A Slip of the Lit. – A Five Star Attitude

A long time ago I came across a delightfully amusing (though rather terrifying) meme of Annie Wilks, which read “If you haven’t tied your favourite author to a bed and hobbled them with a sledgehammer, you’re not fangirling hard enough”. Of course this delighted the dark side of my humour, and I promptly stole it* and slipped it into a post about Helena Hann-Basquiat – that tall, cool blonde with the scuffed Manolos and the amazing brain.

Course, these days there are any number of authors could use it on (the meme, not the sledgehammer (*hides ropes*))…

…but here’s the thing: there’s a far better way to get to ‘keep’ your favourite authors, provided you’re fortunate enough to know the people who’ve generated the contents of your ‘keep forever’ bookshelf. Or the (*shudders*) files on (*shivers*) Kindle, which you (*heebs out*) know you won’t delete. And that’s to REVIEW, SHARE AND RECOMMEND.

I’ll say it again so you know I really, really mean it – REVIEW, SHARE AND RECOMMEND.

Let’s start at the beginning, when your darling has spent a soul-crushing time editing the heck out of their manuscript, which required umpteen-bazillion hours of their time and mental energy to create in the first place, only to be told that parts of it had to change…so they fall upon their pen and re-jig it to appeal to the unwashed masses**, possibly more than once, and then they eventually get together a final draft they’re happy with before either releasing their baby to the ravishing hands of a publishing house, or selling the floor from under their feet to be able to pay for layout, cover design, printing, administration and publishing costs.


So they have their book – their precious – and they gear up with a blog tour or promotions or ARC readers and giveaways and ALL TEH PIMPING…and finally release day happens and they spend the entire time watching for signs of sales online, jacked up on [insert booze of choice] and biting their fingernails in terror that they’ll be revealed as an utter fraud and no-one wants to read their tale.

The feedback comes slowly…people buy it and your darling breathes a little easier. The people read it and tell their friends, and your favourite begins to unclench. They get in touch with the author and tell them how awesome/amazing/fabulous/wonderful it was…and then quite often they just drop off a cliff! Not literally, my lovelies, but metaphorically: the book has been treated as a consumable item and the transaction (once it’s been read) is done, with a little post-glutting petit four of compliment to the creator, who is then left, discarded like an empty, grease-stained Maccy-D bag at the side of the road.

Then they have to grit their teeth and withstand the onslaught of the worst things which can be said to a writer, a la Vikki Claflin, and try their best to play nice and not break down when they’ve exhausted their repertoire of tricks to get people to engage with their book.

It can be a thankless task for authors, and one in which YOU play an important role, with a couple of tweaks beyond the usual reader/book interaction (especially if you want your dearest to jump onto the bed and beg for the ropes rather than requiring any sledgehammering to make them stay).

Pay attention – the trust of an author is not to be underestimated and leads to untold wonders…

You’ve encouraged them during creation. You’ve cheer-led and hurkey’d your heart out pre-release. You joined in their blog tour. You sent them champagne on release day and you’ve read their book, at last, gleefully…and then what?

Now you REVIEW IT.

It doesn’t have to be five stars, because there’s always room for improvement, right? But it DOES need to be there – if you write a genuine ‘how it made me feel’ review, then other potential readers might engage with your words and roll with your recommendation, but how often do you read other people’s reviews or pay attention to the stars? Hmmm. Here’s the secret reason – book-selling websites have internal (highly mystical) algorithms, which they employ to promote popular books (FYI the widely acknowledged tipping point is 50 reviews) and once your pet’s book has enough reviews, the sale site will start working on their behalf.

And you need to do this not only on Amazon***, but Goodreads. And Barnes&Noble if it’s being sold there.


Might take you ten minutes or so. Your literary sweetheart just spent probably months of their life creating this book – if you won’t do it to honour that, do it to be a pal. You have time. If you’ve read this far on this blog post, then you have time to write and share a quick review. Promise.

Each site they see your review will have your author chuckling with delight and snuggling closer to you, petting your hair and kissing your cheek**** as you promote them officially – the way authors prefer to have it done to them. Each share of your reviews will curl their toes with excitement.

But to really send them into orbit…RECOMMEND THEM.

Endorse them with your conversations, your writing, your social media – don’t just shove your stars into the mix on the sale site, but make your opinion PUBLIC, online and offline. Get your fingers and tongue in there and get creative!

Recommend them soft-and-gently. Recommend them quick-and-dirty. Recommend them suddenly, in the middle of something else entirely. Recommend them relentlessly. And you will blow their mind.

Want your favourite to look something like this?

Author Promotion Five Star Attitude


Now THAT’S what you call a five-star attitude.

Here are three of my favourites (all with stunningly good recent releases) for you to start with – see if you can usurp me as THEIR favourite*****

Beth Teliho – Order of Seven

Helena Hann-Basquiat – Memoirs of a Dilettante Vol TWO or Penelope, Countess of Arcadia



Mandi Castle – Dear Stephanie

A Slip of the Lit Button

*Stealing pictures is NOT COOL and I don’t do it any more. To my chagrin really, because this meme is cool.

**Helena said it first, and she dabbles, so…yeah! Be washed if you prefer – totally up to you.

***If your Amazon is something other than .com, stick the review on both sites, to be consistent and most helpful.

****Probably only metaphorically, unless you’re super-lucky.

*****Definitely a self-awarded title, that, but I’ll take it until someone takes it from me.


40 thoughts on “A Slip of the Lit. – A Five Star Attitude

  1. Pingback: The Importance of Talking about Reading | The Meaning of Me

  2. I appreciate this post, Lizzi! I didn’t realize all the stuff about the highly mystical algorithms. I’ve never really been a book reviewer, thinking my opinion really didn’t make much of a difference – but I can see that it actually does! Here’s a question for you – if I love a book…except for one (or a couple), tiny tiny thing(s) (perhaps something that just doesn’t seem to belong or flow well with the rest of the utterly fantabulous story) – do I mention it in my review? If it was a book that I just picked up off the shelf and I had no connection with the author, I wouldn’t have a qualm about it. However, so many of the books/compilations I’m reading lately are written by people I “know” – and I don’t want to hurt any feelings or make them feel that their work is in any way not fabulous (because it’s their BABY and they poured their hearts and souls into the writing and creative process).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Give it four stars, don’t mention the bad stuff in the review unless it REALLY bugged you, and then ask the author if they would like some unsolicited reader feedback, and give it to them in as positive a light as possible, but still be frank – it will help them to consider those things next time, yaknow?


    • Jana, there’s nothing wrong with mentioning what maybe bothered you about the book, as long as you don’t give it low stars cuz then that brings the whole rating average down and can really hurt the author. If you *really* dislike a book, I say don’t review at all. Here’s an example of a review I did for Black Iris, which I LOVED and gave 5 stars, but I did mention the few things that bothered me and mentioned it as 4.5 in the body of the review for the reasons listed, but did it in a way that didn’t hurt the integrity of the book:

      “I give this book 4.5 – the only reason I took .5 off was because it got a bit confusing to read sometimes with the dates switching with each chapter, and also there was some dialogue towards the end that felt a bit lengthy and overdone, BUT, this book is an absolute delicacy. As a fellow author, I appreciate beautiful prose, and there were times I had to dog-ear certain pages because the prose were so f#cking incredible it was like a religious experience. I love this girl’s writing; she is an exceptional talent. Her words drip with feels and visceral sensation. The plot is unique and sucked me in from the first paragraph. Raeder is a fearless writer – I LOVE THAT. I thirst for fearless, smart writing and Black Iris quenched that thirst. yummmmm.”

      Hope this helps, friend. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Away Message | The Meaning of Me

  4. yea totally agree with you. I’ve started doing this. Once book is done. Review on Amazon, Goodreads and other places I find the book on. Then I put the review up on my blog too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you as always, Lizzi without an e. It should be mentioned that writers are an insecure lot, and we not only crave success, but really, we want to know if you like our babies. Sometimes the review isn’t even about sales, but just about knowing that we’ve made that connection with someone (and if it’s a stranger that owes us nothing, all the better) and that they liked it. The biggest part of me becoming Helena was to let the writing take the spotlight. I know I can be an abrasive asshole that’s hard to love — but the writing — the writing was worth love, I hoped.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “who’s” hard to love, cherie 😉

      But I like ya. Heaps. You know that. You’re just who you are and how you are and it’s fine by me and I’m happy to tell you at the times when it’s not 🙂

      I like that about connecting though – I would have put that in if I’d thought of it – I was mostly going from a pimpage angle here but that’s an important point 🙂 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I will be starting to read ‘Dear Stephanie’ at some point this week. And I will certainly review it when I’m done.

    My own novel is a work in progress 😊

    Liked by 4 people

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