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So, first, in case anyone is wondering, book two in the series is coming along amazingly well.  Cover artist is hard at work on the new cover which I hope will be even better than the first one and I’m chugging along on edits.  Well, writing and edits, because I did a pretty significant overhaul of the first draft.

Also, Rider’s Revenge is in the self-publishing fantasy blog-off and it made the first cut in its group of thirty being reviewed by Pornokitsch.  So, yay!

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

I’m here to talk about reviews.

A couple weeks ago I had a lovely woman reach out to me about Rider’s Revenge.  She’d just finished it and loved it and wanted to tell me and ask when the sequel would be out.  Which, by the way, MAKES MY DAY every single time it happens.  To think that someone read something I wrote and liked it enough to tell me about it is just wonderful.

Never hesitate to reach out to an author if you loved what they wrote.  Sometimes those little moments of encouragement are all we have to keep us going through until the release of the next novel.

(Having said that, I’m not that kind of reader, so never feel obligated.  But if the urge hits you, do it.)

Anyway. I wrote her back and thanked her and said I’d noticed that she’d left a wonderful review of it and I was so pleased with that.  She responded with a comment that sort of pooh-poohed her review because she wasn’t as good a writer as me.

So I wanted to address that for her and for anyone else who ever doubts themselves.

First, when it comes to a review, I, as a reader  and as a writer, am never going to judge anyone by how they construct their sentences or what words they choose or whether they place their commas in the correct place.  And anyone who does do that is not someone you should spare a moment’s thought for.

Because it’s not the words you choose that matter to me, it’s the sincerity of the emotion behind what you say.  Good or bad, love it or hate it, if how you really felt shines through in what you say, that’s the best possible review.

We may not agree.  I’m sure there are people who’ve hated books I loved. (War and Peace, anyone?)  But I’d rather we disagree and you put out there something real and authentic than that you don’t speak at all or write something forgettable but agreeable.

Let me also say that, as a writer, I’m not going to judge a review by the number of stars you give. You can like a book enough to review it and not think it’s five-star worthy and that’s okay.

As a matter of fact, sometimes people don’t trust a book that has all four or five-star reviews.  They think it’s just the author’s friends putting up reviews.  So put up whatever rating you want.  It’s your opinion and that’s what counts.

And for anyone who does review my book, thank you.  Not only for taking the time to read something I wrote, but for taking even more time to share what you thought about it.  I don’t directly respond to reviews, because I think that’s something for readers to share with one another, but I do appreciate every single one.

So if you ever are motivated to review a book, don’t hesitate.  Do it.  It’s valuable to the author and it’s valuable to other readers.