As an emerging writer, I am beginning to look at this business a lot more seriously. Sure, getting published in erotic anthologies has been a lot of fun, but I don’t make much money for short stories. And, figuring it an hourly rate is downright depressing. I am a slow writer. Even for short works, it takes me about an hour per five hundred words for a draft. Then, there’s editing. And, I can’t just sit down and write for eight hours straight. If I could do THAT, I would be way more productive. On average, my brain is tapped after three hours of ‘creating words from nothing’ in a morning. Figuring all that in, I average about five bucks an hour on the erotic market.
I don’t even want to think about an hourly for the novel I’m working on. It probably wouldn’t be fair, either, since I have used this novel to really learn how to finish a novel. For those who aren’t keeping track, I’ve actually written five novels. Or started them, anyway. I have one I ‘finished’ but never went much beyond a pretty poor second draft–120K words that need cutting down to 90k, a complete POV re-write, and boredom have left it on the shelf for several years now. I have three others that I have what can only be described as ‘shitty first drafts.’ And there’s the mystery I’m finishing now. Really finishing.
What does this have to do with you reviewing books? Everything. Basically, a book with more reviews gets seen and purchased by more people. (And yes, this is all about me training you to write reviews so that you are ready to review my book when it’s time.) It’s all to do with the way various (online) book sellers choose to show you “if you liked this, you might like this” and other such magical and incomprehensible things called algorithms. I don’t understand how these things work, but I do know they make a difference.
It doesn’t have to be an arduous task. All you have to do is rate a book by clicking on one to five stars, then give one sentence about what you liked or didn’t like about the book. It’s okay to be honest if you didn’t like a book, but review it based on the content of the book and your experience as a reader of the book. Don’t ding the book because the shipper was too slow or they mangled the cover. If you’re an adult reading YA, don’t give a YA book a low rating because it ‘comes across like it was written for teenagers.’
You don’t have to write a book report, either. No need to give a synopsis. Just a sentence about what kept you reading or even what made you close the book and forget about it will do just fine. Your reviews DO make a difference. Your writing friends will love you.