Bergers Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers: Vol 3)


Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Writing / Marketing
ISBN: 978-1-5369-4837-0
Pages: 340
Price: $17.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Carolyn Howard-Johnson has become the go-to guru for information on writing and promoting your book frugally. Her latest installment in this series focuses on getting and effectively using book reviews. Not surprisingly, she shows us how to get them ethically and for not much more than the cost of a book mailed to the reviewer’s address.

As a book reviewer, I read this book with a critical eye, hoping Howard-Johnson would touch on some of the important things I wish authors would do in promoting their books. Simple things like not assuming your reviewer will settle for an electronic copy (I don’t), thanking the reviewer for taking the time to read your book and write the review, and other assorted niceties go a long way. Thankfully, she jumps on these and adds a whole bunch more, which left me with a big smile on my face.

But besides getting a review posted on a website or Amazon, reviews can be used for so much more in promoting your book. Howard-Johnson shows us how to use them to encourage people to purchase a book or even get more reviews. Reviews drive sales, so the more we can accumulate, the better.

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is an easy read, packed with a wealth of suggestions and guidance in gathering reviews to help promote your book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 28, 2017 Posted by | writing | Leave a comment

Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too

Writing With Rosie
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Writing / Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-3656-9
Pages: 80
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

After reading novels that captivate their attention and transport them to new worlds, kids may wonder what, exactly, is involved in writing – and if they might be able to do it, too. Patricia Reilly Giff addresses these budding novelists in Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too.

Beginning with the story’s main character, she takes kids through the process of putting him in a place and creating a problem for him. Since he’ll be talking to the other characters, she shows kids how to create dialogue while juggling action and description around the conversation. His problem needs to be huge, so he’s going to worry about it, and it needs to keep getting worse. Finally, the main character should solve the problem by himself, changing in the process.

Using examples from her own novels, along with amusing anecdotes involving Rosie, her golden retriever, Giff provides an entertaining and informative guide to writing a story. The step by step structure with breaks for kids to try out the techniques makes it perfect for classroom use. Kids with a desire to begin writing their own stories will enjoy Giff’s laid-back style and encouragement.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 15, 2016 Posted by | children, writing | Leave a comment

Before You Write Your Novel

Before You Write Your Novel
Author: James McCreet
Publisher: Routledge
Genre: Creative Writing
ISBN: 978-1-138-18673-6
Pages: 214
Price: $25.95

Buy it at Amazon

First-time novelists sometimes struggle with the prospect of writing a book. There are so many decisions to be made, and without a plan, it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. Fortunately, Before You Write Your Novel: Essential Skills for the First-Time Novelist addresses these questions and help authors stay on the right track.

In a step-by-step manner, James McCreet walks first-time novelists through the creative process. First off, he asks how ready the author is – if he has the necessary skills and determination to complete the work. Then he looks at the idea – is it enough to carry a whole novel or does it need to be fleshed out a bit more? Story building, plots, subplots, narrative approaches, and other construction elements are covered, as McCreet dissects a few sample novels. Finally, he pulls this all together in an overview of the novel outlining process.

Those who like to work with outlines will find McCreet’s approach extremely helpful, as he lays everything out for the author to follow along. Those who prefer the “pantster” approach will probably find this information more useful at the time of revision. No matter which camp you belong to, this is a great how-to book for any author to add to his writing toolbox.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 29, 2016 Posted by | writing | Leave a comment