Where Have I Been & Amazon Troubles

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Where have I been? I know that’s what you have been wondering for the past week. If you’re not friends with me on FB then you have been wondering why no reviews suddenly. I got hit with a bad summer cold that wore me out and I couldn’t read. I’m talking horrible sore throat for days followed by a bad cough and congestion after that. My mom was hit with Strep so there was the worry about me having that too. I just started to really feel better a couple of days ago, but wanted to give myself a good amount of time to rest.

I had planned to read yesterday and last night for a review today. But I was woken up at 7am yesterday to my mom taking my brother to the ER. He had gotten hit with this cold too, but he got a nosebleed that would not stop and wasn’t a little one. Good news is it was nothing serious but took almost two hours to stop it and most likely due to a sinus infection. The focus was on him for the day and making sure he was okay.

I will have a review for you on Friday.

Now my Amazon troubles. In short, I’ve been banned from reviewing on Amazon. This happened at the same time that I got sick so I’ve been dealing with that too. I contacted them three times before I heard back about why all my reviews were gone and why I couldn’t post any. I was told that elements of my account indicated that I have a relationship to sellers, publishers, and other reviewers. Or that I received compensation for my reviews or requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews.

Do I have a relationship with these people? Not in the sense of being a close friend or family member. I’ve never met a single one in person. I’m a fan, reader, and blogger. My reviews show that I read the books and aren’t always 4 and 5 star reviews so they are honest too. I have bought many of the books and products I’ve reviewed on my own because I wanted them. Not because I was asked to review them.

Am I compensated for my reviews? No. I would never take payment for a review. I am given books to review, but I voluntarily review them. They are honest reviews which means authors don’t expect glowing reviews just because they gave me the books. The only money I make is as an affiliate and that is very little ( a few cents at a time). That’s not for reviews and is just links I post for things I love.

Have I requested free or discounted products in exchange for reviews? No. I know some bloggers will approach authors and publishers for books they want to read. But I don’t do that as I don’t feel its right to do. If I want to read a book I will buy it if there hasn’t been an opportunity to review through a tour, street team, or author asking me if I want to read it. I do have on my blog that if an author submits a book they need to provide a copy. This is standard for bloggers as we can’t possibly afford to buy every book and we usually buy the ones we love.

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Why I Review Books and Why You Should Too

Why I Review Books and Why You Should Too

I am asked why I review books all the time and if it’s because I get free books. The short answer is NO, but I thought I would explain why I review books. Maybe it will inspire you to review the books you read.

I started reviewing books way before this blog because I read a book that I loved and wanted to thank the author by leaving a review for others to see. Then I started reviewing all the books that I loved even though they were short reviews. If I won a book in a giveaway I left a review as a thank you then I joined some street teams of favorite authors and learned about ARCs and started reviewing those. That is also where I learned about book blogs and fell in love with the idea.

When I started my blog It was and still is my mission to help support authors and spread the word about their books. The way I write my reviews as changed over time from short say “I loved it” to longer with more details as to why I loved it. When I started I only had the books I bought to review and it was a long time before I was asked to review a book. I turned down quite a few then and still do because I’m not after a free book. I only accept ones I’m truly interested in and know I have time to read them. I still have street teams I’m apart of because I love those authors books. I know that my reviews help those authors spread the word about their books and people that are looking for a book to read can see that others liked it.

The best feeling in the world is when an author says your review touched them or made them feel great. Another great feeling is when a reader says your review made them want to read the book.

If you love a book leave a review to let the author know so they keep writing. They don’t have to be long or detailed reviews. Even if you didn’t love it, a review can still be helpful to the author to know what people aren’t liking. Just don’t be harsh or not explain why you didn’t like it. Reviews like that also help readers avoid something that might trigger them or has something they don’t like in it like foul language or open door love scenes.

My tips for writing a review:

Say what you loved, but leave out spoilers. Look at the blurb to see what is mentioned so you don’t give away something. How you avoid spoilers is to be vague about details like say you love the twist with a certain character or that you loved the proposal scene because it was different. You want to intrigue someone to find out what happened or is different.

If you didn’ like something then explain why, but in a nice way. You don’t want to bash it or spoil something for others, but want to explain that whatever didn’t work for you. If there is something that upset you, triggered you, or could bother others include that. I always put a note in my review if the book deals with a sensitive subject (abortion, abuse, etc) as a main part of the story and not just mentioned in passing, or if there is graphic violence or rape.

Size doesn’t matter. You can do the short and sweet “I loved it” or longer ones. whichever fits the book. The only time that I think short doesn’t work is if you didn’t like it because nothing is worse for an author or even a reader is to see “I hated it” without an explanation. Sometimes those reviews are for the wrong book or just someone being mean that has never read it.

Come Join Lynn Winchester’s FB Live at 2PM EST

Come Join Lynn Winchester's FB Live At 2PM EST1

Today at 2PM EST Lynn Winchester will be live on her Facebook page answering questions, giving updates, and having a giveaway! She does these every Monday and they are so much fun because you never know what questions people are going to ask.

Join me and others on her page https://www.facebook.com/LynnWinWesterns/?hc_ref=ARRMxK8eceJLPfCxSl-BzkoMV6ps1RmjUgqtVDhT2_G4-tFG1p1Va8ONcgHfeO6dVlo&fref=nf&pnref=story

What I’ve Learned from Reading Historical Romance

I'm Still a Proud Modern Day Blue Stocking

If you know me or have been a part of this blog for awhile you know I proudly call myself a modern-day bluestocking. I haven’t posted about that in awhile and since it’s Random Friday I thought this would be a perfect time to do it. You can read more about being a modern-day bluestocking by reading Shamed For Being A Modern Day Bluestocking

I’ve learned a lot of things that have helped me in my life by reading historical romances. A lot of it applies to real life romance and has helped me stay away from guys that wouldn’t respect me.

 You don’t have to say yes to every person that asks you out

By reading I have learned that just because I’m asked doesn’t mean I have to say yes. I will only say yes to the ones I want to and won’t be pressured into it. It’s not always about playing the field to find out what you are looking for.  You need to be interested in them to say yes.

You need to share some views, beliefs, and interests

Yes, opposites attract and that is great in most cases, but you need to be alike in somethings if they are very important to you. I love to read and talk about books and that’s something I would love to have in common with someone, but just them respecting it if they don’t share it is fine. Then I have some views and beliefs that are strong and I need someone that shares them. Being on opposites sides doesn’t always mesh in this case.

You deserve respect at all times

Everyone should be respected at all times. If they put down anything about you from looks to interests then they don’t respect you. I’ve been put down for reading, the types of books I read, not wearing makeup all the time, and many other things. I will not be with someone that does that.

Be you no matter what

You are you for a reason and shouldn’ hide it or change for anyone. If you are very smart don’t play dumb to get someones attention. If you dress a certain way or don’t wear makeup don’t change unless you want to for yourself. I wear makeup when I want to and don’t hide my love of romance and books. Don’t be pressured to change your views, choices, looks, beliefs, or interests.

 

 

My New Kindle Case

My New Kindle Case

It’s Random Friday and today I’m sharing one of my Christmas gifts!

For Christmas, I got a new Kindle case! This was a gift on my wishlist and my brother was the one to get it for me. It has many of my favorite colors and now I feel like my Kindle is safe and secure in this case.

It’s a Fintie case in Z – Moroccoan Love.

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What I’m Reading This Week

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Like I said on Friday I am reading Hot Winter Nights by Tammy Andresen, Amy Rose Bennett (Goodreads Author), Heather Boyd, Dawn Brower, Amanda Mariel, Nina Mason, Christina McKnight, Lauren Smith. I’m halfway done and loving this collection of stories.

The review of Hot Winter Nights will be up Wednesday and then I’m onto How to Find a Duke in 10 Days for Friday! Then more haunted stories after that.

How to Get Your Book Accepted for Review on My Blog or Any Blog

 

Capture“How to get your book accepted for review?” this is a question that I hear from both authors and bloggers because it affects both sides. So I thought I’d put together my personal tips for getting a book accepted for review on my blog. These can help on any blog you are looking at.

1. Check out the blog to see if it’s a good fit for your book.

I can usually tell when someone has gone straight to my contact page and gotten my email. The books usually don’t fit my blog at all and it’s sent directly to my email and not through my request form. Looking around a blog first can help your chances a lot because you can get an idea for what they like to read (genres, what authors they like, etc). That way you don’t waste time sending a request and being rejected because the book doesn’t fit the blog. I’ve had to say many times that my blog is for historical romances only when answering a request because I like to give a reason.

2. Check their review policy.

My review policy will give you tons of info on how my blog works and has the form to request a review. It explains my rating system, what genres I accept, what I won’t review, what I like in books, what formats I accept, where else I post my reviews. It will help you know if your book is a good fit too and answer many questions you might have like if I will accept a book with a deadline for review. 99% of book blogs have these to save you and themselves time in the long run. If they have a form on that page it’s the best way to request a review so your message doesn’t go to spam or get lost in their inbox.

3. Make it personal when contacting them.

If you make your message personal it makes your chances higher for being accepted. Especially if you’re not sure your book fits my blog and you can send me the request with the message or on my regular contact page. It really does help if you use my name and/or include something that you noticed on my blog to get my attention. I accepted a book for review that didn’t fully fit my blog (was a historical romance, but with time travel). I accepted it because the message included was personal by using my name and talking about a post I had done on TV shows I love. Many bloggers are the same way because you make a connection with them on something and they take another look at your request. About me pages usually have the blogger’s name (may be their real name or how they like to be referred to when contacted) so you know how to addressee them in your message.

4. Double check your info and message before sending.

I know it’s easier when contacting multiple blogs to copy and paste the same message (I do it), but double-check things before sending. I’ve been called totally different names (like Ashley instead of Kelly) and even had my blog called another blog’s name. This can at times hurt you because it can seem like you don’t know who you are contacting or that you are contacting every blog you see when you don’t correct it. This falls into #1 and #3 too. If you fill out a form check your info to make sure it’s correct. For example, I ask for websites so I can link to the author’s site in my review, but when something is off in the site listed on the form (a letter missing, weird icon added or misspellings). I then have to find the site myself and make sure it’s the right one and that it’s not a scammer. You don’t want a blogger to link to someone else’s site or call you a different name because the info was mixed up.

5. Remeber they have a schedule for their blog.

If you have a deadline for the review give enough notice and be mindful of the blog’s schedule. I usually can move things around if they book has a deadline, but I have a schedule that not only includes reviews but also tours, blasts, spotlights, and blitzes that I can’t move. If you need a review right away and it’s a busy time for my blog I may have to pass and will explain this. Pretty much every blog has a schedule like this so like in #2 check policies beforehand. If you don’t have a deadline be prepared for it to take time to get to your book because most blogs read in the order received if there is no deadline. Some also stop accepting books for a time if they have many to read and don’t want you to be waiting a long time. Many ARC readers also like to include buy or preorder links so that can delay a review if those aren’t available yet.

6. Don’t write them off if they don’t accept.

There are many reasons for bloggers to not accept a book so don’t write them off when it comes to another book. If your book was turned down due to the genre or it wasn’t something they weren’t interested in don’t loose hope. If you write in different genres that are accepted or have another book or series check back because it might just be accepted. I may not be into one book, but might be into another by the same author for many reasons. Bloggers tastes change so check back to see if they open up to more genres.

7. If you have questions ask.

If you’re not sure about you book fitting the blog, want to get to know the blogger first, or have questions just ask. That’s what the regular contact form or email is for and it’s not a waste of time. I love answering questions and getting to know an author even if they don’t submit a review request. If your book fits a blog, but you aren’t fully sure (like it’s a historical romance, but also something not listed) and don’t want to submit a request. Then reach out, introduce yourself, and ask questions and talk about the book. That book may be something they have never read before or never knew about and are glad you reached out.

8. Don’t send a book file in your first contact and be friendly.

Sending a file right away without asking first is the fastest way to be turned down. Always contact or submit a request and have it accepted before sending a file. I will not touch that file out of fears of viruses since we have never talked before and you have not asked. These kinds of contacts usually include wording along the lines of “Here’s my book and I need it reviewed by this date”. Wording like that doesn’t help at all even when not including a file. Being friendly will always help you in the long run. Most bloggers are the same way when it comes to files and being friendly.

What I’m Reading This Week: Emma Locke and Diana Gabaldon Plus a Writing Update

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This week I am jumping back into the Outlander world by getting back to reading The Fiery Cross. I took a break from it months ago because it is very slow in the beginning and I was frustrated with it so I stepped back from it for awhile. I’m also going to be reading The Art of Ruining a Rake by Emma Locke. I have been loving her Naughty Girls series and can’t wait to see what happens in this one.

I’m also going to be reading The Art of Ruining a Rake by Emma Locke. I have been loving her Naughty Girls series and can’t wait to see what happens in this one. If you’ve been following me for awhile then you know I love series that are not the typical ballroom setting and very innocent heroines. I love this series because it’s different.

Writing Update

Now a writing update! I got some time last week to write again and the words were flowing. My hero and heroine made a decision I did not see coming and I wondered if it would work, but after lots of thinking, I decided it worked perfectly for the story. Still no clue how long it will be, but I’m excited to see what happens with it.