Book Reviewer… Influencer… Street Team… Where do I fit and what do I do?

Anyone who follows my book blog, knows that I review books… A LOT of books! I LOVE to read and I love to share my thoughts on these books with my followers.

Along this journey, I have been blessed to join several different street teams.

Recently I was forced to leave one of those street teams (on my own… NOT by the author). And, given some drama that has trickled through blogger circles of late, I felt the need to make mention of something that tends to be misunderstood…

BookReviewers_Badge_3

A REVIEWER is someone who reads books and then posts reviews on sites like Christianbook.com​, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc…

Some of these reviewers are sent books by publishers or promotional companies or the authors themselves.

Along with this “gifted” book comes the requirement that the reviewer gives an HONEST review… not just a positive one.

 

shutterstock_143336716An INFLUENCER is someone who is part of a selected group of people who are chosen to help launch a book. Most authors ask the members to post reviews but they require them to be positive. In the case that a reviewer can not post a positive review, they are asked to post none at all – or at least to wait until a month or so after the book has released.

But the main job of an influencer is to help get the word out about a book’s release. They are responsible for splashing notifications across social media, requesting the book at local libraries and passing out promotional materials like bookmarks and pens.

2b82cdeA STREET TEAM is a combination of the two above.

The street team members’ job extends beyond a book’s release. They notify their followers and friends about sales on the author’s books, special giveaways and more. They also hand out promotional materials (when the author has them to pass out), and they are usually required to read the author’s books and review them.

Typically, an honest yet positive review is no problem in these groups because the members are generally fans of the author’s work. However, most authors do not require a positive review – simply an honest one… in order to have lots of reviews up – to encourage sales.

If a street team requires a positive review, this should always be made clear before the reviewers join. However, lately there has been a bit of drama that has made this point a bit murky.

There are street teams out there that are run, not by the author but by a fan or by the author’s assistant. When the case is a fan running the team, there may be some issues because the fan has their own ideas about the author’s work and if a member’s review does not line up with their own opinion, they may find it difficult to be unbiased.

 

My caution is this:

Reviewers – be careful about what street teams you join. DO not join simply because the author is high-profile. Join the street team of an author you admire, one you will have no problem promoting!

And be sure to read all of the requirements BEFORE you join!

 

Authors – be cautious about how you run your team (or who you choose to run the team for you). Any drama that goes on will not be laid at the feet of that person on social media. It will be attributed to your team and YOUR name.

Also… you should be extremely careful about setting boundaries about reviews. 5 stars on Amazon is great but word of mouth still carries a tremendous amount of weight and if a reviewer is unhappy, they will most likely tell almost everyone they know about it.

I would also suggest you watch what works and what doesn’t with your friends’ street teams. Learn by example and never hesitate to make suggestions to friends about their own teams. Just because you see where something doesn’t work, does not mean they do.

 

Of course it has to be said… some authors do not deal well with bad reviews. But think of it this way… Is it more important to have ALL good reviews or to have a large number of reviews? Whether the reviews are bad or good, having a large number means that a large number of people have read the book.

And… I speak from experience when I say that I have NEVER allowed a negative review to sway me from reading a book that interested me. I have also read more than a few books that received nothing but glowing reviews – which I did not enjoy.

Think about it…

God Bless!

 

© JCMorrows 2015

Author Spotlight: Martha Rogers | And WATCH for my review of Christmas at Holly Hill this month!

GOOD AFTERNOON!

I recently discovered a NEW author and I am here to share a bit more about her today!

Spotlighting Martha Rogers!

 

 

 About Martha Rogers and her wonderful books

Martha Rogers is a freelance author of both fiction and non-fiction and a speaker. Her stories and articles have appeared in a number of compilations and magazines. Her first fiction novella released in 2007.

Her experiences as a public school teacher, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, First Place leader, Mom and Grandmother give Martha a unique field of ministry.

Martha is am alumni of CLASS and is available to speak at Women’s Retreats, conferences, and luncheons on topics of interest to women of all ages.

As an author, she is available to speak at writing conferences and workshops on a variety of topics of interest to writers.

You can connect with Martha through TWITTER, FACEBOOK or through her WEBSITE.

 

My interview with Martha:

– What first drew you to the Historical genre? Do you have plans to give any other genre a try in the future?

Our son lived in Tulsa, and we drove up there to visit about 3 times a year. We always stopped at the visitor’s information center for a rest stop, and they had all kinds of information about Oklahoma. I loved Texas history and wanted to know about our neighboring state. The more I read, the more interested I became in Oklahoma and her past. From that interest was born Becoming Lucy, my first historical novel.

Right now my agent is submitting a contemporary romance series, and it’s a series close to my heart perhaps because it’s set in Houston.

 

– Christmas focused stories are becoming ever more popular at the moment… will we be seeing more Christmas stories from you any time soon?

I have a contract for another Christmas book, but it won’t be out until the fall of 2016 because of a backlist of Christmas novels for my publisher. That book will be a part of my present series based in part on a lot of my family history.

 

– I’ve noticed that many published authors’ journey to publication did not “follow the rules”? Would you share a bit about how you got started? Did you journey “follow the rules” or is it one-of-a-kind?

I started in the early 1990’s seeking publication. I had several articles as well as submissions to collections published, but not a book. I followed the rules somewhat in that I went to conferences, joined a writing group and a critique group and signed with an agent. After so many series and stand alone novels were rejected, Becoming Lucy landed on the desk of an editor whose publisher had made a decision to branch out into historical novels. Mine was there, she liked it, and she bought it as well as three others in the series. It was all God’s timing and not my planning.

 

– You have done several series and also several stand-alone novels. Do you prefer one over the other? Which are you in line for next?

Actually the two that people think of as stand-alone are part of the first series. The Christmas book has two of the characters from Lucy in it and the family in it are from the town in Lucy.

 

– Can you tell us about the project you are working on right now?

I’m working on the Christmas novel, Christmas at Stoney Creek and polishing up the first novel, Faith on Trial, in the contemporary series.

Thanks for having me Rachel.

 

 

Here is a bit about Martha’s most recent release:

 

“Love Never Fails”
by Martha Rogers

At odds over their beliefs and separated by the war, Molly and Stefan must learn to depend of God.
In book three of the Homeward Journey series, Daniel and Sally Delaney’s daughter Molly finishes school and returns to her home to teach. When old friends of her parents come for a visit with their son, Stefan, Molly is attracted to the young man, but all he is interested in is talking about his position in the army. When he leaves to rejoin his regiment, Molly is both relieved and saddened. Can they overcome their differences and find love?

 

 

 

 

 

I am a firm believer that you should start at the beginning of a series…

book cover: love stays trueLOVE STRAYS TRUE
Release date: May 2013
Publisher: Realms

THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY, Book One

It is April 1865, can Sally and Manfred overcome the distance that the war has put between them and find love?

Three strong women from the South forge ahead to new territories to establish a new life and find happiness through their staunch faith. Related not only by blood but also by courage, they prove that love knows no boundaries, and when all else is gone, love will be there. Covering the themes of family, loyalty, belonging, and the journeys we take to find love, this new series by the popular author of Becoming Lucy will be sure to please her many fans.

 

AND WATCH FOR my review later this month of Martha’s Christmas Book:

 

“Christmas At Holly Hill”
BY Martha Rogers

Can Clayton Barlow prove he has changed his ways in time for Christmas? 

It is October 1898, and Clayton Barlow has just returned home after serving time in prison for his part in a bank robbery.

His family welcomes him, but the townspeople are skeptical. Bored with life in the small town but determined to make a new start, he goes to work with his father, hoping to regain the town’s trust.

Clayton recognizes the schoolteacher at the Prairie Grove School as his childhood friend, Merry Lee Warner, and old feelings surface. Still, he doubts that he could ever get a woman like Merry to love him.

As the townspeople prepare for Christmas, their suspicions about Clayton lead to trouble.

Will the trusting heart of an unlikely new friend be enough to restore Clayton’s relationships with his neighbors and reunite him with God and Merry?

 

 

I can hardly wait to see what she writes next!

 

And those are not the only books Martha has in her repertoire…

Click HERE to read more about her past works!

 

THANK YOU for joining me for this special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

And don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews –
especially this month since I will be spotlighting so many
WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS STORIES!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Author Spotlight: Laura V. Hilton | One of my new FAVORITE authors!

Laura Hilton is a NEW favorite of mine!

I recently discovered her books and so far I LOVE each one I have read!

 

Here is a bit about Laura:

 

About Laura V. Hilton and her wonderful books

Laura is an award winning author, a pastor’s wife, married over twenty-five years and has five children. She home-schools, reviews favorite books and writes books herself.

Her books include Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, Promised to Another, Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love.

The Snow Globe will release in Sept. 2014 – and Swept Away in Nov. 2014.

You can connect with Laura through TWITTER, FACEBOOK or through her blogs. You can follow Laura’s book reviews HERE and read more about upcoming books HERE.

 

My interview with Laura V. Hilton

– Do any of your novels have a basis in reality – maybe something similar happened to a friend or a family member?

Well, yes. In PATCHWORK DREAMS, date-rape is an unfortunately common occurrence and in fact, it happened to me. I didn’t get pregnant as a result, but I did have the trauma that went with it. The guilt… What if it was my fault? The boy who did it was someone I thought I loved. We planned to marry – and it killed the relationship.

In Surrendered Love, there are two real events. The bear sleeping in the tree in Seymour really happened—and it was guarded by a police officer. My aunt-in-law lives on that street. The second was the police car/buggy “low-speed chase,” where the Amish teens jumped and ran really happened, and the buggy/vehicle accident really happened. Except in real life it was a school bus. And yes, there is a cross on the highway where a police officer was killed.

In Promised to Another, buggy/vehicle accidents on the highway are all too common.

There are more, but that’s enough for now.

 

– Are we going to see more Christmas novels to go with the series you’ve already published?

I *hope* so! Whitaker House is “trying out” Christmas stories with me and with Sharlene MacLaren to see how they sell. If they do very well, they might be open for more!

 

– Is there another genre you are interested in writing or are you perfectly content to stick with Amish Fiction?

I love Amish fiction, it is near and dear to my heart. It also enables me to research my Amish heritage. But that said, I have a finished contemporary romantic-suspense that I would like to sell (some publishers are interested, but they are not one of the big ten) and I have several contemporary romances and historical romances in various stages of completion that I would love to have published some day. Some of them made it through all the rounds of elimination with Barbour and/Abingdon and were held back for further consideration by these publishers.

 

– Can you tell us a bit about the project you are working on right now?

At this very moment I’m on deadline for the last book in the Amish of Jamesport series. It is called The Birdhouse and the book question is: When she is forced to leave all she holds dear, how can he bring her home to roost?

 

– Probably a silly question but… why don’t you have a paid .com website?

There was a big debate on ACFW about that some time ago. Some writers maintain you HAVE to have one. Others maintain that the author blogs and pages on social media site are enough. I see no point in paying for a domain and a web-designer when I can maintain a blog and a social media page—and update them daily—or at least often. I am on pinterest, twitter, and facebook, and I have three blogs, and am part of a team of bloggers on a fourth.

 

THANK YOU Laura for sharing so many wonderful details!

 

Here is a bit about Laura’s most recent releases!

 

“Swept Away”
by Laura V. Hilton & Cindy Loven

Sara Jane Morgan is trying to balance teaching with caring for her ailing, stubborn grandmother.

When school lets out for the summer, the plans are for Grandma to teach Sara Jane to quilt as they finish up the Appalachian Ballad quilt Grandma started as a teenager. But things don t always go as planned.

Andrew Stevenson is hiding from his past and his future. He works as a handyman to pay the bills, but also as an artisan, designing homemade brooms. When Sara Jane’s grandmother hires him to renovate her home, sparks fly between him and his new employer’s granddaughter. Still, it doesn’t take Sara Jane long to see Drew isn’t what he seems. Questions arise, and she starts online researching him.

What she discovers could change her life and her heart forever.

 

 

 

 

I’m especially excited about Laura’s Christmas books!

A White Christmas is Webster County is available NOW!

A Mother’s Helper

Mercy Lapp is ready for a fresh start. Having lost her beloved fiance in a fishing accident during his rumschpringe, she escapes the painful memories by moving from her community in Shipshewana, Indiana, to Seymour, Missouri, where she takes a job as a mother’s helper. She isn’t exactly shy, but she’s hesitant to get involved with the youth in the community because she isn’t going to stay. She especially doesn’t want a new romance.

An Adventurous Hero

Abner Hilty is excited to see his twin brother, Abram, for the first time in years. The two fled their hometown of Shipshewana when their witness of a murder put their lives in danger, Abner heading to Montana to work on a ranch and hunt big game, Abram meeting a girl in Missouri, marrying, and settling down there. Abner decides to spend the holidays with them in Seymour, but he has every intention of returning to Montana, maybe even for good.

An Unexpected Snowstorm

At a chance encounter, Abner is immediately drawn to Mercy, and even more so when he realizes that they’ve met before, back in Shipshewana. Initially alarmed, Mercy soon warms to his attentions, even though she keeps him at arm’s length. She also branches out and begins attending youth functions, forming new friendships that are solidified during a rare snowstorm. Just when Mercy and Abner are beginning to think about a long-term relationship, Mercy gets a phone call that changes everything. The information would have been welcome months ago, but now that she knows Abner, she’s torn, and she will have to do some serious soul-searching to decide how to act on it.

 

The Snow Globe releases in November of 2014

 A Compassionate Young Woman.

Esther Beachy enjoys working for an elderly woman who is wheelchair bound. Her client, Anna Petersheim, is pleasant and tells captivating stories. Plus, her home is quiet and far more peaceful than Esther’s, with so many siblings. She only dreads the day when Anna’s grandson, Viktor, will return from the river to take over the farm. She and Viktor were classmates years ago, and he’d been an obnoxious flirt who paid attention to every girl but her.

A toughened riverboat captain

A seasoned riverboat captain, Viktor Petersheim has seen his share of trials. He left the Amish after the death of his parents and siblings in a house fire for which he still feels responsible. Now, after years of working on the Mississippi River, he returns home to claim the farm he inherited from his grandparents and, hopefully, to repair some of the damaged relationships and broken hearts he left in his wake.

Love off the river.

When Viktor arrives home, it doesn’t take long for him and Esther to realize their mutual attraction. Even so, their relationship remains as tumultuous as a shaken snow globe, like the one Esther finds at a garage sale and gives to Viktor’s grandmother as a token of affection. Viktor isn’t the only man with an eye on Esther, and soon it looks as if she’s ready to make a future with someone else. Will the two go their separate ways again? Or will the hand of God work something beautiful out of their angst and agitation.

 

I also have a bit of a sneak peek for you:

The Postcard is not scheduled for release until next year some time (despite what GoodReads says) but I have a little teaser for you!

The Post Card – scheduled for release in 2015

David Lapp (from Promised to Another)
survived a “code blue” when he was in a buggy/semi truck accident in Seymour, Missouri. Now after extensive therapy he has lingering mobility problems and is still struggling to find his place in the world. Lured away from Webster County by thoughts of closed buggies and a postcard friendship he’s developed with an Amish girl in Jamesport, he moves north, hoping for a fresh start. He finds work in the area tying flies and basket weaving, selling his products in the Amish markets in the Jamesport area.

Rachel Miller dreams of travel, but feels tied to her Amish life. She is being courted by Obadiah Graber, but wonders if there’s more to life. When she sees David’s name mentioned in The Budget, she strikes up a pen pal friendship with David while he’s in the hospital and in therapy, consoling him when he and his girlfriend part ways. She never dreams that David will come north and move into her community. David is still fearful in the buggy, especially in high traffic areas. Feeling he’s called by God to preach, David spends hours in the Bible, but the Amish discourage him, believing their ministers should be drawn by lot. Will David follow his call, even if it takes him out of the Amish church? Will Rachel realize her dream to travel?

 

Don’t they all just sound AMAZING!!!

 

Don’t forget to go back and read the series Laura has already released:

The Amish of Seymour County

The Amish of Webster County

and “The Snow Globe” is the first book of her new series – The Amish of Jamesport

 

THANK YOU for joining me for this special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!

And don’t forget to check back or follow my blog to see new reviews –
there’s a new one up almost every day!

 

 God Bless You all and Have a GREAT week!

Conceding a Point on Amish Fiction.

Shipshewana-indiana-amish-buggy

Just for the record, I am not backing off on my earlier post. I still feel it is extremely important that Amish fiction be AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to true Amish ways.

However, I have had a different point of view brought to my attention.

Perhaps so many of these lovely authors wrote a good, decent, wholesome, clean novel and they hoped to get it published but they were unable to sell it as it was written.

So ask yourself… what would the next step be?

Well, if they’re anything like me, they look at the market. And when they see how popular Amish fiction is currently – they would think to themselves “How can I fit my story into that genre?” and began editing. They would learn everything they can about Amish ways, dress, beliefs and language. Then they incorporate it all into their story. (I am not saying this is what every author who wrote a “less-than-perfect Amish” novel has done but I feel very strongly that some of them have).

Think about it. How many of these stories have you read (if you’re a fan of Amish fiction) that sounded like a novel written about normal people who just dressed like the Amish and used a few of their words? They’re still good books written by terrific authors. They’re just not truly about the Amish.

I stated in a previous post that I thought writers were determined to make us believe the Amish were exactly like us but I know that they are not. They are very different from us. They are very cautious to be different – to keep themselves separate.

I no longer think writers are doing this on purpose.

The best part is that I can enjoy these novels so much more now. I can let go of any bitterness or irritation and simply enjoy a good, clean story. And it’s refreshing to find the market flooded now with so many wonderful, wholesome stories when it used to be such a trial to find even one book that was not full of nasty language and inappropriate behaviors.

And so I shall.

Thank You to Beverly Lewis, Tricia Goyer, Vanetta Chapman, Wanda Brunstetter, Shelley Shepard Gray, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Cindy Woodsmall, Beth Wiseman, Dale Cramer, Amy Clipston, Mindy Starns Clark, Leslie Gould, Jerry Eicher, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Karen Kingsbury and all of the others I either haven’t read yet or haven’t discovered yet!

GOD BLESS YOU!

 

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God Bless You!