Sunday, May 12, 2013

RWA Meeting and Reviews

This last Saturday I was able to attend my local OCCRWA meeting. I was so impressed with RWA Nationals last year that I had to join! Also my upcoming book NO MORE GODDESSES has a romance theme throughout plus another project I'm working on is more crossover/New Adult with romance.

At the meeting we had Sarah Wendell of the review site Smart Bitches speak. This online review site is hot!

Totally loved Sarah's comments on reviewing. Not only was she very knowledgeable on romances but she was hilarious! I wish I had half of her energy! I was lucky enough that she joined my group during lunch too so I got to overhear some of her comments on romances and what she's seeing.

So I thought I'd share some of my notes from the meeting:

Sarah Wendell – Smart Bitches
“Online Reviews: How to Seek, Receive, Use & Respond to Reviews”

Sarah said that reviews are very important as they help us find books to buy. Nowadays we interact with all of our entertainment. Consumer interacting is huge. Reviews are readers talking to each other.

She gave 2 rules for reviews:

1. Take them with a grain of salt. Remember it's just one out there. Also a huge one is don't lash out on a negative review.

**Chocolate works great during this time.

2. Don't post spoilers. No one likes this. It's like going to a movie and having someone in back of you tell the whole movie when you haven't seen it yet.

How to find reviews:

For those of you with small press publishers like me or who self-pub here was some of her suggestions:

Consider book you are pitching to reviewers

Look for similarities with other books out there
What settings are similar to your book?

**Research your genre to see which reviewers review what.

I review for YABC and you can check on the site for what I and the other fab YABC reviewers are looking for.

Also I totally agree with this one--When you sent a query to a reviewer, use the name of the reviewer.

Another one: Don't nag the reviewer. Yes, this can be annoying.

What to do if you get less than a 5 star review:

Get chocolate or whatever treat you love and eat with both hands while you stay away from typing back a response.

One great point she mentioned is that a bad review isn't your enemy. Your enemy is when no one is talking about your book.

If you don't like the review? Let it go.

Another thing she brought up was to not thank the reviewer on line but rather privately through email. I agree on this one. I once did 'thank' someone for hosting me and the responses from readers just died. No one else commented. You don't want to break the flow of communication out there. I love to read what readers think of my book and also have found it fascinating when others relate to something in a way I never thought of!

The big thing is to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinions.

You need to separate the two: Author and Review. They aren't the same.

Her book that I ordered--she ran out at the meeting:

Totally loving this RWA group!


  1. Thanks for sharing these tips. Sounds like a worthwhile meeting.

  2. I love these meetings! It's so validating too to be recognized from other writers!

  3. You have no idea how much I needed to read this post. I made the mistake of seeing if my work had garnered more reviews - each of them had. And some of the negative ones were real corkers. Some months ago, round about the time I decided I needed to stop reading my reviews, I did respond to one with a comment, but only because she brought up a technicality she stated was wrong and I wanted to explain to her that no, sometimes things do happen the way they did in my novel. I probably should not have done that, but it related to a death close to me and I couldn't quite stop myself! Anyhow, long-winded as usual, I want to thank you again. This was so very helpful.