t Miss The Early Entry Offer!

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Is it really October already? Once again, I am amazed by how quickly the year passes. Autumn marks my favorite time of year because the weather is changing, the holidays are just around the corner, and the Reader Views Literary Awards program is in full swing! As usual, we have received so many inspiring books that it looks like this will be another tight competition!

The end of October marks the deadline to receive the discounted submission fee, so if you were planning to enter, this would be a great time to do so! The final entry deadline is December, but I encourage authors to take advantage of the early entry offer to beat the rush and allow more time for judging. With so many intriguing titles submitted in all categories, the anticipation is already building! For more information about the 2018-2019 Literary Awards and guidelines click here.

Networking. It Doesn't Have to be Intimidating!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Networking has never come easily to me. Somehow, anything that had to do with selling myself as a skilled professional sounded too far from being humble, which is what my upbringing was based on.  But being an author and a publicist required that I challenge myself outside of my bubble in order to achieve my professional goals.  In the beginning, I found it very difficult but as I kept at it, it became easier. Currently, networking for me happens naturally. Below are some tips about putting yourself out there!

•    The first trick is to practice with the people you encounter in your personal life. Almost always when you meet someone new the question of ‘what do you do for a living’ pops up. I used to respond with a short answer followed by ‘what about you’. Instead, we should take our time to answer, and offer information such as our website and book title. Then wait one second to give that person time to ask more questions. If no more questions happen at the moment, then follow up with, ‘how about you?’

•    Most of us wrote a book because we are passionate about the topic we wrote about, or passionate about writing. So, when talking about what you do for a living, make sure you reflect your passion for it and continue the conversation by asking if they ever thought about writing a book. Welcome questions about the topic or your career, but if the conversation on the topic doesn’t spark, change the topic and focus on the person’s career.

•    Don’t wait for networking events to network. In all honesty, I have never made any contacts from organized networking events that have resulted in any business collaboration.  However, I have gotten new customers or vendors from casual meetings or gatherings.

When it comes to networking, there is no right and wrong. Just make it casual and have fun with it! For more information on how we help authors visit us at


Writing a Negative Review

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Let’s face it, being a reviewer does not mean liking all books. There is a big chance that a book will not live up to the expectation of a reviewer, and thus result in a negative review. Other books simply do not even meet publishing standards in writing, editing, or production, in which case reviewers have trouble even completing the book. Being an author and a reviewer, I get both sides of the coin, and I have written many editorials from the author’s point of view about receiving a negative review of their title. This time, I want to focus on the reviewer’s end in hopes of helping reviewers write honest negative reviews, while remaining respectful and professional. Here are some tips on writing negative reviews:

·         Do not let it get personal or be bias. No title is ever imposed on a reviewer. Actually, they pretty much review only what they choose themselves. There is no need to take the author’s opinions personally and reflect that in the review. A review should be just an opinion of the storyline, the writer’s craft, and the book’s production. If a reviewer has strong religious convictions and is not open to other opinions, for example, then that reviewer should keep their feelings about it away from the review, or stop reviewing titles under the Religion genre.

·         Develop Communication and Writing Skills. Being a reviewer is not all about reading; it has a lot to do with communication and the ability to express an opinion to an audience in writing. The success of a reviewer is actually measured on the size of their following audience, not on the number of reviews under their belt. This fact indicates the importance of the quality of their writing skills. If a reviewer communicates honestly and skillfully, the audience will look for that opinion before deciding to purchase a book. Readers want an impartial opinion about titles that will communicate to them the positive and negatives of the book as a product, so that they can decide whether to invest their money in it or not.

·         Enjoy Reviewing. There are two kinds of reviewers. The ones that read because they love it, and get into reviewing; and the ones that won’t read unless they are reviewing. To the second type I say, please just stop. As a bookworm (writing and reading), I got into reviewing because I not only love to read, I also love to write, and even more, I love talking about what I read! Because I am having fun doing reviews, I will always find a positive and a negative on everything I read. Actually, sometimes I only find positives…but my point is that since I am reviewing only what I like to read, I will always be able to find a positive worth mentioning in my reviews, even when writing a negative review.

Even if the book had flaws, or did not live up to the reviewer’s expectations, a reviewer needs to be respectful of the author’s efforts by choosing their words carefully when pointing out those flaws. There is no reason to be offensive when being honest, and reviewers who are passionate about books and reviewing will enjoy the process of writing a review that will be honest, yet respectful.

Reviewers have the power to convince others whether or not to purchase a product. There is a big responsibility with this power, so why not use it to offer constructive criticism in ways that help an author improve, instead of being offensive when delivering a negative review? To learn more about becoming a book reviewer visit:

Categorizing Your Title in a Literary Awards Contest

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

With the autumn season approaching, the deadline for our annual literary awards gets closer and closer.  As the submissions roll in, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some awards wisdom with our authors!

•         Each literary awards contest has different guidelines, categories, and submission requirements. When submitting to various contests, it is always a good idea to keep a log that not only keeps track of when you sent each one but also shows the guidelines, fees, categories submitted to, etc. Doing this will help to keep track of the current submissions, and it will also create a chart with information about each contest, which will be helpful for your next books.

·         The genre of the title should be the main category to enter in the contest. Does this mean that it must be the only one? The answer is no. A literary novel, for example, could also be historical fiction, mystery, thriller, or all of the above! Consider submitting the title in a few categories, or even submitting the title in different categories for different contests to improve the chances of scoring an award!

·         Choosing which category to enter in an awards contest is important mostly because the category selected will determine the judge who will read the book. If the author chooses to enter their Christian fiction title in the general fiction category, it will be reviewed by a judge who prefers to read general fiction. A better fit for the title would be the judge that reads Christian fiction titles. It is essential to choose the category that is the best fit for the book’s topic.

·         As some categories are more generalized, they will have more submissions than the more specific ones. In other words, the fewer the number of titles in a category, and the number of categories entered improves the chances of being picked as finalist or winner.

In the end, all authors want their title to make a good show. When shooting to win, competitors need to make sure they give their submission the best possible chance. In my opinion, the key is to categorize the book correctly, and even submitting in different categories applicable to the book’s topic. Keeping all this information straight and organized will also help when strategizing submissions and make the process easier for your next title. For more information about the Reader Views Literary Awards, click here.

Positive Review but Missing the Point - What to Do?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Through the years helping authors get their books reviewed we find that sometimes even though the reviewer liked the book, the author didn’t like the review! Of course, all reviews have gray areas. Sometimes, the story is amazing but lacks editing. Other times, the book is perfect technically, but the plot is weak. On occasion, however, the review comes back positive, yet it’s evident to the author that the reviewer got it all wrong! Dealing with these cases is tricky because although as authors we put a big effort on communicating a specific message through our writing skills, we have no way to guarantee that all readers will get it because the author can’t be next to every reader and explain as they read. Furthermore, even though they didn’t get it, they liked the book! Here are some tips on how to handle positive reviews that are totally missing the point:

·         Do not assume that the reviewer didn’t read the book. Reviewers love to read, that is why they take the time out of their lives, work, and any other thing they have going on. They love to read. They gain nothing by writing a review, yet they do it because they get books to read, and they get to talk about them!

·         Just because the reviewer is an avid reader or is knowledgeable of the topic of your book, doesn’t mean that they can’t make a mistake writing the review or miss the point, or even get facts wrong. They are as human as authors!

·         The first thing an author needs to do after acknowledging the first two points above is determine exactly what is wrong. Are any of the characters’ names wrong? Location? If a non-fiction book, are any of the facts mentioned on the review wrong? Wrong does not mean how they wrote the review, or how they expressed themselves.

·         Be nice. The reviewer is not out to sabotage the author’s success. The author should ask questions like if there was anything in the writing that lead them to miss their point. If it was an error on the review, simply point it out and ask them to correct it. Being nice and taking the opportunity to connect with the reviewer as a reader can be helpful to your writing as well as to your PR as many reviewers are also bloggers.

Finally, remember that there will always be readers that won’t get it, and if, unfortunately, that one ended up being a reviewer, just have another reviewer check your book out, and ask them to look into the aspects of the book that the other one didn’t get…maybe they had a point after all and something can be done quickly to correct the problem; or there is nothing wrong, and now you have a better review! For more information on how we help authors visit us at


Narrative Slayers

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Be honest with me, if I had called this week's editorial, “Qualifiers, Indefinite Modifiers, and Intensifiers” would you have even clicked on the article? But that’s just what they are – narrative slayers, and they are out to sabotage writing everywhere.

I recently finished reading Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones,” a wealth of information for writers of every level. In one of the chapters, she discusses an article she had read about a study that was done in the 70s on women and language.  This study found women often added qualifiers and indefinite modifiers to their statements, both oral and written.

NOTE: This is not an article about the writing styles of men vs. women. There are endless studies on this subject for those so inclined to learn more, and both genders do this to some extent. Instead, let’s focus on the narrative destroyers and practice eliminating them from our writing.

I’m sure all the writers out there know what qualifiers and indefinite modifiers are, but humor me as I do a quick review:

“I liked that book, didn’t you?” “Didn’t you” is the qualifier in the sentence.  This statement, in essence, says, “I have an opinion, but I need validation.” Ouch. Don’t write from this place. Be assertive. A clear, definitive statement drops the question, becoming, “I liked that book.”

 “Perhaps this is a good reason to write every day.” “Perhaps” is the culprit in this sentence, an indefinite modifier.  Is it a good reason or not?  Be decisive and confident in your writing and your sentence becomes, “This is a good reason to write every day.”

 Okay, lesson over.  Go ahead.  Take a look at some of your recent material.  What did you find? Curious, I pulled up some of the book reviews I’ve written lately.  Uh-oh.  Guilty.  Not only do I seem to love a good qualifier and indefinite modifier, but I absolutely adore using intensifiers and all the drama and flair they add to the text.

There are more than a handful of us that need to brush up on our skills in this area, don’t you think? But how?

  • Practice being assertive – Use definitive statements and trust yourself. You’ve heard the expression, “When you walk into a room, act like you own it.”  Do the same thing with your writing. You DO own it.  Stand behind it!
  • There is no need to eliminate these words completely. Instead, practice moderation.  An incredibly impressive intensifier is needed every now and then, but perhaps not in this sentence.


  • Remove qualifiers, intensifiers and indefinite modifiers AFTER you finish your writing session. There is a time and a place for everything, and the best way to block your creativity is to worry about writing perfect sentences in the first draft. There will be plenty of time to hone your masterpiece later.

And yes, I jest throughout this article, sometimes on purpose, sometimes, perhaps not. As with all aspects of writing though, the key is practice. It won’t happen overnight but just being aware helps in the implementation of change.  Happy writing!


What Are Other Authors Selling? Why Should I Know…

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Last week I spoke about the benefits of going to the library. As I mentioned I have committed to visit the library once a week, so I did! This time I focused on checking out what other authors have written about on my topic in the age group I write for. The experience was enlightening and inspiring, to say the least, even though this was not the first time I had done research on what other authors were doing. What made this experience different was my focus. My goal was not to find a niche in my genre to target but to learn from what worked for other authors by looking at their writing styles, vocabulary, illustrations, format, and any other detail that called my attention. Below are some things to consider when looking at books that are published and successful, to learn from them and to create an applicable guide to follow with your own project:

·         Publishing Information. The first thing I did was to collect information from the books I liked that were within my marketing target and made a list of the titles and the aspects I liked about them. I also compiled information about the publisher, illustrator, etc. in case I decide to consider pitching my book instead of self-publishing.

·          I looked at the main characters. Were they boys, girls, animals? What was unique about them? How did they relate to the target reader? Was it the character that made the book successful or was it the story? How different or similar were they from my main character?

·         I looked also at the story, message, and other characters, and compared them to my own project to determine how different it is to what’s out there, and whether or not I can apply anything I learned to my own project to make it more current, relatable to the reader, captivating and marketable.

·         Pay attention to any new idea that might pop up into your mind while checking out other books within your genre and write them down. You never know, maybe one of these ideas will be your new best-seller!

In the end, we authors have a passion for writing, feel that we have something to say, are committed to sharing a message, love books and want to be able to make a living writing and reading them. So, what better way to be successful than learning from each other? For more information on how we help authors visit