Reviews are powerful

Ever since my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, received its first review, I’ve felt how powerful reviews can be. Whether good or bad, what a reviewer says directly affects the author of the book reviewed and its salability. I found the following quote recently that I think all reviewers (besides book-review-editors) ought to think about when they write a book review:

“Nearly every writer writes a book with a great amount of attention and intention and hopes and dreams. And it’s important to take that effort seriously and to recognize that a book may have taken ten years of a writer’s life, that the writer has put heart and soul into it. And it behooves us, as book-review-editors, to treat those books with the care and attention they deserve, and to give the writer that respect.” – Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review editor in a “Poets & Writers interview. 

My Choices guest today, Nina Guilbeau, the author of God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same, discusses her thoughts about book reviews here. Please help me welcome Nina. God Doesn't Love Us All the Same - Cover

The Power of the Review

by Nina Guilbeau

For some it happened quickly and for others it was a slow-moving awakening. The only thing that was clear was that when the publishing revolution began, there was no turning back. The traditional business model had to evolve. Much like the music industry that had to be rebuilt from the outside in, publishing was and is being forced to change, too. There is now an open market where all writers have access to publish and sale directly to readers without the help or consent of traditional publishing houses.  These independent or indie authors, made possible by new technologies, give readers more choices – upwards of 5000 more choices every day. The numbers are overwhelming to say the least, but in the midst of so much change one thing in the business world has remained constant. Consumers still rely heavily on word of mouth marketing and in publishing that means reviews. So the more the publishing market is flooded with books, the more difficult it becomes for individual books to stand out and the more important reviewers become to all parties involved. The power of publishing success is now shifting away from the complete control of publishing houses into the hands of individual readers willing to share their opinions in a book review. However, with much power comes responsibility not just for those writing the reviews, but also for those potential buyers reading them. Discerning readers who want to celebrate good books understand that all reviews are not created equal. There are good reasons why readers should not be scared away from a potentially enjoyable book after reading a few troubling reviews. Here are some examples:

Rant, Rave and Revenge Although at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, a rant or a rave review is all about passion. If words on a page can push buttons to such conflicting heights, then it comes down to a matter of personal taste. New readers shouldn’t automatically be put off by the negative comments. Instead, if available, download a sample or use Amazon’s Look inside feature and take a moment to get a personal feel of the book. However, if the rants deteriorate into insults of the author or other readers who enjoyed the book, then it may be best to ignore these toxic reviews. Unfortunately many bad or revenge reviews are written because of things that have nothing to do with the book, such as the author not accepting the reader’s friend request on Facebook.

Detailed Scrutiny Many critical reviews are detailed in insightful and useful ways. It seems that the more serious the reader, the more detailed their analysis. But helpful? Not if the end result after intense scrutiny is that the reviewer just doesn’t like the genre or writing style of the author. Literary books (especially critically acclaimed titles) take a particularly bad beating for this reason. Sometimes a good book is about how it makes a person feel, even with (or because of) its perceived imperfections. An example of this is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Needs Editing Take heed if a large number of reviews mention editing distractions. However, also be aware that the changes in the publishing industry have created new pirating problems for authors and publishers. Advanced reading copies (ARC), galleys and copies for beta readers are given out freely and usually unedited. These unedited copies, many times in electronic form, find their way to lending or book sharing platforms. Sometimes they are even sold outright. Unfortunately, even though editing disclaimers usually appear throughout the front matter of titles, this information is often overlooked as new readers eagerly skip past them to get to chapter one. Reviews criticizing the editing of unedited books never meant for the general public are made more often than we realize. Telltale signs that a book is a not for sale copy are the actual disclaimers inside the book, the pre-release book cover or if it’s a PDF (which are often pirated in general) made available before the Ebook release date .

To all readers who are willing to invest time and money in order to find happiness, romance, adventure and emotion through the written word, I salute you. And remember to read, review and repeat!


God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same is the touching story about Janine Harris who never really thought about homeless people. She barely even notices them as she passes them by on her way to work in downtown Washington D.C. All Janine can focus on is the shambles of her own young life, afraid that she will never be able to get past the painful mistakes she has made. However, all of that changes on a snowy evening in December when Janine unexpectedly finds herself alone with Vera, an old, homeless woman who seems to need her help. Now Janie wants to know what could have possibly happened to Vera to leave her so broken and alone.

As Vera shares her life story with Janine, the two women form an unusual bond and begin a journey that changes both of their lives forever. Reluctantly, they each confront their own past and, in the process, discover the true meaning of sacrifice, family and love. Although to truly move forward in their lives, they must fast the most difficult challenge of all forgiving themselves. Paperback: 254 Pages Genre: Women’s Fiction Publisher: Juania Books LLC (May 5, 2014) ASIN: B00K5IMJOW Twitter hashtag: #GDLoveGuilbeau

God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.

Nina Guilbeau Head ShotAbout the Author: Nina Guilbeau is the Siblings Editor for BellaOnline The Voice of Women and writes weekly family articles for online magazines. Her ebook, Birth Order and Parenting, is a popular pick with students studying the Alfred Adler birth order theory.

She is a member of the Florida Writer’s Association and the author of women’s fiction novels Too Many Sisters and Too Many Secrets. A winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award for her God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same manuscript, Nina’s work has been published in the short story anthologies From Our Family to Yours and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters. An excerpt from upcoming novel Being Non-Famous was published in the Orlando Sentinel as a Father’s Day tribute.

You can find Nina here:


Nina’s Blog Tour Dates

Monday, October 20 @ The Muffin Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Tuesday, October 21 @ Choices “The Power of the Review(er)” is today’s hot topic as Nina Guilbeau visits Choices during her book blog tour for God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same

Wednesday, October 22 @ All Things Audry Nina Guilbeau makes a stop at All Things Audry to discuss “Birth Order Theory” as well as her fabulous book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same. Nina has also offered a copy of her book for a giveaway. This is a blog stop you can’t afford to miss!

Thursday, October 23 @ Romance Junkies Join Nina Guilbeau as she stops at Romance Junkies for an insightful interview about herself and her book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same

Friday, October 24 @ Franciscan Mom Join author Nina Gibeault with an insightful guest post on the topic of ways to help those in need. Nina has also graciously offered a copy of her book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same for a giveaway. This is a blog stop you can’t afford to miss!

Monday, October 27 @ Shelf Full of Books Join Nina Guilbeau as she visits Shelf Full of Books with a guest post about Keeping Family Connections Strong and provides insight into her latest book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same

Tuesday, October 28 @ The Lit Ladies Nina Guilbeau, author of God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same visits the Lit Ladies with a guest post about Creating Book Clubs. Nina has also graciously provided an ebook copy of her book for one lucky winner of a giveaway. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 29 @ CMash Reads Popular author Nina Guilbeau shares her latest book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same and also gives readers he thoughts on Cyber Book Clubs vs. Brick and Mortar.

Friday, October 31 @ Create Write Now Join popular author Nina Guilbeau as as talks about “Working with the Homeless” to readers of Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now. Learn more about Nina and her latest book God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same. Nina has graciously offered a giveaway copy for one lucky reader as well! This is a blog stop no one should miss!

Monday, November 3 @ Bring On Lemons Crystal Otto reviews Nina Guilbeau’s God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same and offers readers an opportunity to win their own copy in a giveaway of this fabulous fiction story!

Tuesday, November 4 @ Words, Crazy Words Join Nina Guilbeau as she speaks to readers of Words, Crazy Words about “Genre Confusion” and offers a copy of God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same for one lucky reader to win as part of a giveaway!

Wednesday, November 5 @ Sioux’s Page Get in on the giveaway for Nina Guilbeau’s God Doesn’t Love Us All the Same and hear from Nina on the topic of “Character Inspirations” as she visits with Sioux’s Page readers!


Thanks so much, Nina and WOW! Women on Writing for stopping by Choices today.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today! I appreciate being allowed to share my thoughts with you and your readers!

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      You are so welcome, Nina. Your post is so useful to all authors. I wish you all the best on your new novel.

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