Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

Book Reviews – how to write them; how to get them; how to post them to your benefit.

Last year when my friend and colleague Margie Yee Webb showed me the mock-up for her book, I knew the finished product would be beautiful. Here’s the praise I wrote:

“The playful maxims with equally delightful photographs in Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings inspire readers to fall in love with life.” Teresa LeYung Ryan, author of  Love Made of Heart; Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days

Other authors wrote praise for Margie too. Margie used our reviews for her book’s backcover, testimonial page, and in her marketing material.  We wanted Margie to succeed.  We knew that . . . Through her gift book, Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings: Insight and Inspiration for a Wonderful Life, Margie promotes pet awareness and encourages people to make a difference in the lives of cats and other companion animals.

After the book was published, Margie received 5-star reviews from readers (consumers).

This month, Margie shares more fabulous news with me.

Margie Yee Webb‘s book receives Midwest Book Review’s “choice” attention

Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings: Insight and Inspiration for a Wonderful Life blends words of wisdom for living well with the illustrative photographs of an intelligent silver tabby cat from kittenhood to adulthood… The practical, positive-minded advice combined beautiful photographs any cat lover will enjoy make Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings a wonderful giftbook. Highly recommended.”  –Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch, January 2012, Reviewer’s Choice

by Margie Yee Webb

You might be asking? How do industry-recognized book reviewers know about new books?  Publishers send books to them (meeting their submission guidelines).  Ask your publisher. If you are the publisher, invest in yourself. Book reviewers cannot review all the books they receive. So, you ought to be proud when your work attracts their attention.  I am overjoyed for author Margie Yee Webb.

When one is fortunate to receive praise for a job well done from a respected book reviewer, broadcast your news (in your signature block; on your website & blog; facebook, all social media, Amazon page for your book and/or Amazon’s Author’s Central; show it to everyone; tell everyone via your voicemail; YouTube)  Celebrate with people who care about you!


Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

“Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dearest dreams!”

Coach Teresa, do I really have to blog often to build my platform?

A gracious author emailed me a poignant question after today’s tele-roundtable discussions (sponsored by Linda Joy Myers and National Association of Memoir Writers ).

I will reveal her name if she wishes. For now, I’ll respond to Gracious Author’s concerns in a way that will hopefully help her and other hardworking writers to “reach out, not stress out, while building your platform.”

I’ll paraphrase  Gracious Author’s dilemma:

“Coach Teresa, you said we are experts of our experiences and to make our names synonymous with the themes/subject matters/issues we write about.  I don’t want to blog about my traumatic experiences; and, I’m writing a genre that makes me happy. What to do?”

Remember my closing statement at the tele-roundtable discussions?

“You deserve to make your dearest dreams come true. Wear your 2 hats:  polish the craft; building your platform to help your fans find you.”

If a task doesn’t give you joy, do something else.

Who was the author on the tele-roundtable discussions who said she has written a happy story (growing up in the 1950s)? This author could be blogging about other books, movies, music, art, world events from that decade. Or focusing on that city/town/neighborhood.  Be the expert. Be the resource.

You love writing screenplays or plays?

Who are the screenwriters and playwrights you respect?

What are the themes in their projects?

What are the themes in your project?

What if I blogged about these writers who inspire me and about their protagonists?

What if I blogged about the writers who inspired the writers who inspire me?

Blog about the music or the setting or the historical figures in your work and the works similar to yours.

Example:  I have many books in my library that I want to read. Bastard Out of Carolina (by Dorothy Allison) is one of them. Last year I was a presenter at San Francisco Writers Conference.   A month before the event, I found out that Dorothy Allison was going to be a keynote speaker. So, I started reading her novel. What a page-turner!

At the conference I ran into Dorothy in the hallway and I told her what page I was on. I saw her again when she was on a panel about banned books (moderated by Barbara Santos). Dorothy Allison is someone I wanted to blog about.

In my blog post What to Do Before Hiring an Editor for My Manuscript? under the section “Paying Attention to Language and Rules,” this is what I said about Dorothy.

In Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison’s protagonist Bone is a girl.  Bone’s voice is convincing in dialogue and in internal monologue. Brilliant use of dialect.

Then, when author Vicki Hudson told me that she created “I Sent Bastard to School” Fund, I blogged to show support.

Your blog posts, book reviews, movie reviews, stage play reviews, comments on other people’s blogs . . . can be short.  Talk about how the themes hooked you or what you learned from the characters; then sign off with your full name and your mission statement (by Day 9 in my workbook, you’ll have your brilliant mission statement)

A blog is just one of the “venues” for your fans to experience you. Fans can interact with you through your blog (the way you can interact with me with this blog–by submitting a comment). A blog keeps count of number of visitors.

What other venues keep count of number of visitors/viewers?

Websites (a blog is an interactive website)

YouTube !  facebook!   Twitter!  Here’s my YouTube channel:

Name some more venues. . .

Gracious Author who is writing screenplays–perhaps instead of blogging, you’ll invest time creating one-minute videos of your articulating the themes in the screenplays that hook you; write a description for each video. Write reviews on Amazon; publish the same reviews on your blog or YouTube channel. You become a resource center.

More examples – why you want to help your fans find you:

Two years ago I went to see Carol Sheldon’s 15-minute play at Fringe of Marin One Act Plays. I invited friends. Carol’s play was delightful. I blogged about my theatre experience. Two weeks later, I received an email from a theatre goer who couldn’t find Fringe of Marin’s website but she found information about the theatre company from my blog!  She couldn’t find their website because there wasn’t one.  I am happy to say that Fringe of Marin has a lovely website now.

A week after beloved Effie Lee Morris (retired children’s librarian/visionary/advocate/author) died, I received an email from a reporter half-way across the country who wanted to talk to a family member of Effie Lee.   He said that even though he found many websites showing Effie Lee’s biographies and interviews, he couldn’t find anyone who knew how to contact her relatives. He found some of the information he needed through my blog posts; so, he emailed me to get more.  I was a resource.  I knew Effie Lee as the founder-president of Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter. She inspired the Friends of SFPL to create the annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture–to honor a children’s book author.

So you see how blogs connect people and serve as resource centers? Make your blog whatever you want it to be.  Julie Powell cooked one Julia Child recipe each day–that in itself was already an accomplishment.  Guess what? Julie blogged about cooking a Julia recipe each day.  Publishers found her.  She received a big advance to write the memoir.

Your platform-building style is unique. Developing a new habit though, does require effort/consistency.  That is why I designed a workbook with exercises for at least  21 consecutive days. The 22nd day is celebrations.

To participate in this blog post, submit a comment by: clicking on the blue title bar of this post, scrolling down to get the boxes, filling in the boxes and click on “submit comment” button — so that thousands of my fans will see your name, URL (your website/blog address if you have one), what themes/subject matters/issues hook you, and, what themes/subject matters/issues you want to spotlight.

I wish you joy, light, and a dancing heart.

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (the fun workbook)


Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan here to say: “What a wonderful world when we help our friends and they help their other friends and round and round we all benefit from each others’ talents and generosity.”

Margie Yee Webb (author of Cat Mulan’s Mindful Musings: Insight and Inspiration for a Wonderful Life) asked me to put the spotlight on Dr. Amy Rogers, creator of and author of PETROPLAGUE.

I asked Amy to comment on one of my recent posts and Amy chose Are You a Writer Who Wears Many Hats?

She said:  I’m a novelist (PETROPLAGUE, a science thriller about oil-eating bacteria contaminating the fuel supply of Los Angeles and paralyzing the city), and also a critic (I review science & medical thrillers at my website, an educator (formerly microbiology professor at CSU), and a mom. I enjoy science, science in fiction, and the California Writers Club. I love my “jobs”!

Amy’s book trailer on YouTube

I visited Amy Roger’s website and was delighted to read these words:

Where thriller fans put their geek on
Science & medical thriller book reviews, author interviews, and news of interest to fans


Amy Rogers says: " is where thriller fans put their geek on."

Amy Rogers is a proud member of California Writers Club; she and Margie Yee Webb are movers and shakers at the Sacramento branch.

Margie, thank you for telling me about Amy, her book, her website.

Amy, I cheer for you and I look forward to seeing you soon!


Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”

Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

$9.81 for ebook; $22 for print edition

Love Made of Heart inspiring adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families.

As a manuscript consultant, Teresa LeYung-Ryan loves helping writers identify their themes and archetypes.

YouTube Channel:

Teresa on facebook!  She’s also involved in Women’s National Book Association and California Writers Club.






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