Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You, Too, Can Review

Today the lovely Christine Rains is here, writing about the importance of reviews:
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You, Too, Can Review

Book reviews are a vital part of marketing for authors. Not only do they help you by letting you know what readers liked and didn't like about your stories, but more importantly, they help attract other readers. The big problem is getting readers to write reviews.

I've found a lot of people are intimidated by writing reviews. They're worried about their opinions being voiced out loud, so to speak, and about sounding like a gushing fangirl/boy or being too critical. But you know what? Authors love it when you gush about their books. I get giddy when I read someone rattling on about how much they love my story. I also appreciate it when someone tells me what they didn't like when done in a respectable manner.

It's not that difficult to write a review. No one is expecting a deep analysis. Just a couple of sentences about what you liked and didn't like is wonderful. Here are five quick and easy things you can mention when writing a review:

  1. Characters. Who was your favorite and why? Who was your least favorite?
  2. Plot. What was your favorite part of the story? (Please try not to give any spoilers!) Did the author move too fast or too slow? Any glaring plotholes?
  3. Setting. How was the world building? Was it realistic? Beautiful or uninspired?
  4. Style. What was the writer's style like? Was it fast-paced, poetic, or gritty?
  5. Originality. What makes this book stand out from others? Or what makes it stale?

Give it a try. You'll make a writer's day.

Do you write reviews for the books you read?

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.

A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Includes “The Shadow,” a bonus short story.

Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Goodreads 

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.
Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

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Also, check out the cover of Lexa Cain's up coming book, Soul Cutter. I love all things Egypt, so I'm looking forward to reading this young adult novel when it's released on 6th December 2013.

115 comments:

  1. Great post. Reviews are so helpful for both readers and writers. I wish more people would review.

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    1. Thanks, Shelley! Me too. I just don't know how to encourage them to do so.

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  2. awesome post- I have it set to tweet most of the day tomorrow and I plus 1 it. :) I love how simple you made it seem and hope it encourages more readers to review.

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    1. Thank you so much, Decadent! I hope it does inspire more readers to write reviews.

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  3. I agree, reviews are so important, I just suck at writing them lol. I do try though, even if it's just a few words about the things I liked. :D

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    1. No review with nice things to say sucks! :)

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  4. Hi Lynda, I do like to write a review on my book blog (http://www.danbrownportal.blogspot.com) though I do understand that it can be difficult. I'll bear these 5 points in mind when I write my next review!

    Duncan In Kuantan

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    1. I put reviews up on my blog too, Duncan. I also make sure to leave ones on Goodreads and Amazon.

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  5. That's a good checklist. I can usually come up with a couple sentences for a review on Goodreads.
    Christine rocks (easy to review her books!) and Lexa's cover reveal was so clever.

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    1. Thanks, Alex! I loved Lexa's cover reveal!

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  6. I really enjoyed the cover reveal for Soul Cutter. The 13th Floor is awesome, and this checklist is a keeper too. I always forget all the things I wanted to say, and this would nudge my memory a little.

    shahwharton.com

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  7. Great tips on reviews. I'm going to try to remember them. I do try to review at least some books I read on Goodreads.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. I made it a goal to review every book I've read this year on Goodreads.

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  8. Great tips! I need to buckle down and do some reviews.

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  9. I depend on reviews when choosing books to download, so I try my best to review the books I read in the hopes that it will be helpful to someone else. There are millions of books out there to choose from-- we all can benefit from a few comments posted by our fellow readers.
    As a writer, reviews are crucial to not only selling more books but to improving my writing. I learn so much from the insights of others.
    Great post!

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    1. Thanks so much, Pam. I read reviews before picking up a book to read too. Word of mouth is so important.

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  10. I never liked to write reviews but have on Amazon for quite a few. I read them when I buy and so appreciate them.

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  11. Thank you for hosting me today, Lynda! Have a great week. :)

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  12. Honesty is important, but so is using tact. There are nice ways to voice what you didn't like about a book.

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  13. This is great. I usually don't review books, with a few exceptions. I might try to do it more often after this. In the past, when I've read a book, I've only reviewed it on Goodreads. I'm learning now from friends just how important it is to copy that review onto the site you purchased the book from (eg Amazon). Books can get thousands of reviews on GR, and only a handful on Amazon. Some readers rely on the Amazon reads and don't check the reviews on GR.

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    1. Thanks, Stina! That's true. Even if I didn't purchase a book on Amazon, I will still leave a review there. I try to remember B&N too.

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  14. Getting reviews can be like pulling teeth, amazon is the best spot for them and to give them too.

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  15. I like to review the books I read, no matter who the author is.
    Reminds me that I have a few that need to be completed.

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    1. Me too, Michelle. I try to sit down the same day or the day after I finish a book and get the review written.

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  16. I never wrote reviews until I met so many great authors through blogging. I just never thought about doing it. But now I find I really enjoy it! I almost see it as more writing practice because it's fun to try to come up with a good review that encapsulates how I feel about a story.

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    1. I completely agree. I have to really think how to word my reviews because sometimes "OMG! THAT WAS AWESOME!" just isn't enough. Hehehe!

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  17. Hey, thanks, Christine! (and Lyn for hosting). As it so happens, I was asked to do a review for someone, and these are great guidelines for writing one. :)

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  18. I started reviewing mainly to keep track of the books I read, but now I really enjoy it. Great started points, Christine!

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    1. Thanks, Meradeth. I use Goodreads to keep track of what I read now, and I started this year to review every book I read since I read so much, sometimes I don't remember the story!

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  19. I write book reviews on both my blogs for self pub and trad, classic and genres that I write. My one hard and fast rule: No Spoilers. A review is not a critique of the author's style, but rather it is a summary of the main elements and the main idea of the story.

    There has been an ongoing discussion of 'how to do a book review'. Too many writers like to critique the author's style rather than explain the 'seed' of the story'. Everyone has different tastes, and there are many varieties of review - but don't give me a critique, give me a review of the story. You can always include a bit of history about the author or the time period in which the book was written.

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  20. Once again, congrats and best of luck to Christine.

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  21. Reviews are so important. I review every book I finish reading, even if it sometimes takes me awhile to get the review up.

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    1. That they are. Your reviews are great too!

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  22. I rather stink at writing reviews, and I owe you some, Christine. From reviews we learn who our fans are, which is important to know if it's a series.

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    1. That's true. And I'm sure you don't stink at it. :)

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  23. I am kinda okay at book reviews. I feel bad when I am unable to give a good review for a book I have read.

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    1. I do too, but I try to be respectful when I say something critical.

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  24. I will have to remember these tips :)

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  25. Aw, look at our purty covers over there! Lynda, you're amazing!

    You know something, Christine, i never realized how important reviews were still I started studying the whole SP process. Now I try to review as much as possible, and I see many authors leave requests in their books to do so as well. I love your points to consider for review. Makes perfect sense!

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    1. Thank you, Pk! I do hope the reminders in the books do help out.

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  26. I used to write more reviews, when it seemed to matter a bit more? Now, there are just so many ... I dunno ...

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    1. So many? Perhaps for the best selling authors, but many of us indie authors and small press authors really need reviews.

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  27. I don't review as often as I should. Mainly I rate but I'm trying to break that habit.

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    1. I used to just rate. It was a matter of not having lots of time to do reviews, but I've gotten better at doing faster ones.

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  28. I'm more apt to rate than write reviews too. In my defence I only write reviews of books/stories I really like so my reviews tend to be on the lines of "I love it" or "I thoroughly enjoyed it"! Take care
    x

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  29. You're so right. All it takes is a few lines of what you liked about a story to make a relevant review. I often neglect to do it, even though I usually read them by other people. I'll admit it's mostly laziness on my part. :(

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    1. I think that's what has many readers not writing reviews.

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  30. It's so important, and so hard to get your fans to do. I've received many an email, but they won't post on any site. Still, it's wonderful to get those emails!

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    1. I've gotten emails and blog comments too. I wish it was okay to copy and paste! :)

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  31. Excellent post, Christine! Reviews are a huge part of the success formula. As an author, I really don't want to beg people to review my stories, but I probably need to. :)

    I'm finding getting reviews to be particularly difficult for a series. I've got 10x as many reviews for the first book in my series as I do any of the others, and I know almost everyone who gave a positive review for the first have read the others and enjoyed them as well. I think they feel like they've already declared how much they enjoy them, so they don't need to do it for the others--which from my perspective, isn't true. So I'm not sure what to do there...

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    1. I have the same experience with my series. The first book has the most reviews, and the number of reviews goes down for each book. It's frustrating, and I'd really love to find a way to motivate readers to review all the books in the series.

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  32. Bookmarked! Thanks, Christine! Such wonderful advice.

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  33. Great tips! I could use them myself. BTW, I hadn't read this yet when I left my comment at your blog - we clearly think along similar lines!

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    1. Thanks, Nick! That's why we get along so well. :)

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  34. Because I'm an author, I usually only write reviews of books I like. I don't even rate books I don't like, but that's only because I'm also trying to gain readers and don't want to seem too harsh.

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    1. It seems this is the way most writers tend to do things.

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  35. Hi, Christine & Lynda,
    As a writer, I know how important it is for a book to receive reviews. I do as many as I can, but admit that sometimes I let ages slip by without posting them and sometimes they don't get posted at all. In the cases where I don't like a book, I prefer not to review.

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    1. Most writers seem to prefer not to review books they didn't like. I've only reviewed a few best sellers that I didn't like because I wanted to state my opinion, but I hoped I did it respectfully.

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  36. Oh, you've made it so comfortably simple. I write some reviews but I need to do more.

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  37. In my class we do reading reviews and your post has given me a good idea about what should be some of the important aspects we should cover.
    Thanks Lynda

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  38. Great tips. I review most of the books I read, anywhere from three sentences to three paragraphs.

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    1. Thanks, Medeia. I do the same. It depends on the time I have to write the review and how much of an impression the book made on me.

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  39. Usually I only write reviews if the writer asks me. Like you said, I worry too much about what others might think of my opinion, but your check list was very helpful, thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Murees. Would you be encouraged to write a review if you saw an author's request for them at the end of their book?

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  40. Fantastic post, Christine. I've limited my reviews to publisher requests and writer friends. Basically, that's because of my time constraints.

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    1. Thank, SA. Time is an important factor. My reviews are much shorter when I don't have any time!

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  41. congrats to Christine and great tips, ladies

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  42. Great tips and much appreciated.
    Hi, Lynda!

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  43. Good tips for writing reviews! You're right. Authors really do appreciate reviews (especially when they're good!).

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  44. Copying that list and sending it on to prospective reviewers... AWESOME. Speaking of reviews, it's about time I got yours up, eh? So much to do...

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    1. Thank you, Crystal. Heh. I would appreciate it. ;)

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  45. Great tips for writing reviews. I wish all the reviewers who take time to log in on Amazon and leave a one star with one sentence saying they didn't like the book because they didn't understand the secondary characters reasoning would come and read this post!

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  46. I struggle with straying on top of me reviews, but I agree with you. Some people are intimidated by them. I usually try to write something on my blog every few month about reviews, just so people know it's okay to be critic sometimes. Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Toinette. I do still get nervous when I post a review that isn't great, but I try to be respectful when I do.

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  47. Hello Lynda. Hello Christine. Hello everyone. Well, I write a lot of reviews, but only review books I like as I hate to say anything negative, yet all glowing reviews look bad on Amazon I think. As I read over 100 books a year I can't review all I read. Now I have joined Armchair Squid's book review club, I write one careful review a month and meanwhile pop off quite a few much smaller reviews on Amazon, Goodreads etc. Doing my bit...

    But I should add that if authors want reviews they should ask for them and they should thank you for the time when you've finished. I rarely get a thank you from an author when I review their book. Egad.

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    1. A few careful reviews and more smaller ones is really good. I put some of my good reviews on my blog along with posting them on Goodreads and Amazon. A little extra for the books I particularly liked! :)

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  48. Great tips for doing a book review. I shared this post on Twitter and Google+.

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  49. I never really know what is expected of me in a review, and then I wonder if I have to be consistent in whether I'm gushing fangirl or being critical. I'll keep these points of focus in mind for the next time I review something. I try to always leave a review on Goodreads when I finish a book, and I usually try and write something on my blog about it too.

    Thanks for the guest-post :)

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    1. Thank you, Bonnee. It's great you always try to leave a review. I've been making sure to do it this year. I know authors truly appreciate it!

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    2. I think they must! How else are they supposed to know that people really have enjoyed their book, or find out whatever other opinions people have of their work?

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  50. I actually like writing reviews...only I prefer to write them for authors I don't personally know. I've had a couple of authors dislike the fact that I didn't give their books perfect reviews. Needless to say they don't talk to me quite as much any more :(

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    1. I've lucked out in that aspect. The author friends whose books I've reviewed with some critical bits have been very good about it. I try to be grateful myself when that happens.

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  51. You're absolutely right about writing reviews. It's important and needn't be a master's thesis. You did a great job making it do-able to those who are intimidated.

    Squeee! You put up my book cover! Thank you so very much! :-D

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  52. I enjoy writing reviews. Most of my reviews on Amazon are for music albums, but in the past couple of years I've tried to review most of the books I've read. I tend to lean toward the most positive side since I understand what it takes to write something, but I don't avoid honesty when there are problems.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  53. I have limited my reviews to publisher and author requests, but I see your point in why writing reviews for all that I read is vital to keeping the author writing. Thank you for your list. It will make writing my next an easier task.

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  54. Like Lynn, I have limited my reviews to author requests. When you hang around the literary world, you tend to encounter thousands of authors and books. Since it is impractical to purchase all the books, one tends to go with those that spark interest - unless the author specifically requests a review.

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  55. Thank you for the five "quick and easy" checkpoints to cover in a review. I truly appreciate well-written book reviews, but I can be shy about writing about novels that I might not have enjoyed, unless there are huge problems.

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  56. Great tips on what to write about in a review, love that list.

    Christina, your book looks and sounds awesome!
    And the book cover for Soul Cutter looks awesome too!

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  57. Excellent points. I don't like giving stars for reviews, but I do leave a short comment about books I've read and enjoyed :)

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  58. I do read reviews, don't always agree with them, but I've used them in the past to determine whether a book's worth buying. And I have written a few reviews, but doing so is way out of my comfort zone. For exactly the reasons you mentioned, Lynda. I worry that I'll wrongly influence someone. Course, only writing ones for books I love has helped.

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  59. I always worry about hurting feelings. I'd rather present the book giving good and bad points and letting the my reader decide if it is for them. I'm a coward. :-)

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  60. Reviewing is big responsibility. That's my HO. You've set out some great guidelines.

    Good luck to Christine and Lexa! They're doing a great job getting the word out about their books.

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  61. Unfortunately all I've reviewed for the last decade or so has been papers and scientific papers.

    I think I've lost almost all ability to creatively review something. :P

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  62. Great tips offering any writer assistance for their next book. Everyone loves fan mail, so don't be afraid to give it. Thanks so much, Lynda and Christine, for all this great information. Good luck to you both.

    I enjoyed your previous post with M as well, Lynda. All much needed information for any writer. Thanks.

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  63. Thanks everyone for leaving a comment. I read every one and treasure every one of them.

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.